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BEARSTED ALLOTMENTS: Parish council comes face to face with protestors

Tuesday 13th July 2021

BEARSTED Parish Council (BPC) tonight came face to face with angry allotment holders who are opposed to proposals to move their plots to another part of the village.
BPC has acquired, as a donation, land next to the allotments and tennis courts and proposed several key changes to the site.
Allotments would be moved to the new parcel of land while the tennis club would get two extra courts and the car park would be extended.
Plot holders feel they have been left out of the loop while the tennis club has been part of ongoing discussions. They also fear they will end up with smaller plots.
Allotment holder Philip Noakes, pictured outside the hall tonight, in an impassioned address to the council members, urged BPC to drop the scheme "to retain its own integrity and reputation in the face of mounting opposition".
Several allotment holders were present in the public gallery for the short parish council meeting this evening.
Cllr Dennis Spooner, who has voiced concerns about BPC's handling of the issue, said the council could face significant planning and highways problems.
He said: "We have no idea whether this scheme is financially or physically deliverable."
Cllr Spooner warned the council proceeds with "the proviso the scheme might have to be dropped".
The chairman, Cllr Michael Bollom, said the scheme's working party will meet again in September to discuss the findings of the consultation. The acquisition would not be submitted to the Land Registry until the consultation process is complete and feasibility studies are carried out.