Is the tide beginning to turn?

23 / 07 / 20

The second masterplan for the Council’s proposed Garden Community at Lenham Heath was considered at the P&R Committee on 21 July.

Again, SOHL came well prepared to challenge the Council with some searching questions, a speech and press statement.

The outcome was that the Council voted to continue with the proposal which will be submitted as part of the forthcoming Local Plan Review consultation in the Autumn.

The vote, however, was close with nine councillors for and six against taking the proposal forward. Three of the members who voted for the motion made it clear that their votes were with ‘reluctance’. Unfortunately, local politics is not always straightforward. Members of political parties are invariably pressured to vote in a particular manner, even if their feelings lie elsewhere.  If the three members who voted with reluctance had been given an open vote, it is likely the scheme would not have gone through to the next stage.

Councillors are beginning to express concerns about many aspects of the project and in particular the secrecy that even they have experienced.  This is good news and shows our campaign is having an impact.

In the second masterplan, you will see that the scheme is more of a ‘budget’ version which puts into question its viability, and is less likely to stand up to the scrutiny of the planning inspector.

So the fight goes on!  Members of the SOHL Committee will be reviewing the masterplan in detail over the summer and are confident they will be able to build a good case to oppose the scheme.