Agenda item

Planning application - MC/20/2980 Land off Lodge Hill Lane, Chattenden, Rochester, Medway

Strood Rural Ward

Outline application with some matters reserved (appearance, landscaping, layout and scale) for the construction of 8 to 12 self build dwellings, provision of open spaces, landscape buffers, drainage features and earthworks. Enhancement and widening of existing access track from Lodge Hill Lane and formation of two new cross-over accesses from Lodge Hill Lane to serve two dwellings.




As outlined in the presentation for Planning application MC/20/2979, this application was for outline application with some matters reserved (appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale) for the construction of 8 to 12 self-build dwellings, provision of open spaces, landscape buffers, drainage features and earthworks.


When Members had previously considered the same applicant’s proposals at View Road, the impact on SSSI and proposed mitigation, a question was asked whether the decision to approve with mitigation would set a precedent to which the Head of Planning had said no and that further applications would be treated on their own merit and individual package of mitigation.


Whilst there were many positives to the development, the specific issue with this development was due to the impact on the SSSI, specifically in relation to nightingales in the area. There were issues with the no cat policy and cat proof fencing. Natural England are strongly opposed to the application their conclusion is that the mitigation would reduce rather that mitigate the issue regarding cats and the harmful impact on nightingales. If monitoring showed that the mitigation was not having the desired effect, there would be nothing that the applicant could do in terms of further mitigation.


The package of mitigation was far less than that in the same applicant’s previous application in View Road.


With the agreement of the Committee, the Head of Planning read out a statement by Councillor Williams as Ward Councillor and raised the following concerns:


  • The development would be out of character with other dwellings in the area and would feel like was being turned into another housing estate.
  • There would be loss of amenities.
  • Negative impact on Chattenden Woods and Lodge Hill SSSI.
  • Adverse effects on SSSI and would affect local wildlife, nightingales, rare bats, rare butterflies, and moths.
  • Dangerous precedence would be set for developments coming forward on the Hoo peninsula if approved.
  • Against the Government strategy of DEFRA document biodiversity 2020
  • The development did not comply with BNE 35 and 37 of the Medway Local Plan.
  • Hoo arish Council also objected.
  • Higher reliance of car use.
  • Further travel for residents for local amenities.
  • Adverse impact on infrastructure such as schools and medical.
  • Unsuitable for construction traffic and would add more traffic to the A228 and Four Elms hill already under air quality controls and pressure from traffic.
  • Self builds are known to have more impact on current residents with developments taking years to complete rather than months.
  • Unacceptable increased levels of noise and disturbance due to construction work and different contractors on site.


Parish Councillor Michael Pearce submitted a letter of objection that the development would be damaging to SSSI, would set damaging precedent for all wildlife and developments across the country


The Committee discussed the planning application noting the concerns outlined by the Head of Planning and the points raised by the Ward Councillor.


A Member drew attention to the fact there was a cattery in vicinity of the site and consideration should be given to how this would affect the no cat policy.


A Member drew attention to the fact that whilst the area was a site of outstanding beauty with great wildlife this development was low density and sustainability was not an issue. This was a suitable location that would benefit from more homes that would be prevented from development due to reasons that appeared to be of relative minimal risk.




Refused as set out in the report for the reasons stated in the report.  

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