RESIDENTS in Kington are pleading for planners to heed their concerns about proposals for more than 100 new houses in the town.

Comments gathered during a six-week long consultation exhibition in Kington Library have demonstrated strong fears about proposals for a major housing development in an area many believe has a struggling infrastructure and few job opportunities.

This evening (Thursday), a public meeting at Kington Primary School will provide a chance for local people to air their views, and for representatives of Kington Town Council, Huntington and Kington Rural and Lower Harpton councils, who have drafted the Kington Area Neighbourhood Plan (KANPlan), to report back on the findings.

Under Government national housing policy, a total of 200 homes are scheduled for development by 2030 in what has been described by some as "large village". One man claimed it was "hard to find anyone in favour of the threatened housing proposal". Said Ian Caney: "It is, in effect, being imposed on the community. Ill considered housing is a threat to our countryside."

Among comments recorded during the consultation period, there are repeated references to low employment. Said one cynic: "Oh yes, let's build lots of housing where there are no job opportunities, the medical centre is under pressure from the current population, as is the infrastructure for sewerage, water and the road network. How could they cope with a far greater number of residents?"

Another argued: "Kington cannot cope already. There is a shortage of doctors, we've lost two banks and the shops are struggling.

"Listen to the residents of Kington," the writer pleaded. "We live here, not the council. This is going to ruin our community. "

Mr Caney felt a "sprawl of boxy modern homes" would not be in keeping with the area. "Quite soon this corner of rural England will be blighted like so many others.

"Over 200 dwellings in total have been proposed in what could be described as a large village although historically classed as a market town."

He claimed the NDP should have been decided by the whole Kington community, "not just a few people and Kington Council presenting a ‘job done’ plan". He felt that local opinion should have been sought at the start of the planning procedure. "We are now being presented with a 'proposed development boundary' which conveniently excludes previous possibilities and was voted on with no members of the public in attendance."

Many agree that new houses must be built, though pointing out that empty brownfield spaces were "crying out for attention".

Mayor of Kington, Councillor Martin Fitton pointed out that the area had an obligation to provide housing as part of a nationwide ruling.

"Development is not always popular, but we have tried our best to do the least damage to the area," he said. "We are all of us working to do what is in the best interests of Kington. We have had a lot of support for our protection for green spaces."