CPRE Kent handed Thurnham heritage award for Woodcut Farm bid

All smiles at the award presentation. From left: CPRE Kent director Hilary Newport and vice-president Richard Knox-Johnston, Thurnham parish council chairman Daniel Skinner and Maidstone CPRE chairman Gary Thomas

CPRE Kent has won an award for its bid to save a stretch of countryside near Maidstone.
Our attempt to stop development near junction 8 of the M20 (Woodcut Farm) was ultimately unsuccessful, but Thurnham Parish Council recognised our efforts by naming us winner of its heritage award.
CPRE Kent had applied at the end of last year to the High Court for a judicial review of Maidstone Borough Council’s inclusion in its Local Plan of the junction 8 site as a designated site for development.
However, in February this year we were not granted permission by the Honourable Mrs Justice Lang DBE to take forward the review.
The request for a judicial review had followed CPRE Kent’s submission, in November last year, a pre-action protocol letter to the High Court against the council deciding on a Roxhill Developments planning application for the site.
Despite the letter and protest from parish councils and local groups, the council chose to grant outline planning permission for the site.
A statement on the Thurnham Parish Council website says: “The Thurnham Heritage Award was instituted in cooperation with English Heritage.
“Most awards are top down: this is the opposite. It is a parish council recognising outstanding contributions to heritage in many forms and ways by organisations or individuals. It is awarded for one year.
“The award itself was carefully made by Thomas Fattorini in Birmingham from wood grown in Thurnham Castle.”
The presentation was made at a parish council meeting on Monday, June 18, at Bearsted’s Tudor Park Marriott Hotel.
Richard Knox-Johnston, CPRE Kent vice-president, said: “I am delighted the council has chosen to recognise us, and in turn CPRE Kent was very grateful for the support of Thurnham and other local parish councils in our efforts to protect Kent’s countryside.”
Maidstone CPRE chairman Gary Thomas was at the Tudor Park hotel to receive the award from Daniel Skinner, Thurnham parish council chairman.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Permission for judicial review on Woodcut Farm is refused in High Court

Woodcut Farm… ripe for development, believes Maidstone Borough Council

CPRE Kent, in its application to the High Court for a judicial review, was not granted permission by the Honourable Mrs Justice Lang DBE against Maidstone Borough Council’s inclusion in its Local Plan of land at junction 8 of the M20 (Woodcut Farm) as a designated site for development.
CPRE had submitted a pre-action protocol letter to the High Court  in November 2017 against the council making a decision on the Roxhill Developments planning application for the site.
In spite of our action and considerable protest from parish councils and local groups, the council chose to grant outline planning permission for the site.
Richard Knox-Johnston, vice-president of CPRE Kent, said: “This is very disappointing and rejects the views of local people who are being ignored by Maidstone council.
“It also flies in the face of two inspectors at previous inquiries that the setting of the Area of Outstanding Beauty, the visual amenity and that it will be in the setting of a heritage asset were enough grounds to reject previous applications in the same area.
“We believe that the inspector and Maidstone councillors have been misinformed by their planning officers and that this will come to light in the future.
“We also believe that the dismissal of considerable evidence on deterioration of air quality in Maidstone not only affects health in the borough but is especially dangerous for young children.
“Their application, at present, is only an outline application and we shall continue to examine the details in the future, particularly those that affect the environment.”

Wednesday, February 14, 2018