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Council looks again at caravan park in Stilebridge Lane Marden after previous planning permission was quashed by the High Court at Judicial Review

Tonight, members of Maidstone council's planning committee will get a second look at a scheme to allow a holiday caravan park in Marden.

The committee already approved the application for 18 holiday homes at Oakhurst off Stilebridge Lane once back in December last year, but that was because their planning officers had incorrectly told them that they couldn't take into account the design of the caravans, which are in fact to be weather-boarded and will present the appearance of a lodge.

What planning officers believe the "caravans" will look like
What planning officers believe the "caravans" will look like

Subsequently a 69-year-old neighbour to the site, Patricia Shave, used her own money to pursue a Judicial Review of the decision and the judge found in her favour that the council had in fact made an error in law. The court quashed the planning permission, which is the reason the application is to be considered again tonight.

Although the applicant has still not submitted detailed designs of the caravans, the council's planning officers are recommending approval because they believe they can achieve a satisfactory design by imposing conditions.
However, the officers are also still recommending the same style condition in relation to the park's "holiday" use as has already landed the council in trouble elsewhere in the borough.

The condition requires only that "all caravans permitted at the site shall be occupied for bona fide holiday purposes and no such accommodation shall be occupied as a person's sole or main place of residence."

They are not proposing to impose limit on the occupation to say 10 months a year, so in fact the occupants will be able to live there all year round.

Similar conditions were imposed at both Little Venice Country Park in Yalding and at the Pilgrims Retreat "holiday" park in Harrietsham, where residents, often elderly, have bought the properties as retirement homes to live in all year round, only to discover later that their use is technically illegal.

The planning meeting will be webcast at 6pm.

Application number 19/500271 refers.

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