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Sandgate Escarpment Opinion Referendum: Polling Day

May 9, 2018 2:35 PM
Originally published by Tim Prater | Sandgate Parish Councillor

Martello Tower 6 [Sandgate Escarpment] (Copyright Steve Popple and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence.)The Sandgate Escarpment referendum is taking place today (Wednesday 9th May) from 9am-9pm at Sandgate Library.

The vote is on the proposal from Sandgate Parish Council to buy woodland on Sandgate Escarpment including Martello Towers 6 & 7. A proportion of that land has planning permission for 5 houses on it gained by the current owner. If the Council buy the land, the planning permission will NOT be used and the woodland will be retained and made more accessible to local residents and walkers.

Without a majority voting Yes to the purchase, the purchase will not proceed. The question is:

"Are you in FAVOUR of the Parish Council going ahead with the SANDGATE WOODS AND MARTELLO TOWERS PROJECT which will increase the precept (Parish Council element of the Council Tax) from April 2019 by £9.75 per annum or 19p per week for a Band D property (and other bands pro-rata) to pay off the PWLB loan?"

Sandgate Parish Councillor Tim Prater says:

"There are always arguments on both sides, but overall the proposal from Sandgate Council will allow us to protect the woodland and the towers from developers for future generations. The woodland can be opened up by improving the existing public footpaths, and the overgrown towers made visible again after years of neglect.

"If the Council don't buy the land, someone else will. And when they do, there is no guarantee what they will seek to do: maybe use the existing planning permission, or seek its extension, look for more houses or even close access to the Towers. I don't want to see that. I want to see the towers and woodland protected: all of it.

"I fully back the proposal and hope local residents do too. However: it's their choice. If today's referendum doesn't back the plan, the Council have committed to drop it - simple as that. It's for local people to decide."