Res­i­dents protest over fruit firm’s growth plan

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.