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Protestors hand petition to AC Goatham & Son headquarters over plans for 1,250 homes in Pump Lane, Rainham

ByKatie May Nelson

Concerned residents have ratcheted up their opposition to a housing development.

Protestors hand delivered a petition with more than 2,800 signatures against a proposal to develop the land off Pump Lane, Rainham, to the headquarters of AC Goatham & Son.

The fruit-farming company wants to build 1,250 homes on the land which is currently orchards.

Protestors walk towards AC Goatham & Son's head office at Flanders Farm, Ratcliffe Highway, Hoo (15429364)
Protestors walk towards AC Goatham & Son's head office at Flanders Farm, Ratcliffe Highway, Hoo (15429364)

Fifteen protestors armed with banners and posters marched toward Flanders Farm, Ratcliffe Highway, Hoo, on Monday, chanting “save our orchard”.

The company’s plans also include a primary school, a 60-bed extra care facility, an 80-bed care home, a village hall and green including a children’s play area.

If approved, the site would extend to parts of Lower Bloors Lane to the east and Lower Twydall Lane to the west.

The protestors have estimated that the development would cause the loss of 7km of ancient hedgerow, as well as 126 acres of agricultural land.

Marie Fuligar, who was at the protest and lives in Pump Lane, said: “An influx of 5,000 people coming in is going to put on an enormous strain; there are no plans for extra GP surgeries, it takes two weeks to book into the local GP service at the moment.

“There are no plans for dental or walk-in centres.

Protestors at AC Goatham & Son's head office at Flanders Farm, Ratcliffe Highway, Hoo (15429362)
Protestors at AC Goatham & Son's head office at Flanders Farm, Ratcliffe Highway, Hoo (15429362)

“The traffic on the road is absolutely horrendous at the moment. If you get problems on the M2 or A2, Pump Lane and Lower Rainham Road just becomes a car park and it just can’t cope.

“It’s going to be devastating for the area. Sometimes we have to say ‘enough is enough’.”

Fellow protester Jackie Stead said: “I live in Bloors Lane and all the traffic that comes there is outside my house.

Attendees to the public consultation on plans to develop the land off Pump Lane at Riverside Country Park's visitor's centre(15429366)
Attendees to the public consultation on plans to develop the land off Pump Lane at Riverside Country Park's visitor's centre(15429366)

“You can’t have your windows open because where the houses were built, they are quite close to the road and all the road gets blocked with all the cars going up there. It’s just a nightmare. I’ve lived there since 2007 and it’s just got worse, and earlier, with the traffic that comes up Bloors Lane.

“I do get upset about it, to think that it’s going to get worse if this is built.

“I can’t get off my driveway when it is in busy periods.”

Sam Bennett, 10, added: “There’s going to be a school built there so it’s going to be much busier down the road.

“These houses will cause more pollution because the cars are bad enough and the pollution is going to get worse.”

A public consultation into the plans was also held on Saturday.

Local councillors Kristine Carr and Martin Potter (both Con) hosted an event at the Riverside Country Park Visitor Centre.

More than 140 people were in attendance to discuss the plans, write objections and pose questions to councillors and Medway Council’s head of planning Dave Harris.

A spokesman for AC Goatham & Son said: “We welcome feedback from local residents and respect their right to express their views on the application.”

Further protests are planned for Friday, September 6 and Saturday, September 14.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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