Coun­cil re­fusal to sell land halts 450-home plan

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - NEWS -

Box­ley res­i­dents can breathe a sigh of re­lief af­ter plans for 450 homes were scup­pered.

Box­ley Parish Coun­cil was among hun­dreds of ob­jec­tors to plans for a huge hous­ing de­vel­op­ment at Gi­bral­ter Farm off Ham Lane in Lordswood and - like them - was dis­ap­pointed when the out­line ap­pli­ca­tion was al­lowed by a gov­ern­ment in­spec­tor at ap­peal.

The pro­posed de­vel­op­ment site falls just across the bor­der in the area of Med­way Coun­cil, but is ad­ja­cent to Box­ley parish and there were fears traf­fic from the new homes would use Lids­ing Lane and pass through Box­ley vil­lage to head into Maid­stone, as well as adding un­wel­come ex­tra pres­sure on lo­cal re­sources.

How­ever, to pro­ceed the de­vel­op­ers needed to pur­chase a small ran­som strip of land owned by Med­way Coun­cil to cre­ate an ac­cess to the new es­tate.

A le­gal chal­lenge to force Med­way Coun­cil to sell failed.

Med­way coun­cil­lors met to con- sider whether to ac­cept an of­fer for the land of one third of the in­crease in value from farm­land to land with hous­ing per­mis­sion.

Coun­cil of­fi­cers ad­vised the of­fer was worth “sev­eral mil­lion pounds.”

The coun­cil stuck to its guns and re­fused to sell, say­ing it be­lieved the area was un­suit­able for de­vel­op­ment.

The chair­man of Box­ley Parish Coun­cil, Bob Hin­der, said: “This was an ex­tremely brave de­ci­sion by Med­way Coun­cil. It has turned down mil­lions of pounds at a time when ev­ery penny counts.

“It was right that the coun­cil took note of the many ob­jec­tions.”

It is pre­dicted the landowner may look to find some other way to gain ac­cess for the site.

Cllr Bob Hin­der, right, is pleased at the homes out­come

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