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Gladman Inquiry Day 5

March 20 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

After dealing with traffic matters on Friday, today (Tuesday) was the main day for “our team” to be in action. I was the first on the stand pointing out that if this site were to be built either less harmful sites would not be developed or Charing would be faced with growth of over 50% between 2011 and 2030. I also pointed out that while some of the additional stress on Charing’s facilities were due to be offset by Section 106 money (money paid by the developer to improve facilities to cope with the additional need) there was no proposal for money to improve car parking in the village centre or at the surgery. Another point was that the proposed “enhancements” to the railway station did not include the most urgent need ie putting in lifts to enable Platform 1 to be reached without climbing stairs even though the bridge is designed to take such lifts. I was followed by Paul Crawley and his telling evidence about the difficulty of travelling in a wheelchair to and from the site along narrow and sometimes sloping pavements. Paul endured a surprisingly long cross examination but definitely held his own. Tom La Dell then gave evidence on landscape matters and after lunch it was the turn of Keith Oram on the importance of views to walkers, the health benefits of walking round Charing and the impact developing this site would have on the views. A long session on water matters followed with Graham Warren for CPRE highlighting the closeness of the site to the Charing boreholes that provide drinking water for so many and thus the risk of contamination. A longish tussle between him and Gladman’s barrister followed. After that Natalie Croome, aged 12, read out her evidence – a telling point being how often when walking to take the bus to school she was splashed by passing cars and arrived with a dirty uniform at school. Finally it was the turn of Lucy Simmons to talk about the fascinating history of Broadway Cottages, her experience of living on Pluckley Road and the views of residents on such matters as the problems of walking to the village. Two to three residents who are not formal witnesses have asked to make short statements and some or all of them could do this tomorrow (Wednesday). After that it will be the turn of the Gladman team not just to give their evidence but to be on the receiving end of cross examination by both ABC’s barrister, Richard Honey, and our advocate Richard Knox-Johnston. It has been really great for us all to have the support of so many Charing residents each day. Do please keep coming to the Inquiry!

Details

Date:
March 20
Time:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm