Residents astounded at plan to build on green
By Kent and Sussex Courier | Friday, October 12, 2012, 08:00
RESIDENTS are furious at council plans to replace the final piece of precious green land in High Brooms with housing.
The popular green, at South View Road and Holmewood Road, is regularly used by children and dog-walkers and has long been a fixture in residents' lives – with many believing it could never be built on.
But landowner Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is looking to prove otherwise, after lodging plans to build six semi-detached houses with a new access road and 12 car parking spaces, which would take up half the green space.
Residents have pulled together in opposition, to draw attention to the bid for outline planning permission.
Father-of-two Paul Batchelor, of South View Road, lives opposite the green. He produced and then posted letters to every household on each road leading to the green.
"We use that space for the kids, I'm teaching my son to ride his bike over there at the moment," said the 39-year-old.
"Nobody around here wants to lose that green space – it's a common area. We're not being NIMBYs – we're just really passionate about keeping it.
"Once one half of it goes, how long will it be until we lose the other half?"
Thelma Harris, 64, also of South View Road, said there should be more public involvement with a matter she said would impact on many people.
"I would like to see a public consultation on it," she said. "I was born in South View Road, in the house next door to where I live now. My grandmother lived at number 78 and my mother was there as a child.
"There has always been a public space there – it's the only green space left in High Brooms and is used by a huge number of people.
"I don't think people realised it could be built on, it's always been regarded as a park.
"I know it's the council's land but it's been the people's land for a great many years."
Southborough town councillor for High Brooms Dianne Hill was stunned to see the plans to replace half the green with the six two-storey, four-bedroom homes.
"I just think it's very sad it (the borough council) is looking to sell off recreational land," said Mrs Hill, also a borough councillor.
"When I saw it, I couldn't believe it. Nobody I've spoken to wants it to happen. Why don't they pick on somebody else? Why High Brooms?
"It's very well used, there's always somebody on that green and it's used for a number of fetes – the jubilee fete used the entire area.
"It's an open space that's needed."
The deadline for a decision to be made by borough council planners on whether outline planning permission is granted is November 21.