Disappointment at judgement over building in AONB

High Court judge Mr Justice Mitting has rejected CPRE Kent’s grounds for Judicial Review of the decision to grant planning permission for more than 600 homes in the AONB at Farthingloe, Dover. But he said the charity was right to bring the case to test the planning system.
The plans at Farthingloe include 521 new houses, a 90 apartment retirement village, health facility and conversion of a farmhouse into a bed and breakfast, a thatched barn into a pub/restaurant and a stable block into a shop. All this development wopuld be on AONB land which is supposed to be protected under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).An additional 31 homes are planned at Western Heights, as well as Victoria Hall being redeveloped for nine residential units and a 130-bedroom hotel, plus converting the famous Drop Redoubt into a new museum and visitor centre.
Dover Farthingloe from Mount Road Vic 030
CPRE Kent is not opposed to the principle of new housing development in the district but this should be in the right place, not on an AONB. And we are in favour of the proposed improvements of heritage assets, but this cannot justify the destruction of the AONB.

CPRE Kent Director Dr Hilary Newport said:
“We are utterly dismayed and disappointed at the judgement. It is vital that we protect Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty for future generations and to allow this intensive building at Farthingloe makes a mockery of the whole planning system which is supposed to provide the highest level of protection for AONBs. The reality, when tested through the courts, is that it has failed to protect the AONB.

 
“We were compelled to take this action to try to stop the destruction of beautiful open countryside not just in Kent but across the country as it sets a dangerous precedent for future planning applications in protected areas. We, Natural England, the National Trust and the Kent Downs AONB unit all believed it was wrong to grant the planning permission and the Government’s planning caseworker recommended it should have been “called in” by the Secretary of State for Planning to consider at an appeal.
 
“We have been fighting this decision for years as it is so important and central to our cause. We are desperately disappointed but will never waver in our fight to protect the designated landscapes and wonderful countryside which are such a fundamental part of what makes Kent and England so special. We would like to thank all our members and supporters who backed us in this challenge.”
We are now considering our options.
December 17th 2015

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