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Residents in uproar at plans for new Swanley gypsy pitches
Residents are in uproar at plans to put dozens of new gypsy pitches in Swanley and the surrounding area in the next few years.
Sevenoaks District Council is looking at the town, along with Hextable, Crockenhill and West Kingsdown, to help meet a target of 72 additional pitches.
The council says it called in independent experts from Salford University in Manchester to carry out the research and come up with the figure.
It claims it is required by law to find the extra space in the area by 2026, along with Ash, Edenbridge, Farningham, Halstead and Shoreham.
If it is unable to identify sufficient new pitches, the council says it will run the risk of losing planning appeals for gypsy and traveller sites, giving councillors little or no control over their future location.
Horton Kirby resident James Stewart posted on Facebook: "These are in close surrounding areas and will impact our village.
"At a rate of nine new camps a year over the next nine years, are we really expected to believe that crime and fly-tipping in particular or not going to increase?"
Fellow resident Lee Champion added: "So basically we can look forward to more fly-tipping, more general rubbish, more burnt out cars, increased crime-rate, fewer school places for children living locally, a decrease in property values for all home owners, and no doubt increased council tax fees to cover the general clean up."
Residents and landowners are being asked to comment on the council’s Gypsy and Traveller Plan as part of a consultation on the plans.
Swanley residents can contribute their views at a drop-in session at the Clocktower Pavilion at the town council offices on June 3 from 2pm to 4.30pm.
Alternatively they can e-mail email@example.com or write to Planning Policy Team, Sevenoaks District Council, Argyle Road, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 1HG.
The draft plans are available to view at Swanley library or online at planningconsult.sevenoaks.gov.uk Responses must be received by July 4 at 5pm.
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