An 18-day public planning inquiry opens today (Tuesday, September 21) into a scheme for 165 houses near Cranbrook in the High Weald AONB.
Berkeley Homes had been granted permission to build 36 homes at Turnden, in the Crane Valley between Cranbrook and Hartley, back in February 2019. The developer then expanded its scheme to add 165 more homes – which was also backed by the council.
This scheme represents substantial development in the AONB on a greenfield site that has not allocated for development within a Local Plan. CPRE Kent has been vocal in its objection to the scheme from the start.
CPRE Kent supported Natural England in objecting to the proposal and asking the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to call in the decision. This request was accepted and the inquiry opening today is to inform the Secretary of State’s decision.
CPRE Kent is undertaking a formal role at the inquiry, working alongside Natural England and the High Weald AONB Unit in presenting evidence against the scheme and challenging the evidence being presented in favour of the proposed development.
We do not undertake such formal action lightly though are deeply concerned the Turnden scheme would set a precedent that could lead to harm to protected areas throughout the country.
The outcome of this inquiry is not just critical to AONBs in Kent but to protected landscapes across the country.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2021