CPRE Kent has joined with 16 parish councils to campaign against plans for a business park at Waterside Park by Junction 8 of the M20. We have been granted Rule 6 status, meaning we will play an active part in the public inquiry which begins next May.
CPRE Kent believes the planned development of warehouses, industrial premises and offices would be detrimental to the countryside setting of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the important heritage setting of Leeds Castle.
In our Statement of Case, submitted just before Christmas (23rd December), we focused on the community impact issues including traffic, noise, light and air pollution and the detrimental effect on the enjoyment of the countryside. We also highlight the risk of contamination of an important water supply source and also the River Len, which runs alongside the southern side of the site, arising from potential accidental discharge of fuel oil and other stored chemicals and hazardous substances. And we draw attention to the impact on the heritage setting of Leeds Castle and the risk to rural tourism.
Kent County Council together with Natural England and the Kent Downs AONB Unit, will also be opposing the development at the Inquiry, in particular looking at the impact on the AONB and the economic arguments.
The proposal, involving 16 hectares (39 acres) of prime agricultural land, is not identified for development in either the existing or proposed new Local Plan and breaches important planning policies that seek to protect the countryside.
The plan was first rejected by Maidstone Borough council planning committee in February, and a revised plan was rejected in October. The developer, Gallagher Properties, has appealed against both decisions.
Brian Lloyd, Senior Planner for CPRE Kent said: “We hope that the Planning Inspector holding the Inquiry will reject this proposal because of the damage it will cause to this attractive area of countryside. If this is allowed, it could set a precedent for further development stretching alongside the A20 and M20 right back to Maidstone. It is completely the wrong place for development.”
To read the full Statement of Case click here.
23 December 2014