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Beautiful Bridge Nursery Lost to Yet Another Housing Estate

November 10, 2014 11:13 PM

Local Councillors Rob Bird, Cynthia Robertson and Dan Daley at Bridge NurseryThe votes of the Conservative Members of Maidstone's Planning Committee saw permission granted for 140 houses on the green field Bridge Nursery at Allington last Thursday - all despite a 1,200 signature petition raised in the local areas opposing the scheme. None of the Planning Committee members from the other political parties voted in favour of the scheme.

Local Lib Dem County Councillor Rob Bird addressed the meeting setting out his concerns regarding traffic generation and the likely impact upon the already congested A20 and M20 junction 5 from such a large new green field housing project. Cllr. Dan Daley also spoke passionately of the importance of the site to local people and the rare (and supposedly legally protected) wildlife, including birds, reptiles, invertebrates and wildflowers to be found there.

Local Lib Dems had long campaigned to see this wildlife-rich green field site removed from Maidstone Council's list of Local Plan housing allocations, but the Conservative leadership at Maidstone Council refused and instead confirmed their support for housing at Bridge Nursery

Lib Dem planning spokesman Cllr. Tony Harwood, who spoke and voted against the application, told the committee "Bridge Nursery with its WWII pill box and abundant wildlife is one of the most defining areas of countryside in the whole of Maidstone, with its location on the route of the Maidstone to London railway line making it a key landmark on arrival to and departure from the County Town."

Local Allington Ward Lib Dem Councillor Cynthia Robertson sought to achieve some damage limitation when she successfully argued that Maidstone Council must work with neighbouring Tonbridge and Malling Council to safeguard the last relic fragments of countryside that adjoin the application site by designating them as a Local Nature Reserve. However, there remained a real concern amongst Lib Dem Councillors present at the meeting that the extent of habitat that will be lost and the inevitable disturbance and predation of small animals by domestic cats would devastate the special flora and fauna of the area.