Residents protest over fruit firm’s growth plan
A bid by a firm to expand its soft fruit operations has caused a major ruckus in Ulcombe.
G. Charlton and Sons, which owns or leases 10 farms in Maidstone covering a total of 951 acres, has submitted a planning application to Maidstone council seeking permission to construct a number of retractable roof greenhouses – known as CRAVO greenhouses.
The company also wants to create a general purpose agricultural storage building, a number of new water storage tanks and a water reservoir – measuring 150m by 100m – protected by an earth bund up to 10m high on 30 acres of land.
The site at Church Farm – off Ulcombe Hill, to the north of the village – is close to the Grade I listed 12th century All Saints Church and visible from many view s on the Greensand Ridge.
The application has been opposed by the Weald Of Kent Protection Society, the All Saints Parochial Church Council, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Ulcombe Parish Council and Broomfield and Kingswood Parish Council.
Objections have also been raised by some private residents, who have launched a campaign called We Are Ulcombe!
Ward member Cllr Martin Round (Con) has asked for the application to be called in to the planning committee, rather than planning officers, because of the plans “massive cumulative and disproportionate effect to the whole landscape of the area”.
However, neither Historic England nor KCC, who are responsible for highways issues, have objected, and there is support for the application from the NFU.
DHA, the agents for G Charlton and Sons, said the application would “further improve the efficiency and profitability of the business and its positive contribution to the local economy, both in terms of employment and in adding value to the local economy”.
The proposed storage building and associated water management scheme were described as an essential part of the development proposal.
Application number 17/503284
John Chadwick took his own life after parting with his pets
Cllr Martin Round