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Stop being selfish says farmer to housing opponents

A retired farmer says people opposing plans to build up to 800 homes in Herne should “stop being selfish”. Vincent Brealy, 85, used to farm the land earmarked for new houses and a relief road at Strode Farm. He says those against the plans should put nostalgia to one side and instead focus their attention on making sure new developments meet the needs of people in future. He began working the land as a farmer with horses when he was a teenager and retired in 1995, aged 66. His father’s company Hollamby Estates had bought up the land after the Second World War and consolidated it into Strode Farm. But he says it is no longer viable because of the reduced acreage and the construction of infrastructure, such as electricity pylons, sewage systems, natural gas pipes and the new A29 Thanet Way. He said:

“I have always put the town’s needs first, before the farm. That is why the farm is no longer viable. People want to go back to the past but do they want to go back if we tell them they can’t have their electricity or natural gas? I am also nostalgic for the past, when I worked on the farm as a teenager with horses. But those days are long gone.”

Now his son Andrew Brealy and Hollamby Estates are behind the proposals for a new Herne relief road, up to 800 homes and new shops, which could create more than 200 permanent jobs. Mr Brealy believes that the site would be an ideal spot to provide for future housing demand. He added:

“I hear all these people complaining about new homes but every single one lives in a house which, when it was built, other people would have been complaining about. I think people ought to concentrate their efforts on making sure that developers get it right. Give the coming generation a chance and stop being selfish. They should direct their energies in a positive direction so the development will be a place where people will want to live with the correct infrastructure and facilities.”

Last week initial results from a consultation by Hollamby at the Kings Hall were released. Project manager Chris Crook said:

“Quite a few residents told us that they didn’t agree with Canterbury City Council’s proposals for 3,000 more homes in the Herne Bay area but many could see we were responding to that identified need. We are aware that local residents have concerns about the impact of development on existing community facilities, and we will be looking at how we can best respond to that ready for when we come back again.”

Herne Bay Times, April 17th 2014

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