Letter to the Chief Planning officer
YOUR REF: SE/16/02226/FUL
I wish to strongly object to the proposals to build tower blocks on the existing car parks in Swanley Town Centre on the following grounds:
- The building on 350 new flats will be obtrusive to the existing residents in Berkley Court Nightingale Way.
- The proposal comes before the Overall vision for Swanley was been completed so cannot be readily put into planning context with the wider plans for the district. Indeed, if this were approved it would set a dangerous precedent in that any development mentioned in the vision could be approved without the appropriate infrastructure being in place.
- There is imprecise information about car parking spaces. This issue was also fudged in the developers own consultation on this subject. In that report mention was made of a few extra parking spaces on the flawed, untested, assumption that residents would only use public transport. The proposals will create great difficulties for disabled people particularly when trying to access the two GP surgeries on the site. Existing Local shoppers will be hugely disadvantage with the overall reduction in parking places. This will happen before the additional 4000 plus houses are built as planned in the Sevenoaks Districts Vision for Swanley.
- The road configuration is inadequate to cope with the increased traffic. Entrance to the new project being via the roundabout situated beside the railway bridge which is the pinch point for traffic in the centre of town. The high street area and much of Swanley already suffering from dangerously poor quality air through traffic pollution. This development will add to the problem. Further the exit to the site is via a very narrow road and sharp corner emptying onto the old London Road already suffering from jams through cars entering the Asda site.
- As the town centre is situated on the top of the North Downs the proposed tower blocks will be clearly visible for over many miles of green belt and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
- Because of its elevated position the site is also often battered by dangerously high winds. The proposed tower blocks will increase the impact of the wind tunnel affect making it a best, unpleasant and at worse dangerous. Assessment of this risk is essential.
- The assumption that the town centre can only be regenerated through an increase in of housing immediately on the site is a false premise for this locality. The Nugent centre in Sevenoaks Way Orpington being a prime example of a prosperous shopping area with restricted parking and not reliant on local footfall. Whereas Catford has large tower blocks dominating a failed shopping centre below them.
- There is already a proliferation of cafes, restaurants and take-aways’ in the Town Centre and the High Street and local residents do not require more.
- Local GPs surgeries are full. There is little choice of quality schools for parents, with many forced to send their children out of county. The road system is already at full capacity with the Swanley Traffic backing up to the M25 often blocking the motorway. The bus service within Kent excessively expensive.
- Overall this plan is seen as being largely to benefit to the site owners to the detriment of the town overall reducing the quality of life for existing residents.
Resident St Marys Ward.
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