Ex-servicemen 'homes for heroes' Gravesend scheme gets green light

Ex-servicemen 'homes for heroes' Gravesend scheme gets green light

Elizabeth Huggins Cottages Charity trustees (left to right) Frank Gibson, Cllr Susan Howes and Cllr John Cubitt beneath a painting of Captain Thomas Colyer-Fergusson whose family donated the land for the project after he was killed in WW1 in 1917.

Resident Bernard Carter is unhappy with the plans.

First published in News News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

PLANS to build new "homes for heroes" in Gravesend have been given the go ahead.

Elizabeth Huggins Cottages in Cross Lane West currently comprise 10 bungalows in a cul-de-sac housing ex-servicemen and their families.

The Elizabeth Huggins Cottages Charity proposes to knock down the existing homes and replace them with 34 properties also aimed at disabled serving personnel or former armed forces members.

The plans met with resistance from residents at a previous Gravesham Council hearing on December 12 causing the Regulatory Board to defer a final decision until February 12.

Resident Bernard Carter, 79, told the meeting: "The residents have been completely ignored.

"We are old and they don’t care about us – basically we are a nuisance.

"Where are we going to go when they build the flats? Where are they going to throw us?"

The former RAF bomb armourer also questioned why there were no plans for a lift in the development considering many of the new inhabitants would likely be disabled.

But agent Derek Phillips assured councillors lifts could easily be installed if required.

Residents were also promised priority choice of homes in the new development while councillors voted to halve the £70,000 contribution required by Kent County Council towards primary school places, libraries, youth facilities and adult social services.

Developments of this size are normally required to pay the levy but Elizabeth Huggins had complained it was too steep.

Regulatory Board members voted by a margin of eight to one to rubber stamp the plans with only council deputy leader Lee Croxton voting against.

Elizabeth Huggins trustee Frank Gibson told News Shopper: "We are absolutely delighted with the decision.

"There is a tremendous demand in this area to provide houses for disabled service people.

"It is very pleasing that we are able to make a contribution towards providing homes fit for heroes."

Representatives from the charity will meet with residents on March 14 to discuss arrangements for re-housing people while work is going on and ensuring those remaining are not inconvenienced by the construction process.

The development will feature four three bedroom two storey houses, eight single bedroom flats, a dozen two bedroom flats, nine two bedroom cottages and one three bedroom maisonette for the complex warden plus car parking and cycle storage.

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