We're not big on massive expansion in our town

04 Mar 2011
A PROTEST march against what campaigners describe as "monstrous expansion plans for the town" attracted more than 100 people.

Demonstrators carrying placards gathered outside the Wilkinsons store at 10.30am on Saturday before setting off down Sittingbourne High Street chanting "Save Our Villages".

Protest March

The march was organised by the Five Parishes Opposition Group (FPOG) to raise awareness of a public consultation entitled Pick Your Own which asks residents for their views on four options being put forward by Swale council.

Ideas include expanding the Port of Sheerness, the Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne and some villages.
Included in two of the options is a new Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road between the M2 andA2.

The FPOG, which represents Bapchild, Bredgar, Milstead, Tunstall and Rodmersham, believes Swale council's proposals will see thousands of unnecessary houses being built across Sittingbourne as well as a new link road in the next 20 years.

Cllr Bowles and Cllr Bonney

Council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles (Con) met the group at the bottom of the High Street where he answered questions about the proposals and gave assurances the council would listen to people's views.

County councillor Mike Whiting, who represents Swale central ward, was among those who took part in the event.

He said: "I am opposed to the expansion of the Kent Science Park and opposed to massive housing developments south of the A2, between the A2 and theM2.

"I believe new housing and employment opportunities should be developed in a sustainable way, and that means closer to the existing infrastructure."

Andy Hudson, a member of the group, said he is still waiting for an apology from Kent Science Park after a letter was circulated to all tenants and staff at the site making allegations against FPOG.

The letter signed by site director James Speck states the group wants the park closed down - a claim it strenuously denies.

Mr Hudson: "I'm still demanding an apology. At the end of the day he has made an allegation that's far from the truth and our reputation has been smeared."

A spokesman for KSP again declined to comment.