The presence of three pairs of turtle doves – one of the fastest-declining species of bird in the country – was not enough to block permission for more than 200 new homes on the site of the former Betteshanger colliery.
Quinn Estates last night (Thursday, May 27) won approval from Dover District Council’s planning committee to build 210 houses, 2,500 square metres of office space and 150 sq m of shopping space.
The proposal was approved on the casting vote of the committee chairman.
CPRE Kent had objected to the proposal and submitted a substantial environmental statement. Altogether, there were more than 80 objections, many relating to the loss of wildlife.
A spokesman for the Friends of Betteshanger, the group formed to oppose the scheme, said: “There was some well-argued opposition, but ultimately it was agreed that Section 106 agreements to finalise mitigation and compensation were an acceptable way forward.
“We hope we will see the day when environmental considerations really are centre-stage and wildlife is given the protection it deserves.”
Extraordinarily, the mitigation reportedly included a pledge to relocate the site’s turtles doves – a migratory bird that winters in sub-Saharan Africa. Extraordinary… and depressing that such nonsense could be taken seriously by a planning committee.
Friday, May 28, 2021