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Decision due tonight from Shepway District Council over new supermarket behind Hawkinge Community Centre in Heron Forstal Avenue

By Matt Leclere

The chance of a new supermarket in Hawkinge is finally due to be decided on by Shepway councillors tonight.

The previous discussion at Shepway District Council’s planning committee for a 610 sq m supermarket on April 22 was delayed due to a mix-up with paperwork.

The proposed site is behind the Hawkinge Community Centre in Heron Forstal Avenue.

Planning committee members said the area should only be used for the community

Planning officers recommended that the application by developers Edinburgh Land Estates, which also includes the provision for 82 car parking spaces at the site, should be approved despite opposition from the town council and several residents in the area.

It would bring to an end a long running saga. The site has been fraught with problems after a planning battle since developers bought the land from the district council in 2007.

It has been the subject of several failed applications and was even rejected by the Planning Inspectorate in November 2012 on appeal after the most recent application from July 2010 was rejected by the district council in October 2011.

The recommendation for approval has 17 conditions, including limited opening and delivery hours, and delivery vehicles to be no larger than 10.5m long.

Among the complaints are that the plans propose insufficient parking spaces, inadequate road infrastructure to accommodate increased traffic, and that a supermarket is not needed with 13 in a three-and-a-half mile radius of the site. Kent Highways say it has no objections and says the parking provision is “now sufficient”.

The community centre has said it may suffer financially from a supermarket being built on the site because there would be fewer parking spaces being available for the type of events it needs to attract.

The meeting will be held at 7pm in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre in Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone.

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