Green belt land could be under threat as Gravesham Council considers building nearly 2,000 more homes following its latest housing projection.
The council has announced a consultation will be held on the development of the greenbelt in Meopham, Sole Street, Higham and at sites south of Riverview Park and east of Thong Lane.
It estimates 7,905 homes should be built between 2011 and 2028 in the borough to meet housing need, rather than the 6,170 the Local Plan states.
The council’s core strategy contains a settlement hierarchy, with Gravesend and Northfleet’s urban areas placed in the top tier, areas of prime development, while Higham, Meopham and, Istead Rise are in the tier below, areas which will fall to be considered for development once there is no room left to develop in the top tier.
The most vulnerable green belt areas include land east of the Tollgate, south of Riverview Park and Thong Lane, and land north of the Three Crutches, west of Strood and east of the Wainscott Bypass.
Land in north east Gravesend where the Lower Thames Crossing will be, which is not part of the greenbelt, but is covered by or adjacent to nature conservation designations and subject to flood risk, is also under threat in the plans.
Examples given of sites in the second tier which also could be built on include the area around Hook Green, Meopham, the land between Hook Green and Sole Street and the area between Higham and Lower Higham.
The Gravesham Local Plan states: “Redevelopment of brownfield land will remain a key objective, but it has to be acknowledged that the supply of this is diminishing on current evidence.
“Once it has been demonstrated that this of insufficient scale, taking deliverability into account, it is necessary to look elsewhere, which in Gravesham’s case means rural land currently in the Green Belt.
“The council will consider responses to the consultation and chart a way forward.”
A policy document states: “Given the scale of need assessed it is therefore necessary to look at whether the there are opportunities outside the existing built areas.
“The precise figures will change but currently we have a need of the order 2,000 dwellings which cannot be accommodated in the urban area or inset villages on the basis of current information.
“This, allowing for other land uses, would require about 80 hectare, which is roughly the size of Istead Rise to give an approximate scale.”
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