* Agendas will be posted online about a week before each meeting
Shoreham is a very pretty Kent village surrounded by the beautiful rolling North Downs. Twenty-five years ago, a local family sold a piece of land at Timberden Farm, near the centre of the village, to Sevenoaks District Council (SDC), on the understanding that it would be protected from unsuitable development.
However, SDC identified a need for 72 gypsy and traveller pitches across the District between 2012 and 2026 but was unable to find enough suitable sites. SDC now intend using the 2.7 hectare site at Timberden Farm to provide 15 pitches, using the argument that 'times have changed', with increased pressure on the need for areas to develop. This is a spurious excuse since there are plenty of brown field sites which could be used but green belt sites do not require expensive clearance and removal of toxicity.
Councils need to be reminded of their duty to listen to their residents and to comply with their own local plans. Green belt land should not be developed except when there are 'very special circumstances' and, unless local people strongly express their objections against these incursions on our wonderful heritage, we will soon find we live in large concrete jungles with only tiny areas of green to remind us of what once existed and no more countryside to amble across. It will also upset biodiversity, with species being eradicated. In turn, this will affect farm production, which we need to feed us all, as agricultural efficiency depends on the balance of nature.
Please visit the Save Our Beautiful Shoreham (SOBS) website and sign the petition.
You can also visit the SDC website and comment on the Public Consultation: here - deadline for comments is 4 July 2014.
Margot Rohan - Orpington Community