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Villagers near Herne Bay fear homes will be shaken to foundations by work on Hillborough housing estate

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Villagers fear their homes will be shaken to their foundations by work on a 900-home estate that could last more than 12 hours a day.

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Taylor Wimpey is planning to have diggers on its sweeping development in Hillborough, Herne Bay, between 7.30am and 7pm during the week.

Beltinge Village Action Group campaigner Gill Moody
Beltinge Village Action Group campaigner Gill Moody

The proposals, along with an additional “one-hour start-up and shut-down period” at either end of the day, have sparked concerns among some residents their gardens will become no-go zones.

Beltinge councillor Ian Stockley (Con) told KentOnline: “I think the residents are going to have sufficient worries without heavy, earth-moving vehicles trundling around, shaking their foundations at around 6.30am.

“The hours proposed are excessive. I fear those living close to the site will have problems from vibrations and noise – and they will be exacerbated by having such long working hours.

“I’ve even had a resident saying she won’t be able to use her garden because the dust created would aggravate her respiratory problems.”

Gill Moody, the spokesman for Beltinge Village Action Group, says if she had young children she would be “horrified” by the company’s planned working hours.

The site is one of three earmarked for construction south of Beltinge
The site is one of three earmarked for construction south of Beltinge

The developer is also hoping to be given the green light by Canterbury City Council to have teams working on the project between 7.30am and 1pm on Saturdays.

Papers show the additional hour at the start and end of days – which will be used only for deliveries, unloading, maintenance and preparation – will only be during the week.

No activity, including site deliveries and collections, will take place on Sundays or public holidays.

However, former construction firm employee Ken Rice, who lives in nearby Sweechbridge Road, worries these plans could set a precedent for construction projects across the district, if they are waved through.

“Every developer will say ‘if they can do it, why can’t we?’” the 74-year-old explained.

CGI included in Taylor Wimpey advertising material for the site in Hillborough, Herne Bay
CGI included in Taylor Wimpey advertising material for the site in Hillborough, Herne Bay

“We have a development here that will run for years – elderly people will see it start and die before it finishes.

“We’ve also got young people who are going to spend years living on or near a dusty building site.

“The hours Taylor Wimpey want aren’t acceptable. They need to give a reasonable life to people outside the building site.”

Meanwhile, the city council’s environmental health officials have urged Taylor Wimpey to reduce its hours of operation to between 7.30am and 6pm during the week, and between 8am and 1pm on Saturdays.

The scheme – which has already been given outline consent by the city council – is one of three planned for the massive plot at Hillborough.

The land in Hillborough, Herne Bay, was earmarked for homes in the city council's Local Plan in 2017
The land in Hillborough, Herne Bay, was earmarked for homes in the city council’s Local Plan in 2017

Kitewood’s 180-home project for a section of the site was approved by councillors last year, while firm AE Estates awaits a decision on its plans for 350 properties on another chunk of land.

Defending its proposed working hours, a Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “We understand the concerns of residents regarding the upcoming start of construction work.

“We have prepared a proposed Construction Management Plan which has been submitted to Canterbury City Council for approval.

“It outlines a number of measures which will help to minimise any disruption, including a restriction on deliveries to the development during peak times.

“We would like to assure the community that we will be closely monitoring activity on site to ensure that the terms of the approved management plan are followed.”

The firm also states that an exact start date for the first phase of construction is yet to be finalised, but it expects the entire development to be completed by 2030.



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