CPRE Protect Kent is cautiously optimistic about the news that Ebbsfleet is to become a garden city. This development, if done correctly, will bring much needed housing to an area which is brownfield land and well connected with direct access to high speed trains.
We now look to the Chancellor George Osborne to follow up his words with practical steps to ensure that this land does at last get developed. This is now an important opportunity to get on and deliver homes that are affordable and a place where families want to live.
Planning permission for this site was first given in 2007 and so far only about 150 homes have been built out of a planning permission for 6250 homes. Up to now this has been a prime example of ‘land banking’ – where a large developer obtains planning permission and then holds the land as an asset, without pressing on to deliver the homes that are so needed.
The Government is convinced that planning is the cause of the lack of housing but this is not the case. There are many sites in Kent where planning permission has been given where development has yet to begin. This is putting greater pressure on the countryside with both Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Green Belt being especially vulnerable. CPRE Protect Kent has long been campaigning to unlock chunks of land which, like this one, have been left undeveloped despite having planning permission for many years. We look forward to seeing more detail about this development proposal, and exactly what it can provide for those in need of housing in northern Kent.