Cliffe and Cliffe Woods Parish Council
Nearly 11 years ago the Parish Council contacted Medway Council’s Planning Department about our concerns about developments on the old Connoco Oil Terminal site alongside Cliffe Pools at the bottom of Salt Lane. The oil storage tanks had been removed (good thing) but the site had been cleared down to the chalk/clay base and any vegetation had been destroyed. Probably all the ‘scrappings’ were bull-dozered to form a new higher soil barrier to break the connection with the rest of the quarry that is used to be part of. Roads were constructed, pavements, street lighting and then the site fenced off in separate plots. A number of tenants moved in and started operations - much of which generated significant traffic flows down Salt Lane and the B2000 through Cliffe Woods. Even the Highway Maintenance contractors for Medway Council moved in.
After continuing to raise concerns that this had been done with no significant consultation and no planning permission Medway Council finally took Planning Enforcement Action. The owners of the site and the tenants appealed against these and eventually a Planning Public Inquiry was opened in 2008. After just a week this was adjourned for further information and did not reconvene until February 2010. After the Inquiry the Planning Inspector took away the evidence and finally reported in June 2010.
In summary the Planning Inspector upheld the Planning Enforcement Notices and gave the tenants two years to leave the site and return it to the condition before they started operations. Costs were also awarded against the owner of the site.
To read the full decision notice - link below.