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Anger at plans to build 400 homes off Coldharbour Road and Wrotham Road in Gravesend

By Sean McPolin

Plans to build 400 homes have been described as a future "nightmare" by those living nearby.

Developers will start work at the beginning of next year - three years after approval was given by Gravesham council.

Cabinet member for planning and regeneration Cllr Julia Burgoyne (Ind) said: “Although the developers received detailed planning approval from the council for the design and layout of the development in July, there are still some other planning conditions that need to be approved and discharged.

Sample sketches of the plans for Coldharbour Road
Sample sketches of the plans for Coldharbour Road

“[That includes things] such as the construction arrangements before they can physically make a start on the actual development, which we now anticipate will commence sometime next year.”

Developers say the site on land north of Coldharbour Road and west of Wrotham Road will offer "affordable housing" as well as play areas, cycle paths and open space.

Housebuilding companies Bovis Homes and Persimmon are in charge of the planned developments.

Spokesman for Bovis Homes Sean Ranson said: “Our current programme sees construction of the first homes scheduled to start in spring 2019 and we will look to communicate closely with the community as work progresses.

“The usual preparatory work is being carried out at the moment, with archaeological surveys taking place on the first phase of the development.”

It comes after plans for a second Lidl store nearby in Gravesend were submitted to the council earlier this month.

Residents living in the area say there's no way the roads could cope with another 400 homes
Residents living in the area say there's no way the roads could cope with another 400 homes

If successful, the store and other commercial units would be built on the land south of Coldharbour Road near the Morrisons supermarket.

The proposal for the 2,125 sq m store would add more than 140 car parking spaces.

Kevin Back, who lives nearby in Hilary Avenue, thinks the developments don’t take into consideration the problems traffic will cause for locals.

He said: “I’m not surprised they are building homes again, they seem to be building more and more houses that aren’t needed.

"It’s going to be a nightmare for people trying to get along the road and coming off or getting on the motorway, full of cars - the roads won’t cope.

"They haven’t taken into consideration how the traffic will affect residents at all.”

"It's going to be a nightmare for people trying to get along the road and coming off or getting on the motorway... the roads won't cope" - Kevin Black

The plans came under fire when they were first revealed more than three years ago from Gravesham councillors.

Cllr Lauren Sullivan (Lab), who represents Northfleet North ward, said: “ellenor hospice needs to extend their essential care of supporting individuals and families facing terminal illnesses.

“The land adjacent to the hospice has no planned houses on it and as a goodwill gesture the land should be given to the hospice for the cost of £1.”

Gravesham councillor for Coldharbour ward Shane Mochrie-Cox (Lab), says the houses being planned aren’t the ones the borough needs.

“I am disappointed that they have started as while we need new homes for local people - including truly affordable homes, council and social housing - these houses are not them," he said.

“Indeed during the planning development phase when I asked for the developers to define a price they thought was affordable to local people they declined to give me an answer.

Shane Mochrie-Cox thinks the development will be a bad idea
Shane Mochrie-Cox thinks the development will be a bad idea

“I spoke up for local residents and argued against the development speaking at the planning committee against this for a number of reasons including the impact of local residents, parking, traffic issues, boundary hedge, supporting infrastructure and the impact on the local hospice.

“I will now be working to ensure that the impact on local people is minimised and that the developers show a social conscience and support the local community through agreements and other goodwill gestures including the much loved ellenor hospice in my ward which does so much for so many people.”

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