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Maidstone council gains success in High Court battle with KCC

By Alan Smith

Maidstone council and Kent County Council clashed again yesterday in the High Court.

The two authorities are locked in a legal battle over how KCC, the highways authority, intends using £200,000 obtained from Section 106 contributions from developers to finance feasibility studies into the Leeds/Langley bypass - instead of the junction improvements and traffic-calming measures along the Sutton Road for which they were collected.

At an earlier hearing in July, based only on written representations, Maidstone was refused leave to seek a Judicial Review of KCC's decision by Mrs Justice Lang, who said Maidstone had not provided sufficient evidence that KCC's decision was unlawful, but yesterday, when its evidence was presented by a barrister, the borough had more success, with Judge David Elvin QC conceding that there was a sufficient case to be investigated.

Maidstone council leader Martin Cox with its chief executive Alison Broom
Maidstone council leader Martin Cox with its chief executive Alison Broom

The Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, Cllr Martin Cox (Lib Dem), said: “The objective of the Judicial Review has always been to gain clarity in respect of the use of Section 106 money, secured from developers through the statutory planning process, and intended for specific developments.

“Yesterday's oral hearing has allowed the merits of our case to be examined and I am satisfied that the judge has intimated that there are sufficient grounds for us to continue our legal challenge against Kent County Council."

But Cllr Cox held the door open to KCC to reach an agreement out of court. He said: “Throughout this process we have remained open to all discussions with KCC and will continue to maintain that position.”

KCC declined to comment.

The case will now be argued at a "substantive hearing" probably in February of next year.

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