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Villagers protest against Lenham Heath Garden Community

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Villagers in Lenham have said "enough is enough" as they warn a 5,000-home village could cause "environmental destruction on a biblical scale".

Residents turned out in force to support a day of action at the weekend organised by the Save Our Heathlands (SOHL) group.

Save Our Heathlands day of protest at Lenham
Save Our Heathlands day of protest at Lenham

The villagers are angry at the council's continued inclusion of a 5,000-home garden village at nearby Lenham Heath in its Local Plan Review.

Lenham has already agreed in its recently adopted Neighbourhood Plan to accommodate more than 1,000 new homes over the next 10 years, nearly doubling the size of the village. The community does not believe they should be asked to carry any further burden.

SOHL leader Kate Hammond said: "It wasn't just people from Lenham at our event on Sunday, we were joined by villagers from Harrietsham, Egerton, Charing, Charing Heath and Platts Heath.

"No-one wants to see 5,000 more homes parachuted into the middle of the Kent countryside."

SOHL said the borough council’s plan represented "environmental destruction on a biblical scale."

One protester's view
One protester's view

Mrs Hammond said: "Despite the council’s new leader Cllr David Burton claiming that climate change is at the core of every decision and action the council takes, its draft Local Plan now out for public consultation, is proposing environmental destruction on a biblical scale with the desecration of over 1,200 acres of greenfield land earmarked for housing development over the next 20 years.

"The hypocrisy is astounding.”

She said: "Maidstone council has already wasted over £50,000 of our money on a superfluous public relations company trying to persuade us the garden village is a good idea. And it's spent an eye-watering £564,000 so far on developing its vanity project.

"There are so many other essential public services who are in desperate need of these funds. The council should be ashamed.”

The borough argues that it is obliged by the Government to meet its housing targets, and that a garden village, which is large enough to finance mitigation measures, is a better way to do that then many scattered small-scale building sites.

There was one clear message: Say No to homes on the heathland
There was one clear message: Say No to homes on the heathland

The Local Plan Review, setting out not just the garden village proposal, but also many other developments and policies across the borough, is currently out for public consultation.

Residents can view it and give their opinions on the borough's website.

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