Fury at plans for housing

09 Dec 2005

A ROW has erupted over plans by county planners to "dump" an additional 1,200 additional homes on Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

Kent County Council has sparked anger by revealing it intends to add the 1,200 homes to the target number already allocated to Swale as part of the South East Plan; the regional blue-print that will determine how many homes should be built during the next two decades.

The move has infuriated local councillors as the extra homes were initially included by Kent County Council as part of Gravesham'sallocation. It will mean Swale will have to accept 8,200 new homes over the lifetime of the plan.

The recommendation has come about after Gravesham said its targets for building new homes on brownfield sites under the plan would be "very ambitious if not impossible".

Swale council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles (Con), who is also a county councillor, denounced it as nonsense. He warned the bulk of the extra homes would end up on greenfield sites and it was unlikely cash needed to pay for vital infrastructure, such as roads, health facilities and schools, would be available.

He said: "To spring this on us at the last minute is nonsense, particularly when county planners publicly opposed more housing in Sittingbourne and Sheppey because it would end up on greenfield land."

Swale county councillor Keith Ferrin, a member of the county council's Conservative cabinet, also condemned the plan, warning the housing expansion would not be matched by extra jobs.

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter has instructed planning chiefs to see if other areas of west Kent could absorb some of the additional homes.

This article is used with the kind permission of The Kent Messenger Group