Development at Wares Farm, Redwall Lane
Plans have been developed for a major expansion of the Wares Farm industrial site in Redwall Lane.
The main occupant of the site, Berry Gardens Ltd, is a rapidly expanding company and has outgrown its existing premises. It is proposed to build a new, much larger building on Ware Farm, on the Southern side of Redwall Lane. The existing buildings will be retained for other uses.
Pictures illustrating the scale of the development are shown below. The main building will be 144m x 97.5m in size, or 472ft x 320ft, or roughly the size of three football pitches. There will also be 12 HGV loading bays and parking for several hundred cars.
A full planning application has now been submitted and approved, see below. Further updates will be provided as developments occur… but all Linton residents are encouraged to read the planning statement and respond to Maidstone Borough Council as they feel appropriate.
Update 28 July 2018
The further application mentioned in the update below (24 April 2018) was considered at the meeting of the MBC Planning Committee on 26 July 2018. A webcast of the proceedings is available here – this item starts at about 1hr20m from the start. Cllrs Emily Fermor (Lib Dem.) and Lottie Parfitt-Reid (Con.) both spoke against the application. Cllrs Harwood (Lib Dem.) and Mumford (Ind.) both spoke in favour of the application, having also voted to approve the original application. PC Chairman Bernard Cresswell, who attended the meeting and spoke against the application, said:
“The hearing has been deferred to probably the next meeting. The committee passed a motion (5 to 4, so only just) to explore a seasonal condition for night time HGV movements. I suspect that they’ll agree to meet the applicant’s demand during peak season and then reduce the numbers for the other months.
When I returned home last night from the meeting I had a look at the papers submitted with the applicant’s request to amend conditions under the MBC letter dated 3rd July. Berry Gardens’ letter dated 23rd May 2018 by Nicholas Allen Chief Operating Officer stated (para 3) “The peak activity…..from January through to May”.
When the meeting last night had a break to ask the applicant for an idea of the peak season this period magically became November through to May! Already they’ve started to push the envelope!
I’ve have sent a message to the case officer to have this made clear in any report to the committee that the season period had already been evidenced by Berry Gardens prior to the hearing last night.”
Update 24 April 2018
The Parish Council has reviewed, discussed, and has now responded to the planning application mentioned below, which seeks to ease certain conditions attached to the original planning approval.
The application itself and associated documents, including our response, can be accessed here
Our letter of objection can be viewed and downloaded directly from here
MBC Planning have finally scheduled a second Monitoring Committee meeting, to take place in May 2018. In addition, discussions are under way with a view to starting regular informal meetings with Berry Gardens and other local parties on a regular basis, in order to help communications,to resolve local issues, and to provide someone for local residents to approach to deal with specific issues relating to this development.
Update 14 April 2018
Matters have not progressed well with the Wares Farm development:
- Since the initial meeting of the steering committee took place, there has been no attempt to set up a further meeting and requests to MBC Planning and DHA have failed to achieve any progress.
- A further planning application has been made, which can be accessed here, asking for a fourfold increase in overnight HGV movements and a relaxation in onsite noise levels. This application was contemplated before the December steering committee meeting but was not mentioned at it, and no attempt was made to inform or advise interested parties before it was submitted.
- The Borough Council by contrast is very happy with all of this and has published pictures of the Mayor visiting the construction site
Update 30 January 2018
Work has now begun on the site development. It is expected to continue for most if not all of 2018.
A Steering Committee has been set up to help interested parties monitor developments. An initial meeting took place in December, and a further meeting is expected to take place in February. Please contact Jerry Whitmarsh if you have a constructive question or comment to would like to have passed on.
Update 14 July 2017
MBC Planning Committee has approved the application for the industrial site at Redwall Lane.
This decision cannot be appealed. Linton Parish Council does not feel that a judicial review is practical as it does not have sufficient financial resources to mount a court challenge.
The minutes of the Committee Meeting, together with a webcast of the discussion, can be accessed here.
Linton Parish Council believes that our village and the amenity of our residents will be permanently and adversely affected by this development.
Update 4 July 2017
The Urgent Update to members of the MBC Planning Committee has now been compiled and delivered. A copy of what we have written is available here.
PLEASE COME TO THE PLANNING MEETING on Thursday, if you care about Linton. Starts 6pm in the Town Hall in the High Street
Update 30 June 2017
We have been advised that the application will be put before the Maidstone Borough Council planning committee on Thursday 6 July for decision. The permanent officers of the Planning Department are recommending that it be approved, despite breaching many settled policies regarding industrial development in the countryside. The committee meeting will be open to the public; you may also speak at the meeting for up to three minutes, but only by prior booking. Linton PC will be represented at the meeting and will speak to object to the application. we will also write individually beforehand to all planning committee members.
Please attend this meeting if you can, to show your support
Update 5 May 2017
The Parish Council Chairman made further mention of the views of Linton Parish Council regarding this development in his Annual Report, which is available here ..
Update 25 February 2017
Linton PC have reviewed the application in detail and have conducted a site meeting. Following discussion at the meeting of 6 February they voted to object strongly to the proposals and a letter has been sent to Maidstone Borough Council outlining our concerns. The letter is available here and is also listed on the MBC Planning Portal site, here.
The Parish Council have significant concerns about a number of issues such as the loss of countryside, the increase in traffic movements, the potential for further expansion in the future, and the impact on the views which are such a feature of our area. They consider that the local road system is already under pressure and is totally inadequate to cope with industry on this scale. There will be a loss of amenity to all Linton residents. Overall we consider that Linton is a scenic rural parish which is the wrong location entirely for an industrial development of this size.
Although the public consultation period has now expired, we have been assured that any further comments received will be taken into consideration, right up to the point when the proposals are submitted to the MBC Planning Committee. All Linton residents and other interested parties are therefore encouraged to make their views known to the Borough Council, if they have not done so already.
We will put updates here as soon as there are any further developments. A decision is not expected for some time.
Update 19 January 2017
A formal planning application was submitted on 23rd December 2016, which appeared on the Maidstone Planning Portal on 17 January 2017. The details are available here. There are 60 documents! If you do not want to plough through all of them the one marked “Planning Statement” will provide a summary of the proposal.
Linton Parish Council will be undertaking a review and site meeting before we respond to the application – but it is fair to say that we do have significant concerns about issues such as the loss of countryside amenity, the increase in traffic movements, and the impact on the landscape views which are such a feature of our area.
All residents are strongly encouraged to form their own view of this development and to express it to MBC. This can be done either in writing, via email, or via the Planning portal link above.
Update 21 November 2016
DHA Planning have produced a brochure which is being delivered to all Linton residents, and which can be downloaded from here …
An artist’s picture of the proposed development. The existing site is visible at the top, existing polytunnels and mobile homes to the right, the River Beult at the lower left
A landscaping proposal has also been prepared..
Update 4 November 2016
An exhibition providing more details of the proposals, and an opportunity for asking questions and providing feedback, will be held in Linton Village Hall on Monday 28th November 2016, from 3.30pm to 8pm. Representatives from DHA Planning, Alan Firmin Ltd, and Berry Gardens Ltd will attend.