Building plan will ‘close our farm’

One of Rother District Council’s (RDC) stated objectives in the Local Plan is “to support agriculture…” and yet they have decided to effectively close our family farm in Robertsbridge, by earmarking key fields and the farmyard, for development.

Despite our protestations at the time, the two fields nearest George Hill and the adjoining part of the farmyard were included in the 2006 Local Plan as a reserve site, which meant it was only to be developed if the housing needs of the village could not be met through construction on other sites, principally brownfield sites which are still in existence.

Now, I understand that the reserve status has been removed and that both the owners and the prospective developers are pushing for building work to start on Grove Farm ahead of any other site in the village, including the brownfield sites. They want some houses constructed by the end of 2014 and both surveyors and architects have already been to the farm. Yet more houses will follow in the period to 2028.

My father moved to the farm in 1994 and we have farmed it as a family ever since.

For us, the development would mean the end of our business and thus our livelihood.

An informal meeting is being held in the Church Hall, Fair Lane, Robertsbridge, at 7.30pm on 2 September 2013 for anyone wishing to discuss the Local Plan further and to provide support for anyone wishing to make representations to RDC over the proposed construction of an additional 36 new houses in the village over and above the 119 already earmarked.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to air your views.

Judy Rogers

by email