500+ residents took to the streets to protest against the proposed development of Prince’s Parade, Otterpool ‘Garden Town’ and the Stanford lorry park. On the march were Green Party candidates in the forthcoming local county council elections, Martin Whybrow (current Kent County Councillor for Hythe), Dr Karen White (candidate for Elham), Rebecca Schoob (Folkestone West) and Andrew South (Romney Marsh), plus town councillor, Ashley Tanton, and many Green Party party members and supporters.
Martin, a vocal opponent from the outset of the scale and type of developments planned, was one of the speakers at the event and has been on all three marches over the last year. He called for an end to decision-making behind closed doors; the right types of homes in the right locations for local first-time buyers and renters; proper consideration for the ability of our infrastructure and services to cope; due consideration for the environment, water supply, air and noise pollution; and recognition of the clear mental and physical health benefits of the open spaces within and between our communities.
He emphasised that Otterpool and the allocation within the local plan alone would mean a massive increase in the population of the district, with no vision for our existing communities. In parallel, the appalling £250 million, 250 acre lorry park would blight local communities and would, anyway, almost certainly be unworkable. For Tory MPs and councillors to dismiss the perfectly sensible concerns with words like ‘deluded’, ‘greenies and grumblers’ and nimbyism means they aren’t listening to the arguments and is so condescending to the communities that will be blighted by the schemes, he said.
Thanks to all of the organisers, to everyone who turned up, and to the terrific campaigners that are working so hard to win these vital battles. Now let’s also send those responsible for these hapless schemes a message they have to listen to at the ballot box on 4th May and 8th June.
Photos courtesy of The Looker magazine.