Ver­dict next week on £10m gar­den cen­tre

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

A DE­CI­SION over whether Dob­bies will be al­lowed to build a £10mil­lion gar­den cen­tre is ex­pected to be made next week.

Plan­ning of­fi­cers had rec­om­mended that the plans for the store with a food hall and res­tau­rant at the Eureka Leisure Park, Ash­ford be ap­proved in a re­port in March.

But mem­bers of the plan­ning com­mit­tee voted to refuse the pro­pos­als at a meet­ing last month.

And it was de­ferred so that de­tailed rea­sons for re­fusal could be writ­ten up.

The scheme put for­ward by the Scot­tish gar­den cen­tre chain, which is owned by Tesco Plc, at­tracted more than 1,300 letters of ob­jec­tion but only 18 letters of sup­port.

A large num­ber of peo­ple, in­clud­ing a Face­book group of more than 2,000 peo­ple, raised con­cerns that the Dob­bies Gar­den World would kill off the nearby By­brook Barn gar­den cen­tre in Can­ter­bury Road.

The cen­tre has been run by the Burch fam­ily since the 1970s.

A key rea­son for re­fusal was that the scheme does not meet the pro­vi­sions of the lo­cal devel­op­ment plan and many of the jobs cre­ated will be un­skilled and part-time.

It was also felt the devel­op­ment would in­crease con­ges­tion and should not be sited in a park with pre­dom­i­nantly leisure busi­nesses.

The item will be dis­cussed at a plan­ning com­mit­tee meet­ing in the coun­cil cham­bers in Tan­nery Lane at 7pm next Wed­nes­day.

Pic­ture: Martin Apps PD1709680

Jes­sica Howard, re­cov­er­ing af­ter the ac­ci­dent with her daugh­ter, Faith

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