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Public urged to respond to "threat to woodland"

By Alan Smith

Plans to build on New Line Learning Academy’s school playing fields are putting an ancient woodland under threat.

That is the contention of Kent County Councillor Brian Clark (Lib Dem Maidstone South) and Maidstone Borough Councillor Derek Mortimer (Lib Dem South Ward), who are urging planners to refuse a scheme for 220 homes on the site in Boughton Lane.

The developer’s proposals include two access roads - one would cut through the heart of Five Acre Wood.

Councillors Clark and Mortimer advise the public to give their views
Councillors Clark and Mortimer advise the public to give their views

Cllr Clark said: “This plan involves a land swap between Ward Homes and KCC which is very unpopular locally as it will ruin the woodland which we have fought to protect - and also greatly increase traffic in Boughton Lane.

“With Kent Highways already considering the Loose Road junction to be ‘at capacity’, this plan can only add to traffic misery in South Maidstone.”

The councillors argue that national planning guidelines give strong protection to ancient woodland and as Kent Highways had indicated that it would accept a single access to the site, with an adjacent emergency access, there was no need to cut through the woodland.

Cllr Mortimer said: “Planners have already received a 1,500 signature petition against this plan and we are urging planners to consider the impact this will have on the local community.

“It is important that anyone wishing to comment on the proposal contacts Maidstone Borough Planning department by the deadline, which is next Thursday, July 10.”

Planning application 13/2197 refers.

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