A housebuilding giant is being forced to tear down an “alien” sales cabin erected without planning permission at a Kent beauty spot.
Redrow put up the office near Betteshanger Country Park to advertise 222-new homes being built on a nearby development called The Greenways.
Concerned residents say the “sales pod” – which was constructed in the car park of the former colliery – has turned the popular site into a “shopping mall”.
But they were rejoicing after Redrow’s retrospective bid for planning permission, which attracted 40 objections, was rejected by Dover District Council last week.
The decision leaves the firm with little choice but to pull down the “one-storey sales and marketing cabin”, which it says was intended to be temporary to advertise the homes being built on land a mile away in Betteshanger Road.
It argued the building’s anthracite exterior provides “a quality finish”, but in refusing the application a DDC officer described the office as “an unjustified, unrelated, jarring, alien, discordant feature in this setting”.
He added it was “spoiling the natural quality and appearance of the wider setting of the park as well as creating hazards to pedestrians, cyclists, and other visitors to the country park”.
Emma Richards was among those who objected, writing to the planning department: “Is this a country park or a business park?
“Totally out of character for the area and a blatant disregard for planning regulations.”
Sholden Parish Council wrote to decry how the building “blights the current landscape”.
Julia Wilmshurst said: “I object to this retrospective application. A decision has been preempted by the developers, or have the council already told them the planning requests can go ahead?
“It makes a mockery of the planning process.”
Bryony Brooks added: “The country park is a wonderful place for the locals to visit with their children and friends and family.
“There is nothing similar in the area.
“It is increasingly becoming a place for promoting things.
“Cyclists love this park and as a dog owner, it is an excellent place to walk dogs in the shade on hot days.
“Why can't the country park remain a haven for wildlife?
“Please leave our park alone and stop it becoming a shopping mall.”
The planning officer also noted that advertisement boards on the building would usually require advertising consent, making them “unlawful”.
A spokesman for DDC said: “We can confirm that the retrospective application for the erection of a sales pod building at Betteshanger Country Park was refused on October 19.
“Planning enforcement is aware of the decision, and is looking into the matter.”
A Redrow spokesman said the company had erected a temporary sales cabin “in anticipation of a permanent customer experience suite opening in summer 2024”.
“Following consideration by Dover District Council, a retrospective planning application has not been granted and we are in the process of decommissioning and removing the cabin,” they added.