Mackerels Plain: SDC Planning Application 13/02284 by Montreal Estates.

This application has been withdrawn.

Mackerels Plain is situated in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, approximately 1 mile from Ide Hill.  A Planning Application was made to create a new intensive “industrial-style” Farm Centre on a 9-acre site incorporating a large grain store, a woodchip and timber processing unit, and several other buildings.

This controversial development resulted in over 100 objections, citing the “excessive” scale and “intrusive” nature of the development, the impact of increased heavy vehicle traffic, and the effect on the environment, wildlife and amenities as a result of the loss of the field and ancient woodland, the activities of the Farm Centre, and the and the widening of existing roads and lanes.

It is exceptional for The Sevenoaks Society to comment on planning matters outside the boundaries of the Town Council. However in this case we believed that the negative impact could be severe, in terms of environmental effects and loss of amenity.

In particular the use of industrial vehicles in narrow rural lanes, notably Back Lane, would have a significant impact on the Green Belt and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and would also affect local traffic movements especially through Bessels Green and onto the A25. The Society therefore wrote to Sevenoaks District Council, objecting strongly to the application on the grounds that the environmental impact and the cost of the Mackerels Plain development to the community are unacceptably high.

The Society urged that if the proposal were approved it should be accompanied by an appropriate condition preventing development on the unused farm sites between there and Montreal Park as if they were brown-field sites. (TIM to add sentence re precedent). The Society was therefore pleased that the application was withdrawn but will monitor the situation in case it is resubmitted.
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