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TowerING RAGE

PUBLISHED: 17:13 30 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:42 23 August 2010

CONTROVERSIAL: An artist’s impression of the proposed skyscraper.

CONTROVERSIAL: An artist’s impression of the proposed skyscraper.

CAMPAIGNERS against a 32-storey tower being proposed in a heritage part of the town centre are being supported by the Labour Party. Plans by property developer Edinburgh House to build the striking high rise development in the Gravesend Heritage Quarter

CAMPAIGNERS against a 32-storey tower being proposed in a heritage part of the town centre are being supported by the Labour Party.

Plans by property developer Edinburgh House to build the striking high rise development in the Gravesend Heritage Quarter have met with fierce opposition.

Urban Gravesham, an architectural and environmental pressure group, and the Liberal Democrats have been campaigning against the plan for several months.

On Saturday, Gravesham Labour Party collected hundreds of signatures in the town centre calling on the council to reject the scheme.

Proposals include 630 new apartments, 100,000 sq ft of shops and the creation of 1,000 new jobs.

Kathryn Smith, Labour's parliamentary candidate said: "Everywhere I go people are talking of their fears that the Tory led council will give consent to this enormous 32-storey skyscraper on the waterfront in Gravesend."

Jean Christie, chair of the Gravesham constituency Labour Party, added: "Collecting signatures for the petition was a great opportunity to chat to visitors out of town.

"Without exception they were amazed to hear about the 32-storey tower on the riverfront, and thought the council were mad to put forward such a proposal."

However, council leader Mike Snelling hit back, saying the debate was "being infected with half truths and scaremongering" and that the project was agreed with the support of both political parties last year.

He said: "We all want to see this investment in the town centre succeed and people should see the whole scheme, not just one element of it, as a major opportunity to inject new life into the town. But the debate is being infected with half truths and scaremongering and unhelpful misinformation.

"The latest brought to my attention is that the council is being accused of having 'released the developers from an undertaking to include affordable housing,' Nothing could be further from the truth.

"What has happened is that the council is making the developers pay the equivalent cost of affordable housing so that we can address the real social housing shortage - of houses, not flats - throughout the borough.

"This mischievous nonsense is political manoeuvring, trying to fool people into thinking they can choose all the plus points - more jobs, better parking and better amenities - while rejecting the financial reality that the entire scheme falls if the number of dwellings cannot be achieved."

What is your view? E-mail:

ed.riley@archant.co.uk.

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