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Trenport's allotment housing scheme leaves Wouldham family on tenterhooks

04 March 2014
by Alan Smith

Neil Hepden in front of the allotment access

Neil Hepden in front of the allotment access

A Wouldham resident is worried about the security of his home - following controversial proposals to build homes on the village’s allotments.

Neil Hepden lives in Oldfield Drive, on the corner of the track that leads to the allotments, but he fears the track would not be large enough to accommodate the traffic from the 70 homes being proposed by Trenport Investments.

Mr Hepden said: “People keep telling me my home will be compulsorily purchased to allow them to create a wider entrance.

“These rumours have caused - and are still causing - my wife a lot of anxiety; we are both extremely worried.

“There is no other obvious means of access.

The allotment proposal is being looked on with favour by Wouldham Parish Council, because the developers are offering to pay for the construction of a new village hall in return.

Mr Hepden, 39, said: “I have been attending all the parish council meetings, but no-one will tell me this is not the case.

Mr Hepden and his wife have three children aged eight, four and three, all at local schools.

He said: “We have lived in the village for the past four years. We have three children at our local Jellybeans play-school, and our eldest is at All Saints School, both in Wouldham.

“Our lives are settled and based in and around Wouldham.

“Why should we be put under all this stress, strain and worry? We do not want to be forced from our home, why should we be?”

Tracey Crouch, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford, has been taking a strong interest in the proposals.

Last week she and local Tory councillors Roger Dalton and Dave Davis circulated a ballot paper to residents asking them to take part in an “unofficial referendum” on whether they were in favour of the allotment scheme or not.

Miss Crouch told residents: “Regardless of any personal view we hold it is important we understand the concerns of local residents. As your elected representatives it is our job to ensure your views are heard.”

A closing date of 4pm on Friday has been set for the return of the ballots.

No planning application has yet been submitted for the allotment scheme, but work has begun on another scheme from Trenport to provide 1,000 homes at Peters Pit not far from the village.

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