The following letter, by Bob Alexander, was first published in the Sevenoaks Chronicle on the 8th December, 2016. Bob is not a member of the Labour Party but we have put it on our website at the request of readers who share his sentiments.
RE The excellent response to the article (November 8th by Debbie King), from Paul Darrington regarding why Swanley residents had prepared a 2,000 name petition rejecting the proposed development for this “Garden Village”.
There are some other factors that were not mentioned by Cllr Robert Piper to your reporter in the original piece which I feel are worth a mention.
First and foremost, this whole project seems to be more about money for Sevenoaks District Council than anything else when you consider that every property built will generate £75 per square metre of build payable by the developer to Sevenoaks District Council by way of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). This will generate an estimated £18.75m, of which £6 million will be passed to Swanley, not a bad deal for Sevenoaks District Council when you consider that Swanley will have to put up with the years of mayhem and aggravation whilst construction work is carried out, and Sevenoaks –surprise, surprise –does nothing.
Add to that Sevenoaks District Council will gain a high proportion of council and business tax for ever.
Also not mentioned was the proposal to re-site Swanley railway station (by about 120 yards) at a cost of some £30 million and add a “station halt” in the development to help with the new influx of residents who currently live in London looking for affordable price homes out of London but still wish to work there.
However, they have forgotten to mention that at the end of the day there will still be two lines up to London that will have to cope with all the extra passengers.
As to suggesting that those living in Sevenoaks fearing government housing targets would mean protected land nearer to their homes could be concreted over, it is OK to concrete green belt Grade 2 agricultural land in Swanley really reflects a condescending, arrogant Nimby view on the part of Sevenoaks towards Swanley.
Interesting to note that Cllr Peter Fleming in an email is quoted as saying “whilst we put up Cllr Piper for interview, neither the article or the tone was ours”. Many of us didn’t like it either.