Kent Messenger Extra 30 March 2001 - LETTERS Page 40

Flat chance of beating system

I refer to the front page article of March 16 - MP Fights Flats Plan.

I did not wish to challenge my MP, Archie Norman: The point I made was that if Tunbridge Wells council persists in requiring under a Section 106 agreement some 25 to 30 percent of this development to be provided pro bono for what they describe as "affordable housing", there was in my view no prospect of achieving a development of inspired design which would enhance this central part of the conservation area.

It is regretable that Tunbridge Wells planners did not exercise their discretion to relax the requirement. Instead they invited the developer to submit a proposal such as the one we now oppose, which would enable the borough council to benefit by the acquisition of 11 units [ 8 will be required ] out of the 43 to be built. It is on account of this that residents are left to challenge on appeal this wholly unacceptable development proposal.

I estimate the chances of our successfully so doing at less than 50 percent - and it is the planning department that I blame for our predicament.

If I have any minor disagreement with Mr Norman it is that I would not have been so hasty in paying tribute to our area planning committee for refusing this application.

Given the paucity of our chances of success in opposing it on appeal the borough council whose interests are not entirely outside those of our area planning committee are well placed to benefit.
Those who refused the application knew full well an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State on appeal would be likely to allow it.
Yet the conduct of their determination would be seen to be beyond reproach. Let us hope that in this case the British genius for hypocrisy fails to prevail.

19 March 2001
Nigel Watts
Church Road, Tunbridge Wells

A guide through Tunbridge Wells Local Press since August 2000 - "The Telephone House Debacle"

The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
The aims are to heighten peoples' awareness and concern for the high-density development on Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1.