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Council awarded legal costs after winning court battle over Springfield Park near Maidstone

By Alan Smith

Maidstone council has won a major victory over developers.

Landowners Blossom Way had sought to have a Judicial Review of the council’s refusal in May to grant planning permission for a development at Springfield Park submitted by the developers Augur Buchler.

The company had sought to build a £20m retail park including a Morrisons supermarket, three smaller shops, a doctor’s surgery, plus a petrol station, but the council objected to the out-of-town centre and said the scheme was contrary to the draft Local Plan.

What the town's missing.....
What the town's missing.....

The development partners felt cheated because the planning committee had almost approved the scheme at one stage, deferring the decision only for further discussion about the conditions to be imposed.

But when the application came back for review, the committee had hardened its approach and voted against permission by seven votes to six.

However, the High Court ruled that the developer’s claim was “unarguable” and refused permission for a review.

The court said: “In truth there was no resolution to grant planning permission.“

The court said that the company also had a remedy to hand in that it could have appealed the decision in the normal way to the Secretary of State.

The court awarded the council £3,968 in costs, which Blossom Way must pay.

The council's principal planning officer Rob Jarman
The council's principal planning officer Rob Jarman

Ironically, the company has now lost the chance to appeal against the original application, because the deadline has passed.

However, it may not be the end of the story.

Planning permission already exists to create around 185,000 sq ft of offices and 192 new homes on the five-acre site of Royal Engineers Road.

Augur Buchler declined to comment following the court case.

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