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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Housing plot fear on green belt
New house (generic)
The field was being divided up into house-size plots
Residents fear a field in Kent green belt could be sold off in house-size plots if a council fails to stop it.

People in Melliker Lane, Meopham, woke up on Maundy Thursday to find workmen staking out plots in the field, which had been bought by a property company.

Gravesham Borough Council obtained a temporary High Court injunction to halt the work and is returning to court on Thursday to apply to make it permanent.

The company, Property Spy, was asked to comment by the BBC but declined.

It is green belt land that is not required to be developed
John Burden

"We were woken up by the sound of stakes being placed in the field behind our property," said resident Caroline Halfpenny.

"There were at least 15 gentlemen in the field who said they were contractors dividing the land into plots for sale on the open market.

"The neighbours are very, very concerned."

John Burden, of Gravesham Borough Council, said the plots were house-sized, measuring an average of 15m x 30m (50ft x 100ft), and were being sold for about 14,000 upwards.

Green belt land was normally valued at about 3,000 per acre.

'Pefectly legal'

"What the company are doing is perfectly legal," said Mr Burden. "They are entitled to buy and sell land.

"Unfortunately they are implying that the land will get planning permission but that won't be the case.

"It is green belt land that is not required to be developed because we have sufficient land elsewhere to build on."

He said anyone who bought a plot would be taking a "very expensive gamble".

Property Spy's website states that it has building plots for sale at over 30 sites in England.

It says: "Plots are sold without current planning permission. Future planning consent cannot be guaranteed."

But it adds: "Due to the continuing need for new housing these sites have the potential for being redesignated as suitable for residential development."

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