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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

MP Helen Grant rebuked for breaking Parliamentary protocol

09 January 2014
by Alan Smith

Bearsted has written to Mrs Grant requesting that she “publicly withdraw” her support after she wrote to Maidstone council’s head of planning Rob Jarman in November regarding an application to build an industrial development known as Waterside Park at Junction 8 of the M20.

She said it would give two firms in her constituency the opportunity to relocate and expand.

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald

But the application has been profoundly condemned by Bearsted, Hollingbourne, Leeds and Thurnham Parish Councils, by Leeds Castle, by the CPRE, by the leader of KCC, Cllr Paul Carter, and indeed by Faversham and Mid Kent MP, Hugh Robertson, within whose constituency it does lie.

Bearsted Parish Council told Mrs Grant: “We are extremely alarmed and disappointed over your letter.

“While we fully respect your support for Scarab and ADL to relocate from their present premises in Marden, which are within your constituency, we must point out that your support for industrial development at Junction 8 appears to be a breach of Parliamentary protocol because Junction 8 is not within your constituency and the proposed development in that area is strongly opposed by the hugely respected local MP, Hugh Robertson.”

Bearsted Parish Council vice-chairman Denis Spooner

Bearsted Parish Council vice-chairman Denis Spooner

It said there were compelling planning reasons to oppose the application.

Vice chairman Cllr Dennis Spooner told Mrs Grant: “Local people will wonder why you are supporting industrial development on a very sensitive and controversial site which will severely compromise the adjacent countryside.”

Mrs Grant told the KM: “I do appreciate the concerns raised. However, I also believe that it is essential to support local businesses.

Waterside Park and where it fits along the A20 in relation to the former KIG site

Waterside Park (in green) and where it fits in relation to the former KIG site (red)

“Allowing businesses to expand and grow in turn allows them to play a major role in job creation.

“There is a real danger that, if barred from expanding, both ADL and Scarab Sweepers could relocate out of the region entirely, causing massive job losses and considerable damage to the local and regional economy.”

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