Published: 00:01, 16 October 2014 |
Updated: 07:50, 16 October 2014
Councillors have voted in favour of a controversial development of almost 6,000 homes just outside Ashford.
Members of Ashford Borough Council planning committee approved the plans after a special meeting lasting almost five hours. Ten councillors voted in favour of the plans, with two against.
Opening the meeting at 6pm on Wednesday, committee chairman Cllr Mike Bennett (Con) described it as "the largest ever application brought before this council."
Four people spoke in favour of the plans, with 10 against. Concerns include loss of farmland and inadequate infrastructure.
Planning agent Bob Sellwood tried to reassure objectors, promising developers would spend £50 million on transport and £45 million on schools.
The Rev Tim Wilson, vicar of Singleton and Great Chart, told neighbours not to fear the new development but to "work together to get best schools, roads, amenities for current and new residents".
But Mick Carr, who has campaigned against the plans, said people have told him they will lay down in front of diggers to stop the development.
Resident Karen Hopkin told the meeting: "We must stop this rape of the countryside" while another opponent, Peter Williamson described the proposals as a "horrendous carbuncle".
Speaking in favour of the plans, Cllr Amanda Hodgkinson (Con) said: "These houses are needed otherwise our children and grandchildren will have to move away from Ashford as adults".
Fellow Conservative members Jessamy Blanford and Neil Shorter also spoke in support but said they had concerns over traffic.
Council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson (Con) told the meeting: "We're determined to make Chilmington Green a special place where future residents are proud to live, work and raise families."
Ashford Independent group leader Cllr Peter Davison said the development should be led by jobs and infrastructure, warning: "This will impact on thousands of lives forever".
As well as 5,750 homes, the outline planning application for Chilmington Green involves a countryside park, a secondary school, four primary schools, a supermarket and a new high street and market square on rural land to the south west of Ashford.
The Keep Chilmington Green campaign group has already sent an 8,000-signature petition to Downing Street demanding the government stops the 'garden city' development while other residents have spoken out in favour of the proposals.
Ashford council and a government planning inspector have already given the Chilmington Green Area Action Plan their seal of approval and developers Barratt Homes, Ward Homes, Jarvis Homes, Pentland Homes and Hodson Developments Ltd have signed a document demonstrating an interest in the scheme.
The council has previously claimed the development could create 1,000 jobs over the next 25 years.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.