On Tuesday 7th November the Sevenoaks District Council Scrutiny Committee was addressed by Robert Piper the Planning Portfolio Holder.
He outlined the work of the Planning Department, which included a short statement on the Swanley Vision (Master Plan).
He was then questioned by the Committee Members.
Laurence Ball, a Tory Swanley Councillor, tried to pin him down on the future of the Rec and told him in no uncertain terms that the people of Swanley did not want the Rec touched. The reply was, “I don’t think they would mind if a part of it was developed”. Laurence Ball then told him that he was completely out of touch with the feelings of the people of Swanley and stressed that Swanley did not want the Rec touched.
It is apparent that the Swanley Tories are now firmly against building on the Rec. A victory for Labour.
Swanley Labour Councillor Mike Hogg then asked Councillor Piper what he considered to be the definition of regeneration and added: “Do you consider the destruction of vast amounts of open space, woodland and farm land and its replacement with vast housing estates regeneration?” He replied that if Swanley wanted more facilities, it must have a bigger population, hence the vast housing development.
Mike also asked if it was right to spend tens of millions of pounds on shifting the train station a few hundred yards, but got no reply.
Councillor Piper is due to speak to the committee after the consultation report is published, probably in February. Perhaps members of the public should attend to see what he has to say.
He is certainly not in touch with the people of Swanley and believes that the written results of the consultation, with its loaded questions, would back his plans.