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Quinn Estates 'disappointed' by Planning Inspectorate's dismissal of appeal over East Stour Park flats plan


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Developers have seen their appeal against a council's refusal of their plans for hundreds of riverside homes thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate.

The Quinn Estates proposal for the East Stour Park project of 212 flats on a 6.6-acre site off Romney Marsh Road in Ashford was rejected by Ashford Borough Council’s planning committee by 15 votes to one in February 2020.

This aerial photo shows the East Stour Park site, which is next to the Designer Outlet. Picture: Ady Kerry / Ashford Borough Council
This aerial photo shows the East Stour Park site, which is next to the Designer Outlet. Picture: Ady Kerry / Ashford Borough Council

This decision was appealed by the developers, but their case has now been dismissed by planning inspector Phillip Ware following a hearing earlier this year.

Reacting to the decision, which was published yesterday, a spokesman for Quinn Estates said the firm was "understandably disappointed" by the outcome.

"From the outset, our vision for East Stour Park has been to create an exceptionally designed new development that provides for and invests in the local community," they said.

"We will now go away and reflect on this decision before deciding what our next steps should be."

The proposals envisaged six apartment blocks and 255 car park spaces on a site, which sits within a flood zone and green corridor (GC) just a stone's throw from the Ashford Designer Outlet.

A total of 212 flats were planned in six different blocks
A total of 212 flats were planned in six different blocks
Mark Quinn of Quinn Estates is behind the plan
Mark Quinn of Quinn Estates is behind the plan
How East Stour Park was set to look
How East Stour Park was set to look
This map shows where East Stour Park was set to go
This map shows where East Stour Park was set to go

In his summary of the reasons for dismissing the appeal, Mr Ware did acknowledge that the scheme would have benefits for the economy and the provision of housing.

However, the inspector said the plans would have an adverse affect on the green corridor on which the homes would be built, meaning there was as "clear reason for refusing the development".

Describing his impression of the land, following a site visit earlier this year, Mr Ware said: "I consider it plays an important role as a buffer between the housing to the west beyond the river and the road/Designer Outlet to the east.

"The absence of any structures plays a very important role in defining its character."

He concluded: "I consider that the proposal would cause significant harm to the principal open space use of the GC."

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