Campaigners are making final arguments in a bid to save green space near Maidstone

The latest arguments have been made in a battle to prevent construction on 37 hectares of green space. Campaigners want Bunyards Farm, near Maidstone, to be given protected village green status in a bid to prevent more than 400 houses being built on the site.

Activists say the land has been in common use by dog ​​walkers, kite flyers and berry pickers for 20 years – the time required for village green status under the Commons Act 2006. But the claim is disputed by the landowner, Andrew Cheale Will Trust. and developer BDW Trading Ltd.

A Crown counsel, acting on behalf of the landowner, told the inquiry last month that the land was last used ‘intensively’ in 1998, but has since been used for other activities such as horse grazing and haying. The campaigners’ case was put together by Medway Ecological Riverine Link (MERLin) members and volunteers.

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On Monday (April 15), the inspector heard from the applicants and objectors as they each gave their interpretation of the facts presented over four days at the County Hall in March. The applicants, led by Duncan Edwards and supported by Cllr Chris Passmore and the residents of Allington, have been working on this campaign for over three years. Sixteen local residents provided evidence during the inquiry to support the arguments for village green status.

Mr Edwards said: “This is an example of the community coming together and doing something to contribute to decisions that affect their local area. We cannot say whether the application itself will be successful, but we can say that our action has given us a credible opportunity and that we have learned a huge amount about how to organize ourselves and how to take real, positive and realistic action to exert influence. an important local decision on the status of this piece of land.”

The campaign logo for Bunyards Farm near Maidstone(Image: LDRS)

Cllr Passmore added: “The inspector will now write her report and we expect to hear the outcome over the summer on whether this part of west Maidstone will remain a green space thanks to the efforts of the local community.”