Thousands of new homes could be ‘dumped’ on Kent by Surrey

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Radical plans to build a garden village of more than 6,000 homes on the outskirts of Edenbridge are being promoted by a neighbouring council.

Tandridge District Council is considering developing 236 hectares to the west of the town – in a move designed to ease its housing crisis.

But 40 per cent of the land – one of four options currently on the table – is within the Sevenoaks District Council remit leading to allegations Tandridge is “dumping its housing allocation” on to its neighbour.

The huge development would cut a swathe of concrete on land currently owned by Kent and Surrey Golf Club, farmland next to Haxted road and Dwelly Lane and Coach House Road as well as a disused former golf club at Coach House Farm.

The option has been met with alarm from people living near the site who claim Tandridge has failed to “consult the people of Edenbridge” only sending letters to Surrey residents and failing to hold a single consultation meeting in Kent.

Tandridge District Council has yet to reply to the allegation.

Mum-of-two Nicky Brogan, whose Dwelly Lane home borders the proposed site, said she heard about the scheme through word of mouth and accused Tandridge of acting in an “undemocratic and disingenuous” manner.

Mrs Brogan, 45, said the huge development, which could include two primary schools, a secondary school, sports pitches and leisure facilities would double the population of Edenbridge, currently around 9,000.

“Sevenoaks District Council has a long term plan to develop around Bat and Ball and build on brown field sites yet a council in another county and where I do not having voting rights – I do not pay them any money – thinks it can build around Edenbridge. I feel it is entirely wrong.

“It is incredibly underhand. I have no view on how many houses Tandridge needs but they think they can dump on another county and I think that is disingenuous and undemocratic.”

Marketing consultant, Tina Sharps, 51, said the option was being described as a “garden village” but would “really just add to the sprawl of Edenbridge.”

She said the plans were “horrifying” but many people were still unaware of the consultation which runs until October 9.

“We only heard about it through someone who knew someone in the planning department at Tandridge,” said Mrs Sharps whose Lingfield Road home also borders the proposed site.

Tandridge claims the site would be “attractive to commuters” with Edenbridge’s two stations within a short distance. The authority is also considering garden villages in South Godstone, Blindley Heath and at Redhill Aerodrome.

Writing on the council’s website, Tandridge District Council leader, Martin Fisher said the authority had opted for a garden village to provide a mix of housing which would “prevent a scattergun approach to development and reduce pressure on existing built up areas.” He said the approach would use only one per cent of the district’s existing Green belt.

But Sevenoaks District Councillor Robert Piper said the proposal was at “odds with the wishes” of residents.

Mr Piper, who is the council’s cabinet member for planning policy added:

“I believe this to be a completely unsuitable location for a new village. The Tandridge idea to build some 6,000 new homes on the Green Belt adjoining Edenbridge would double the size of the town. The new population would be reliant on the existing infrastructure such as schools, health and transport yet there is no commitment, or proposals, to upgrade these important local facilities to cope with so many new people.

“Our approach is to continue to protect the Green Belt by developing land which is or has been built on, known as ‘brownfield land’ so, we could not support this proposal to concrete over a large area of the Green Belt.”

Edenbridge Town Council will be discussing the garden village option on Monday night but prior to the meeting its chairman town and district councillor, Margot McArthur said the Edenbridge option was unlikely to proceed.

She said Sevenoaks District Council would meet its housing target without building on Green Belt.

“I understand Tandridge has a need for build housing but we have met our allocation. This will be a very difficult thing to bring to process as it is not within their remit,” she said.

To comment on the Tandridge garden village plan go to: localplan@tandridge.gov.uk