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Sandgate Says No to Escarpment New Houses Plan

August 2, 2011 11:02 AM
Originally published by Folkestone and Hythe Liberal Democrats

Martello Tower 6 [Sandgate Escarpment] (Copyright Steve Popple and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.)Sandgate Councillors Gary Fuller and Tim Prater have launched a petition against a proposed development of Sandgate Escarpment. The "Sandgate Says No" petition is part of a cross-community campaign against the building of housing on the hills above Sandgate below Shorncliffe Camp. The proposed development Y11/0137/SH is for:

"Outline application for the erection of 5 detached houses, including details of layout, scale, landscaping and access, together with the change of use and conversion of Martello towers 6 and 7 to residential holiday lets, conversion of underground water tank and associated road access parking and landscaping." Full details are on the Shepway Council website.

The 13 acre site includes two listed Martello Towers, which would be restored and converted into residential holiday lets as a part of the plan. To fund the restoration, the owner, John Forge, has applied to build 5 detached houses on the site towards the boundary with Military Road.

Lib Dem Parish Councillor Gary Fuller said:

"The 'Sandgate Says No' petition will add to the cross-community campaign against the proposed development. When the scheme was considered by Sandgate Parish Council in July, the Planning Committee rejected the proposals. We don't believe that the conversion of the Martello Towers to luxury holiday lets with associated parking, and in one case an underground swimming pool and sauna, is a sympathetic restoration.

"Sandgate's Planning Committee were concerned about strict rural integrity of the landscape being massively disturbed by the building of 5 houses and an access road, and that the proposed new junction with Military Road was unsafe."

Folkestone West and Sandgate County Councillor Tim Prater added:

"Many residents in Sandgate are opposed to this development - there was a full house at the recent planning meeting in Sandgate Library to discuss the application. Local people want to see the Martello Towers preserved, but not at the expense of a new housing development in the woodland above Sandgate.

"After the rejection by Sandgate Council, the application will now be determined by Shepway District Council. Despite the consultation period having ended, any local resident who has a view on the development can sign our petition, and we'll make sure the signatures are handed into Shepway Council before they determine the decision."

You can sign the petition at www.sandgatesaysno.org.uk - if you are opposed to the development, please sign and encourage your neighbours to do so as well.

There is more information on the application at http://sandgatesaysno.wordpress.com/ from local resident David Cowell, and photos and more detail at Save Sandgate Escarpment by Sue Sheppard.