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Hardworking families who moved from Gravesend to the countryside fear the proposed Lower Thames Crossing


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A young family who have grafted to live the countryside dream could be trapped in a noisy, polluted hell, after learning a dual carriageway is planned less than 30 metres from their front door.

Louise Lawrence, formerly of Gravesend, moved to Forge Lane, Shorne, after she and her gardener husband, who works six days a week, managed to raise enough money to move to the country.

The 36-year-old said: “We’re the closest house to the road, but we didn’t get a letter from Highways England saying we might be affected by the plans. I went to the consultation and it’s hugely concerning.

Louise Lawrence with daughter Mia in Forge Lane are just 30 metres from where the road is to be built.
Louise Lawrence with daughter Mia in Forge Lane are just 30 metres from where the road is to be built.

“Because the road doesn’t go through our property, it seems unlikely we will be bought out, even though we will be directly affected and our house will plummet in value.

“We’ve worked really, really hard to be able to afford this lifestyle, but we won’t want to live here with a huge road next door.

“All the pollution and the noise – you don’t move out to the country for that.

“I’m really worried we’ll end up stuck here, or lose a lot of money moving away. I’m not naive – I know we can’t carry on with the traffic the way it is. I know it’s selfish to say ‘not in my back yard’, but it all just seems so unfair.

The routes for the proposed Lower Thames Crossings
The routes for the proposed Lower Thames Crossings

“It’s knocked us for six and it’s so upsetting. This was meant to be our forever home, and we’ve done a lot of work on it.

“It will destroy the village too, and it’s such a lovely community around here. Developers couldn’t build houses on this land because it’s all protected, but apparently the government can build a huge road.

“Surely there are more straight forward routes? It wouldn’t affect so many people if they cut along the side of the Southern Valley Golf Course instead.”

A family who forked out a hefty amount of money for a Grade II listed property steeped in history only six weeks ago, have been left astounded by the plans.

Katie O'Mara has only just bought a house in Forge Lane but with a road due to be built at the bottom of her garden, is wishing she never had.
Katie O'Mara has only just bought a house in Forge Lane but with a road due to be built at the bottom of her garden, is wishing she never had.

Katie O’Mara has just bought the house in Forge Lane with husband Matt, but with the road due to be built just feet away from the bottom of her garden, they are wishing they never moved from Gravesend.

The building is closely linked with St Katherine’s Chapel, and used to house the local nuns.
Mum of two young boys, Mrs O’Mara, 39, said: “We looked over the draft plans with our solicitor before moving here, but the Shorne option wasn’t really on the table.

“It looked as though the road was going a different route, and even Option C generally looked unlikely given how much more it was going to cost.

“Hearing this news is obviously devastating. It’s made us so down.

“We’re refurbishing at the moment, and you just don’t know what to do. Do you carry on, knowing your house will drop in value, or wait and put your life on hold?

Forge Lane, Shorne, could be destroyed by the new Thames crossing proposals
Forge Lane, Shorne, could be destroyed by the new Thames crossing proposals

“I don’t know how the government can justify people losing all this money – all our savings.
“The road is also going right next to a school. That’s awful for the children.

“Plus you’ve got a lovely community, pubs, horses and riders walking down the road. It’s idyllic and that will all be ruined.”

Police officer Andy Yerlett lives in Crown Green, Shorne, with his partner and their home overlooks the site of the new Thames Crossing proposals.

“It’s easy to assume a lot of people in this area have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths, but it’s not the case.

“A lot of people, like us, worked their way up to living here. We moved over from Northfleet and wanted to be a part of this beautiful area and community.

Andy Yerlett, of Crown Green, Shorne overlooks the site of the new Thames crossing proposals
Andy Yerlett, of Crown Green, Shorne overlooks the site of the new Thames crossing proposals

“My partner worked in Dartford and knows first hand how awful the backlogs and traffic and noise are from the bridge every day, and all through the night as well.

“We don’t want that in the countryside. You can hear a pin drop here at night at the moment.

“She’s so upset by it all, there have been a lot of tears.

“We’ve already lost so much of Cobham Woods because of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
“I’d like these planners to actually come down to this village, come in our home and see what it is they’re considering destroying, and how much people stand to lose.”

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