Sprawling estate by the back door

23 Aug 2006

THE letter (East Kent Gazette, August 2) from the Labour representative for Woodstock ward implied that I supported the development of the Kent Science Park. I very much hope that in a spirit of fairness you will now publish my views, which are as follows:

I went along to the "consultation meeting" with a part of me hoping that the developers would put forward a revised plan for expansion of the Kent Science Park that did not include a massive housing development.

However, it was soon made clear that the plans would go ahead only as a package that included more industrial units, 5,000 extra houses and an A2-M2 link road.
The case put forward by the developers was contradictory and they were unable to explain away that contradiction.

In one breath, they claimed that an expansion of the science park would lead to greater employment opportunities for local people, something about which none of us could complain.

But, of course, if local people are employed at an expanded science park, they will presumably already live in Sittingbourne and will not require the 5,000 houses due to be built. So, who are those houses for? The developers eventually had to admit that these would be for "migrants" into the area.

This development has nothing to do with improving life for the people of Sittingbourne. It has everything to do with helping John Prescott to achieve his ambition of imposing more houses on our area. And the developers made clear that these 5,000 houses were in addition to the 9,100 houses already imposed on Swale! All in all, this plan is very bad news for Sittingbourne.

The one aspect of this fiasco that really concerns me is the way in which the developers are including an A2-M2 link with their plans, thereby forcing local people to oppose what could be a vital part of the town's infrastructure.
Sittingbourne needs an A2-M2 link, but that road must be funded by the Government and must be far enough to the east not to affect Bapchild or any of the other villages on that side of the town.

I look forward to an apology from the Labour Party.

Gordon Henderson,
Conservative Party spokesman
Sittingbourne and Sheppey.