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Plan to build 16-storey tower block at Springfield Library, Maidstone, refused


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The future of an abandoned library tower remains a mystery, after plans to convert it were refused.

Councillors turned down proposals to knock down Springfield Library in Maidstone and replace it with 170 flats.

The Kent History and Library Centre and Springfield Library. Picture Matthew Walker
The Kent History and Library Centre and Springfield Library. Picture Matthew Walker

A building, which soared up to 16 storeys at its highest point, had been proposed Peker Holdings.

Maidstone Borough Council officers had recommended the proposals be thrown out.

Councillors agreed with the recommendation at a Planning Committee meeting last night.

Concerns were raised over the size of the building, the effect on local roads and parking.

If plans had been approved, the site on Chatham Road will have had an extra 170 flats adjacent to Weston Homes' 502-home Springfield Park development, which has a 17 storey tower block of its own.

Amended plans for Tennyson Gardens development at the former Springfield Library site in Sandling Road, Maidstone (7572939)
Amended plans for Tennyson Gardens development at the former Springfield Library site in Sandling Road, Maidstone (7572939)

The old Springfield Library site has had outline planning permission for homes since 2009, but with this latest refusal, questions were asked over what happens next.

Cllr Tony Harwood spoke at the meeting, he said: "The residents here are living with dereliction and anti-social behaviour that this site is a magnet for.

"It's a real blight on the area. My key concern is if this committee refuse it, what happens to this site? As an unallocated site do we get continuing dereliction with residents having to live behind and around it? There's no policy around this site so effectively we end up with a derelict book tower, the hoardings and piles of breeze blocks forever."

Chairing the committee, Cllr Clive English replied "Clearly the council do need to look at what happens at this site. As you and everyone else knows, a site being run down, derelict or being in a bad state is never normally accepted as an argument for seeking planning consent."

Peker Holdings original plans for Springfield Library had involved a community space, but that amenity was dropped earlier this year.

Councillors heard the reason behind its disappearance was because it would not have sufficient space to operate properly.

The developer had offered to put £250,000 toward another community space instead.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone.

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