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Heritage Quarter plan provokes new battle

PUBLISHED: 15:25 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:21 23 August 2010

CAMPAIGNERS have launched a fresh assault on plans for redevelopment of the Heritage Quarter. Urban Gravesham, which formed to fight the £120 million plans first submitted in 2008, has accused developers Edinburgh House and Gravesham Borough Council of u

CAMPAIGNERS have launched a fresh assault on plans for redevelopment of the Heritage Quarter.

Urban Gravesham, which formed to fight the £120 million plans first submitted in 2008, has accused developers Edinburgh House and Gravesham Borough Council of using "dirty tricks" for the latest submission.

The group claims the reason for the plans being submitted over Christmas is to limit the amount of time residents have to comment.

Chairman Jonathan Clay, a former Labour Gravesham councillor, said: "This scheme involves potentially massive changes to the town and yet Gravesham Council are only allowing until January 8 for public consultation.

"They appear to be so fearful of what local people will say about the plans that they are desperately trying to rush the application through the Christmas period, which is notoriously the consultation graveyard."

The huge project would see more than 13,000 square metres of retail and office space built along the river, a large hotel, almost 400 homes and around 1,000 car parking spaces.

Importantly though, the latest plan omits a

32-storey tower block to be placed on St Andrew's Gardens, where Urban Gravesham member's met to enjoy a Christmas celebration, that drew stinging criticism in the original scheme.

A spokesman for the council stated that due to the plans falling over Christmas an extra week of public consultation, from three to four, had already been allotted and said the latest time letters could be sent was January 13.

He also said the council had sent out 3,600 letters to residents inviting comment, while the plans could be seen at any time by appointment at the civic centre, online on the council website and Urban Gravesham had received a CD-Rom of the plans in full.

Mr Clay also questioned why Edinburgh House had placed a £680 price tag on copies of the plan.

Lawrence Higgins, a spokesman for the developers said: "For this project Edinburgh House has gone above and beyond the statutory requirements."

He stated that they had provided 12 hard copies of the plans and 50 digital copies on CD to the council, rather than the six required by law.

He said the figure of £680 came about because Urban Gravesham asked for an additional copy, and this was the cost of the time and effort producing so many documents

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