As one of the district councillors for Preston I have followed the progress of this application with close interest (73 Homes To Be Built On Farmland, Gazette and Faversham News, December 25). It was never going to be an easy decision – there were strong arguments on both sides. However, my conclusion was I had to support the decision of the parish council, the democratically-elected representatives of the village. Their decision, which interestingly was supported by Wingham Parish Council, was based on a properly conducted survey of residents. This showed a substantial majority in favour of continuing to put up with the Salvatori HGVs rather than have a whole new village alongside the existing one. There was support for much more limited housing development.
For this reason I spoke against the application at planning committee. I did not feel that the debate was well-managed and there were certain statements made which may yet have repercussions, but we have to accept that a decision has been reached and that there is no recourse to appeal. Consequently I fully support the view of Cllr Ollie Chapman, the chairman of the parish council who has been a model of probity and good sense throughout this process, that we must move on, forget the blame game and work hard to get the best possible deal for the village through all the s106 discussions which will follow.
Cllr Mike Conolly (Con)
Little Stour and Ashstone ward, Dover District Council, Wingham Well, Canterbury
Herne Bay Gazette, January 1st 2015