Devastated residents have hit out over the shock approval of a 141-home development on green space in Tenterden.
The controversial Wates Developments' scheme between Appledore Road and Woodchurch Road was granted permission last month after the developers appealed Ashford Borough Council's original decision to refuse it.
John Debling, whose Woodchurch Road house backs onto the site, known as Limes Land, says he is “extremely disappointed” at the news.
“I think the best way I can put it without needing to be censored is that it is surprising, to say the least, that the facts have been ignored in this case,” he said.
“The facts and the opinions of the residents here have been completely bypassed."
Another Woodchurch Road resident said she and her family are considering moving because of the decision.
“It’s not something we expected to be thinking about but I can’t just stand here and watch that beautiful stretch of land get decimated,” she explained.
“Everyone is upset, but is there really anything we can do at this point? It doesn’t seem like it.
"There is so much building work across the town already, and this land was a literal breath of fresh air.
“It is just so sad, it really is.”
With the decision confirmed, the developers say that work will begin on the site next spring, with a first move in date of autumn 2024.
John and Christine Thompson, who live just a few metres away from where one of the pedestrian and cycle entrances to the new estate will be, say that they have ongoing concerns over the effects the building works could have.
“We could go on and on about how much of a shame it is – and it is absolutely devastating – but the thing now is to make sure that Wates does its job properly,” Mr Thompson said.
“This whole area is effectively a floodplain and our great concern now is that if the groundwork is not done properly, our gardens and even our homes will be flooded.
“You can see it with several other developments in the town; the drainage has not been put in properly and they flood whenever there is heavy rain.”
Mrs Thompson, stood at the bottom of her garden looking out over the field, said that she was preparing to be forced to turn to legal action if needs be.
“There are patches all over the land where water settles whenever it rains,” she explained.
“It can get so bad that the two paths are basically the only places you can walk without sinking into the ground.
“I am going to set up a working group and get legal advice to prepare for the eventuality that our land floods because of the building work.
“Maybe hearing that might make Wates take note and do the job properly – you never know, but I doubt it.”
William Judge Close resident Norman Brice described the approval as a “disaster for Tenterden and the environment”.
A spokesman for Wates Development said: "Throughout the planning application process we have listened to the local community and used this feedback to shape our proposals for Tenterden including reducing the number of homes planned on the site to maximise the open space."