Controversial plans for medical campus on land surrounding Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery approved
A controversial application for a huge development around Junction 7 of the M20 near Maidstone has been given the go ahead.
The proposal for a medical campus on land surrounding the private Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS) hospital, which is already under construction, could bring more than 3,000 jobs to the County Town over the next 10 years.
The scheme, developed by DHA Planning, which is based at nearby Eclipse Park, covers 50 acres of farmland and will include hospital facilities such as clinics and consultation rooms, education and training facilities plus accommodation blocks and pathology laboratories.
There are plans for 350 accommodation units for doctors and nurses, 300 beds in halls of residence for students and 116 flats for people with medical problems requiring support in a ‘neuro-rehabilitation village’.
Jonathan Buckwell, of DHA Planning, said before the meeting: “The aim is to build on what KIMS is to deliver, a world-class facility, and there’s nothing like it in south-east England.”
The application is in outline only, meaning the details could change.
But the land at Newnham Court Farm falls within the Kent Downs Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty special landscape area.
The site would wrap around the Gidds Pond Cottages on three sides and share an access with the KIMS Hospital from the New Cut roundabout.
At a Maidstone council planning meeting last night, the scheme was approved, despite objections.
Opponents say it will destroy forever the strategic gap between Maidstone and Bearsted.
Following a healthy debate which went along party lines, the application by DHA Planning, which is based at nearby Eclipse Park, was passed, with seven votes in favour, two abstentions, and four votes against, from Lib Dem councillors Tony Harwood, Jenni Pattison, Martin Cox and Ian Chittenden.
For full story and reaction, see next week's Kent Messenger.
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