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Queenborough resident Malcolm Bennett has concerns about work which is going on at the Klondyke and Twyford development in Rushenden Road, Rushenden

By Emma Grove

A resident has raised concerns about the “destruction” of part of a conservation area, but Swale council says the loss of trees is acceptable given the benefits of the development.

Malcolm Bennett, of High Street, Queenborough, is worried about the work going on at the Klondyke and Twyford sites in Rushenden Road, Rushenden.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) project, which was given the go ahead earlier this year, is part of the wider Queenborough and Rushenden masterplan and sees land being prepared for up to 250 houses.

Malcolm Bennett is concerned with some of the work going on at the Klondyke and Twyford land on the other side of the creek
Malcolm Bennett is concerned with some of the work going on at the Klondyke and Twyford land on the other side of the creek

Mr Bennett’s fears are around the nearby creek-side conservation area where three trees are due to be removed on the Klondyke side of the plan.

He worries it will be prepared for further development and what makes him more concerned is the fact the HCA had previously promised work would stop along the boundary of the zone.

The 64-year-old has been liaising with Swale council.

He said: “It gives me huge concerns the conservation area will be destroyed.

“This area is important. Ripping the heart out of it, destroying the trees with no plans for immediate replanting just sends out a public message that isn’t good.

“If there was to be some sort of acknowledgment that this rare green space is going to stay that way, it would allay most people’s fears.”

But Swale council’s case officer Emma Eisinger, who recommended approval was granted, said given the condition of the trees which will be lost, she considers it an acceptable result of the development and the benefits of it will far outweigh their loss.

James Freeman, Swale’s head of planning services, said if there was to be any future development within the conservation area it would be the subject of further planning applications and residents would be consulted.

He added: “Development regularly takes place within conservation areas.

“Conservation areas do not preclude development but apply special controls so that more development is controlled and so that the historic character and appearance is given special consideration.”

An HCA spokesman said the work currently being carried out is on the Twyford side of the site and grass and vegetation are being cleared so reptiles can be collected and moved to safe areas.

Senior development manager Neil Miller said: “Next steps are to secure a contractor to prepare the land for development.

“As always, any detailed proposals for the future development of this area will be subject to obtaining the necessary planning consents, so that means any plans will need to be made available for the public to have their say.”

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