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Sophie Countess of Wessex's visit to Marden Sports Club clashes with protest against 2,000 homes

By Luke May

A royal visit from Sophie Countess of Wessex is set to clash with a march against thousands of homes.

Marden villagers are planning to protest against a proposed "garden community", which could bring 2,000 homes and two schools to the village.

But the march, planned for Saturday lunchtime, is likely to clash with a visit from royalty at Marden Sports Club.

Claudine Russell, chairwoman of Marden Planning Opposition with other organisers and supporters, standing on the land where 2,000 homes could be built. Picture by: John Westhrop (7602776)
Claudine Russell, chairwoman of Marden Planning Opposition with other organisers and supporters, standing on the land where 2,000 homes could be built. Picture by: John Westhrop (7602776)

The Maidstone Road club is opening a new cricket, hockey, tennis and netball club, which will be officially opened by the Countess of Wessex at 12.30pm.

Club president Frank Tipples said: "Born and raised here in the Weald, a keen sportswoman and her nephew a Marden cricketer, Her Royal Highness is the perfect choice to officially open our new club."

But while the club is celebrating, angry locals will be out protesting proposals which could bring thousands of homes to the village.

Sian Price & Sue Evans of Marden ladies and K Sports ladies at Marden Sports Club. Picture: Andy Jones (4188139)
Sian Price & Sue Evans of Marden ladies and K Sports ladies at Marden Sports Club. Picture: Andy Jones (4188139)

Last week we showed a striking image which showed the difference 2,000 homes could have on the village.

Protesters will gather at midday at Marden's Memorial Hall, setting off at 12.30pm for a half-mile walk up the High Street to Southons Field.

There villagers will congregate for lunch.

Paul, a local builder, from Monteray Homes, is against the proposal of 2,000 new properties being built in Marden. Picture by: John Westhrop (9776112)
Paul, a local builder, from Monteray Homes, is against the proposal of 2,000 new properties being built in Marden. Picture by: John Westhrop (9776112)

The High Street and parts of Goudhurst Road and Maidstone Road will be closed from 12.30pm until 1pm as a result of the march.

Claudine Russell, Chair of Marden Planning Opposition: "The scale of this proposal is truly shocking and has united the people of Marden in fighting this development.

"We simply don’t have the infrastructure or services to support 2000 more houses and two new schools, and it would mean Marden would cease to be a village and instead become a town."

For more news in Marden and elsewhere in The Weald, click here.

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