Paddock Wood Town Council has voted to reject a planning application by Berkeley Homes to build 309 residential houses at Mascalls Farm.

It was the only item on the agenda for December’s Planning and Environment meeting and provoked a long discussion.

The decision to reject the proposal was based principally around water issues and the impact on Foalhurst Wood. It is believed that the development would increase the flood risk in the town since surface water drainage would flow into Paddock Wood Stream, which is already at capacity and floods in wet weather.

The council was also ‘firmly of the opinion that an additional sewer is essential to accommodate the new housing developments’.

It said the applicant would not provide an off-site facility and was expecting Southern Water to do so, which according to the latter’s business plan would not be installed until 2020 at the earliest – and even then there was no guarantee that they would consider it.

There was also objection to the damage the housing estate would cause to the Foalhurst Wood nature reserve, including the impact of lighting and increased visitor numbers.

The council also accused Berkeley of not taking into account housing styles in Paddock Wood – and especially reject any black-boarded properties and white picket fencing.