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Judicial review into Woodcut Farm development denied

By Luke May

Plans to build office, industrial and warehouse blocks on farmland look set to go ahead after a campaign group's final challenge fell short.

CPRE Kent had bid for a judicial review into development on Woodcut Farm, just off junction eight of the M20, after planning councillors gave the go-ahead at the end of 2017.

But the High Court has refused its application.

Protesters outside the Town Hall
Protesters outside the Town Hall

In December, Maidstone Borough Council's planning committee voted to approve an application for a mixed development scheme on the land.

Richard Knox-Johnston, vice-president of CPRE Kent, said: "This is very disappointing and rejects the views of local people who are being ignored by Maidstone council.

“It also flies in the face of two inspectors at previous inquiries that the setting of the Area of Outstanding Beauty, the visual amenity and that it will be in the setting of a heritage asset were enough grounds to reject previous applications in the same area.

“We believe that the inspector and Maidstone councillors have been misinformed by their planning officers and that this will come to light in the future.

“We also believe that the dismissal of considerable evidence on deterioration of air quality in Maidstone not only affects health in the borough but is especially dangerous for young children.

“Their application, at present, is only an outline application and we shall continue to examine the details in the future, particularly those that affect the environment.”

Charles Blake, a director at Roxhill Development, has previously assured residents air quality impacts would be "negligible", calling the proposal a "21st Century plan."

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