Kent

Hundreds protest at plans for new garden town at Otterpool Park

The march on Saturday
Image caption Many residents are concerned about the impact on roads and the local health service

Hundreds of people have marched in protest at a proposal for thousands of new homes in south-east Kent.

Shepway District Council has plans for a new garden town with up to 12,000 homes at Otterpool Park, just south of the M20, near Folkestone.

It claims the 30-year project will provide much-needed housing, with infrastructure to support it.

But opponents are concerned about the local impact and say they are not being listened to.

On its website, the council explains that a garden town is a "properly planned" new settlement with "high quality homes... in a beautiful setting".

It says it offers "everything people need for a new community to thrive" including schools, medical centres, green space, public transport, new roads, community centres and shops.

'Desperate shortage'

But Ian Nedgett of the Sellindge and District Residents Association is not convinced.

"Twelve thousand houses on a greenfield site is not sustainable," he said.

"We know people need somewhere to live but it needs to be spread out - the whole of Kent needs to take a share."

Otterpool resident Vernon Morris added: "They are destroying the countryside for our children."

However, John Bibby from the housing charity Shelter said there was a need to develop greenfield sites as well as brownfield sites "in a way that is sensitive to local people's needs and desires".

"People across the south-east recognise that the region faces a desperate shortage of housing," he said.

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