The proposed development site is owned by Taylor Wimpey and comprises land fronting North Street in Barming. The site covers an area of approximately 1.5 hectares which comprises two parcels of land either side of existing properties at 35-43 North Street.
Maidstone Borough Council is currently producing a new Local Plan, which will include a number of housing allocations. The proposed development site is one such allocation within the draft Local Plan, which was gone through several rounds of public consultation.
The site is included within the draft Local Plan for a total of 35 homes and our permitted development reflects this emerging policy. The homes have been designed to respond positively to the character and appearance of the local area, and take into account listed buildings nearby. They also provide 30% as affordable housing (these will be a mix of rental and shared ownership properties).
Taylor Wimpey also owns land at Bell Farm to the West of the proposed development site. However, there are no plans to bring forward a planning application to develop this site at present. Should any proposals come forward at a later date, these would be subject to the same form of consultation.
Before we start designing a new scheme, we complete an assessment of the site and the surrounding area as they are at the moment. We record those features we will need to take into account in our design. All of the relevant considerations, whether they fix the way our scheme will have to be designed or give us a real opportunity to make the most of a particular feature, are shown here.
This plan shows how our proposed development considers the key features of the site and its surroundings.
Flood risk and drainage
The proposed development site is located in Flood Zone 1, which means it is at a low risk of flooding from rivers and other watercourses. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) will be used. This will include the use of private soakaways for domestic drainage with permeable paving for private drives. Public highways will be drained by adopted soakaways. These will ensure that surface water run-off from the development will be no greater than current greenfield (undeveloped land) rates and will not increase the risk of flooding on site or elsewhere.
The site consists of the eastern ends of two fields of commercial arable land separated by closely trimmed Italian and grey alder shelterbelts, with narrow field margins. Overall, it is considered to be of low ecological value with no significant existing habitat. Protected species surveys were undertaken for birds, bats and the hedges and trees have been carefully assessed.
Creation and enhancement of the habitats through additional native hedgerow planting and wildflower meadow pockets on the edges of the proposed development would increase the wildlife opportunities, benefiting widespread animal species such as small mammals, including hedgehogs, reptiles and birds. New trees will be incorporated where appropriate and where mature trees exist, they will be retained for their ecological and landscape value.
Landscape and Visual Appraisal
The site is closely related to the existing housing area along North Street and comprises a narrow strip of land alongside the existing edge of the settlement. In landscape terms it is extremely well contained in views from the wider countryside, by a combination of the vegetation at the site boundaries and the numerous shelter belts which are a feature of the adjoining landscape.
There are a number of established hedgerow features which extend alongside the frontage with North Road. Where possible these can be retained within the layout. The approved development retains the existing hedge along the boundary of the main part of the site and North Street up to the existing field gate opposite the Red Start Pub.
Vehicle, cycle and pedestrian access to the development is proposed to be taken from North Street at two locations one serving each of the land parcels which are separately accessed. These accesses take the form of simple priority junctions which will provide sufficient capacity for the proposed development and have been subject to highway safety audits.
A pedestrian access is approved at the southern end of the larger parcel of land that will allow pedestrians to walk within the site between this point and the site entrance rather than on North Street if they want.
A shared space carriageway on North Street in the vicinity of Apple Tree Close and Bell Farm Gardens forms part of the approved scheme.
The development will provide sufficient car parking to accommodate the demand anticipated to arise and to ensure that car parking will not ‘overspill’ on to surrounding streets. Garages are also proposed on a majority of the homes. Given the location and Kent County Council’s guidance on car parking, smaller houses (1 and 2 beds) will have a minimum of one space each,
with larger houses generally having two spaces each. Additional parking will be designed to accommodate visitor demand, generally through formalised on-street provision.
The traffic impact of the proposed development has been assessed in a Transport Assessment that was prepared to evaluate the impact of the development on the local transport network and submitted as part of the planning application. Traffic impact has been considered by Kent County Council in detail as part of the planning application determination.
The proposed development site is in an accessible location, with good access to local schools and facilities, including local shops. Barming Primary School is less than a 750m-walk from the site, while secondary schools are located within 2km. Local convenience shopping is available both to the south in Tonbridge Road and to the east in Beverley Road.
A bus service currently operates in North Street, providing sustainable access to destinations further afield. However, key high-frequency services can be accessed to the south, in Tonbridge Road.