KCC defends decision to build on farm
KENT County Council has defended its decision to build on part of the North School farm saying it is only following a decision agreed in 2007.
County hall education boss Sarah Hohler says that the school agreed to KCC reducing the size of the development in exchange for the opportunity to build on part of the farm.
Mrs Hohler said: “As part of this agreement the school was to relocate the existing timber farm buildings on to the land that they were retaining in advance of the land bordering Essella Road being sold for development.
“The only thing that has changed in terms of the agreement that did save the farm is that to date the school have not relocated the buildings. This delay is because the firm of contractors who were to carry out the work has gone into liquidation.”
Because the contractor folded, the school has lost a significant amount of money that would have been used to help move the farm.
The land KCC hope to build on is currently used for pigs and chickens and also a small woodland and an area for growing crops.
Mrs Hohler added: “KCC is working with the school to assist it in honouring its commitment to the relocation, or possible replacement, of the timber buildings.”
The Kentish Express asked Mrs Hohler what sort of assistance she would offer to help relocate farm buildings and the pig enclosure and whether any financial help would be offered.
A KCC spokesman said they were waiting to hear from the school with regards to costs to moving the farm buildings.
Working with the Kentish Express a Facebook group has already attracted over 1,700 supporters, many of whom have signed our online petition at www.kentishexpr ess.co.uk.
Campaigners had hoped that because KCC incorrectly stated on its planning application that the site was not an agricultural holding it might provide some ammunition when it comes before a planning committee in March.
The KE contacted the Rural Payments Agency which issues the holding numbers but a spokesman told us that an agricultural holding would not prevent the land being sold off to developers.
Ashford MP Damian Green has once again joined the fight for the farm as he did the first time it was threatened in 2006.
He said: “Everyone involved needs to work together to implement the agreement made three years ago after the last campaign. I will be happy to play a full part in making this happen, as the survival of the farm is so important.”
For special report on the Fight for the Farm campaign see pages 34 and 35.
Investigations under way where a young woman was the victim of a serious sexual assault on the Godinton Park estate
Nia Atkinson with one of the school’s herd of Red Devon cows at North School Farm