Residents baffled by expansion plan

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30 Sep 2011


A NEW group has been set up to help residents understand future development plans for the borough.

Swale Residents Against Housing Madness (SRAHM) was created by parish councillors from 10 areas across the borough in response to concerns about large housing developments being put forward as part Swale council's core strategy.

Iwade Parish Council hosted two meetings to discuss the document which outlines the amount of development that should take place in Swale and where new homes and jobs should be over the next 20 years.

The discussions centred on the complex information on the four options being put forward and the fact the information was only available online, thus possibly causing confusion and resulting in non engagement from residents.

Only 2,000 people had commented on the plans when the consultation period ended on March 14. The options, dubbed Pick Your Own, included expanding the port of Sheerness, the Kent Science Park in Sitting-bourne and some villages.

Janet Gregory, vice chairman of Iwade Parish Council, said: "Following no outright public support for any one of the core strategy options recently offered by Swale council regarding the Local Plan, there is major concern that council planners seemĀ to be moving towards a target of 16,000 new houses without improving necessary infrastructure, or providing sufficient local employment.

"As a result it was unanimously agreed that there was a need to help all members of the community to understand how the Swale 20-year Local Plan could affect everyone who lives here, and how they can get involved.

"It is hoped that the new group will influence the outcome by offering a sustainable solution focusing on the needs of existing Swale residents, and not on building excessive numbers of new houses attracting yet more London commuters."

By Hayley Robinson, Kent Messenger

Check out their report which cast even more doubt over the Councils decision making