The residents of Hawkhurst Village have become the latest group to ask for help in their battle against new housing development.
In what has become a growing trend across all of Kent, the campaigners want help to stop the building of a major new road and hundreds of houses planned to be built on Hawkhurst Golf Club.
Hawkhurst is a village on the Kent and East Sussex border, and in the middle of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
In July 2019, the owners of the Hawkhurst Golf Club submitted a planning application for a so-called “relief road” plus around 400 houses to be built on the Golf Course. The Club, has been in operation for over 50 years and held many community and fundraising events.
objections to the Planning Inspectorate must be made by by 18th June 2021
Opposition from residents and environmental groups has been significant: amongst others, Natural England, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Weald of Kent Protection Society have all objected. Hundreds of emails and letters have been submitted to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) in opposition.
TWBC has removed the site as an allocation from the Draft Local Plan, currently under review, and has also stated that they would have refused the developer’s application. The developers have now appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and a full Planning Inquiry is being held in September. The result of the Inquiry could have a dire effect on the outcome of other past, present and future applications to build in Hawkhurst.
The campaigners are saying that Hawkhurst does not have the infrastructure to cope with this growth in the local population and pollution will also increase. The developer estimates that there will be a 100% increase in traffic movements on the High Street.
The Campaign to Protect Hawkhurst Village has joined forces with Hawkhurst Parish Council to secure Rule 6 status at the Inquiry. This means that they will be considered a main party to the proceedings and be professionally represented.
Some funding has already been secured from pledges from local residents, and Hawkhurst Parish Council has very generously agreed to donate a sizable amount towards the legal and expert witness costs. As a result, the Parish Council are drawing on funds that were earmarked for other community projects.
There are further details on the Save Hawkhurst webpage here.
The fundraising page can be found here.