AYLESFORD NEWSPRINT SITE
Most of this site is in Ditton parish though the major access is via Bellingham Way therefore affecting Larkfield. As a brown field site partly dating back to the 1920’s it has existing use rights for industry and is on the current approved Local Plan of 2007 as an employment area including the undeveloped parts up to the M20. So at some stage some development will take place in accordance with both national and local planning policies.
The site is now under the control of the Administrators of Aylesford Newsprint as they went into administration and they wish to obtain an outline planning application for the site after which it is likely to be sold on in whole or parts.
There are two applications affecting it at present:
Demolition Application. TM/17/00493/FLEA Often permission is not needed to demolish buildings under planning rules but this has deemed to be required as the site is extensive and a lot is involved. It is said the process will take about 40 weeks. The application only covers demolition to ground level.
It is quite a technical application and is not concerned with what will replace the buildings. That is dealt with by the second application below.
Comments should address such issues as access; hours of work: protecting the Ditton stream through the site from pollution; the same for where is abuts the River Medway and marshes; noise: dust; and general environmental issues of this nature.
The parish council has submitted comments on these issues such as stressing the amenity value of the stream and old mill pond; keeping the public paths crossing the site open/safe while work done and that width and weight restrictions apply to New Hythe Lane and Lunsford lane.
Outline application for redevelopment of the site.
The application was lodged last year and more information a whole box of documents was lodged on 16th March, 2017.
It proposes a mixed use of employment space broadly on the site of the mill and associated buildings and up to 450 dwellings mostly on the undeveloped parts including affordable housing as defined by Government with open spaces and dedicated community area.
It is a lot to consider and the parish did submit initial comments on the original application but has to do so on the additional details provided.
It is understood the Borough Council are currently intending to decide the application in the Summer. If passed it is most important the conditions are the best that can be achieved. Issues concerning highways are for the County Council to assess (save Highways England deal with the M20) and the borough council has to take into account its views it deciding the application and imposing conditions.
In response to the previously submitted papers the parish council raised the questions of the junction between Bellingham Way/New Hythe Lane including difficulties of crossing here; bus services to serve the site; improved disabled/buggy access to New Hythe Station: the riverside path; the old mill pond and Ditton Stream; open spaces; landscaping and similar details.
It did contact Highways England and they are assessing the likely impact on junction 4 and 5 of the M20. The have indicated the idea of having a junction directly onto the M20 from the site does not meet their guidelines. It remains to be seen what they respond to the additional info now lodged.
The Borough council website records all comments as received as well as the applicants documents and the hard copies can also be inspected at the borough offices at Kings Hill during office hours.