On Thursday 24th August the Planning Committee discussed the proposed building of an ALDI Supermarket at Newnham Court. Whilst there was some public support for the Application there was also considerable opposition from residents living in the area. The application was also clearly in contravention of the Maidstone Local Plan, which allocated the site for high value employment related to medical and scientific purposes. In was also clear that the proposal occupied a prominent site located in close proximity to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Because of the constrained nature of the site the Committee felt that the proposed building and car parking simply could not be adequately screened and would have a detrimental effect on the AONB. Many residents raised concerns about traffic, but as KCC Highways had not objected this could not be considered.
Consequently, after some considerable discussion the Committee voted overwhelmingly to refuse the application. on the grounds of the application failing to comply with Local Plan policy and on Landscape and biodiversity grounds.
Cllr. Clive English commented: "The Committee were conscious that to approve the application would have effectively demolished the employment section of the Local Plan and would have required that immediate additional, probably green field land would need to be brought forward to replace the lost employment land."