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Consultation closes on controversial Sheppey housing scheme

Campaigners Alan Bengall with Maureen Aspley, Marion Beard and Janice Bengall
Campaigners Alan Bengall with Maureen Aspley, Marion Beard and Janice Bengall

A public consultation on a controversial housing scheme for Sheppey closed on Friday as campaigners stepped up their opposition to the development.

Swale council’s Bearing Fruits draft Local Plan includes outlines for 500 new homes off Barton Hill Drive in Minster.

Residents were given an extra four days to make written responses to the document after a glitch with the online consultation page.

The council said it is still wading through “hundreds” of public submissions on the plan from across Swale with 200 replies being received in just one day.

Protesters, led by Alan Bengall from Barton Hill Drive, handed a petition to the council last Monday containing more than 1,000 signatures of householders opposed to the Island scheme.

A minimum of 500 homes, including five pitches for gypsies and travellers, are proposed for a 61-acre green field site to the west of Barton Hill Drive.

The outcome of the consultation is expected to be announced to council members in December.

Mr Bengall, 67, spokesman for opposition group, Bearing Fruits Gone Rotten, previously called for a protest march along Lower Road if the plan isn’t thrown out.

This week he announced the formation of a Facebook page and website as a forum for opponents to the proposals.

He said: “I’ve never been as fired-up about something as I have this Local Plan. The more I’m going into it, the more it seems no one, either the government or the council, seems to be taking responsibility for the document.

“I’m in the process of delivering flyers around the Island to ascertain people’s feelings about a protest march.

“The feedback I’m getting so far suggests if phase two of the plan goes ahead, then so will the march.”
Other sites at the outskirts of existing developments across the Island have also been proposed for housing in the draft.

For more information on Bearing Fruits Gone Rotten, go to Facebook - Bearing Fruits or email: bfgrsheppey@gmail.com

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