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Over a hundred local people brave pouring rain to join Protest March

November 13, 2013 8:14 AM

Local people showed their anger and frustration on a noisy march in driving rain on Saturday over the failure of the Conservative council to protect Bluebell Wood in West Maidstone from development.

They were sending an urgent message to the council and the developer to listen to local people. Protestors started from St Andrews Road, marched along Hermitage lane to Allington. As the crowd passed the ancient wood - which would be hemmed-in by development and fragmented by an access road and footways under plans submitted by the developer, Croudace - the rain finally rested and the sun snuck into view.

The march was conducted in good spirits with many residents, including children, dressed as animals representing the wildlife threatened by the plan. They were led off by local mum Diana Joy, dressed fetchingly as a mouse. It ended with a drink in the welcome dry of the Sir Thomas Wyatt pub.

"The council's failure to take this area out of its evolving development plan always left itself open to a planning proposal such as this," said Jasper Gerard, Lib Dem Parliamentary Campaigner. "That so many should turn up in these atrocious conditions shows the strength of feeling. However late in the day I hope the Council finds its spine and stands up to the developer to defend local people and irreplaceable ancient woodland."

Local resident and march-organiser James Willis said: "Thanks to everyone for showing their determination in the pouring rain. It shows the strength of local feeling. Hopefully we have drummed a message into both the developer and the Council that we will not accept this overdevelopment and the loss of Bluebell Wood. We are also grateful to County Councillor Rob Bird, Borough Councillor Bryan Vizzard and Jasper Gerard who got off his sick bed to attend, as well as other campaigners who came from as far as London.

"The deadline is 14th November, so I hope you will join me in writing to the councils of Maidstone and Tonbridge and Malling and placing your objection."

Remember to quote planning reference 13/1749

To save your countryside please sign the petition: http://maid.lib.dm/save

The NAAG's campaign meets every Monday evening at 7.30pm in the Sir Thomas Wyatt Pub London Road: it is an open meeting with residents invited to attend.

You can view the full photos of the march in our photo gallery.