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Tom Cruise I'm not, says planning officer over fears of another Gypsy site for Marden

By Alan Smith

More detail is needed about proposals for a holiday home caravan park before a decision can be made, Maidstone council's planning committee has decided.

Members were considering a request for a change of use for paddocks associated with Oakhurst in Stilebridge Lane, Marden, to permit 20 holiday caravans on the site with hard-standings and a bin store - but no detail about the size or design of the caravans had been submitted or about how they would be restricted to holiday use and would not become in permanent residences. Councillors were also concerned about lighting on the site.

Planning officers said there had been fears expressed locally that the application was a "Trojan Horse" for a Gypsy and Traveller site.

Cllr David Burton: Not sustainable
Cllr David Burton: Not sustainable

But planning officer Austin Mackie said: "Sadly I'm not Tom Cruise and I can't impose a minority report in respect of future crimes!"

Marden Parish Councillor Lesley Mannington raised concerns over the introduction of a vulnerable use in flood zone, the adverse impact on highway safety on a very narrow country lane and the impact of noise and light pollution.

Cllr David Burton, speaking as a visiting member - he is not part of the planning committee - urged colleagues to refuse the application. He said: "This is not a sustainable location. It is a single track road. No pavements. No buses. Everything is by car."

He said: "The residents will not be able to buy a pint of milk without using their car. They can't get to the local pub without using their car. They can't go anywhere except by car."

Cllr Burton also suggested the park would spoil the view for those sitting in the beer garden at The Bull pub at Linton who would look down on the site.

A motion to defer was passed by 11 votes to one, with one abstention.

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