Long awaited plans for regeneration in Lowfield Street were given the green light at a council meeting last night despite some concerns about affordable housing.
Planning permission submitted by Meyer Homes to build an initial 188 dwellings in what will be the first of three development phases for the derelict road has been given the go ahead.
Councillor Joshua Jones had concerns about levels of affordable housing, it was not good enough in terms of Dartford’s Local Plan target of 30 per cent.
He said: “A positive aspect is how refreshing it is to see a developer consult as widely as Meyer Homes.
“I do have concerns however about the 11 per cent affordable housing. This is well below the Local Plan and I fear that these properties will remain out of reach of ordinary Dartford Residents.
“Kent County Council has raised concerns about the capacity of local schools. Our education system is already oversubscribed.
“Lowfield Medical Centre have also raised concerns that their books are full.”
Speaking at the meeting, chair of the committee Councillor Derek Hunnisett said the council were in advanced talks with the Clinical Commissioning Group for a new medical centre in the town centre and mentioned an expansion at a Temple Hill School and a new secondary school in Stone Lodge.
Councillor Roger Perfitt said: “We have to welcome development. This is not perfect, but sometimes you have to give something up to get something else.
“I think this will at least do something to fix the mess we have there now.”
The project will see dwellings built along Lowfield Street, backing on to Central Park and opposite the library. There are also plans for a café and microbrewery.
Meyer Homes proposals allocate 0.7 parking spaces per unit but also have proposed a ‘car club’ which will see four cars permanently available for residents to rent.
Cllr Jones said: “This brings an end to 14 years of uncertainty, but after 14 years we has to be right. I do have serious concerns about our infrastructure, but I hope I am wrong.”
Jamie Pearson, the Director of Meyor Homes, said: “We believe this proposal is a good opportunity to kick-start regeneration and to be the catalyst for other schemes.
“This will be a new lease of life for Lowfield Street.”
Speaking at last night’s development control meeting Councillor David Mote said there would be opportunities to rectify any issues car parking will bring in the second and third phase of development.
The Cllr said: “This will push new life into the heart of Dartford and will influence the commerce of the town. Think of the bigger picture.”
Three councillors - Mark Maddison, Pat Kelly, and Bachchu Kaini - voted against the plans but permission was granted and work is expected to be completed on phase one by 2019.