Proposed 132 Homes for High Knocke, Dymchurch, refused

Planning application 21/2525/FH – Land Adjoining High Knocke Farm, 65 Seabourne Way, Dymchurch, was refused at last night’s planning committee. The site pictured below, will remain as open space for now.

As we noted in our blog about this application on the 29 May 2023, it had no health impact assessment, as per policy HW2 in the local plan. But there are other issues we noted after our blog post last week which neither we or Cllrs mentioned at last night’s planning committee.

Looking at the files on the Council’s planning portal, we cannot find any financial viability assessment. Justice Dove’s ruling in R (Holborn Studios) v London Borough of Hackney (No 2) [2020] EWHC 1509 (Admin) makes it clear, both Cllrs and the public have to have sight of the viability assessment, but alas neither the applicant’s agent or the applicant –  William Moss of Redbridge Estates Ltd – put one forward.

The Council might believe the applicant does not need to provide one, but we’d beg to differ, especially as they’ve been required for outline planning application’s elsewhere such as in Hackney – Reading and Elmbridge for example.

Also one notes, during the proceedings nobody mentioned the fact that 305 vehicle parking spaces were to be allowed for up to 132 homes. This is equivalent to each home having an average 2.31 cars. In Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Local Plan, Policy T1 is that pedestrians be given precedence to cars as can be seen in the image.

Policy T1 states at point 3 –

An environment is created that is safe for all street users, which encourages walking, cycling and the use of public transport.

So why the need for so many cars when the policy is clearly trying to minimize the use of cars, is strange indeed. 

We, like the new chair of planning Cllr Jackie Meade (Lab), believe the the application is a balanced one. It offers 92 market homes, and 40 social,affordable or intermediate rent homes, so complies with the Council’s 22% affordable homes policy for any major development 

In the end though, the application was refused as we said. The main ground of refusal was visual amenity, the loss of the views to the landscape. Other issues were raised and the officers will put together a list of planning reasons for refusal, in the event of an appeal by the applicant or his agent.  

That said, the Council, the applicant and their agent, need to rethink the application given all the points above. We hope they will do that, as we desperately need housing which is affordable across our district, and we hope they will do this rather than going to appeal.

You can watch proceedings on this application below

The Shepway Vox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime


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10 Comments on Proposed 132 Homes for High Knocke, Dymchurch, refused

  1. I watched this meeting and got the impression that the unseen officer did his best to stop the councillors blocking the application because he thought they would lose on appeal. Is this democracy? Surely when the councillors have come to a decision it should be upheld without further input from the officers.

  2. But the previous regime at Folkestone and Hythe is on record as stating that their home building requirements will be met by just Otterpool Park. Therefore the ‘need’ for this site is not clear.
    Has there been an environmental impact assessment?

  3. There is enough housing being built in our district without building on land that has been a sheep field for decades.
    There’s. X amount being built in New Romney . 1200 being built at Martello Lakes and hundreds of rabbit hutches going up on Shorncliffe camp so well done our new Council for turning this application down

  4. An interesting meeting and although I am very pleased that the application was defeated at the Committee stage, I do fear that should the Applicant take matters to appeal, the grounds of rejection given are not strong enough, which is disappointing. As for the officers advising on the legalities – in essence that is their job. They have one optic to look through when reviewing planning applications and that is a legal optic. Regrettably, many of the objections raised at the meeting by Councillors were emotive and acceptant that should the Applicant decided to follow due process and go for an appeal – then that appeal will only be judged on legal merits. Should the Applicant win the appeal F&HDC will be liable for costs – in which case, given that any costs will come from Council reserves – i.e. our Council Tax – I am pleased that the Officers are trying to save the Tax Payers money. As said; at face value the battle was won – but I suspect that we are a way-a-way from seeing the end of this particular war. Let’s keep our fingers crossed therefore that the Developer has easier battles to fight and decides to simply move on to more low hanging fruit…

    • @Andy

      What is the point in having a Planning Committee if their decisions can be challenged by an appeal? The committee decision should be the ultimate ruling on the matter if democracy has any place in our society.

      • @Colin –

        ultimately it is the law of the land that is the final benchmark, which is why it is so important that Councillors that sit on any Planning Committee understand the laws surrounding this topic and have an appreciation of the complexities – it is also why Planning Officers who are the “experts” provide guidance to Councillors as they are paid to know the law. Democracy in this instance has already been served given the actual Councillors and their political colours – or independents, who sit on the committee. The point here being; Councillors are not Judges nor do they have any judicial powers.

      • Colin // June 8, 2023 at 13:34 //

        Given that the Councillors are elected by the voters to represent their views it should be the final step in getting the outcome the residents require.If not the the residents are not making the ultimate decision.We have a good example of this with Otterpool.The vast majority of local residents are against it but their wishes mean nothing.Democracy ???

      • @Colin

        Before we move on I think you are missing the point. The law is the law and none of us are above it. Democracy is a political process, one we chose to enshrine within our political system of governance. Democracy does not trump the law. Thanks for the debate…

  5. Really glad to see Shepway Vox want affordable housing to be built.

    My generation needs to be given a chance to get on the housing ladder.

  6. It’s been clear to me and many others for many years the council planning department mainly the manager and his cohorts recommend planning be approved for literally every planning application the corruption is not necessarily or was with the councilors I suggest the actual planning department manager down they all appear desperate to allow planning consents why is this? So I asked a former planning officer at the council who is now retired they said the planning department is completely unfit for purpose at folkstone and and Hythe District Council I suggest a clear out not only a new council has we have but we need a new planning department?
    They did also tell me Mr Monk as he now is was not to be told NO under any circumstances!

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