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"To put the record straight, the owners of Kent Science Park have no wish to develop homes in the vicinity of the science park"

James Speck

Limited by what land is available

FEWER than half the new homes built in Swale this year were developed on brownfield sites, the worst record of any local authority in the Thames Gateway, claims a report.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England has published the report into the massive regeneration project stretching from Hackney in east London, to Sittingbourne.

It revealed that 45 per cent of new homes in the borough were constructed on previously developed sites this year, compared to 52 per cent in 2006.

The CPRE believes 100 per cent of new housing should be built on brownfield sites. Failing to do so, says the report, "undermines urban regeneration, generates traffic and damages the green space around towns."

However, chairman of Swale Council's planning committee, Cllr Richard Barnicott, described the organisation's aim as "not a possibility" in Swale.

He said: "We are very conscious of the importance of using brownfield sites. But we are limited by what land is available. If the Government is telling us we have to build X-thousands of homes in Swale, what do we do?"

The proportion of brownfield land used for new commercial and industrial development also declined this year from 98 per cent in 2006 to 70 per cent.

Cllr Barnicott, Conservative ward councillor for Teynham and Lynsted, said planning applications turned down by the council have been granted on appeal.

An example, he said, was the plan to build a wind farm substation at Graveney, near Faversham, which was opposed by the council, but given the go-ahead by the Government's planning inspector.

He also questioned how fair it was to compare Swale with other boroughs in the Thames Gateway, most of them being predominantly urban areas such as Medway, Greenwich and Lewisham.


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