Development plans on Kent International Gateway site
Part of the proposed KIG
site at Bearsted
A council that fought to protect a huge stretch of
greenbelt land is now considering building on it.
Maidstone council spent £1.7m opposing plans for the Kent
International Gateway (KIG) development on 290 acres of land next
to the M20 at junction 8.
It would have involved huge warehouses and a rail-freight
interchange, but was eventually thrown out by the Government in
August 2010 following a public inquiry.
Now, planning bosses in Maidstone have put forward proposals for
a light industrial development on some of the same land not far
from the village of Bearsted.
It is included in its core strategy, which sets out how the
borough will develop between now and 2026 and deals with homes,
jobs, shopping, leisure, environment and transport issues.
Garland, leader of Maidstone Borough Council, insists the two
developments do not compare as they plan to build on just 50 acres
of the site.
He said: "We have made sure, through the proposals that we have
put out, that if there is any development at junction 8 and it's
approved by the secretary of state there will be no further
development creep along that."
He added: "We will look at all the responses that come forward,
but I think if you are to have a vibrant and prosperous borough you
need to provide a range of jobs, and employment areas such as
Junction 8 should be considered."
A public consultation on the core strategy has just finished and
a final conclusion will be made over the next few months as to what
Maidstone wants for the future.
The council says it needs to look at all employment
opportunities and want to create 10,080 jobs.
Mr Garland concluded: "We need to be looking at this in terms of
the overall strategy of getting our youngsters into jobs now and in
the future in these times of economic issues and troubles.
"I don't think there's any comparisson that can be made
reasonably between Kent International Gateway and what the council
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