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Southfleet News: A letter to Southfleet residents.

Posted on Oct 13, 2016 by Tony Kelly

D & M. Gedney Ltd

To the residents of Southfleet village

I feel obliged to write to you as I believe there is some clarification I should make to the residents on the information behind the proposal by Quinn estates that I don`t believe was conveyed during the presentation
For the last 30 years I have tried to reduce the effects of our operations on the village. We installed a new access road in Dale road to stop vehicles having the need to pass the school and many of the homes in the middle of the village. We felt it necessary at the time as HGV`s were having a negative impact on the residents, the school and adding to general congestion. Over many years we have made improvements to the surroundings to benefit the village where possible. More recently we have installed new signs to direct vehicles to the most direct route in various locations, and also started landscaping to try to minimise the visual impact of the current site access road following complaints about both issues. I have always worked hard to help residents, the school, the pub and the church with any requests I receive from them and this will of course always continue.

For the last 5 years there has been a rapid expansion of my farming and packing operations. The expansion has been largely due to more demand for ready to eat food for convenience which is the sector I am involved in. The market predicts a 35 % year on year increase for the next 6 years. I do have planning approval for a very large new factory in Dale Road that was granted some time ago, and this has been activated. I could commence the build of this at any time, but my concerns are that this could expand as time goes by. The vehicle movements may continue to grow, as could the issues of light and noise, and this would once again quite rightly frustrate the residents of the village. 

Before Sedley, Rectory Meadow, Weavers Orchard and The Vale were developed into residential sites, my site`s operations were acceptable in a farming community.

As the number of residential dwellings in the village has grown, my operations have continued to receive more complaints each year, leading me to believe that it is now my packing operation that is out of place, and that most of the residents would like to see it removed from the village. For these reasons I decided that perhaps now was the time to explore options that would be palatable to the village and its residents for the future
I approached Quinn estates with my predicament and asked for their assistance. Mark Quinn`s proposal had a new factory site located on the New Barn road, and residential properties on the current site and others in the village. Bearing in mind the negative impact further houses can have on community services, there was also a proposal for a new school and shop. The main reason behind the volume of houses was to fund a new factory elsewhere. The most recent quotation I received for me to build the necessary building fit for purpose on a new site was so vast it is prohibitive for me without some kind of development of our existing site to fund a move to a new one
It is clear from the reaction on the evening, and several distressing incidents directed towards my family following the proposal that there is a very passionate feeling to leave the village in its current form. It appears that many people are not willing to enter a discussion on a possible solution, even on a smaller scale, that might facilitate the relocation of the factory to a more appropriate site. I think this is a shame for the tranquillity of the village but I wholly respect the views of the residents and take them on board. I will not be following up the scheme that was presented to the village last week, but I will continue to try to find a solution to enable me to relocate the factory out of the village which I believe everyone would ultimately like to see. 

I believe the recent immaculate development of the old J.J. Barker site is a demonstration of how even a smaller development might look on our site
I would be pleased to hear any constructive ideas anyone may have regarding any of the points that I have mentioned above. I always have the village and its resident’s interests at my heart, hence arranging to meet the residents last week to hear their views. 
Thank you for taking time to read this

Matthew Gedney


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