Council rejects plans for controversial motor village

Council rejects plans for controversial motor village
Proposed car dealership rejected by planning committee

Hendy Group has been planning to move all their existing West Kent dealerships and operations into a single site in Pembury in what they called a ‘motor village’.

It was set to house workshops, servicing areas, an accident repair centre and parts facilities.

Hendy Group had said the development would create 50 jobs and help retain 130 more.

But locals had feared the plans will only add traffic to the already congested A264, a renowned bottleneck where a dual carriageway is fed by the A21 before becoming a single lane to Tunbridge Wells’ town centre.

Following a four hour meeting at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Planning Commitee on Wednesday [October 28] Councillors rejected the plan.

The Committee voted in favour of a proposal, made by Labour Councillor Hugo Pound (Sherwood), to refuse the application based on the ‘balance that the social, economic and environmental benefits were not achieved and that there were not exceptional grounds which warranted overturning the current allocation of the site as a potential Park and Ride location’.

More than 800 Pembury residents had objected to the motor village plans. 

Hugo Pound told the Times, “This Council is incapable of producing clear, robust strategies around parking and transport, economic development or culture and leisure.”  

He continued: “The Deputy Leader (Jane March) spoke in favour of the development, ignoring the objections of 800 residents.  She said it was good for the local economy.  But she ignored the social and environmental impacts on Pembury, the hospital and Pembury Road. We deserve better than this, surely?”

Responding to the decision, Paul Hendy, Managing Director of Hendy Group, said: “We are disappointed that the Planning Committee has failed to listen to the recommendation of its planning officers and rejected our proposals to invest £25m in the borough and play our part in sustaining the local economy. 

 “At a time when unemployment in the borough has risen by 975 to 3,310 people in the last year and the country faces economic uncertainty it is frankly disappointing to see the Councillors reject the creation of 50 new jobs in the town, and strengthen the 130-strong Hendy team. 

 “We are absolutely committed to preserving the employment of all of our colleagues in the borough and will continue to fight for their futures. We will now consider our options and should we decide to appeal we are confident that we would win.”   


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