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Green campaigners protest against plan for 8,000 Gravesham homes

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 February 2020

Alex Hills wants Gravesham Council to radically rethink its housing plan to avoid greenfield sites. Picture: Alex Hills

Alex Hills wants Gravesham Council to radically rethink its housing plan to avoid greenfield sites. Picture: Alex Hills

Archant

Long term plans to build 8,000 new homes in Gravesham have been bitterly criticised by green campaigners.

One of the greenfield sites in Istead Rise at risk of development, according to the CPRE group. Picture: Alex HillsOne of the greenfield sites in Istead Rise at risk of development, according to the CPRE group. Picture: Alex Hills

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England says the council's proposal to build so many homes in the borough is wrong.

It claims many are planned for green belt land and says local residents have now formed an action group to examine and fight the proposals, under the auspices of CPRE.

The group has four main aims: to defend the green belt; to challenge the number of homes to be built; raise public awareness of air-pollution issues and how air quality can be improved; and campaign for all new houses in the borough to be zero carbon.

Kevin Burbidge, the council's director of planning and development, said: "We are in the process of preparing our draft local plan for the period to 2036 which will detail how we propose to meet the target for new homes set for us by central government.

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"We are planning to consult widely with our residents, businesses and any other interested parties on the options being considered, all of whom will be free to give us their views on our proposals."

Alex Hills, chairman of CPRE Kent's Gravesham committee, said: "The challenges facing Gravesham are vast, but if we can all work together they have a greater chance of being resolved.

"CPRE knows what can and should be done for its aims to be achieved - it is happy to share this knowledge with all elected bodies."

Mr Hills is keen to dismiss the idea that his organisation focuses solely on the negative aspects of planning.

He said: "CPRE is about much more than just opposing building. It is about getting the right things built in the right place. Barren dormitories that do not meet the needs of local people and do not have the services in place must be opposed.

A public meeting is being planned in Istead Rise, an area campaigners say will be "blighted" by extensive building and development. A firm date has not yet been set.


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