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Fire station proposal in New Ash Green sparks a heated reaction from residents
HOMEOWNERS are fuming over proposals to build a fire station just 20 yards from houses in New Ash Green.
The village was identified as needing a station after a three year assessment of provision by Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), which also saw the closure of some stations such as Horton Kirby.
An area of land off Butlers Place, which is owned by KFRS and has previously been granted planning permission, has been identified.
That planning permission, granted in 1994,has lapsed and KFRS is intending to apply again in the next few months.
Residents have set up a blog and Facebook page against the proposals.
Organiser Dan Freeman wrote on the No Fire Station in New Ash Green Facebook page: “We are not against a new fire station being built, but are against the selected location.”
He said he was opposing it because of “the impact it will have on the locale, such as property prices, noise pollution and safety issues - the green is used by local children”.
KFRS said the station would be on-call only with a single engine and estimated crews would be called out three times a week.
KFRS said sirens would not be used when it is coming and going while traffic would use Chapel Wood Road, not Butlers Place.
Hoardings would keep building disruption down and the service said it could contribute to play equipment for children.
KFRS Assistant director Sean Bone-Knell said the designs and materials were “sympathetic” to the rural location and improved screening and landscaping will minimise any impact on the area.
He added: “We are looking into a number of issues raised by nearby neighbours and will have further discussions with them.
“We have also explained to them why we believe this is the best site and that should we not build a fire station here, we would be legally bound to sell the land on the open market.”
Sevenoaks District Councillor for Ash and New Ash Green, Carol Clark is looking forward to increased provision in the area.
Cllr Clark said: “It is only contentious with the residents who are immediately affected. For the whole area it is extremely good news.
“The fire service for many years has struggled to get to the area within the prescribed times when there have been fires.
“If it goes ahead, I am sure the fire service will work with those people to make it as acceptable as possible.”
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