Save Mackerels Plain

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Mackerels Plain is situated in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ¬†approximately 1 mile from the picturesque village of Ide Hill near Sevenoaks. On this 3.5 hectare (9 acre) field there is a Planning Application to create a new intensive “industrial style” Farm Centre incorporating large grain store, woodchip and timber processing unit, cattle suckler rearing complex, farm machinery and chemical/ fertiliser store, large attenuation pond and farmworker accommodation. This will be a 24/7 operation with security lighting and access roads. The new facility requires road widening of Back Lane and the redesign of the B2042/ Nightingale Lane junction, destroying woodland and ecology . Over 400 movements of 44 tonne grain and woodchip lorries are expected per annum in this quiet narrow lane, along with an increase in farm supply vehicle traffic on local roads and other narrow lanes. The major objections to the proposal ¬†are:-

  • The excessive scale, stark geometry and overall intrusiveness of the Farm Centre complex in the rural AONB/ Green Belt landscape; this proposal will destroy forever a 9 acre field and the surrounding hedgerows, tracks and footpaths.
  • The impact of increased heavy vehicle traffic, generated by the Farm Centre, on the accident prone B2042 and on narrow lanes in the immediate and surrounding area; the destruction of ancient woodland and habitats from the creation of the new junction and the widening of Back Lane.
  • The environmental impact from increased noise, dust, smell and light pollution generated by the Farm Centre complex; the visual impact from local landmarks especially in the winter months.
  • The loss of amenity for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and other groups in an undisturbed and picturesque area within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; the dangers to non-motorised road users from influx of HGV’s onto narrow lanes close to the proposed Centre.
  • The proximity to three residential properties bordering the proposed site and the impact on others bordering local lanes.
  • If granted, the plan potentially creates a precedent for other new developments in West Kent as it is against AONB planning practice.

There is no information about the intentions for the other farms which would largely be made redundant if this new Farm Centre is approved . In summary, there is no justifiable planning or economic case for destroying a 9 acre field in the AONB /Green Belt when there is an existing farm centre , which can be redeveloped. Whether you are a walker, cyclist, horse-rider, runner, local resident or visitor to the area, you can help to protect the West Kent countryside by opposing this proposal.

To see more and find out what to do next, please look at other sections of this website.



  1. Sticky Toffee Pudding says:

    I’ve not had time to study what’s going on here, but do these people not have huge amounts of suitable land that doesn’t involve massively increasing the dangers on roads that have already proven to be dangerous??
    Surely there’s even land adjascent to the A21 (such as the near derelict land where it all sits at the moment – which seems far from well used), where there could possibly be a slip from the A21.
    Am I missing something here? surely this is an absolute nonsense that can’t go ahead!

  2. Nigel A Collins says:

    We live at Alderwood, Norman Street and would like to oppose as strongly as possible this proposed development in a particularly pleasant part of the Green Belt within an area of outstanding natural beauty. Please advise if there are any further public meetings and how we could best assist to make our feelings known to the appropriate authorities. Best regards, Nigel A Collins

  3. C J Lefever says:

    I can’t believe that such a beautiful spot can be wiped out in this way. It is very tricky driving around that area at the moment, when two cars meet or a horse is involved, and I cannot see how the area could possibly cope with enormous lorries moving through it.
    Hopefully the planners will see sense before they allow the destruction of this stunning location. Will it take some bad road accidents to make them realise,too late,that this plan should not have been allowed.
    I feel very sorry for the residents of this lovely tranquil place, who must be having nightmares at the prospect of their dream location being transformed into an eyesore industrial site.

  4. Something really has to be done. We would like to support you and if you could support us, it all helps:
    Please let us know if you would like to link in with our petition.
    Best wishes

    • Nigel A Collins says:

      Many thanks for your email and a highly professional and interesting meeting last night in the Village Hall. Di and I would like to continue to offer every support to resist this highly undesirable proposal at Mackerels Plain. I would like to thank the speakers yesterday for the quality of their submissions and the hard work which has obviously taken place. We will make our views known to those you recommend and monitor the situation in case we can be of further assistance. Best Regards Nigel A Collins

      • Thanks, Nigel for your feedback and encouragement. With your and others help and support, we can overturn this ill-founded and damaging proposal by an “absentee landlord”!

        David Findley

    • Emma

      We fully support your A25 Petition and have placed this on our Useful Links page

  5. Diana&Geoffrey Ausren says:

    A ridiculous proposal.The roads and lanes are already inadequate for the current traffic
    A beautiful part of the countryside will be gone for ever.How much extra pollution would be created if this scheme goes ahead?

    • Thanks for your comment. Have you all read the letter in today’s Daily Telegraph about the CPRE campaign to stop these kind of developments in the countryside. Let’s work to defeat this opportunistic proposal from the Greens.

  6. Claire Mellish says:

    Almost impossible to sign petition – I ended up having to register with Sevenoaks council, then received an email, then tried to sign again but it failed – think the council website is duff. It worked the next time I tried, but how many people will bother to get this far? Suggest creating a petition elsewhere.
    ePetition details:
    Sevenoaks Planning Application No: 13/02284
    Log in or register and sign the ePetition
    This ePetition runs from 22/08/2013 to 03/10/2013.

    • Claire – thanks for your post/ comment.
      Disappointed that the Sevenoaks Council epetition is proving so difficult to use.
      We will try to fix the problem ASAP and if not will have to find another way to
      have people sign the petition – there is a paper one too.

  7. Laura Covill says:

    When you move to the countryside, you should expect to have a farm next door. Perhaps you are unconcerned that your village has no shop, no post office, practically no buses and practically no jobs. But please don’t stop others trying to make an honest living.

    • Let’s be clear – we are not against agricultural investment and job creation; we need a thriving farming
      sector right here in West Kent. The site chosen has very poor road access, is currently a field used for cereal production (which would be lost)
      is in the AONB and close to residential properties. It is quite inappropriate choice when there are 4 existing farms that
      can be redeveloped.

      You are misinformed about the shop and post office. We are all proud of the Community Shop in Ide Hill and its success – the new building opens next month and
      will have a Post Office. Let’s celebrate this -it’s a whole community effort.

    • Mrs Gill Flanagan says:

      One may expect to live next to a farm if one lives in the country but not a farm on this
      ridiculous scale on such a small area of field. The lanes are totally unsuitable for large lorries, it is an area of outstanding natural beauty and my horse will certainly not take kindly to it when we hack around the area and neither will I. Gill Flanagan

  8. Dudley Turner says:

    We have enough problems with heavy traffic on the A25. Now someone wants to take it along country lanes. Why do people like this think widening roads like Back Lane is somehow a solution to a problem when it would actually make things worse?

  9. Supporting Save Mackerels Plain this is a beautiful area that can not take the extra traffic on the roads, the noise, the pollution, the smell (the last few weeks give you a sample of what is on offer) and the dust. Likely to effect all Ide Hill residents. Please try and find an alternative site that will not cause such an impact on our environment.

  10. Ide Hill is a focal point for cyclists walkers and general lovers of the beautiful country side and birds and animals. Surely there are other sites that already exist and that can be upgraded to accommodate these people why disturb the already diminishing green country side and increase traffic etc. I strongly appose this developement.

  11. Mick Whitley says:

    Why start a new development in a tranquil area, we are rapidly running out of places of beauty and solitude . It’s to easy to believe that you can destroy a place that has taken hundreds of years to evolve to make money out of redevelopment . Then find it didn’t work out? And not be able to return it to a place of beauty. Find somewhere else that has far less impact on an area of natural beauty.

  12. Micaela West says:

    What does Green Belt and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty actually mean if this kind of development is permitted? When people live in such an area, or move to such an area there is an expectation that development will be limited and tightly controlled. Equally if you choose to buy a farm or a number of farms in such an area, you should have factored into your future plans that your opportunities to industrialise the business will be curtailed.
    Other residents of Mackerel’s Plain have a right to quiet enjoyment of their homes . This arguably extends to the quiet enjoyment of their roads in their immediate environs as well as their back gardens. If this development is permitted their rights will have been judged to be less important than the economic desires of the Montreal Estate.
    If the Greens would like to run an intensive farm, then please, find somewhere outside of an AONB.

  13. Of course people in the area are upset and perturbed by this proposal; but your comments on scaremongering are a little far-fetched!

    We suggest that you read the Rural Planning report, commissioned by our own Sevenoaks District Council. You should also look at those prepared by Robinson Escott and by Reading Agricultural Consultants. All these are based on facts NOT emotion. They are highly critical of the proposal itself, point to where it contravenes Policy and highlights the poor quality of the research and information provided.

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