Last chance to save Forty Acres: can you help in battle to ward off developer planning to build over a treasured stretch of countryside?

Forty Acres: Developer Wates has applied for planning consent to build 250 properties here

Campaigners have launched a crowdfunding appeal to fund legal representation at a planning appeal and Local Plan inquiry. Trudy Dean takes up the story…

Forty Acres is a beautiful open area of gently rising farmland to the south of the A20 London Road in the parish of East Malling and Larkfield.
Confusingly running to almost 60 acres, it lies between and separates the historic settlements of West Malling, East Malling, Larkfield and Leybourne from the new village of Kings Hill.
It is crossed by two well-used Public Rights of Way, MR 119 and 120, between the villages and serves commuters to West Malling station, shoppers and walkers. They also feed into one of the few areas of nationally designated Quiet Lanes prioritising walkers, riders and cyclists immediately to the south. 
Forty Acres fields have been cultivated for grain for as long as anyone can remember and were part of the extensive estates of the nearby 11th-century Malling Abbey built by Bishop Gundulf for Benedictine nuns.
In 2016, Forty Acres was included within a parcel of land proposed to extend the Metropolitan Green Belt eastward in the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Draft Local Plan, due to begin its final stage of examination before inspectors in October. 
Extending the Green Belt would not only protect the setting of West Malling with its Conservation Area but also prevent the joining up of East and West Malling with Leybourne and Larkfield to the north and Kings Hill to the south. The network of rural lanes and footpaths would be protected as well as the setting of many listed buildings.
The developer Wates has applied for planning consent to build 250 houses on Forty Acres and now appealed against the borough council’s failure to decide the application within six weeks.
The surrounding parishes of East Malling and Larkfield, Leybourne and West Malling are crowdfunding to raise the £60,000 estimated to be needed for legal representation at the appeal and Local Plan inquiry.  
We are using the team of lawyers who last year successfully fought off Bellway’s plans to build on fields up against the walls of Malling Abbey.
This is probably the last chance we shall have to defend this open space.
Please help if you can.

  • If you would like to contribute to the fund to help save Forty Acres, click here

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

  • CPRE Kent is fighting an almost overwhelming number of development proposals across the county – BUT WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT. If you would like to join us in our efforts to keep Kent beautiful, please click here

Wincheap Water Meadows campaign gets off to a flyer… can you help it over the first hurdle?

The battle to save Wincheap Water Meadows in Canterbury from the expansion of a car park has got off to a fantastic start, with money pouring in from supporters.
CPRE Kent is calling for a judicial review of the decision by the city council’s planning committee to grant permission for a 228-space extension of the council’s own Wincheap Park & Ride over an area of undeveloped riverside.
We have teamed up with the Save Wincheap Water Meadows campaign to challenge this destruction of floodplain next to the River Stour (the site flooded only last weekend) – a Local Wildlife Site in an Area of High Landscape Value and part of the designated Stour Valley Green Corridor.
Both groups believe that other sites could be used or alternatively part of the existing car park could be decked.
Although the application has been approved by the council’s planning committee, a final decision on the project will be taken by full council next year.
Legal challenges are of course an expensive business and Save Wincheap Water Meadows has set up a CrowdJustice page to raise £5,000 by Sunday, January 5, towards the initial phase of our judicial-review application to the High Court.
Incredibly – although it does of course demonstrate the strength of feeling over the issue – at time of writing £4,385 has already been pledged.
With just a little over £600 needed to break that £5,000 barrier, we’re asking all who care for this wonderful natural resource in the city to chip in and help get things moving in the High Court. Some things really are worth fighting for.

The meadows in May
  • If you would like to contribute to the campaign to save Wincheap Water Meadows, please click here
  • For more on this story, please see here and here

Friday, December 13, 2019