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Threat to Bluebell Wood Worsens - Cllr. Dan Daley and James Willis Attack Conservative Council's Role in Placing Ancient Woodland at Threat

May 14, 2014 11:45 AM

Local Lib Dems have discovered that developers are pressing on with their ruinous plans to sandwich ancient Bluebell Wood between two housing estates and bulldoze an access road through the heart of the irreplaceable woodland. The inevitable direct damage, fragmentation and disturbance will decimate this remaining fragment of the English wildwood, and its precious wildlife.

The disastrous decision by the Conservative leadership at Maidstone Council in March 2013 to extend the footprint of the East of Hermitage Lane housing allocation at Allington to include Bluebell Wood, adjacent orchards and the carrot field has massively weakened any defence of this historic landscape. The bloated 19,600 housing target agreed by Conservative Maidstone Council has further weakened the hand of those seeking to protect this irreplaceable ancient woodland, and is referred to directly in justification of their planning application.

Allington Ward Councillor Dan Daley commented: "The developer's refusal to accept that Bluebell Wood is ancient, and the Conservative's decision to expand the housing allocation footprint onto previously protected woodland and orchard has placed our local environment in mortal danger. Statements from leading Conservative councillors that the wood and field to its south east were safe have been shown up to be so many empty words."

Heath Ward campaigner James Willis added: "The deliberate removal of policy protection for the woodland and orchard area back in March 2013 by senior Maidstone Conservatives, depressingly including Heath Ward's Tory Councillor, will live on in infamy in west Maidstone and will not be easily forgiven by local residents. When added to the extra traffic generation which will result from a larger development footprint the prospects for local quality of life are grim."

You can read the full letter online.

Post script: The developer has refused to meet energy efficiency and sustainability standards which have been the norm in Maidstone for many years - the scheme is proposed to achieve an unacceptable "Code 3" under the Code for Sustainable Homes. Most major developments in Maidstone have long achieved at least Code 4, so this determination to reduce environmental sustainability to maximise profits is shocking.