The scale of the proposals in Swale Borough Council’s draft Local Plan is hard to exaggerate.
But most shocking is that these enormous changes to Faversham and our villages are being rushed through with bare minimum consultation. The new Local Plan will provide the framework for development in the borough until 2038.
The current leadership of the Council have had two years to work on the Local Plan, but they are now trying to rush these changes through in six weeks.
While I’m pleased the Council has listened to concerns about developing North Street, there’s little sign that they are listening to locals in some other villages. Parish councils tell me they feel they’ve been kept in the dark.
All political parties committed to more housing at the last election to address the housing crisis, but it is up to councils to properly consult with local people. There’s no need for this rush after I worked together with Kent MPs to stop higher housing targets.
More development to the east of Faversham will put huge pressure on the A2 and Brenley Corner. While I’ve helped secure funding to develop an improvement plan for the junction, we are not there yet. We need a plan that goes hand in hand with infrastructure, not just more housing.
I wrote to the leader of Swale Borough Council ahead of the draft Local Plan being published on 8 February, to raise people’s concerns.
It’s now vital that people have their say on these proposals. Where residents and parish councils feel they have not had the chance to comment fully then they should make that clear. Trying to bounce people into these changes is completely wrong.
More information can be found here.