Judicial review lodged over Western Heights and Farthingloe development in Dover
PUBLISHED: 16:17 09 June 2015 | UPDATED: 08:25 10 June 2015
MUST CREDIT Paul Wells
Countryside campaign group CPRE Kent say the council acted unlawfully by giving the development the green light
Countryside campaign group, CPRE Kent has today announced it is lodging a ‘judicial review’ in a last ditch effort to block a large housing development at the Western Heights and Farthingloe in Dover.
The group - which campaigns to protect the county’s countryside - is challenging the legality of Dover District Council’s decision to allow planning permission for the development which it says could cause irreparable damage to a ‘beautiful and historic landscape’.
The group has lodged the judicial review at the High Court after Dover District Council gave the nod for 521 homes and a 90 apartment retirement village to be built at Farthingloe, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - an area given special protection from development by government.
The council granted planning permission for the development in April this year after a long running battle by CPRE Kent and other groups and individuals. It means that, unless the judicial review is upheld, a new 130 bed hotel and conference centre, residential units, a museum and visitor attraction centre and the houses will all be built.
Dover council said that they were compelled to agree to the new development due to a shortfall in its five-year land supply - national planning policy requires council’s to show that they have sufficient land allocated to allow for five years worth of development. The council also said that the development would result in an economic boost, with a £5 million contribution towards heritage improvements at the Western Heights proposed.
Hilary Newport, director of CPRE Kent, said: “We do not object to new housing development in Dover district and we certainly support heritage improvements, however, there is no justification to build on the AONB.
“It would cause irreversible harm to this beautiful area which could never be restored and would be lost forever. This is why it is so important for us to mount this legal challenge as it is our last chance to protect this important landscape.”
A DDC spokesman said: “We are aware that the CPRE has applied for a judicial review of the Council’s decision to grant planning permission for development on the Western Heights and at Farthingloe. In the circumstances, we do not consider it is appropriate to make any further comment at this stage.”