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Campaign to guard countryside gears up

CAMPAIGN: Dr Hilary Newport
CAMPAIGN: Dr Hilary Newport

A CAMPAIGN group dedicated to protecting rural England will drop leaflets through the doors of thousands of homes across Kent in the next few weeks.

They will ask for people's opinion on the house building planned for the county over the next 20 years and will explain how this could affect them.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England says much of Kent's countryside is in danger of being destroyed.

It adds that the Government is planing to build 20,000 homes in Ashford, 15,500 in Dartford, 8,300 in Maidstone and 7,700 in the Canterbury area over the next 15 years.

Dr Hilary Newport, director of CPRE Kent, says: "There are so many proposals and reports which have been bubbling under and they're all due to become public in the next few months.

"If they all get permission, in 15 years' time there will be at least 18 per cent more houses in Kent - and the pressure just keeps on to increase that number even higher.

"That's well over 100,000 more homes on our doorsteps, covering up the countryside that we all know and love so much. We just can't sit back and let that happen."

Dr Newport said that the CPRE disagreed with developers using greenfield sites because it was cheaper than using brownfield areas. It was also concerned at the lack of services being provided to support more than 100,000 new households in Kent.

"We already have continual traffic jams on Kent roads and people struggle to get a doctor or a dental appointment because there's too much demand," Dr Newport said.

"Places in schools are already at a premium and hospitals have long waiting lists. It will get much, much worse if these proposals get permission and things aren't planned properly."

* CPRE played a major role in helping the people of Faversham stop development of the town's historic Abbey Farm.

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