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Villagers vow to fight plans to build hundreds of homes in Hartley and New Ash Green

People say they will fight proposals to build what could almost be a new town on their doorsteps as plans for 800 homes go on show.

Hartley and New Ash Green residents have taken to social media to voice their anger at the Sevenoaks District Local Plan, which could see hundreds of new additions to their area.

Consultation for the 800 new homes to be built will run until Monday, September 10, and will gives people the chance to voice their concerns.

A banner made for the 'No Hartley Expansion' group
A banner made for the 'No Hartley Expansion' group

Howard Bonner, 59, is the secretary at Hartley Country Club, in Culvey Close, and is part of the recently formed ‘No Hartley Expansion’ group.

He said: “Our action group believes that this plan is inappropriate for our village.

“We take the view that the landowners are custodians of this land for future generations and not for short-term gain.

“The majority of people we canvassed in Hartley and surround areas are opposed to this development, which will increase the size of our village by approximately 20%.

“GP services are at breaking point and the infrastructure, especially the existing road network, cannot cope with increased traffic volumes this development would bring."

Mr Bonner, of Ash Road, thinks the council needs to focus on other problems.

He added: "The plan doesn’t address the currently overcrowded commuter trains from Longfield and Ebbsfleet.

"Additionally, school places at our current primary schools will be able to sustain the influx of new pupils from this development.

“We would encourage Hartley residents to attend the forthcoming meetings at Hartley Church Centre, which can be found on our Facebook page.”

The council has also arranged several drop in sessions for people to attend.

Blighs Meadow in Sevenoaks will host one from 11am to 3pm, on Thursday, July 26. and there will also be one on Tuesday, July, 31, from 2pm to 8pm will be at All Saints Church Centre, Hartley.

Another session will be held at Waitrose in Edenbridge on Tuesday, August 14, 2pm-8pm. While Swanley Link, in London Road, will also hold one on Wednesday, August 29, from 2pm to 8pm.

The Sevnoaks Local Plan can be found on their website. (3197864)
The Sevnoaks Local Plan can be found on their website. (3197864)

The final drop-in session will be held at Sevenoaks District Council headquarters, in Argyle Road, on Wednesday, September 5, between 2pm and 8pm.

Cllr Robert Piper, the council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “The new Local Plan is really important - it gives us a once in a generation opportunity to improve retail and local infrastructure and provide new schools, medical facilities and much needed new homes for our children and grandchildren in the years to come.

“We’re keen to hear what everyone thinks - whether they support the proposals for new homes or if they have comments on the possible sites for new developments.

“I would urge residents to read the Plan and make their views known when the consultation opened on Monday July 16.”

Some people from the area aren’t happy with the proposed developments, and some have suggested protesting online, while one user posted “I hope we are preparing for a battle."

Aimee, of Porchester Close, thinks the plans will bring residents closer together.

The Sevenoaks Local Plan can be found on their website
The Sevenoaks Local Plan can be found on their website

She said: “I think we all need to come together as a community and make the council see that it’s not a viable option. I’ve seen people pulling together.

“Just because there is space doesn’t mean it is right for housing.”

Since an initial public consultation at Corinthians, the ‘No Hartley Expansion’ group has doubled in members.

People opposing the development are keen to get the plans on social media, as they believe the Plan was purposely not made public.

Aimee added: “The development was not made public. Residents were not made aware of the proposal.

“The people who have set up the no Hartley expansion group are trying to make as many people aware of the situation as possible.

“We should have been written to. I only found out about the meeting to show the plans after.”

Sevenoaks District Council and Billings Group, the developer have been contacted for a comment.

Spokesman for SDC, Owen Thompson, said: "As part of the Local Plan, landowners have been invited to put forward sites for new housing and schools and other infrastructure projects, to meet the District’s needs up to 2035.

"We have now prepared a draft local plan and are asking residents from all over the District to give us their views on the plan."

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