Holiday home plan for Kent seaside village approved after years of delay

Impression of the planned property on The Oval, Dymchurch
-Credit: (Image: APX Architecture)


Plans for a holiday home in a Kent seaside village have been approved after years of delays. The proposal to replace garages with the four-bedroom holiday let on The Oval, in Dymchurch, attracted the ire of neighbours fearing “noise” and “anti-social behaviour”.

The owners of the plot, opposite the sea wall, first applied to build tourist accommodation there in 2015. Their bid was refused, but they appealed it to the government’s Planning Inspector, who overturned Folkestone and Hythe District Council’s (FHDC) decision and allowed it in 2017.

However, APX Architecture, working on behalf of the owners, resubmitted the plans last year after making changes. The altered bid attracted the objections of eight neighbours, fearing extra traffic on the narrow road, noisy parties and intrusion in the quiet residential neighbourhood.

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Thelma Wright wrote to FHDC’s planning department: “As the sole purpose of building this new house is to rent it as holiday accommodation, it would seem totally inappropriate to do so in this small, quiet area of privately-owned properties which house a mixture of families and elderly folk. The narrow, one-way verged and unlit road is owned and maintained by the property owners at their expense and therefore unsuitable for heavy traffic.

“During daylight hours it is used as a pedestrian walkway to access the sea wall for not only the residents but also many dog walkers and families from neighbouring roads.”

Dymchurch Parish Council also took issue with the application, saying: "With this there is a real chance that noise and anti-social behaviour generated from the use will increase." And in their written objection, Stephen and Sally Stowell predicted that the home would “bring yet more unwelcome traffic and footfall to an already well-used private road leading to the sea wall”.

Plans to replace garages with a four bedroom holiday let on The Oval, in Dymchurch, have been approved after several years of delays
Plans to replace garages with a four bedroom holiday let on The Oval, in Dymchurch, have been approved after several years of delays -Credit:APX Architecture

At a meeting of FHDC’s planning committee this month, however, the applicant Adam Harker explained: “We had planning permission for a larger property on this site approved six years ago, I decided that that was too large and it was not a great spot within the property.

“After a rethink we decided we’d put a smaller property on the footprint of what is a three berth garage, so there is plenty of parking. We’re trying to keep it in keeping with the other houses on The Oval.”

The planning documents argue: "The replacement new build, in a similar position to the existing garage, would enhance the character of the locality and would have no detrimental effect on the area’s appearance. The proposed holiday tourism accommodation is in keeping with the character and the general tranquility of the immediate area.”

Neighbour Amanda Robbins attended the planning meeting to oppose the bid, saying: "This is certainly not a NIMBY objection, as we’re quite happy to have a property built there but feel it is most probably at the moment too big. To begin with The Oval was nearly all holiday lets but it is now 99% residential.

“A small building on this site may be possible – but this is a large holiday let with four bedrooms, and will result most probably in four cars being parked there. At the moment there’s only room for two off the road, and no parking is allowed in the road, so where are these other cars going to go?

“The Oval is a quiet residential area and the destruction and extra traffic both in the building and afterwards if let continually will cause a great deal of disturbance and damage to the road which is kept up by the residents, so will cost us more money.”

Cllr Tony Cooper (Lab), who ‘called in’ the application to the planning committee, questioned whether the building would “actually fit in with the existing street scene”. A planning officer for FHDC answered “we believe so,” and their official recommendation was to vote in favour of the application.

Prior to the decision, Ms Robbins had written in fearing the loss of trees next to the plot to be built on. As a result, planning committee chair Cllr Jackie Meade added a condition to the application that any trees damaged in construction are replaced like for like – by trees of the same age and species.

The planning committee voted to approve the bid, with eight votes in favour and three against.

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