Around 100 people gathered in Westgate on Sunday 28th November as part of the Kent Day of Action in protest at development on greenfield and agricultural land in the county. The event was organised by the Westgate and Garlinge Action Group Against Housing Development.
People met at Westgate Community Centre in Lymington Road and were treated to speeches from action group member Penny Anne Wells, Green councillor Mike Garner and Labour’s Pauline Farrance. The group also walked up Minster Road to view the fields that are the main development area for a proposed 2000 house estate.
Millwood designer Homes wants to create up to 2000 homes, including up to 100 Extra Care units, a care home, two form entry primary school, health centre and shops, cafes and restaurants on 237 acres which includes agricultural land.
The Westgate Action Group Against Housing Development says the development of a ‘new town’ will mean a massive population increase, lost green fields and a change of environment ‘forever.’
Westgate Town Council has also opposed the development plan, saying “We have always been opposed to the building of houses on the grade 1 and 2 agricultural land, the loss of separation between Westgate and Garlinge, the loss of open space and the over development of our small town.”
Surely the council can put a stop to it or are they overruled by Government rules? Cllr Garner, in his speech, said Thanet’s housing target of more than 17,0000 homes by 2031 had been ‘foisted’ on the district by central government. There’s the answer!
The majority of the new houses are planned for greenfield, agricultural land. Farmland which will be lost forever
An action group spokesperson said: “We were very pleased with the turnout, an estimated 100 people”. Although to be fair, they were probably expecting a few more than 100 people, it’s hardly going to get the developers shaking in their boots!
Councillor Garner also raised the issue of Southern Water sewage spills around the coastline as evidence that infrastructure can’t cope with the current number of houses in the area.
He said “let alone adding another 17,000 to the network. It’s an uphill battle but the more who get involved with local campaign groups and the more who contact their local councillors to object to unnecessary developments in their area, the more likely it will be that things change, and we get the Thanet we deserve that puts people and places first rather than the concrete Thanet the property developers want us to live in.”