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Row over home plan 'ultimatum'

PUBLISHED: 15:15 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010

THE chairman of a planning committee has reacted angrily to a developer issuing an ultimatum over a controversial housing project. Councillor Harold Craske hit out at Sanctuary Housing Group bosses at a council meeting over comments on the 73-flat shel

THE chairman of a planning committee has reacted angrily to a developer issuing 'an ultimatum' over a controversial housing project.

Councillor Harold Craske hit out at Sanctuary Housing Group bosses at a council meeting over comments on the 73-flat sheltered accommodation scheme Wimborne House on Truro Road, Gravesend.

He said: "I am rather concerned by the ultimatum that they gave this council. I do not take kindly to ultimatums on that sort. It is up to this board to decide and to try and force us into approving is reprehensible."

The council resolved to defer the decision so councillors could make a site inspection.

No representative from Sanctuary attended the meeting, but a letter from the company read: "We are authorised to advise that the applicant is willing to accept a one month deferral subject to recommendation for approval at the May committee meeting," and it continued: "If this assurance cannot be given we are authorised to advise the applicant will lodge an appeal with the Secretary of State on the grounds of non-determination."

The development, which would see the existing sheltered housing demolished, has drawn heavy criticism from residents.

More than 150 objecting letters were sent to the council and three members spoke at the meeting voicing concern.

Complaints include insufficient parking for staff, with only six spots provided, yet the possibility of 20 members of staff working at the site, traffic concerns and the loss of a public green space which will be built upon.

A spokesman for Sanctuary said: "Sanctuary is committed to developing homes for local people and our plans to build an extra care scheme on the site of Wimborne House would bring much-needed affordable accommodation and care services for older members of the local community.

"We are disappointed our planning application has been deferred by the council as we believe our plans for the site are in the best interests of the community.

"We will continue to work closely with the council and local people to ensure our proposals meet the expectations of all involved and a decision on our application can be made in the near future."

nick.hitchens@archant.co.uk

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