Campaigners fight against Sittingbourne housing
PUBLISHED: 08:59 15 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:48 15 January 2015
The group say that the proposed development would be severely damaging to the countryside
Countryside campaigners are warning that proposals submitted for 580 new homes off Swanstree Avenue in Sittingbourne would cause severe damage to the countryside.
CPRE Kent - the county branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England - says that the scheme which has been proposed by Gladman Developments Ltd would be a disaster for the countryside in the area.
The proposed site includes one of the dry valleys - designated as a special landscape area due to its natural beauty - which descends from the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the town. The land also provides what campaigners describe as a ‘vital green gap’ between Sittingbourne and the village of Rodmersham Green. If the development was given planning permission by Swale Borough Council which is due to determine the application by March 13 2015 - this gap would be reduced from 1.2km to just 350 metres.
Senior planner for CPRE Kent, Brian Lloyd, said: “This is an attempt by the developer to undermine the new Swale local plan by seeking to get planning permission for a greenfield site that has been rejected by the council in its new plan.
“The local plan, quite correctly, seeks to focus development on previously developed land and the regeneration of Sittingbourne town centre. This proposal is at complete odds with that intention and the council must strongly resist this challenge to its plan.
“With food security and the ability to feed a growing population an increasingly important issue, there is no justification for giving up precious high quality land for development. If for no other reason the application should be refused on this ground.”