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Sheerness residents of Seager Road concerned over Oceanview plans to build more homes

By Emma Grove

Angry residents are voicing their concerns over plans to build more homes near a site they say is already too close to a busy road.

Work is underway to construct 27 houses and eight flats at the back of Seager Road in Sheerness.

Councillors granted Oceanview Associates permission in 2010 with proposals later approved for access to be created by demolishing a house in Marine Parade.

Wayne Featherstone and the development taking place behind his house in Seager Road, Sheerness
Wayne Featherstone and the development taking place behind his house in Seager Road, Sheerness

Residents and members of the nearby Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club were worried about creating a junction on what they say is a busy road, close to a blind bend.

The concerns are increased by a disabled parking bay outside the club and the new access to the Isle of Sheppey Academy as it is felt both drivers’ and pedestrians’ views will be obstructed by houses and traffic.

In September last year, Moat Housing bought the site so it can use the £5m development to provide ‘much needed affordable homes in Swale’.

Now Oceanview has applied to Swale council to knock down the garages opposite the sailing club and build five more houses and nine flats on land owned by Moat.

There have been discussions about the new proposal on a Facebook group set up against the original development and three objections have been logged online.

Wayne Featherstone, who lives in Seager Road and campaigned against the initial development, says he is disappointed to see the new plans.

“I don’t think what is going in now should be there, let alone anymore,” he said.

“I will object but there’s no point in a campaign because they didn’t listen to us last time.

“We raised all the points [with the council] and the one we are most worried about is people being killed or injured on the road.

Work is on-going to build houses at the back of Seager Road, Sheerness
Work is on-going to build houses at the back of Seager Road, Sheerness

“We hope it doesn’t, but we think it will happen and it will be interesting to see who takes responsibility if it does.

“The work going on already has been very disruptive – noisy and dusty.”

Once finished, all the housing will be provided through Moat, and there will be a mix of rented properties and homes with an element of shared ownership.

Mr Featherstone raised several concerns with Swale council and Moat Housing about work on the first development.

He claims activity on part of the site had to be stopped because wildlife was found and that nearby residents are suffering shaking in their homes and are worried about cracks forming.

There are also fears about the sewerage coping, and Mr Featherstone says the builders have hit an underground stream, which has led him to worry about sinkholes forming.

A spokesman for Swale council said permission was granted after careful consideration of various issues and following guidance from Southern Water, the Environment Agency and Kent Wildlife Trust. The spokesman said the issue of potential underground streams and sinkholes would not have a bearing on planning permission.

Swale Borough Council logo
Swale Borough Council logo

A Southern Water spokesman said the development is not yet connected to the waste network, adding: “We have a duty to provide water and wastewater infrastructure to serve new developments and work with developers to achieve this.

This work will including carrying out a ‘health check’ of the wastewater pumping station serving this area to ensure it can cope.”

A spokesman for Moat said when the current developer, McCulloch’s, was appointed, an ecological survey was carried out which found there was potential for reptiles.

As a result, a fence has been put in to provide a safe habitat for them with a view to moving them once the weather improves and suitable sites are found.

The spokesman said: “We have received only one inquiry from a resident regarding future impact of our works.

“McCulloch’s immediately inspected their property. While vibrations can be felt off site, it was ascertained the property in question was already in need of repointing, and our works meet legal and regulatory boundary requirements in terms of distance from existing homes.

“All works have been conducted in partnership with Southern Water.

The view of the development from Mr Featherstone's house
The view of the development from Mr Featherstone's house

“Subject to its formal approval, we are looking to connect to the existing sewer.

“We have not uncovered any streams. Due to this year’s bad weather, we have encountered the high water table, but this is only to be expected.

“The site has had extensive tests on ground conditions and none of these gave reason to believe there was any reason for concern regarding sinkholes.”

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