What's wrong with the development?


There are many reasons to oppose Ranks plans:

Most importantly, the development will destroy large amounts of valuable wildlife habitat

West Wood is a public wood - we own it, and all of us are entitled to use it. The government has no moral right to sell it to a private company.

Most local people who are aware of what is happening are opposed to the scheme.

The jobs offered by the development seem likely to be exploitative, poorly paid and of little benefit to the local economy (as shown by Folkstone's experience with the Channel Tunnel, and Rank's own poor employment record with Butlins and Mecca bingo).

Displacement of tourists from West Wood will be environmentally damaging, as more and more people converge on what is left of the Kent Downs. As genuine green space shrinks between suburban sprawl on the one side and industrial monoculture on the other, the thousands of extra tourists the development will bring can only place a greater strain on surrounding areas.

West Wood is currently making a profit as a source of sustainable timber - to sell it now is ridiculous. Labour have called a halt to this kind of asset-stripping, ordered by the previous government, although they are refusing to stop contracts already in progress.

This kind of development is a sanitization of nature, turning a living forest into little more than an extended herbacious border. It is also unhealthy commercialisation of a free and natural pleasure, with no long-term sustainability.

The development includes a huge artificial lake, and several miles of water-ways. Their maintainance would require over 100,000 gallons / day, on top of the 220,000 gallons / day needed by the 'village'. East Kent has suffered from water shortages for several years now, and the situation seems to be worsening. There is also no adequate arrangement for sewage disposal. On-site treatment would bring its own problems, and the alternative is to dump the sludge into an increasingly polluted sea.

Construction of the 'village', and increased road usage would probably require a widening of Stone Street, the old Roman road which runs through the forest. This would be damaging in itself, and inevitably open up even more of this sensitive area to development.