Secretary of State rejects local council's ojbection to mixed-use scheme on edge of nature reserve

Berkeley Homes has won a planning appeal giving it the go-ahead for a 500-home mixed-use development next to a nature reserve on the edge of Sevenoaks in Kent.

The Secretary of State said she was in agreement with the recommendation of the planning inspector to approve the West Kent Cold Store scheme in Sevenoaks despite the local council deciding it was too dense for the area and included too many one and two-bedroom flats.

The development, on a 7.7 ha former industrial site, is in a suburban location in Dunton Green on the edge of Sevenoaks. The council had planned to refuse it on the basis it was overdevelopment that was “harmful to the visual amenity and established character of the area.”

However the Secretary of state decided that: “while the proposed development would appear markedly different to the rest of Dunton Green and would have a more urban rather than suburban feel, such a change is not inherently unacceptable."

In addition that: “there can be little doubt that the replacement of large, unsightly and utilitarian industrial buildings by high quality housing and offices, expressed in a variety of built forms, would substantially improve both the site itself and the approach to Dunton Green from the countryside to the north-east.”

The permission also includes 4,500 sq m of commercial space and provision for a 500 sq m medical or community facility.