CPRE Kent can confirm that we will be challenging part of Maidstone Borough Council’s Local Plan.
The decision was made after last night’s (Thursday, November 30) approval by the local authority of a scheme to develop almost 17 hectares of land at Woodcut Farm, near junction 8 of the M20.
We had asked in a pre-action protocol letter to the council that it delay making a decision on the planning application, by Roxhill Developments, stating our belief that inclusion of Woodcut Farm as a designated site for development in the Local Plan was unlawful.
More precisely, we were challenging the council’s allocation of 16.8 hectares for up to 49,000 square metres of “mixed employment floorspace” at the site: Policy EMP 1(4) of the Plan.
The letter was lodged through our solicitor Richard Buxton, asking that the council’s planning committee did not debate the Woodcut Farm application last night.
However, the committee went ahead with the debate and made the decision to approve the outline application by seven votes to five.
Richard Knox-Johnston, CPRE Kent vice-chairman, said: “Maidstone councillors were given legal advice that our letter was only a threat and not a legal challenge in itself.
“That advice was not correct and we believe the council was misinformed.
“As a result we will be proceeding with a legal challenge early next week.”
Christine Drury, our chairwoman, said: “CPRE Kent will never give up on the countryside.”
Friday, December 1, 2017