Mayor of Fordwich voices opposition to new developments threatening the town’s natural environment

PUBLISHED: 16:23 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:23 06 October 2020

Photo: Manu Palomeque

Photo: Manu Palomeque

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Philip Lewis, the Mayor of Fordwich, told us about how he is concerned about two new housing developments that would “utterly ruin the nature of the town”

Until something out of the ordinary happens, it is very easy to allow things to drift on as they always have, especially in a relatively small, sleepy community such as Fordwich.

As lockdown was first easing, two potential projects impacting on Fordwich landed in my mayoral intray.

Firstly, a Surrey developer is initially looking to develop three hectares and build 45 houses on that space. Within three days a second announcement arrived stating that the old quarry works to the North of the town were closing and the land being prepared for residential development.

Unsurprisingly, the small community of Fordwich is united in opposition to any such large-scale development that would utterly ruin the nature of the town and at the same time destroy the wonder of the natural environment with which the town is surrounded.

As mayor, I felt that it was right to oppose, but that we had to be able to propose as well.

Fordwich is rich in history. We should this year have been celebrating 1400 years of the church on its present site.

It has a place within the compass of the history of Canterbury as its front and back door over very many centuries, famous for a great deal more than simply bringing in the Caen stone for the Cathedral.

It is set on one of the most picturesque stretches of the River Stour, with water meadows leading up to the ancient bridge. To the north the flood plain is drained by a series of ditches, now very much overgrown by wetland woods.

Connected to the woodland to one side is a wonderful, naturalised lake and to the other the river, now widely used for canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, wild swimmers and fishermen. Just downstream there are otters and beavers.

To the south of the river and rising up behind the town is the wooded valley. Until the 1980s this was agricultural land, with orchards and hops in abundance, but as it has not been worked seriously for more than 15 years, it has developed into a wonderful habitat for an ever-increasing, bio-diverse population.

It leads naturally on to the ancient woodland established by Bishop Odo as the first hunting park in the country, established soon after the Conquest in 1066.

It is our intention both to oppose any such large-scale development and to seek the best possible solution to opening up the natural beauty and history of Fordwich, while preserving its rural environment.

Philip Lewis, Mayor of Fordwich, Philip.lewiscouncillor@gmail.com, 07966815931.

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