Decision time for ex-services homes Elizabeth Huggins Cottages in Gravesend
A proposal for 34 homes to be built on the site of Elizabeth Huggins Cottages in Gravesend has been deferred until next year.
The cul-de-sac of 10 bungalows in Cross Lane West, Gravesend, houses ex-servicemen, many of whom have illnesses or are disabled.
Resident expressed fears at losing their existing homes and the upheaval involved.
At a meeting last night, Gravesham council planners agreed to defer a decision until February.
The trust that owns the site, the Elizabeth Huggins Cottages Charity, wants to demolish the 90-year-old homes in phases and build a range of homes for injured, former personnel from the Army, Royal Navy, RAF and Merchant Navy.
The report before councillors stated: “The scheme will result in providing one of the country’s largest social housing schemes dedicated to housing ex-service personnel which will make excellent use of redeveloping a site which could accommodate additional dwellings.”
However, the charity is loath to pay KCC more than £70,000 which all large scale developments have to pay for primary school places, libraries and adult social services to offset the impact of development. The charity said the project would be unfeasible if it is forced to pay.
KCC said: “The contributions are applied upon residential development to mitigate the increased demand on county services. All forms of housing are required to contribute. Without contributions, the county services are spread more thinly reducing their availability to existing residents and users.”
The new buildings will include two pairs of three-bedroom semi-detached houses, three, two-storey blocks providing eight one-bedroom flats, 12 two-bedroom flats and one three-bedroom maisonette for the warden as well as two terraces of two-bedroom cottages together with car park and cycle storage.
Extra details will also be required before any work can start in order to minimise disruption to those already living there.
The issue has concerned many of the residents who spoke to the Messenger in September about their fears.
Bernard Carter, 78, pictured, said: “The people are stressed. We went to the meeting and they just said “we’re going to knock your bungalows down” and it was a complete and utter shock.
“My partner said that when she heard the plan it was like her heart broke.”
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