Builders, planners and residents come together over pub site
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Development
A project that led to new homes being built on the site of a burnt out pub has been highlighted as an example of how developers, planners and residents can work together.
Developer Wealden Homes built three terraced houses on the derelict site of the former Wheatsheaf pub in Kemsing, Kent after detailed consultations with Sevenoaks District Council and Kemsing Parish Council who liaised with nearby residents. The houses were released last year and are now all sold.
Following the project's success, it was chosen as a case study for a Local Government Association (LGA) publication showcasing partnership approaches to positive planning.
‘Planning Positively Through Partnership’ was launched jointly by the LGA, the Home Builders’ Federation (HBF) and the British Property Foundation (BPF).
According to Wealden Homes’ land and planning director, Graham Norton, the project was an example of both the company’s attention to detail and how it listened to the wishes of the planning authority, neighbours and the buying market.
He said: “While the scheme was well received, some of the community wanted the pub to be re-built even though that would have been uneconomical and another pub existed on the opposite side of the High Street. In short, the village could only support one pub, and redevelopment for housing was the only solution. The parish council was especially keen to see the site redeveloped as it was an eyesore in the centre of the village. This support was invaluable in assisting the planning application to a fairly rapid approval."
Councillor Ian Bosley, the council’s cabinet member for local planning & environment, said: “Wealden Homes has provided a modern development totally in keeping with its location and in line with local housing need – smaller homes for people wishing to downsize. We are delighted that the project has been used as an example of ‘best practice’.”
Wealden Homes received several comments from neighbours complimenting the design, the build quality and the team’s "caring attitude during the build process", including one from resident Ian Fraser who said: “As a resident of High Street, Kemsing, I congratulate your firm on completing a very attractive property which my neighbours agree fits in well in this conservation area. The builders were always most polite and caused a minimum of inconvenience.”