Lodge Hill SSSI Call in Effectively Kills the Scheme

DCLG Unlikely a S78 inspector will rule differently from a local plan inspector.  And this is the scheme David Cameron ordered ministers to remove hurdles on.  One for the Nightingales.

Ministers have written to the applicants of a proposed mixed use development in Lodge Hill, Kent, to confirm that they will decide on the planning application. Local planning authority Medway council and local MPs have also been informed.

The proposals include up to 5,000 homes and up to around 50,000 square metres of business and retail floor space, a secondary school, 3 primary schools and other community facilities at Lodge Hill in Chattenden, Rochester, Kent.

Following a significant number of requests from local residents, Natural England, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and local MPs, ministers have confirmed that they will decide on this planning application. This power is used only in exceptional circumstances – a fraction of 1% of all planning cases – including where they are of ‘more than national significance’.

Ministers will be considering the conformity of the application with national planning policy on:

  • ensuring the vitality of town centres
  • providing a wide choice of quality homes
  • promoting healthy communities
  • conserving and enhancing the natural environment

Medway council was minded to approve this application on 5 September 2014, subject to its referral to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

A public inquiry will be held and ministers’ decision will be made after consideration of a planning inspector’s report and other relevant matters.

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