Housing project in Penshurst given the go-ahead for second time
By Kent and Sussex Courier | Friday, October 26, 2012, 08:00
PLANNERS have decided to build affordable homes at a beauty spot in Penshurst – for the second time.
fair: Ron Loring and Norman Furnell backed Forge Field plans
beauty spot: Forge Field
Sevenoaks District Council planning committee approved West Kent Housing Association's plans for Forge Field again three months after originally doing so.
The application was called back into the council chamber on Thursday after a rival application was lodged by a charity for a different site.
The approval of the six affordable homes, each of two bedrooms, on picturesque meadow Forge Field, brings to an end a bitter row spanning more than two years.
Keep Penshurst Green chairman Rob Rees, who led the campaign to save Forge Field, was unhappy with the result, saying: "They want to build on Forge Field and they will find a way of doing it."
He criticised planners for picking "trivial" holes in the second application, for Becket's Field, saying it should have been approved because the site was already developed.
The planning officer's report had recommended the Forge Field plans be approved because it was considered an appropriate application.
Ron Loring, of Glebelands and Becket's Field Residents' Group, had been fighting the alternative proposal in the cramped Becket's Field cul-de-sac to demolish one bungalow and build six homes. He said he was "over the moon" with the council's decision to refuse the application, submitted by local charity the Becket's Trust.
Mr Loring thought the application had been used as a Trojan horse to stop Forge Field plans going ahead.
The planning officer had recommended it for refusal because it was out of keeping and would impact on the houses already there.
Mr Rees, who is now looking at the possibility of a judicial review, said the process had been "lacklustre and mistake-ridden".