Pledge to continue fight on garden town

01 / 05 / 20

Save Our Heath Lands (SOHL) action group has raised concerns regarding the Council’s recent decision to pump a further £100,000 of taxpayer’s money into its proposed garden community at Lenham Heath, despite its appeal to the Government for further funding to maintain vital services as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

At its first virtual meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee last Wednesday, which was fraught with IT issues, councillors agreed to forge ahead with the garden community as its preferred scheme with total disregard for the substantial and well-founded concerns raised by local residents.

Kate Hammond from SOHL action group said: “Despite the Council painting a bleak picture about its financial position, it is ironic that they have decided to squander a further £100,000 on a housing scheme that has been doomed from the start.

“It was clear from the officer’s report that it didn’t provide the councillors with any new information or data, than from when the scheme was first revealed last September. We have argued that all the key requirements for the proposed garden community are fundamentally flawed and will continue to challenge the Council on these key principles. Instead of holding the officers to account, the councillors just agreed to plough more money into this scheme. It is clear that councillors are acting in their own ward interests rather than in the interests of residents of the wider borough in pursing this ‘white elephant’.

“We have never been in dispute that the Council is under pressure to meet its housing targets, but given the prospect of an economic and financial downturn, you would think it would be more cautious about pursuing this challenging housing project and risk wasting more taxpayer’s money.”

SOHL has vowed to continue to represent its residents in campaigning to stop the council-led garden community.

Kate said: “Although we are disappointed by the Council’s decision, we are not surprised given its handling of the whole project from the outset. We will continue to challenge the Council and hold the councillors to account regarding this scheme. We might have lost this fight but we will not lose the battle.”

SOHL has received a number of supportive emails and messages disappointed with the Council. One message is clear from residents, we are united and will continue our fight against the Council-led Garden Community.