Public meeting on solar farm

A public meeting is being held on Friday (October 2nd) to discuss plans for a 28 acre solar farm in Headcorn.

Library photo of solar panels

Library photo of solar panels

Solar Securities is seeking planning permission to create a 29,400 panel solar farm at Great Tong Farm.

Helen Whately

The meeting has been called by Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately and speakers will include Richard Knox-Johnston, CPRE Kent Vice President, as well as Protect our Weald and the Weald of Kent Preservation Society. it starts at 6pm in Headcorn Village Hall.

Maidstone Borough Council policy and resources committee recently voted to create a Low Weald Landscape of Local value and it is hoped this, and the views of local people, will be taken into account when deciding on the scheme. Ulcombe Parish Council will discuss the application on Thursday (October 1st) and Headcorn Parish Council has deferred a decision until after Friday’s public meeting.

September 30th 2015



The Green Belt: it’s where we relax, where we watch wildlife, where we cycle and walk and picnic. The wonderful views and the tranquillity of open countryside is so important to our health and well-being. That is why CPRE has launched a campaign to protect it in its sixtieth anniversary year.

The Green Belt is massively under attack from developers seeking to encroach on to the green buffer created sixty years ago to provide distinction between towns and villages – a vital green lung around the built up areas.


Lullingstone park, photo by Susan Pittman

Lullingstone park, photo by Susan Pittman

In Kent we have a large amount of Green Belt – 93% of Sevenoaks, 77% of Gravesham, 71% of Tonbridge and Malling, 56% of Dartford and 22% of Tunbridge Wells. If you love your Green Belt please get involved by sharing your photos, memories, creative works or just your support and thoughts via #ourgreenbelt.

Lavender at Castle Farm, Lullingstone, photo by Glen Humble

Lavender at Castle Farm, Lullingstone, photo by Glen Humble

We will use this to convince the Government that the Green Belt needs protection and must be preserved for our future and our children’s future.

For more information click here.

September 8th 2015.

Canterbury Local Plan Examination

CPRE Kent disputed the housing target and strategic sites identified in the Canterbury Local Plan at Stage 1 of the Examination in July.

We had already warned that Canterbury City Council should have carried out further consultations on the plan when it greatly increased its housing target to 15,600 homes.

Photo by Steffan Boelaars, flickr

Photo by Steffan Boelaars, flickr

In January 2010, the council consulted on a Local Plan with a target of 10,200 new homes by 2026 (510 per year). In 2012, this target was revised to 15,600 new homes by 2031 (780 per year). However, despite the significant increase, the council relied on its earlier environmental assessments of where new development should be located.

“Despite our warnings, the City Council is pressing ahead with its flawed plan,” said CPRE Kent Senior Planner Brian Lloyd.  “The council has seemingly, from the outset, cast in stone the sites it wants to see developed, and despite high levels of public opposition it has not been prepared to consider alternatives. We still believe that the plan is unsound.”

Continue reading

Great to meet you all at the Kent County Show

It was great to meet so many people at the Kent County Show last weekend (Friday 10th-Sunday 12th). Marketing Manager Vicky Ellis and lots of our volunteers and members chatted to visitors from across the county and beyond with our latest campaign news on our work to protect the wonderful Kent countryside.

dobbies hamper, kent show 2015kent show 2015 new version

The free prize draw to win a bird hamper, including bird box and feed, donated by Dobbies in Ashford, was won by Liz Stamp from Rainham.

The next event we are attending is Tractor fest in Biddenden on 22-23 August.

tkent show cow 2015 kent show goats 2015


kent show rabbit 2015 kent show pig 2015



Huge turnout at CPRE Kent election debate

Around 130 voters turned out last night to hear the Maidstone and the Weld candidates discuss issues ranging from local plans to infrastructure to climate change.

The debate at Oakwood House was organised by CPRE Kent to ensure that protection of the countryside is high on the political agenda.

L-R from front: Hannah Patton, Richard Knox-Johnston, Jasper Gerard, Helen grant, Christine Drury, Eddie Powell, Allen Simpson, Paul Hobday

L-R from front: Hannah Patton, Richard Knox-Johnston, Jasper Gerard, Helen grant, Christine Drury, Eddie Powell, Allen Simpson, Paul Hobday

CPRE Kent Vice President Richard Knox-Johnston, who chaired the event, said: “The beauty of England’s countryside is a national treasure renowned throughout the world. But with short-term economic needs dominating the political agenda, the countryside is under increasing pressure. While housing and infrastructure are undoubtedly needed, inappropriate siting incurring loss of the countryside is often the result; despite alternative options that can deliver the development we need while safeguarding a beautiful and living countryside. “

CPRE is calling on all parties to develop better policies so we have:

  • the right housing in the right places
  • the right transport and energy for the right reasons
  • a beautiful countryside to sustain us all

polling station 2 ballot box

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Local Lists and Regeneration

Over 40 people were at Turner Contemporary on Tuesday (17th March) to discuss the role of heritage in regeneration, promotion of tourism and preparation of local heritage lists.  The meeting was a follow-up to our own workshop in November.

James Kennell, Director of Economic Development Resource Centre

James Kennell, Director of Economic Development Resource Centre

James Kennell of Greenwich University provoked a lot of discussion with his review of different approaches to “regeneration”, giving examples throughout the UK and abroad, and of how successive governments have approached regeneration issues. He described some key factors needed to attract tourists to an area and increase their contribution to the local economy. He emphasised that it is not enough to just have heritage assets; they need to be presented in the right way.




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Date set for Heritage Symposium at Turner Contemporary

Margate Civic Society and the Margate Neighbourhood Plan Forum are hosting a symposium at Turner Contemporary on 17th March 2015 for all who are interested in preparing Local Lists of historic buildings.  This is a follow-up to our own meeting last November, targeted at the East Kent area, but open to all to attend.  It is an all-day event that will explore the process in more detail.

The keynote address will be given by James Kennell of the University of Greenwich Business School, who has written extensively on coastal cultural regeneration and tourism.  The Sevenoaks Society will update us on their local listing project in Sevenoaks Town, and our own Historic Buildings Committee will illustrate the need for Local Lists with some recent case notes.  The agenda is on the Margate Civic Society website.

Local Lists will be a record of the buildings which are treasured by the community and will help district councils in preparing their heritage policies for Local Plans and in determining planning applications.  CPRE Kent Historic Buildings Committee wants to see all planning authorities in Kent and Medway adopting such lists and is keen to get all civic societies and local historical societies involved, as well as those preparing Neighbourhood Plans.

To register your interest in the symposium, contact Geoff Orton at Margate Civic Society.

Meeting with Planning Minister

Members of the Gravesham District Committee of CPRE Kent together with the Gravesham Rural Resident Group (GRRG) met with Minister of State for Housing and Planning Brandon Lewis on February 9th 2015. The meeting was organised by Gravesham MP Adam Holloway.

They wanted to raise their concerns about threats to the Green Belt from development plans. Gravesham Borough Council is revising its Green Belt boundary as part of its housing delivery review. CPRE Kent and the GRRG are opposed to any erosion of the Green Belt and the implications of any such erosion would stretch far beyond Kent.

Members of the delegation including Adam Holloway MP, CPRE Kent's Richard Knox- Johnston and Alex Hills and GRRG Chairman James Ferrin as well as parish councillors

Members of the delegation including Adam Holloway MP, CPRE Kent’s Richard Knox- Johnston and Alex Hills and GRRG Chairman James Ferrin as well as parish councillors

Chairman of the Gravesham Committee, Alex Hills said: “He made it absolutely clear that Strategic Housing Land Assessments (SHLAAs) should regard the Green Belt as an environmental constraint and housing supply figures must be adjusted to accommodate this. He also stressed that councils behind on delivering their five year housing supply target should not use that as an excuse to build on the Green Belt.”

Mr Lewis also called on all rural areas to form their own neighbourhood plans.

February 11th 2015

CPRE Kent flooding conference attracts 100 delegates and widespread interest

One hundred delegates, two MPs, experts from Kent County Council, the Environment Agency and the influential Committee on Climate Change and many members of CPRE Kent attended our highly successful conference – Flooding: Facts, Fears and the Future.

The event was organised by CPRE Kent, in conjunction with Kent County Council, to draw attention to the major threat of flooding to the county, to consider the lessons learned from the devastating floods of Christmas/New Year 2013-14 and to share opportunities to reduce risk in the future.

The event was covered on BBC South East today, BBC Radio Kent and ITV Meridian as well as local newspapers.

Yalding, Christmas 2013, Photo - BBC South East

Yalding, Christmas 2013, Photo – BBC South East

CPRE Kent Vice-President Richard Knox-Johnston

CPRE Kent Vice-President Richard Knox-Johnston

Opening and chairing the event, CPRE Vice-president Richard Knox-Johnston, said; “If we rewind to the situation just over one year ago we must remind ourselves that it could happen again. We want to raise awareness of how it happened; were communications adequate; how successfully did the agencies work together; were the insurance claims handled efficiently and fairly; was there adequate support for people forced to leave their homes and what action is being taken to address future risk?”


He added: “It is a sobering fact that houses are still being built in flood risk areas.”
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Flooding: Fears, Facts and the Future – this week

Residents, environmental experts, parish and district councillors and people working in flood-related industries have booked places at the high profile flooding conference, Flooding: Fears, Facts and the Future, taking place in Kent this Friday (6th February).

The conference, at Sessions House, Maidstone, is jointly organised by CPRE Kent and Kent County Council. Topics include: the lessons learned from the devastating floods of last winter; changing climate and flood risk; safe development in areas threatened by flood; and the impact on farming.

Photo: Jacqueline Ickham

Photo: Jacqueline Grimsley

“This is an important conference for people living in Kent, a county which has suffered greatly from floods in recent years. We will hear the very latest plans on flood prevention and emergency response as well as some innovative and exciting ideas for the future,” said Hilary Newport, Director of CPRE Kent.

Speakers include the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, David Thomas, Senior Analyst at the Committee on Climate Change and Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council.

Places are still available at the conference which runs from 9.30am-4pm (registration from 8.45am) and includes lunch and refreshments. Booking is via Eventbrite, click here. For the full programme click here.

February 6th 2015

Your Built Heritage – Update

Our meeting in November brought together a number of people and organisations from all over the county with an interest in helping district planning authorities prepare local lists of heritage assets.  Members of the Sevenoaks Society described their project to list historic buildings in Sevenoaks town and the meeting discussed how similar projects could be progressed elsewhere.  The record of the meeting is here.

Things are moving on in Thanet, with a follow-up meeting being organised for February/March.  Representatives from the main civic societies in Thanet are involved, as well as colleagues in Sandwich and Deal.  If you want to be kept informed, contact our Historic Buildings Committee at

Flooding: Fears, Facts and the Future

An exciting programme has been announced for Flooding: fears, Facts and the Future, the conference on 6th February 2015 organised jointly by CPRE Kent and Kent County Council.

Photo, Nick Blackman, flickr

Photo, Nick Blackman, flickr

Speakers include:

  • The Rt Hon Damian Green MP: Safe Development in an area of flooding, looking at experience in Ashford as a high housing growth area which is threatened by floods;
  • David Thomas, Senior Analyst at the Committee on Climate Change: Adapting to a changing climate – is planning policy addressing future flood risk?
  • Paul Crick, Director of Development, Planning and Enforcement at KCC: Lessons learned from the storms and floods of Christmas/ New year 2013-14;
  • Geraldine Brown, Chairman of Yalding Parish Council: The Yalding Experience;
  • Espen Ostbye-Strom, Chief Operating Officer, Floodline Development: Making the most of available land – how we can build on flood risk areas safely;
  • Christine Drury, Chairman of CPRE Kent: The Romney Marsh Challenge – looking at the impact on farming in this special area.

Continue reading

Flooding one year on – are we better prepared now?

As Kent approaches the anniversary of the devastating floods of Christmas 2013, CPRE Kent is asking will we fare better this winter?

We are planning a major conference to look at the lessons learned from the December 2013 floods which left hundreds of people evacuated from their homes and thousands without power.

Flooding: Fears, Facts and the Future, organised in partnership with Kent County Council, will be held at County Hall, Maidstone on 6th February 2015.

Photo - BBC South East

Photo – BBC South East

“We feel it is vital to look at what has happened since those disastrous floods and what prevention work is planned and then to assess whether this will be enough to prevent the terrible damage to homes and land in the future,” said CPRE Kent Vice President Richard Knox-Johnston. Continue reading

Christmas Cheer

The annual Christmas party for our volunteers was treated to a rendition of CPRE Kent President Graham Clarke’s latest poem.

Graham Clarke and CPRE members

Graham Clarke and CPRE members

Marshian Invasion

The anxious folk from nearby Lydd
Said “It can’t happen.” But it did
Invaders that the marsh folk feared
Quite suddenly had all appeared
So now among the marshland farms
They flail their three white swirling arms
Said Bill Shepherd to his dog
“They’re ‘ere to blow away the fog”
“Don’t talk daft Bill,” said his mate
“They’re ‘ere to ‘elp ‘lectrificate”
A good stiff breeze, that makes em whir
A sort of turbine ‘arvester
To ‘ave ’em seems to me a pity
To light up someone else’s city.

©Graham Clarke 2014

Merry Christmas to all from CPRE Kent

Merry Christmas to all from CPRE Kent





Flooding conference announced

CPRE Kent has announced that it is to hold a major conference on the lessons learned from the 2013 floods, how effective the flood prevention measures are this winter and if anything more needs to be done, including innovative solutions.

The conference, jointly organised with Kent County Council, will be held in Maidstone on February 6th 2015 next year. Keynote speakers include the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter CBE and Chairman of Yalding Parish Council Geraldine Brown. The Environment Agency and Climate Change Council will be represented and the conference will be chaired by CPRE Kent Vice President Richard Knox-Johnston.

Following the Government’s announcement last week (December 3rd) of £2.3 billion for flood defence schemes, Richard Knox-Johnston said: “We welcome the recognition that flooding is an issue which must be addressed and will closely monitor how effective the flood defence schemes are. We question whether this will be enough as we understand it is not new money and maintenance is as important as capital projects.

Photo - BBC South East

Photo – BBC South East

“We understand why the Government has areas of high population as a priority, but the protection of farmland should be recognised too because the economy depends on our agriculture.

“We must also highlight the danger of building on floodplains and ensure that proper planning controls are in place to minimise the risk to householders.

“We are organising this conference to examine the lessons learned, in particular after the terrible floods of last winter, and look towards future actions and initiatives.”

9th December 2014