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Gallaghers' scheme for Waterside Park re-submitted with changes

By Alan Smith

A controversial application for a warehouse and light industrial development near Junction 8 of the M20 is back - in slightly different form.

The first application for Waterside Park from Gallaghers and Marden-based firms Scarab Sweepers and Automotive Distribution Limited was rejected by Maidstone council in February.

Councillors said its overall scale, mass and design would be detrimental to the countryside but the applicants have now submitted new plans which they say address those concerns.

Junction 8 of the M20
Junction 8 of the M20

The total built area has been reduced by 20% from 56,000 sq metres to 45,000 sq metres.

The development area has been reduced from 11.7 hectares to 10.2 hectares.

The heights of the two tallest buildings have been reduced by 2m and the buffer between the development and an adjacent area of ancient woodland has been increased from 15m to 23m.

Previously, one of the main concerns had been the amount of excavation required, with Gallaghers proposing to remove 435,636 cubic metres of sand from the site and refashion one million tons of subsoil to create a level development platform.

The new plans requires around 30% less land to be excavated.

The application remains “hybrid” with part seeking detailed planning permission, and part out-line permission.

Roger Vidler, the vice chairman of the Bearsted and Thurnham Society, said: “We are examining the details closely before drawing our conclusion.

“In the meantime we urge all members and the general public to look closely at the proposals and send their comments to Maidstone’s planning department.”

The planning application number is 14/501895.

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