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Southborough Conservation Area approved

May 20, 2009

Despite last minute intervention by letter from lawyers for Sunrise Senior Living, the new boundaries of Southborough Conservation Area (SCA) were approved at last night’s Executive.

Sunrise objected to ‘undue haste’ and suggested the adoption of the new boundaries was a device to counter their planning appeal.

Roy Thompson, Head of Planning, gave a good overview of the history of the SCA revision and an account of the methods used to arrive at the revised boundaries being put before the Committee. He pointed out that the methodology and timescale were in accordance with normal RBK practice in such cases.

Mrs. Susan Buller and Mrs. Louise Etherington both spoke on behalf of local residents, pointing out the long term desire of the Residents’ Association to have the SCA boundary take a more logical line than the present very meandering one, including the whole of Southborough. Houses outside the old boundary share common characteristics and similar design features to those inside it.

Cllr. Paul Johnston said he had first discussed the revision with Planning officers as long ago as 2001, when he held the Environment and Regeneration portfolio. The idea had no reference to any planning application, past, present or future. The new boundaries included houses due to be demolished by Sunrise, but that was not the reason for including them. All the past ideas for rationalisation of the boundary had included them because they were architecturally similar in design and age to most of the properties in the existing SCA. This was particularly true of ‘Oakdene’ and ‘Cumbrae’.

Cllr. Tricia Bamford (LD Executive member), who held the Environment portfolio immediately after Cllr. Johnston, supported his views, reporting that she had discussed the revision during the period 2004 to 2006.

Dealing with wider aspects, Cllr. Nick Kilby particularly welcomed the inclusion of properties at the western end of Herne Road. This had been supported very enthusiastically by the Herne Road Residents’ Association.

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