MBC officers propose that Woodcut Farm development should not be appealed to save money.

The Maidstone Borough Council Planning Committee is due to consider the latest proposals from Roxhill PLC for a 550,000 square foot warehouse development at their next meeting at 6pm in the Town Hall on Thursday 27th April 2017. The site lies within the Parish of Hollingbourne at Junction 8 of the M20 which has been the point at which the M20 is closed to traffic except lorries when Operation Stack is in progress. The lack of a Customs Union after Brexit may make traffic problems at Dover much worse as lorries will have to be stored somewhere whilst waiting for Customs. 

Successive schemes for development at Woodcut Farm have been successfully opposed over the last twenty five years by Maidstone Borough Council, Kent County Council, Leeds Castle, CPRE, all local Parish Councils, the Members of Parliament of the day, the Bearsted and Thurnham Society, and by thousands of local residents. Millions of pounds have been spent fighting development of the site at different Public Inquiries. Traffic issues, the proximity to Leeds Castle and the North Downs AONB, the fact that there are already underutilised warehousing sites in the area, and other factors have been used to defeat the plans to date.

The Agenda papers for the April Planning Committee meeting reveal that the Council’s Planning Officers are recommending that the latest attempt to develop on the site should not be fought in order to save money.

The Meeting papers state:-

Recommendation 1: To agree that the sole reason for refusal recorded in the Council’s decision notice, should not be defended on appeal.

Further information is at :

There is considered to be no realistic prospect of defending Council’s reason for refusal at appeal. Attempting to defend the Council’s reason for refusal will expose the Council to a high risk of a very significant adverse costs award, on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, by failing to produce substantial evidence to defend every aspect of the Council’s reason for refusal. This risk of an adverse costs award is in addition to the Council’s costs of defending the appeal, which would also be significant.

Please follow the link for the full document at https://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/documents/s54682/15503288%20-%20Woodcut%20Farm%20Appeal%20-%20Report.pdf

The full Agenda is at https://services.maidstone.gov.uk/meetings/documents/g2643/Public%20reports%20pack%2027th-Apr-2017%2018.00%20Planning%20Committee.pdf?T=10 and the matter is Item 16 on pages 56 tp 118.

Roxhill PLC featured last month in Private Eye. For more details please go to http://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/private-eye-report-denied-by-roxhill-developments-limited/

Hollingbourne Parish Council is expected to be represented at the Meeting together with other local Councils.

Please see below for an image of the brochure originally produced by Roxhill PLC to promote their scheme.