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Lack of progress on regeneration may lead to developing countryside instead.

Home / Blog / Lack of progress on regeneration may lead to developing countryside instead.
Someone asked the question a few months ago "what is planned for the land behind Morrison's?"

Well it was allocated in the Local Plan as a housing allocation, but we have since learned from Regeneration Director Pete Raine that Essential Land, who own the site, have advised that their original proposal for residential development on the land to the rear of Morrisons was no longer viable, and a revised planning application would be forthcoming shortly.

We also learned that Tescos decision not to regenerate their considerable land holding to the north of the railway line is likely to have an impact on the Council’s housing targets.

And finally that the developers who owned the Bell Centre site have gone into administration leaving yet another site in the town centre in limbo.

The truth of the matter is that a good deal of speculative development, especially residential housing is utterly reliant on the developer being able to obtain land and sit on it for several years until its value makes the proposition viable or more often than not until a point when the developer can gain the maximum return.

Obviously during a recession land values have a tendency to deprecated rather than grow and this leads to land remaining undeveloped for years as we have all witnessed first land. This was made abundantly clear when the Regeneration Director explained that land values are not what Spirit of Sittingbourne had hoped they would be by this stage.

Mike Whiting, the Cabinet Member for Localism suggests that Government are formulating proposals to stop developers from being able to land-bank, but given the Governments rather unhealthy dependency on house builders in particular, I’d be very surprised if this becomes a reality.

So what's happens when all those brown field sites in the centre of Sittingbourne fail to deliver, well it’s a whole lot worse that not getting a new cinema that’s for sure.

There remains a significant dependency for the next twenty years on developing these brown field sites in Sittingbourne for both residential and commercial premises. The inability to bring these forward will place intolerable pressure on the Council to develop new greenfield sites in the surrounding Countryside as an alternative.

This may cost the rural communities very dearly indeed and we should be very concerned.

Andy Hudson


Showing comments 1 to 2 of 2

I read this in amazement that yet again, Swale Borough Council, thrust their heads into the sand and continue to take the "easy" option on building on mind goes to the 800 odd homes they are planning to build at Grovehurst which is currently being used for farming.

WHY are they not forcing the use of brown fields sites first.  Why do we have to loose what green we have left in and around the town to build hundreds upon hundreds of new homes......
Comment by Catherine Beak on 25 Jan 2014
Well,this just about says it all doesn't it,LET DOWN again,,promises,promises,promises,   that's all this town ever gets!!!!!!!!!

Its about time someone puts their money where there mouth is and actually gets things done!

I used to joke that I'd be retired by the time this town got sorted, I'm 47 now,says it all really doesn't it????
Comment by Sarah Sharp on 24 Jan 2014
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