Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has announced that it is no longer proposing to support the development of land to the rear of Ferbies, Speldhurst, as a local needs housing site.
The proposed site raised a number of concerns amongst local people, and the Council are not intending to progress it any further. Their press statement reads:
‘English Rural Housing Association have withdrawn their involvement with privately owned land to the rear of Ferbies in Speldhurst. They had not made a planning application so there is nothing to suspend. As the site is in the greenbelt it can only be considered in planning terms for affordable housing to meet an identified housing need, which is normally done through a housing association. The Council will not be promoting the site to other housing associations.’
It is understood that Council officers have arranged to meet the Parish Council on Wed 18 July to review the situation. If the Parish Council still want to pursue some affordable housing for the village, the Borough have offered to start considering other sites. It is unlikely, however, that any housing association would be able to afford a site within the settlement boundary, since they attract premium prices – rural housing schemes are usually adjacent to the village boundary for that reason.
The heavily criticised needs survey would almost certainly have to be repeated for any new scheme based on the village itself, rather than the wider parish.