The public inquiry into plans for an industrial and warehouse development at Waterside Park next to Junction 8 of the M20 has finished with a decision expected by the end of July. You can read the full versions of all the parties at the end of this post.
In his closing statement CPRE Vice-President Richard Knox-Johnston described the impact on Leeds Castle: “It will harm the setting of the castle. It will be a large grey building, very close to the gardens which themselves are a heritage asset, some 400 metres away and also be very obvious and out of place industrial building able to be seen from the castle environs, no matter how many people see it either today or in the future.”
He went on to say: “The view is there, hopefully it will always be there and no matter how many people enjoy the aspect it is still a beautiful view and needs to be preserved for future generations.
He described the adverse impact on the footpath from the point of view of the Ramblers: “Walking alongside an industrial area with a two to three metre wire fence, security lighting and CCTV cameras was not his idea of a country walk.”
Mr Knox-Johnston spoke of the concerns about the risk of contamination to the water supply, warning that: “…just one spill could contaminate the important adjacent borehole which in turn would contaminate the aquifer permanently. Kent is the most water stressed county in the country and any loss of drinking water in a drought threatened area could be devastating.”
And he concluded that: “The residents in the area of Junction 8 …. have had to put up with many threats to their surroundings over the last few years. Having beaten off a road rail interchange they are now fighting an industrial complex which is totally foreign to the countryside which surrounds Junction 8 at present. What is more there is another application being submitted.
“However they are not daunted and will continue to battle to preserve this attractive very important heritage area. They are doing this not only on their own behalf but to protect these important heritage assets for Kent and for the UK in order that tourists may continue to enjoy the castle and its surroundings.”
You can read the full closing statements below:
June 1st 2015