In this Reg 18 document, SBC effectively dismisses the work already undertaken under Reg 19. In total 226 people commented on the Teynham Area of Opportunity (TAO), making 734 individual comments. That means over 30% of ALL the comments across the entire Borough related to Lynsted and Teynham. Of these respondents, 93% were clearly opposed to the TAO. Four per cent were neutral, and just three per cent supported it (mainly those with vested interests).
Opposition to TAO from 11 parish councils demonstrates that the impact on Teynham and Lynsted creates harms much further afield and cannot be dismissed as NIMBY. There was a far higher level of objection to TAO than that expressed to the garden villages idea in Bearing Fruits, and yet that idea was scrapped by SBC because of the objections! Double standards are being applied.
Four of the Reg 18 options, including the preferred option, appear to rely on additional housing in Teynham/Lynsted despite the overwhelming opposition.
Teynham/Lynsted, along with Bapchild and Ospringe, have already borne significant and disproportionate burden of housing with the impossibility of mitigation of pollution and congestion. Once housing is distributed along this part of the A2, there is nowhere else for it to go but through AQMAs.
On 18 October 2021, we understand a meeting was held between the Teynham & Lynsted Ward Councillors and the Cabinet Member for Planning, the Chief Executive and the Director of Regeneration at SBC. The Cabinet Member made it very clear that if Teynham and Lynsted do not want a bypass then there is no need to include a Teynham Area of Opportunity in the local plan. The only reason for having it in there is to pay for the bypass.
The residents of Teynham and Lynsted have already made it clear that they do not want a bypass. A survey carried out in March 2021 by Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council attracted 261 respondents. Over 95% of residents in Lynsted disagreed with SBC’s proposal in the draft Reg 19 plan to build a bypass in their parish – with 89% saying they strongly disagreed.
A more recent poll (October 2021) carried out on Facebook by the Teynham & Lynsted Ward Councillors showed 147 residents of Teynham and Lynsted opposed to a bypass, with just 10 in favour. An almost identical level of objection at nearly 94%.
However, through the Reg 18 exercise, SBC has threatened to “allocate” housing in the absence of an Area of Opportunity. This is against all reason, logic or evidence contained in democratic responses to Reg 19 and must be opposed again in the strongest terms.
This Reg 18 document fails to consider an option around Sittingbourne/Bobbing to help the Borough compete for national resources and attract investment based on availability of housing stock, commercial centres/suppliers/distribution, strategic planning for ‘active travel’ and access to major road networks. Sittingbourne is the economic hub of the Borough and needs serious investment and the bulk of housing to achieve critical mass for wider business opportunities and service providers of the Borough.
Sittingbourne needs to see greater building capacity via a wider road between the existing industrial/commercial north-edge of the town and the A249 where road investment is underway to improve the connection between Sheerness, Sittingbourne, Maidstone, London (M2) and Canterbury (M2). Sittingbourne has accessibility both to the Trunk Road systems and motorways as well as to the Isle of Sheppey.
The balance of evidence does not make the case for Option 3. A strategy of ‘fairer’ distribution across the Borough is not in itself a justification for placing housing in Teynham and Lynsted.