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Cost of KIG to Maidstone council

More than £200,000 has been spent by Maidstone council in preparing its response to the Kent International Gateway application.

It is pushing ahead with the response, even though the decision on the controversial bid to build a road/rail freight interchange at Bearsted has now been taken away from it.

The council has budgeted to spend up to £400,000 on a two-year KIG investigation.

Spokesman Roger Adley said the council had already spent or had committed to spending £230,000 “and rising”.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Hazel Blears ruled that she would decide on the application after KIG successfully appealed that the council had taken too long on the proposal.

Hugh Robertson(Con), MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, said Miss Blears’ decision was “a huge disappointment”.

But he said: “The key thing now is to focus opposition on, first, the planning committee and, then, the public inquiry."

The council will still have to go through the process of considering the application at a planning committee, but its decision will no longer be binding.

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