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Bluebell Wood is ancient woodland insists Cllr Dan Daley

By Alan Smith

When is ancient woodland not ancient woodland? When it falls within a Croudace development site it would seem.

Barton Wilmore, the agent acting for the developer in respect of the company’s plans to build 500 homes on land east of Hermitage Lane, has written to Maidstone council with “updated information” on the application.

Despite objections from KCC, Kent Wildlife Trust and the council’s own biodiversity unit over the company’s plans to drive a road through Bluebell Wood, the agent said: “We question whether the Ancient Woodland has been accurately assessed and have some doubts whether it is Ancient Woodland.”

The threatened woodland
The threatened woodland

The letter has outraged Clllr Dan Daley, one of those campaigning against an extension of the development into what is being referred to as the hospital field, which creates the need for the road through the wood.

Cllr Daley (Lib Dem) said: “We have discovered maps going back to 1590 showing exactly the bluebell wood next to Maidstone Hospital.

“We are dismayed and infuriated seeing this renewed application by Croudace which still disputes this ancient wood’s credentials and suggests that the need for housing should allow it to be breached by an access road to the field beyond.”

Croudace is arguing that “in any case, the loss of only 2% of the woodland” would not outweigh the benefit of delivering up to 100 homes on the second field.

*Application number ma/13/1749 refers.

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