Those nice people at Protect Kent have given us the benefit of their wisdom…
Stand against the new homes
In a time of climate change and food security issues one has to wonder what kind of organisation would submit a proposal to build 700 houses on grade 2 agricultural land. Yet this is exactly what a developer is planning to do on a 77-hectare site at Hillborough, just outside Reculver (“Developer’s anger over MP’s criticism” Times, September 15).
The developer has had the site included in Canterbury Clty Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments and is now attempting to push it quietly into the district’s Local Plan.
Once included in the Local Plan, the chances are heavily in favour of planning permission being granted. There are many reasons to fight this development. As mentioned it will take place on agricultural land which will be a valuable resource in the future.
Equally as important is the lack of current infrastructure and the fact that detailed plans on how services such as schools, hospitals and the police will expand has yet to be addressed. The inadequate sewage infrastructure is likely to be costly and difficult to upgrade and the transport infrastructure would need to be radically altered to deal with the increase in traffic that 700 new homes would create.
It is incredibly worrying that in times of rising food prices and a growing UK population we would even consider building on grade 2 agricultural land. If we are to develop Kent in a truly sustainable way then these proposals must immediately be ruled out.
We held an excellent and well-attended public meeting on September 26 to discuss the issue with residents who were unanimous in their opposition to the development and showed real passion for the protection of their beautiful countryside.
Jamie Weir (CPRE Protect Kent), Ashford Road, Charing: HB Times 6th Oct 2011
Farming land should be safe from development
Plans have been published by builders to cover 77 hectares of Grade two agricultural land at Hillborough with residential development over the next 15 years.
The land has been continuously farmed for very many years. The builders have already persuaded the city council to include the land for potential housing in the draft Local Development Framework. As everyone is aware, the price of our food, the most basic necessity of all, has greatly increased over the last two years, mainly due to over-reliance on imported food, and lack of support for the retention of valuable agricultural land, to provide food security for Kent and the UK now and in the future, when the cost of imported food will rise still higher and our population increases.
PROTECT KENT has been urging local authorities to refuse planning applications for development of agricultural land in order that Kent can produce more local food, both to its own, and to national, advantage.
Kent used to be known as the Garden of England, but this already misleading description will be further diminished if the city council’s suggested use of farmland for development goes ahead. There seems to be a general consensus that we should be consuming as much home-produced food as we can, but at the rate our farmland is being diverted into the pockets of developers, this ambition will not be realised.
We held a recent meeting for the residents of Hillborough and Heme Bay. Not one person who attended was in favour of any development of the land, nor could anyone see a reason to build houses save for speculation.
It will now be many months before the council produces an amended local plan, but hopefully, although the consultation period has passed, it will still be possible for comments to be considered.
We ask that everyone with an interest in retaining our vital farmland should write to the council and ask that the plan should state that there will be a presumption against all proposals for development of agricultural land involving changes of use.
Barrie Gore, chairman Canterbury district, PROTECT KENT (CPRE Kent), Ashford Road, Charing. HB Gazette 6th Oct 2011