Prince Charles faces 'significant local uprising' over  eco-homes plan

Prince Charles faces 'significant local uprising' over eco-homes plan

01/11/2022

Prince Charles faces ‘significant local uprising’ over his plans to build 2,500 eco-homes on Kent farmland after council failed to properly consult people in the area

  • The Duchy of Cornwall estate wants to build 2,500 eco-homes near Faversham
  • Bosses argue the new scheme ‘follows the Prince’s vision’ for sustainable homes
  • However locals have opposed the blueprints, warning scheme will clog up roads
  • Now Swale Borough Council has been ordered to pay £20,000 to a developer
  • Quinn Estates has challenged scheme and been awarded payout at High Court
  • Locals believe the fallout from the legal challenge will lead to a year of delays 

Prince Charles is facing a ‘significant uprising’ over his plans to build 2,500 new eco-homes on an area of Kent farmland – while the scheme could be delayed following a legal battle, according to locals.

The royal’s Duchy of Cornwall estate wants build the green homes – which will be powered entirely by renewable energy – on the outskirts of Faversham in Kent.

Bosses behind the estate argue the scheme ‘follows the Prince’s vision’ to deliver the ‘most sustainable’ homes possible, and will address a housing crisis in the medieval market town.

However locals have opposed the blueprints. They have raised fears that the eco-development will clog up roads and endanger wildlife.

And they say the Duchy of Cornwall, which is fronted by Prince Charles, 73, as the eldest son of the reigning monarch, faces a ‘significant local uprising’ over the proposals.

Now the plans have hit a setback following a legal row between the planning authority and a local developer who protested the scheme.

The fallout from the legal wrangle, which recently reached the High Court, could hold up the Prince’s proposals for more than a year, locals believe.

Prince Charles (pictured) is facing a ‘significant local uprising’ over his plans to build 2,500 new eco-homes on an area of Kent farmland

The royal’s Duchy of Cornwall estate wants build the green homes – which will be powered entirely by renewable energy – on the outskirts of Faversham in Kent. Pictured: The site of the planned development

Bosses behind the estate argue the scheme (pictured: A sketch of the proposals) ‘follows the Prince’s vision’ to deliver the ‘most sustainable’ homes possible, and will address a housing crisis in the medieval market town

However locals have opposed the blueprints. They have raised fears that the eco-development will clog up roads and endanger wildlife. Pictured: A graphic showing the areas of land

It comes following a legal challenge against the local authority Swale Borough Council by Quinn Estates, a developer which has protested the Duchy of Cornwall’s proposals.

The developer accused the council of failing to properly consult the public about the plans to build the 2,500 new homes on the 320 acres of agricultural land.

It also accused the council of not giving enough detail about the impacts that Covid-19 could have on the project.

Now it can be revealed that the High Court has ordered the council to pay £20,000 to the Quinn Estates.

The financial award was made at a Queen’s Bench Division hearing on November 23.

Speaking in the wake of the court decision, local Michael Cosgrove, who has lived in the town for 56 years, said the authority had appeared to rush to champion the Duchy’s proposals.  

‘The whole thing has been terribly handled. And the Duchy finds itself at the centre of a significant local uprising,’ he said.

‘If they had done this properly from step one there would have been time for proper consultation.

‘But now this will be beset by delays as opposing councillors quite rightly question every move.’

The 76-year-old added: ‘There is no way the council has had enough time to competently carry out this suite of assessments, so you can expect their new proposals to be very strongly challenged.’

It comes following a legal challenge against the local authority Swale Borough Council by Quinn Estates, a developer which has protested the Duchy of Cornwall’s proposals

Under the plans (pictured: An artist’s impression of the plans), the homes would range from one-bed to six-bed, have solar panels and be powered fully by renewable energy. As per government guidelines, 30 per cent will be affordable.

The council is supposed to consult the public under Town and Local Planning Regulations 2012.

It then must form a local plan based on their responses. But Mr Cosgrove said Swale Borough Council appeared to rush to champion the Duchy’s proposals.

He said: ‘A lot of mystery surrounds the thinking of Swale council.

‘There have been some serious irregularities about how this proposal has been handled.

‘They were caught out by not going through the proper regulations, as they were supposed to, and we have been left with a rushed public consultation.’

The controversial plan has already been branded a ‘monstrosity’ that directly contradicted Boris Johnson’s promise that no more homes would be ‘jammed in the south east’ on green fields.

However the Duchy argues the plan is ‘following the prince’s vision’ to deliver the ‘most sustainable’ homes possible.

The homes could be built on the land sandwiched between the M2 and A2 to the south of the town.

The estate acquired the plot 20 years ago and first proposed the plans in response to a call to landowners for potential housing sites in 2018.

The estate acquired the plot 20 years ago and first proposed the plans (pictured: A sketch of the plans) in response to a call to landowners for potential housing sites in 2018

It finally unveiled them at a public meeting and drop-in consultation late last year, with a view to lodging the plans next year.

Homes would range from one-bed to six-bed, have solar panels and be powered fully by renewable energy. As per government guidelines, 30 per cent will be affordable.

It is not the first time Swale Borough Council has come under fire.

In August it rejected a string of planning applications, including one from an animal sanctuary, which it called ‘whack’ in a bizarre administrative error.

It was running a dummy trial of software, with a staff member randomly refusing and approving applications with their own comments.

But the rulings stood, with the decisions and reasons behind them sent to the applicants in the post.

Of the latest gaffe Swale Borough Council said it was content it had followed standard procedures.

It said it would honour the High Court ruling and confirmed it had paid the £20,000 costs to Quinn Estates. 

MailOnline has contacted Swale Borough Council and the Duchey of Cornwall estate for comment. 

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