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Developer behind Canterbury's Mountfield Park housing scheme accuses Green campaigner of hypocrisy

The man behind Canterbury’s biggest ever housing development has accused a clean air campaigner who opposed it of being a hypocrite after learning she is the director of an international freight company.

Emily Shirley forced a judicial review of Corinthian’s 4,000-home Mountfield Park scheme, arguing the extra traffic it generated would breach air quality rules.

But a High Court judge has since dismissed the case led by Mrs Shirley, who lives in Bridge and says Canterbury City Council should not have granted planning permission for the homes last December.

Green campaigner Emily Shirley
Green campaigner Emily Shirley

She has now been branded hypocritical by Corinthian managing director Simon Wright after he learned she is a director of Dover-based John Shirley Ltd.

The freight forwarding firm, which bears her husband’s name, arranges deliveries across Europe and has looked after 23,000 consignments since it was formed 18 years ago.

After the hearing earlier this month, Mr Wright said: “We are obviously pleased that Emily Shirley’s latest legal challenge in respect of Mountfield Park in relation to air quality has failed.

Corinthian chief executive Simon Wright
Corinthian chief executive Simon Wright

“The High Court agreed with Corinthian that none of the grounds of legal challenge raised by Mrs Shirley’s legal team were valid and she was ordered to pay costs.

“As a board we were somewhat surprised, given Mrs Shirley’s stated concern regarding air quality, to discover that she is a director of a road haulage company, given that road haulage vehicles are one of the major causes of congestion and pollution.

“This seems slightly hypocritical and very inconsistent with her publicly stated position.”

View from the New Dover Road
View from the New Dover Road

Mrs Shirley says John Shirley Ltd is not a road haulage firm and describes it as a “freight forwarding” company, which arranges transport by road and train, but did not own its own fleet of lorries.

“This is shameful,” she said. “It’s slander and Corinthian should be very careful. I felt quite intimidated at court by them and this looks like another form of intimidation.”

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