A controversial bid to build 18 new homes to fund an indoor sports centre at Polo Farm was given the green light after a tense deadlock vote. The 10 members of the city council’s planning committee voted 5-5, leaving chairman Jenny Samper to cast the deciding vote.
The planning permission will allow a developer to build on land the size of six football pitches to pay for the facility. But the application attracted objections from residents and members of the Littlebourne Stodmarsh Road Association (LSRA), who raised fears about increased noise, light and traffic, and the new centre’s impact on the environment. Speaking after the meeting on Tuesday evening, LSRA director John Clark said:
“The association is bitterly disappointed by the decision, especially because it was such a close vote. It sets a precedent that could allow other greenfield sites to be built on in future.”
The group is taking legal advice to find out if the decision can be challenged. But it was welcomed by Polo Farm chairman Gus Oates, who said it would allow the sports club to cater for more people and at a cheaper rate. He said:
“I’m absolutely delighted, but I’m disappointed that some councillors don’t seem to accept how many people benefit from the club. I think we should be given more credit.”
Meanwhile, a separate application to build the sports hail was voted through with a 9-1 majority. The decision was reached after it was deferred last month to allow committee members to explore ways to make the proposed sports hall more environmentally friendly.
Herne Bay Gazette, June 26th 2014