Land at Bigginswood, Cheriton, was purchased in Dec 2016 under urgency powers by the then Coporate Director Dr Susan Priest. The price paid by the Council was £1.5m; which was £300,000 above the recommended price of £1.2m. The land was purchased from a convicted criminal – Adrian Kirby – who owned the land via a company based in the offshore tax jurisdiction of Luxembourg.
10.7.5 Acres or 4.35 Hectares where F&HDC wish to build 77 homes – 23 affordable and 54 light industrial units
The Bigginswood site is a former brickworks site and is known to have been a receptor for waste – like Princes Parade. Until its purchase the site was vacant for at least 20 years and had been allocated for employment development in the Council’s local plans for at least 10 years. However, the costs of remediating the site and low commercial rents have meant that the proposition has not proved attractive to the private sector to deliver the whole site for employment. In 2014 planning permission for 77 homes, 54 light industrial units and one office building was granted.
The Council who still own the land according to the Land Registry have chosen Sunningdale House Developments Ltd – owned by David Pownceby (pictured) to build out the site. This is the same developer who will build out 150 homes on Princes Parade. However, that said the Principle Contractor is Development House Limited, owned by Mr & Mrs Pownceby, but we note the company’s confirmation statement is long overdue
So with the background stuff out of the way, lets start the story of how the planning permission for Bigginswood has lapsed and nd a new application needs to be applied for.
It starts with Y13/0024/SH. This is the Outline Planning Application. It was validated on14/01/2013, and approved on the 04/08/2014
In total it had 28 Conditions attached to it. These included:
– 2: reserved matters applications will be made within 3 years of this decision
– 3: development will begin within 2 years of the last reserved matters being approved
– 21: no development without archaeological work per WSI and timetable, to be submitted and approved
Y16/0403/SH – Reserved matters regarding 77 houses, construction of estate road and provision of open space, landscaping and parking being details pursuant to outline planning permission Y13/0024/SH. It was validated on the 20/04/2016, and approved on the14/09/2016
Y16/0065/NMC – Non-material amendment (no details and no files public), validated 25/07/2016, approved 25/07/2016. A non material amendment does not require consultation, so same day is OK
Y17/0888/SH – Reserved matters regarding erection of 49 industrial units (4562 sqm) and 2 office blocks (1240 sqm), together with the construction of the industrial estate road and parking and turning areas and landscaping throughout the site being details pursuant to outline planning permission Y13/0024/SH . It was validated on the 31/07/2017, and approved on the 06/07/2018. We wrote about in Oct 2017
21/0269/FH/CON – Extension of time due to Government Covid advice, validated 12/02/2021, approved 23/03/2021.
The Decision Notice states and it is very important to note
The implementation period (as set by approval of the final reserved matters application ref. Y17/0888/SH on 6th July 2018) for the development approved under planning permission Y13/0024/SH is, by virtue of Government advice in response to the Covid-19 lockdown, automatically extended until 21st May 2021.
Advice on the matter can be found here:
However, the Govt guidance link above, makes it clear that time is extended until the 1 May 2021, not the 21 May 2021, as the council contend. The application had by the 21 May 2021 lapsed. As such a new application needed to be submitted. But since then this has not happened and the Council have progressed the site.
Thus the approval of 21/1105/FH/CON – Decision Notice (2) and 21/1110/FH/NMA – Decision Notice (3) were past the expiry date of 01.05.21. Including their attempt to make the pre-commencement conditions less pre-commencement!
Regarding 21/1105/FH/CON – what is important to note as well is, only KCC Highways were consulted, and they replied the same day the list was published. However, the consultation was supposed to be open until 13/06/2021, but from the information publicly available that didn’t happen.
21/1110/FH/NMA – Non-material amendment to wording of conditions 5, 7, 14, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23 and 28. It was validated on the 20/05/2021, and approved on 21/05/2021.
What is important to note here is the Conditions Schedule Of Amendments. They state, conditions 16 & 17 were discharged on the 04/07/2021, and condition 21 was discharged on the 18/07/2021. How could they be discharged AFTER the document was written and submitted? We can see no conditions application regarding 16, 17 or 21.
22/1719/FH – Section 73 for removal of condition 22 (retention of WWII pillbox), validated 10/10/2022. This states a shelter was found, but not a pillbox.
So given all the evidence and the facts; which you too can check for yourself, as they’re in the public domain, it’s clear the Bigginswood planning application lapsed on the 01.05.21 as work on site had not commenced as per the planning permission and the conditions.
As such, all spending and further works on the site need to stop and a new application submitted. Will that happen? We’ll leave you to ponder that.
Hat Tip to Eddy
The Shepway Vox Team
The Velvet Voices of Voxatiousness