Secretary of State approves Kent urban extension and awards costs against Council

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On 29th April 2021, the Secretary of State granted planning permission for 675 homes, a commercial centre, a primary school and a new rugby club on the edge of Sittingbourne in Kent. The site had been partially allocated in the Council’s plan, and recommended for approval by its officers. Nonetheless, members had refused for reasons including allegations in relation to highways, built heritage, biodiversity, landscape, agricultural land, climate change and air quality. The appeal was heard at inquiry in late 2019. The Inspector recommended that the appeal be allowed, and permission be granted. The Secretary of State agreed with that recommendation and made a costs award against the Council for vague reasons for refusal and failures to evidence important parts of its case. Zack Simons acted for the successful appellants, Quinn Estates, instructed by Montagu Evans. The full decision is available here.

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