join donate discuss

Sholden – Even More Building On Precious Farmland 

Letter published in Dover Express 23 Feb 2023:

Protecting farmland and food security matters in these tough times. Cutting fuel poverty by making all the homes within our existing East Kent towns healthy and cheap-to-heat matters just as much. We Green campaigners did a door-to-door survey before Christmas in Sholden’s older and newer streets and 90% of the people we heard from said ‘we have enough housing already’.  So the Mercury’s front page story of Richborough Estates taking the decision on 155 extra dwellings to the Planning Inspectorate shines more light on what is wrong with planning.

The local Green Party submitted a detailed alternative Local Plan in 24 pages, in Dec 2022 saying how we needed to transform existing homes, and build 5-10 times as much new council housing, (32 new properties are not so many). Download a PDF of our submission. We emphasized how much we need to protect wildlife habitats given the devastating fall in wildlife numbers, and protect farmland to grow our food on. We emphasized how much our district needs restoration & improvement of our lost public services and better public transport.

Sign saying What's growing in my field
Sarah Gleave by the development

In our Local Plan submission we said, ‘The policy of Dover Urban Area having nil provision of affordable housing is both unsound and non-legally compliant. Moreover the reality is that during the life of the last Local Plan, Deal / Walmer experienced 30% more housing development than was planned. So this policy would only be sound if it were amended as follows: In the case of planning applications on developments of over 8 dwellings on windfall development sites, within 3 miles of the outer boundaries of Deal / Walmer, permission will only be given if the developer applicant has previously undertaken a development of a similar scale within Dover Urban area which provides a minimum of 30% affordable housing.’

Very many people tell us they want a better, cleaner, less lobby-laden planning system.  We need a DDC planning department and more planning committee councillors who do not prioritise property developer partners and their 30% profit margins, councillors who respect residents and voters more than monied lobby groups.

DDC is running a Housing Needs Survey until 7 March. There are 5 short parts to it, in the 5th part we can each say what housing we DON’T need as well as what housing we need. We urge folks to take part. We also applaud the Deal Society for organizing an event on Feb 28 at the Landmark Centre at 7.30pm on town planning and what we can do as local citizens, and note that the Facebook page of SEDDD Stop Exploitative Developers in Dover District is getting more attention.

Nationally, there is a government consultation from now until March 2nd on the National Planning Policy Framework (which councillors are legally bound to comply with) and there is excellent guidance from the Community Planning Alliance on how to respond.  Over to you EKM readers!

The Financial Times headline : ‘Property Donors provide one quarter of funds given to Conservative party’ gives us all insight into what needs to change at national and local level.

Sarah Waite-Gleave,
Dover and Deal Green Party
(letter published in Dover Express 23 Feb 2023 – also sent to Mercury)

FT front page