Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately has urged Maidstone Borough Council Planning Committee to “stick to their guns” and to fight any appeal by Roxhill PLC over the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a 550,000 square foot warehousing and distribution complex at Woodcut Farm near Junction 8 of the M20 in the Parish Hollingbourne. Development on the site has been successfully opposed over the last 25 years on several occasions by all local Councils, Leeds Castle, CPRE, local MP’s, and thousands of local residents. Council Officers have recommended that any appeal is not fought in order to save money and the matter is to be considered by the Planning Committee at their meeting in Maidstone Town Hall at 6pm on Thursday 27th April.
UPDATE – Councillor Alan Bennett from Hollingbourne Parish Council attended and spoke at meeting the Borough Councillors voted 8-5 to fight any appeal by Roxhill PLC. The matter will be further considered by the three member Planning Referrals Committee who are meeting for the first time since 2008 at the Town Hall at 6pm on Thursday 11th May. This is a public meeting and Hollingbourne Parish Council will be represented. Council Officers have advised members that the cost of fighting any appeal by Roxhill PLC will be in the region of £300,000 which is about twice the cost to the Council of the Mote Park cafe in the year to 5th April 2017. The loss for the was reported as £151,520 by the Kent Messenger on 16th March and in the period from January to March was an average of £875 per day.
According to Kent Online, Mrs Whately has urged planning officers to be more conscious of how development around Junction 8 would spoil the approach to Leeds Castle.
She said: “This is one of our greatest assets, attracting tourists from across the country and around the world, who not only visit the castle, but also stay in local hotels and B&Bs, go to pubs and restaurants, spend money in shops and visit other local destinations. We shouldn’t put those businesses and jobs at risk.”
She said: “The reasons for rejecting this application in the first place haven’t gone away. Members should stick to their guns and once again say no to development at Junction 8.”
Information about Junction 8 and Roxhill PLC has been previously reported on this website on many occasions.
Pictured below is Mrs Whately who is standing again in the General Election on 8th June.