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Protest march against road and houses plan

A mass demonstration is set to take place over what campaigners say are ‘monstrous expansion plans’ for the town.

The Five Parishes Opposition Group (FPOG) believes Swale council’s proposals will see thousands of unnecessary houses being built across Sittingbourne as well as a new link road in the next 20 years.

Residents are being asked for their views on the four options being put forward by the council as part of a public consultation entitled Pick Your Own.

Ideas include expanding the Port of Sheerness, the Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne and some villages.

Included in two of the options is a new Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road between the M2 and A2.

Andy Hudson (pictured), a member of the group, said: "We want everyone to know what’s at stake. Two of the options involve large scale expansion of the Kent Science Park.

"The Kent Science Park favours the option with just a motorway junction.

However, it is the longer term aim of the plan as well as government policy that the junction be linked to a major road such as the A2, therefore the Southern Relief Road and 5,000 houses to fund the road are a prerequisite of both options, whether they like it or not."

The FPOG is urging as many people as possible to join them on their protest march.

It will start outside the Wilkinsons store in Sittingbourne High Street at 10.30am on Saturday, February 26. It will end outside the council offices in East Street where there will be a presentation to councillors.

The group, which represents Bapchild, Bredgar, Milstead, Tunstall and Rodmersham, hopes it will be as successful as the march it held back in 2006 which attracted more than 200 participants.

The demonstration was against similar plans put forward by Kent Science Park.

Mr Hudson added: "Now the housing proposals have re-emerged as part of Swale council’s core strategy.

"The only difference is the possible locations of the 5,000 houses.

"Bapchild, Tonge, Teynham, Iwade, Minister, Halfway and Sittingbourne have all been identified as possible options."

The consultation ends at 5pm on March 14.

To view the document visit www.swale.gov.uk/ldf and to comment on the council’s core strategy consultation visit www.swale.gov.uk/pyo

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