Contested barn wins approval

CONTROVERSIAL retrospective planning permission has been granted for a converted barn in West Farleigh, writes Jade Schop- man. River Barn in Tutsham Farm had

been granted permission back in 2015 for conversion to a single dwelling house. However, during the work, a

storm halted the building process and the frame became unstable. The property was then demol-

ished and rebuilt, which nullified the original permission, according to the Maidstone borough’s plan- ning team.

Applicant Chris Hawkins said: “This is a situation where there have been errors both side of the fence. “I think this is an example of where working with the council has brought about genuine bene- fits.”

But Cllr Denis Spooner argued the scheme should not have come before Maidstone Borough Coun- cil’s planning committee. He said: “I fail to see how you

Icy beauty

THIS Christmas card scene was captured in woods near Maidstone as a winter mist suddenly ran into plummeting overnight tempera- tures. Water droplets froze to this holly

bush and virtually every plant in the King’s Wood, near Broomfield, on January 10. One dog walker remarked: “It

was beautiful. It’s a pity it didn’t happen a couple of weeks before for Christmas but lovely, nonethe- less.”

Surge testing new strain

A STRAIN of the South African variant of Coronavirus has been detected in Maidstone prompting door to door “surge testing A special task force has been set up to go to addresses door to door offering COVID-19 tests.The area affected is thought to be to the east of the ME15 postcode. Kent County Council and Kent Reslience Forum said residents would be visited by officials who

would deliver self-swabbing kits which will be picked up a hour or so later. A forum spokesman said: “If residents have either just had a test - or are booked in for a test soon – it is important that they still take this test as addi- tional sequencing for test posi- tives will be undertaken.” Book a test at avirus or call 119.

COVID-19 news, page 23

can change the use of something that isn’t there any more, and once that structure had fallen down, the development rights were lost. “Why are we even considering the details of this proposal when perhaps there should be a strong policy rejection to a new develop- ment taking place on this site?” Cllr Wendy Young said: “Stand- ing alone, this property stands out like a sore thumb. I live in a con- verted barn and my barn is wood. “If this property were covered in wood it would blend in far better. It just looks like a converted cow shed with some glass windows put in it.”

Staplehurst councillor John

Perry said: “I live in a barn myself and it’s surrounded by very large old trees which I love. I think this is in quite a vast location and it needs some protection, it needs some large trees.” Teston Parish Council argued the building is not sympathetic to the local setting and is visually intru- sive.The committee approved the application.


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