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Final say on A2 Tollgate Hotel plans to be determined by Planning Inspectorate

Controversial plans to knock down a derelict hotel and build a petrol station will now be decided by government planning officers.

Gravesham council members said if it had been possible to determine the current planning application prior to the appeal against non-determination, the board would have refused to grant planning permission.

The Planning Inspectorate, the government agency responsible for handling planning applications will now have the final say on approval.

Plans for the petrol station on the A2 had been approved for a third time back in February this year.

The Tollgate Hotel site sits between the A2 and the existing Tollgate Service Station (16164759)
The Tollgate Hotel site sits between the A2 and the existing Tollgate Service Station (16164759)

But approval was withdrawn due to the potential for the site to come back into use as a hotel.

Plans for the development have been scuppered numerous times since its original application.

An appeal against the most recent approval was lodged after almost 1,000 people objected to the proposal for the 2.5-acre plot, which would have seen the hotel, which closed in 2006, torn down.

Back in 2014 and 2015 a larger scale scheme, which would have seen a McDonald's drive-thru and M&S Food court built alongside the garage, were approved by Gravesham council before its decisions were quashed on appeal.

As of February 2018 Gravesham council had spent more than £130,000 fighting planning appeals against the scheme, according to information obtained by a KentOnline Freedom of Information request.

It follows legal action taken by Tollgate Service Station manager Simon Privett who lost 45% of trade following the A2 work and had to invest more than £1million in his business, just yards away from the hotel site.

Speaking after the decision to rescind approval last year, he said: "The billion dollar question is will they come back again? How many times can someone lose an appeal and keep coming back?"

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

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