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Dartford Council gives go ahead for housing on contaminated land in Wilmington
A HOUSING development in Wilmington has been approved by Dartford Council despite concerns the site may be contaminated by waste from the Second World War.
Outline planning permission was granted for five large, detached houses on the council-owned former green belt site in Birchwood Road which used to be a chalkpit before it was backfilled with rubbish after the war.
An initial study of the 0.4 hectare site led to worries contaminants or biogas could leach into groundwater, raising levels of heavy metals, methane and carbon dioxide.
But a second ground study identified only a "medium risk from soil contamination" and no risk to ground water.
Council assistant development control manager Adrian Legg told the meeting on Thursday (September 6): "The mere fact that a site is contaminated doesn't mean it can't be developed, it just means you have to carry out necessary works to mitigate the contamination."
Birchwood Road resident John Carter, 75, spoke for the residents of seven nearby homes in rejecting council claims the junction with Birchwood Drive opposite the site is safe.
Mr Legg cited police statistics claiming to record only seven accidents causing injury on the road in the last 10 years.
But Mr Carter said: "I would ask the committee to consider the likely effect of creating this mini estate at one of the most dangerous road junctions in the whole of Kent that is notorious for road accidents."
"Those of us that live close to the junction are only too aware how often incidents occur at this accident blackspot."
After the proposals received unanimous approval the retired bank employee, who has lived in the road for 40 years, told News Shopper the meeting was "an affront to the democratic process."
He said: "You are only given three minutes to speak, you are not allowed to challenge the opposition. They get the first and the last say."
Fellow resident Linda Travella said: "The way the whole thing's been handled it's an absolute disgrace. There are lots of accidents there. There are three schools opposite so it really is a farce."
Allegations Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite lied to residents in May 2011 when he told them the council have no plans for the site were reported in News Shopper in September last year.