Councillors on Gillingham Town Council’s planning committee have expressed their frustration at the way planners, developers and landowners are treating the town.
At an online meeting on Monday evening Councillor Sharon Cullingford said she was ‘disappointed’ that Dorset Council had approved plans to demolish part of an old wall at the Old Coach House in Wyke to make a new parking area, even though the town council had objected.
‘[It’s] demolishing a very old wall that was an historical point in our town,’ she told fellow committee members. ‘I wonder why they don’t listen to us. We’re not saying it to be awkward, we’re saying it because we genuinely are concerned about these ancient things that we have in the town.’
Councillor Roger Weeks later expressed his frustration over an application to build four new homes at Horkesley Hall Farm on Common Mead Lane, not long after approval was given for new homes in a nearby plot owned by the same landowner.
Councillor Weeks said: ‘I was really shocked when the other one was proposed and voted against it. I knew this would happen as soon as the other one was approved.
‘This is one of our last dark areas of Gillingham. If we keep on approving applications like this from landowners who want to develop their land and encroach on the outer boundaries of our town we might as well hand over our rural areas to developers and find something else to do on a Monday evening,’ he told councillors on Monday.
‘I feel very strongly about this one. It would not take long before there is a small town developed here. I’m very confident that if we approve this one there will be another. And another, until all that area is developed. Then we will no longer have the defence that the place is not heavily populated – because it will be.’
Other councillors said they had ‘no issue’ with the planned development. But by four votes to three the committee recommended that the Horkesley Hall Farm application should be refused.