How dare Kitewood try to hold the city council to ransom. As MP Roger Gale said, they have already had £1.3 million knocked off the asking price for the land at Margate Road, they agreed a bridge would be built, whoever agreed to the condition that this wouldn’t be built until 17,000m2 is occupied should be ashamed of themselves.
They obviously don’t walk or drive along Margate Road and over Blacksole Bridge, or they would see for themselves how dangerous it is, both for pedestrians and vehicle drivers. I drive this way almost every day and have had several “near misses”, with cars swerving to avoid pedestrians that can’t be seen on the blind bend – bad enough during daylight, but night time is far worse, especially as people walk home after spending the evening at one of the two restaurants. The majority of pedestrians do their very best to make themselves as small as possible to stay safe but it’s such a dangerous section of road, with no room to manoeuvre if vehicles are coming from both directions at the same time.
Mr Dolan of Kitewood says “there is not money in the pot to build the bridge now”, but presumably they had the money to purchase the land at Hillborough and it would appear they also have the money to pay for the building materials and labour costs involved in developing that site, should planning consent be given. I would like to see the council stand firm and turn the tables on Kitewood and play them at their own game, withhold even considering planning permission for Hillborough until the Blacksole pedestrian bridge is built, but as the agreement was that Kitewood will build the bridge when 17,000m2 is occupied, I guess they couldn’t do this legally. Kitewood, however, could make a goodwill gesture and build the footbridge now.
I also hope the council ensures that, before they allow development at Hillborough, the infrastructure is in place to support 700 new homes. It’s bad enough to allow building on such a scale, but are there sufficient schools, health facilities, safe road links, mains water and sewage facilities that can cope adequately with the extra burden to be placed upon it? And I would hope there will not be another ludicrous condition in the plans that favours Kitewood and doesn’t consider the safety of the people who occupy that area, current and prospective. Hopefully a resolution will be found very soon, that will value the safety of people above financial gain, for a change.
Christine West, Beacon Avenue, Herne Bay
HB Gazette letters, 15th July 2010