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A lovely elderly lady came up to me in Smiths at Westwood Cross on Saturday (28th Feb 2015) and said "Do tell me how I know you? I'm sure we've met somewhere". I explained that a few years ago she'd made me a lovely cup of tea and that we had sat in her front room discussing a problem that seriously concerned her at the time.

I remember the day clearly, she looked out of her large front facing picture window and across Knockholt Road in Cliftonville and pointed to the green opposite. She explained that the council were going to build a dozen properties on the green and how it would affect local residents lives and could restrict access to the cliff top area and The Ridings at Forenesse for the residents of Palm Bay estate.

There are a number of small greens across Palm Bay estate and I was also concerned that the proposal to build on one of them could set a precedent.

That chat over a cuppa and further conversations with her young neighbours, was the start of a long and difficult campaign to save the green.

At the time I was the County Councillor for Margate & Cliftonville and I immediately started the lengthy process to formaly adopt the path across the middle of the green as a registered public right of way.

Our plan worked, the residents were wonderfully united and eventually the right of way was legally designated and should be safe 'forever'.

The former leadership had to back down in the end, and the plans were grudgingly withdrawn.

More importantly, under my leadership, when our group eventually took control at TDC in 2011, we made it a priority to protect public green open spaces with a specific policy written into our TDC Corporate Plan 2012-16.


Clive Hart
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