Wouldham villagers feel they are under siege.
First there is a long-standing plan to build an entire new village, with around 1,000 homes, on former industrial land at Peter’s Pit.
Now the same developer, Trenport Investments, is proposing up to 70 homes on the village allotments, in exchange for a contribution towards a new village hall.
Keith Churcher addresses the meeting
Around 100 people attended a public meeting on Saturday, which was co-chaired by Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch (Con).
Among them were residents from Burham and Eccles, which will also be affected by the Peter’s Village plan.
Miss Crouch said after the meeting: “The masterplan for Peter’s Village was approved back in 2006. That was under a different planning regime and before I was elected to Parliament. There is nothing we can do about that.
The audience at Wouldham Village Hall
”But the villagers expressed real concerns about specific aspects of the proposals, particularly highways issues, and I think we shall be able to ask for modifications to the plans that would be helpful.”
As far as the proposals for more homes on the allotments goes, Miss Crouch said: “The residents are right. Wouldham doesn’t need any more homes, particularly when the effects of Peter's Village are yet to be felt.”
That view was supported by Gill Goode of Cornwell Crescent. She referred to an email she had received from Tonbridge and Malling Council’s director of planning, Steve Humphrey, when she had disputed the grant of planning permission for Peter’s Village back in 2006.
Mr Humphrey assured her: “I agree with you that it is very important to protect areas from over-development.
“This is why the managed development of Peters Pit is important so that we can be sure that we have a land supply to demonstrate that further land release in the vicinity is not justified, for a very, very long time at least.”
Mrs Goode said: “We don’t need more houses with Peter’s Village just half a mile away.
“The allotments have already been moved once, 15 years ago, when Oldfield Drive was constructed.
“Every time they are moved further into the countryside and the urban area keeps expanding.”
Ferry Road resident Keith Churcher called the meeting. He said: “People had their say. There was no shouting, no argument. Tracey Crouch took notes on a number of points she is going to chase for us and then we shall hold another meeting to discuss progress.”