Its All Getting Feudal in Affordable Housing Battle in Penshurt

PA – I presume this is the same AONB alternative sites issue that was successful in Cornwall at Polperro.

Campaigners have won a High Court battle against plans for new housing in a famously picturesque village in Kent.

Residents in Penshurst succeeded in quashing plans for six affordable homes at Forge Field and the matter will now have to be reconsidered.

The landowner is Viscount De L’Isle, a descendant of Elizabethan poet and soldier Sir Philip Sidney, who also owns Penshurst Place, one of Britain’s grandest stately homes.

The villagers accuse him of behaving in a “feudal” manner.

They formed the Forge Field Society, which has won a judicial review of Sevenoaks District Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the houses on the two acres of green space south-west of Penshurst High Street.

Villagers claim that the development, applied for by the West Kent Housing Association, would “forever alter” the character of the historic village, which has more than 30 listed buildings.

Mr Justice Lindblom, sitting in London, agreed with the society’s legal team that council planners failed properly to apply planning law and misdirected themselves and there had been a failure properly to consider alternative sites.

He ruled the council’s assessment of alternatives in October 2013 “deficient”.

He added: “It compounds the council’s failure to apply the strong statutory presumption against planning permission being granted for development which would harm either the setting of a listed building or a conservation area, or, as in this case, both.”

Ruling that the application for judicial review must succeed, the judge said: “This is one of those cases in which the decision was one that no reasonable local planning authority could have made.”

He warned it was “doubtful” that the society’s legal success would lead to a different decision “on the planning merits” when the matter was reconsidered and the society members should not expect it.

“But they are entitled to a lawfully taken decision on West Kent’s proposal for Forge Field.”

My biew- the open aspect from the B1288 eastwards is one of the key aspects of the planned estate character of Penshurst.  Though other sites are less central in the village they should be preferred.  Directly east of Rouges Hill would have much less visual impact., if teh site was available.

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