Dartford councillors have blocked plans for 47 new homes directly next to Greenhithe station.
In what appears a textbook case of people in comfortable and secure housing objecting to housing for those that actually need it (often younger people) a litany of bizarre points were made.
Firstly the tropes about needing family homes were made. Flats shouldn’t be put up apparently.
We hear this all the time, and it ignores the fact that numerous family homes are being converted to flat shares and Homes of Multiple Occupation not just in Dartford but UK-wide.
A cursory look at council planning portals shows this.
Construct flats and those family homes may then stay as family homes. There’s also thousands of family homes earmarked at Ebbsfleet just to the south.
Also the notion families can’t live in a flat would seem absolutely bizarre to many people in other countries who live quite happily. It’d also be very odd to many in this country who have done the same, including yours truly.
Labour Cllr Tom Maddison stated: “We’ve got flats, we’ve got enough flat development in this borough”.
Speak for yourself. This feller clearly has little idea of need among younger people. He appears totally out of touch.
If there were “enough flats”, existing homes wouldn’t still be split into flats.
They’d also be no-one living in recently built flats, yet many happily are including *shock horror* some families.
Families paying council tax no less and working locally including Darenth Valley Hospital that I know.
One reason for refusal was “The proposal fails to achieve the high quality of design required by the National Design Guide and which responds to local character and street scene of Greenhithe”.
Be the judge. This is metres away:
More odd arguments were made. A site that couldn’t be more sustainable if it tried being directly next to a railway station with regular Southeastern & Thameslink services (which will soon also link to Crossrail) and Fast Track buses will apparently see lots of people drive.
As opposed to those sprawling car-dependent estates approved in the same borough?
It also fails to understand that many people moving to sites like this are younger, and the numbers of younger people who drive is far lower than those over 40.
Politics really does need more younger people in it with a handle on the modern world.
It’s even more laughable when considering a huge retail shed and massive car park for an Asda is metres away.
More flat-out strange arguments were made as Cllr Brian Garden (Conservative) said that “the railway station would attract more commuters than families”.
Because families have no commuters living within them?
I must have missed the memo that when people get to a certain age and have a family they immediately stop commuting. It’s only one of the other, and we don’t want horrible commuters living in the area.
They may bring money and support local services to boot. The cheek of it.
They may also work in local hospitals. They’re under 40 though so councillors seem oblivious to it.
Out of touch
A clearer example of the country’s housing problems couldn’t be seen. Out-of-touch politicians from both main parties making points when their actions do the complete opposite.
Worried about traffic? Encourage housing beside railway stations.
Worried about a lack of family homes? Take action that will lessen demand for existing family homes to be converted.
But nah, just keep suburban sprawl going.
The tired old trope that after covid no one wants to live without a garden was inevitably made. Speak for yourself. Many are happy with it, and there’s a park two minutes away.
The final confirmation of this was when they said it would be out of character with existing character, which is mostly cut and paste volume housebuilder boxes.
If the developer appeals I’d wager approval is extremely likely given the proximity to the railway station and fast Track bus route.
Plans can be viewed here.