Crunch time for controversial housing plan at Meopham

PUBLISHED: 15:06 10 November 2010

Graham Simpkin

Graham Simpkin


A crucial meeting to decide the future of controversial plans for a sheltered housing unit on Green Belt land was due to be held.

After a lively site meeting, attended by about 150 villagers in Meopham on Saturday, proposals are being discussed by Gravesham council regulatory board members

The outline application is for a complex of 53 sheltered/extra care housing units with ancillary facilities on land north of Longfield Road and west of Evenden Road.

Parish councillor and resident Bill Fisher, of Wrotham Road, said: “This village has become saturated – the A227 is already appalling.

“Let’s hope they listen to our concerns.”

The mood of the one-hour site meeting was mainly against the scheme with many concerned about increased traffic but Stella Dawes, of New Road, supports the scheme.

She said: “I am in favour. I belong to several groups in the village and there are people living in their homes who would prefer to live in sheltered accommodation for security and ready help.

“I have protested in the past against development on Green Belt land but each case must be considered on its merits. This is important for people.”

Board chairman councillor Harold Craske attended the site meeting with planning officer Clive Gilbert and representatives from the campaign group Protect Kent to meet concerned residents.

He said: “We have recorded all their comments and we will be submitting them within our discussions at the regulatory board meeting.”

Mr Graham Simpkin, agent for applicants Gravesend-based SJP Group, said: “The need for this facility was identified by the council in a recent study for 89 units for elderly people living in Meopham.”

He explained the complex would have to contain at least 50 units to make it financially viable and for service charges to be reasonable, adding: “This facility would be available only to residents over 55 living in Meopham and rural parishes of Gravesham. A site of between one and 1.5 hectares is needed in order that a suitable low density, low rise development along with the character of rural settlements can be provided.”

Mr Simpkin stressed that a badger sett on the site would not be disturbed.

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