BUILDING A ROUTE TO SUCCESS – UNLOCKING SWALE’S POTENTIAL
Unlocking the potential of the Swale borough has been a key driver for the local council for decades, but for various reasons many of the same issues that have held back the area remain.
A lack of strategic infrastructure has meant the council is falling behind in delivering the number of homes and jobs identified as being needed in the Local Plan. As well as planning for infrastructure, housing and employment it is the role of the Local Plan to improve matters such as air quality and reduce deprivation.
It is the role of an independent Planning Inspector to review how the council allocates land and is strategically planning for the borough’s future. In allowing the Swale 2017 plan to be adopted, the inspector required a quick review to resolve the inherent infrastructure deficit the borough has.
According to the latest version of the Local Plan, 13,192 homes need to be built by 2031. Swale Borough Council are now in the process of reviewing where an estimated 10,000 to 16,000 additional homes will need to be built by 2037.
Millions of pounds of investment are needed to improve junction 5 of the M2 and upgrade the A249 to unlock growth in the local current local plan and resolve existing capacity issues.
Both projects are delayed, which will slow down or stop the delivery of much-needed homes at those sites already earmarked for housing in the short to medium term. It will also further constrict the supply of homes to buy or rent and push up house prices.
The 2017 local plan safeguards the route of the Northern Relief Road and seeks to ensure it is completed in the plan period, which is the end of 2031. A number of references are made in the same plan about the delivery of a Southern Relief Road, making it clear that this will be front of mind in the Local Plan Review process that has been underway for over three years.
This is all important background for considering our proposals at Highsted Park – the delivery of a southern and northern relief road for Sittingbourne and a new second motorway junction has been a long-term ambition for over two decades.
The council has carried out detailed and significant work, supported by consultants, to assess the garden community proposals we have put forward.
Their conclusions demonstrated how they formed a sound approach to future growth in the borough and that the proposals at Highsted Park represent the only option that delivers strategic benefits for the whole of Swale borough.