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BRAD campaigners vow to fight on against 700 home Borden housing development

By William Janes

Campaigners opposed to the construction of nearly 700 homes in Borden have vowed to continue the fight, whatever the cost.

Members of Borden Residents Against Development (BRAD) met on Saturday at Borden Village Hall, in School lane, to discuss their next step to stop a massive housing project approved in January.

Swale Borough Council (SBC) voted in favour of plans to build as many as 675 homes, a new primary school, shops, and a rugby clubhouse and pitches, by Wises Lane and Cryalls lane.

Outraged residents raised their hands in favour of fighting on
Outraged residents raised their hands in favour of fighting on

Proposals also include a new link road between Borden Lane and Chestnut Street, linking to the A249.

The application by Quinn Estates received thousand of objection letters and on the night of the vote residents overflowed into SBC headquarters to voice their opinions.

According to leading BRAD member Nicola Butlin, the group is seeking thousands of pounds to mount a legal challenge against the authority.

Estimates for a solicitor to assess their case range from £5,000 - £6,000 and that's before paying a barrister, predicted to cost between £10,000 and £12,000.

If the legal experts decide the campaigners stand a chance, they say they will need in the region of £35,000 to launch a full fight to halt the development. To raise the funds, the group has set up a JustGiving page.

Campaigners are fighting plans for homes off Cryalls Lane and Wises Lane in Borden
Campaigners are fighting plans for homes off Cryalls Lane and Wises Lane in Borden

Outraged residents claim that the project overreaches the local plan and that it will have a devastating effect on air quality and traffic in the area.

They also say it will mean the loss of good agricultural land.

However its proponents have argued it will bring investment to Borden and other villages and improve roads.

BRAD campaigner Gaynor Aspin
BRAD campaigner Gaynor Aspin

Campaigner Gaynor Aspin said: "BRAD has maintained from the outset that this development will have a far-reaching effect on the wider community not just the village itself. So BRAD volunteers delivered leaflets to a very wide area which WILL be affected by the development at Wises Lane. There were people from Sittingbourne, Bobbing, Tunstall, Borden Lane, Homewood Avenue and the Australia and New Zealand estate, Oad Street, Sterling Road, Hearts Delight and many others.

"A vote was taken on whether to continue the fight after it was explained to residents that a financial commitment and further involvement would be needed to continue. It was stressed to the residents that the decision was theirs and theirs alone whether they wanted to continue and after a question and answer session the vote was taken. It was overwhelmingly in favour of continuing the fight."

Developer Mark Quinn
Developer Mark Quinn

Reacting to the decision Quinn estates managing director Mark Quinn said: "I think it's a shame really that a group that is essentially a NIMBY group are going to prevent people enjoying what they do which is having a roof over their heads.

"I have got to stand up for the people who want to live in it and want to own a house. We have gone through a democratic process which was the planning committee."

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