Height of folly
PUBLISHED: 17:06 10 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:04 23 August 2010
A COUNCILLOR has joined the growing number of residents protesting against plans to build a 33-storey tower in the town centre s heritage quarter. Lee Croxton, Gravesham Borough councillor for Riverside ward, has spoken out against the £150 million plans
A COUNCILLOR has joined the growing number of residents protesting against plans to build a 33-storey tower in the town centre's heritage quarter.
Lee Croxton, Gravesham Borough councillor for Riverside ward, has spoken out against the £150 million plans put together by developer Edinburgh House. The proposals include more than 120,000 square feet of new shops and more than 600 apartments, including a 33-storey riverside landmark residential building in St Andrew's Gardens.
Mr Croxton said: "Like many other people I have got no problem with regenerating the town centre but my feeling is that a 33-storey modern tower is maybe appropriate for Canary Wharf but not for Gravesend Heritage Quarter.
"It's right in the middle of my ward and I have yet, among residents, to find anybody who finds it appealing. I will represent the views of residents."
The councillor was among 100 people who turned out for a protest picnic on the site of the proposed tower last Bank Holiday Monday. The event was organised by Gravesham Liberal Democrats, who argue that the proposals are not in keeping with the spirit of the town's heritage.
Gravesham Liberal Democrats housing spokesperson Jo Howard said: "While there are arguments to support a regeneration of the area, it is ludicrous that such a regeneration should fly in the face of the Town's Heritage Quarter and mar the beautiful riverside area we currently enjoy."
Gravesham Borough Council says the tower is an essential part of the scheme, which will bring much-needed regeneration to the area.
Michael Snelling, leader of Gravesham Council, said: "The development as a whole is seen by many, including major retailers, as essential to avoid a slow decline of our precious commercial centre. With ever more brand names disappearing, to be replaced by 'pound shops' as competition increases from the ambitious plans of our near-neighbours, I share this view.
"The responsibility of political leadership means that just sitting on our hands and doing nothing, always the easy option, is neither responsible or right."
Edinburgh House submitted a planning application on July 29 and a decision is expected to be made in November. If approved, work is scheduled to start early next year.