On the 16th August, Swanley Town Council organised a public meeting with over 250 residents in attendance, to discuss a planning application by shopping centre owners U & I, which has put forward its plans for the redevelopment of Swanley Town Centre.
The Mayor of Swanley Councillor Laurence Ball opened the meeting and invited representatives from U & I to give a short presentation.U&I presented their plans, claiming that their development would help regenerate Swanley Town Centre, bringing in increased vibrancy and a greater range of shops and retail options.
They claimed that Swanley Town Centre was ‘failing’ and urgently needed financial investment, especially with competition from other town centres and Bluewater.
Their proposed plans mean creating a large amount of residential development over the town centre (around 300 apartments), which includes an eleven-storey building among several other multi-storey buildings.
The meeting was met with many concerns from the 250 residents who attended, particularly in relation to the lack of parking provision, height of the buildings, ability of the road network to cope, lack of clarity over the redevelopment of GP surgeries, education provision, lack of affordable or social housing, lack of a construction management plan, concern about safety and the overall unattractiveness of ‘tower blocks’.
In addition, councillors and residents challenged U&I on the recent substantial increase in parking charges in the privately owned car park, amounting to a 400% increase.
Frustrations were felt that this will only move vehicles to the already busy and full ASDA and ALDI car parks, as well as making it more expensive for disabled residents to easily access GP surgeries.
U&I stated that although they owned the car park, their tenant runs the car park, and it was them that increased the charges.
U&I pledged it would be in discussions with the car park tenant over the increases.
The Town Council would like to thank U&I for having the courtesy to attend to face residents’ concerns and views on the application.
If you have a view on the proposals, you MUST ensure you comment by 23 August on the Sevenoaks District Council’s planning portal, https://pa.sevenoaks.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do?action=simple&searchType=Application typing in reference 17/02279, then clicking ‘comments’ and then ‘make a comment’, or submit a formal written representation with your name and address in the post to Sevenoaks District Council, Planning Applications Consultation – Swanley Town Centre, Council Offices, Argyle Road, Sevenoaks TN13 1HG.