Today, kentonline.co.uk under the heading ‘Don’t build on the only piece of green land at Temple Hill, Dartford we have got’ have reported that:

‘Neighbours are outraged over plans to build council housing on “the only piece of green land” left on their estate.  Dartford council has sent letters to residents of Temple Hill telling them of the proposition which would see the destruction of the patch of green land behind Temple Hill Library.  People who live near the area are complaining it will see much-needed green space disappear, particularly as flats near the space have no gardens’.

This is not actually a new proposal and we reported on this matter back in March.  At that time, a report was being provided to the Cabinet Advisory Panel and subsequently the Cabinet, providing an update on the progress made towards the Council’s new build housing project.  It also was requesting approval to submit planning applications as necessary and undertake competitive tendering exercises for the development of the sites.  The sites in question were land at Coleridge Road (approximately 50 dwellings), land at Shaftsbury Avenue (approximately 10 dwellings) and land at Temple Hill Square (approximately 30 dwellings).

The full paper presented to these meetings can be seen here and plans of the three proposed sites can be seen here.

Part of the terms of reference for the Cabinet Advisory Panels is that they act as a sounding board and source of advice to the Cabinet and to enable backbench members to participate in policy formulation pre-decision.

At the Advisory Panel meeting on 31 March, this item was not called down for discussion, i.e. members of the panel were happy for it to pass on to the full Cabinet meeting, without amendment.  However, it was reported that one member wished to express his strong support for the project having repeatedly requested that more affordable housing be provided.

From the minutes of the full Cabinet meeting on 4 April, some of the points made were:-

  • The Chairman welcomed this project and noted that the programme would be the first to deliver new affordable social housing for many years.
  • The Head of Housing described how this project related to a previous Cabinet decision relating to the 1-4-1 scheme, which allowed for a proportion of Right to Buy receipts to be retained and, together with Council funding, used to build affordable housing.   Once the associated designs and budget arrangements for the various options had been established they would be presented to the Strategic Director and Managing Director for their consideration. The proposals for each site would then have to be submitted for planning approval, and the budget allocated, to enable each site to be developed.
  • Members referred to a recent meeting of the Resident Involvement Joint Liaison Group where it had been noted that the only concerns raised so far had come from those living opposite the Coleridge Road site.
  • Members discussed the high profile Temple Hill Square site and the Strategic Director said that this development could provide an opportunity to improve how the area is currently perceived by delivering a high quality development.  She also suggested that the smallest site at Shaftsbury Lane could be developed in a traditional way in order to deliver the first homes from this project quickly, and that more time could then be taken to market the other two sites as design and build projects.
  • Regarding timescales, the Head of Housing confirmed that designs for the sites under consideration would be completed by the autumn.  Members welcomed this as it would allow them to reassure residents and show them what was planned for the area.  The Head of Housing also confirmed that the size distribution would be based on known needs and that they would aim to deliver quality housing within the strictly defined budget.   In relation to this the Head of Housing also confirmed that the requirements for those who currently wished to downsize were being met.
  • Members hoped that the project would be progressed quickly and also noted the strong words of support that were being expressed by other Council Members. It was suggested that those local Members voicing support be invited to act as ambassadors for the scheme.

It has been reported by kentonline.co.uk that a consultation is due to take place at Temple Hill Community Centre on Wednesday, October 15 from 3pm to 6.30pm to hear concerns.

About the author

Andy Clark is retired after a long career at Lloyds Register and subsequently the Civil Service. He has lived in Dartford for his entire life.

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