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DEVELOPER CONTESTS NHS TRUST'S GREEN BELT HOSPITAL PLANS

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A planning battle over where to site Tunbridge Wells' new hospital, to ...
A planning battle over where to site Tunbridge Wells' new hospital, to

replace its current two outdated facilities, has moved to London's High

Court.

Property developers, Kilmartin Properties (TW) Ltd, who were refused

planning permission for a hospital on land at Knights Park, are challenging

Tunbridge Wells BC's decision to instead give the go-ahead to the local NHS Trust's plan to rebuild on the current Pembury Hospital site.

Both Edinburgh-based developer Kilmartin Properties (TW) Ltd and Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust applied for planning permission for a 595-bed

hospital to replace the two current out-of-date facilities.

The local council granted permission for the trust's development, which will also include a Mental Health Unit and associated staff accommodation, in April, but refused Kilmartin's application.

However, Kilmartin is asking Mr Justice Harrison to overturn that decision

and order the council to think again.

It claims that, as the NHS Trust site is in the metropolitan green belt and

an area of outstanding natural beauty, and its development will involve an

8,000 square metre increase in the building footprint and buildings of up to six or seven storeys, its decision was wrong.

It says its site, next to a leisure development and a proposed park-and-ride site, is in the town's 'rural fringe' earmarked for future developmnt, and is large enough to accommodate the hospital with the mental health unit and staff accommodation in buildings of up to only three or four storeys.

It claims that, when the trust was granted permission, the council failed in its decision-making process to consider the alternative site proposal it had put forward.

It argues that the council had a duty to consider its rival scheme in the

circumstances, as the NHS plan had the inevitable adverse effects of loss of green belt land and the impact of higher buildings, while its scheme had a clear pubic convenience or advantage.

The hearing continues.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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