Prince Charles is facing a challenge on his plans to build 2,500 eco homes following a legal dispute between a local developer and the planning authority.
The Duchy of Cornwall estate wants to build the eco homes on 320 acres of agricultural land near Faversham in Kent, which will all be powered by renewable energy, to help tackle the lack of housing in the area.
The estate, which is fronted by Prince Charles, acquired the plot 20 years ago and unveiled plans for the homes late last year. The homes would range from one to six beds and include solar panels, and 30% of them would be classed as affordable, in line with government guidelines.
The estate has a view to lodging a planning application in 2022, but locals have opposed the plans claiming they will lead to congestion on roads and endanger wildlife. And the result of a legal challenge could now lead to the proposal being delayed for more than a year, the Daily Mail reports.
Swale Borough Council Fined £20,000
One local protestor, developer Quinn Estates, accused the local authority Swale Borough Council of failing to properly consult the public about the plans, and claimed the council did not give enough detail about the impact Covid-19 could have on the project.
On 23 November, the High Court ordered the council to pay £20,000 to Quinn Estates. It ruled that the council must consult the public under Town and Local Planning Regulations 2012, then form a local plan based on their responses.
Swale Borough Council, which came under fire last summer for adding sarcastic comments on mistakenly rejected planning applications - such as “Your proposal is whack” - said it was content it had followed standard procedures, but agreed to honour the High Court ruling.
A Swale Borough Council spokesperson said: “We’ve provided three opportunities for people to comment on how and where new development should be delivered in Swale, with a fourth planned for the coming year, and we’re satisfied that our levels of consultation with the public have been thorough.”
Local Michael Cosgrove told the Daily Mail: “The whole thing has been terribly handled. If they had done this properly from step one there would have been time for proper consultation.
“But now this will be beset by delays as opposing councillors quite rightly question every move.”
Get the Homebuilding & Renovating Newsletter
Bring your dream home to life with expert advice, how to guides and design inspiration. Sign up for our newsletter and get two free tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (21-24 March, NEC, Birmingham).
Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms.
He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.