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Villagers in Shepherdswell, near Dover, fighting plans for bungalow estate amid fears for countryside

Villagers are fighting plans for a new housing estate in the Kent countryside as they claim it will destroy nature and their quality of life.

Almost 200 residents are objecting to a scheme for 39 bungalows on two adjoining parcels of open pasture on the edge of Shepherdswell, near Dover.

How the new homes at Shepherdswell could look
How the new homes at Shepherdswell could look

But agents for developer Guildcrest Homes (UK) say it is a carefully planned, high-quality development that will help meet the district’s housing land supply requirements.

The company is proposing a 10-acre estate of two and three-bedroom bungalows and chalet bungalows with two new accesses via St Andrew’s Gardens.

The agent adds: “House types have been thoughtfully designed to respond to the existing topography, preserve neighbouring amenity and to create engaging new streets.”

But the application has sparked dozens of objections, including from Shepherdswell with Coldred Parish Council, which believes the site is overdeveloped, will overload the sewerage system and has unsuitable access.

The proposed layout of the housing estate at Shepherdswell
The proposed layout of the housing estate at Shepherdswell

Submitting an objection on behalf of 164 residents, Cllr John Bulaitis says that although amended, the plans still present issues around drainage and sewage capacity, problems of access through St Andrew’s Gardens and impact on the surrounding countryside.

In her objection, Cicely Finnis brands the application “ridiculous”.

“Access at the top of the village is horrendous most of the day,” she says.

“The beautiful views for the current residents will be ruined. The infrastructure within the village is already poor, the school will not be large enough and the absence of a bus service will increase cars.”

Katy Tipping complains that utilities in the village are already stretched, with the school and doctors' surgery at capacity.

CGI of the proposed bungalow development
CGI of the proposed bungalow development

“There will also be a dramatic negative impact on the environment, wildlife and the quality of life of the people of Shepherdswell as the new houses will ruin the surrounding area of the North Downs way and destroy green land in the village,” she adds.

The applicants held a public consultation in the village hall prior to submitting the scheme to Dover District Council for approval.

Afterwards they said: “There is a section of the community in Shepherdswell that have expressed their desire to see no more development whatsoever.

“But this is not a view shared by all residents and the impact on neighbours to the site and the wider community has been carefully considered.”

The plans will be decided by DDC’s planning committee.

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