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Battle lines drawn as homes sites in Gravesham suggested

Campaigners have reacted angrily to a list of places suggested for home-building in Gravesham.

Nearly 80 sites, including 32 in the green belt, have been put forward by landowners and developers for the Local Plan process.

The list includes land at the Gravesend delivery office in Queen Street and Milton Road, former playing fields at Whitehill Primary School in Whitehill Road, the Rathmore Road car park, Milton Road car park, Denton marshes, and three spots at the front of Cascades Leisure Centre.

Cascades Leisure Centre now stands on the former military airport.
Cascades Leisure Centre now stands on the former military airport.

A spokesman for CPRE Protect Kent said: “Many people thought the threat to Gravesham’s greenbelt had passed but nothing could be further from the truth.

“The government appointed housing inspector is demanding that Gravesend Borough Council builds more houses to meet predicted demand for housing not from local people but from people living outside the borough.”

Seventy-eight sites had been put forward for more than 6,000 homes.

“This shows greedy developers are after cheap sites rather than tackling eyesores like the old Lord Street car park site.”

Gravesham Local Plan Core Strategy originally identified a target of 4,600 homes to be built by 2028.

However, a Secretary of State’s independent inspector indicated last year that the council’s plan needed to take into account the growing Gravesham population.

The number of extra homes is set to go up to 6,170.

Whitehill Primary School, Gravesend
Whitehill Primary School, Gravesend

The inspector recommended Gravesham council carry out a green belt boundary review to identify more land up to 2028.

A council spokesman said: “Sites on the list do not have consent to be developed and the council has not commented on the list. Being on that list does not mean that any site will get planning consent.

“There is a nationally set process for the sites to be considered and the public will be involved.

“The Secretary of State’s inspector will report ... in July. The inspector asked for the list of submitted sites.”

But CPRE fears that sites put forward could eventually be built on.

The spokesman added: “Parts of the borough are already suffering transport congestion, poor air quality, long waits for doctors, dentist and hospital appointments.

“If you think this is scaremongering just look at the problems at Darent Valley Hospital, especially the parking problems. Will another 20,000 housing ease the situation?

“Now is the time to start taking action. Write to your MP, write to your local councillors telling them building on the green belt should not be an option.”

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