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Local Lib Dems See Off Massive Newnham Court Retail Complex Plans

June 13, 2014 1:58 PM

Local Lib Dem CouncillorsLocal Lib Dem Councillors have defeated developer plans for a massive, car-dependent out-of-town retail complex in the foreground of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Newnham Court. The proposed mega-complex would have covered a whopping 28,102 square metres, and be twice the size of Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre! To provide some perspective the current uses on the site cover only 6,642 square metres.

Cllr. Tony Harwood framed and moved the motion for refusal, which was seconded by Cllr. Ian Chittenden. Tony and Ian argued powerfully that this huge development proposal would have significant negative impacts on quality of life in surrounding residential areas, destroy for ever the priceless rural setting of north Maidstone and devastate the commercial viability of our town centre. They also argued that better-located sites, crying out for regeneration, existed closer to the town centre.

Local East Ward Councillors Martin Cox and David Naghi also spoke passionately in their opposition to the out-of-town shopping scheme. However, Cllr. Tony Harwood sounded a note of caution: "It is inevitable that the developer will appeal against the refusal of their massive retail complex plans, and it will be vital that local people make sure their voice is heard by the appeal Inspector." Local Lib Dems of course pledge to keep you informed of any future planning appeal.