Kent

Clearance ordered of Thameside depot at Cliffe Pools

Thameside Terminal depot
Image caption The Thameside Terminal was built without permission, the council said

Environmentalists have welcomed a ruling that an industrial depot next to a nature reserve in north Kent used by migrating birds must be cleared.

A planning inspector ruled that the Thameside Terminal at Cliffe was insensitive to the environment and detrimental to local residents.

It followed a public inquiry into the depot next to the Cliffe Pools Reserve.

The RSPB said the decision showed that developers could not "ride roughshod" over the environment.

Medway Council said Thameside Terminal was built without planning permission after Britannia Assets bought the land seven years ago.

The public inquiry was called after the owner appealed against enforcement notices issued by the council.

The RSPB was an expert witness for the council, giving evidence on the potential impact of the development on its neighbouring reserve.

The reserve is one of the most important places for wildlife in the UK with huge flocks of wading birds and waterfowl.

The planning inspectorare said it could not be ruled out that the depot would have an adverse effect on the internationally recognised nature reserve.

It added the depot was likely to increase the risk to road safety and was particularly hazardous to pedestrians.

"We are pleased that the inquiry has ruled in favour of both Medway Council and the RSPB," said spokesman Dave Harris.

"The development not only damaged the character and natural potential of Cliffe Conservation Park, but also had a detrimental effect on the living conditions of local people and the quality of the area they live in."

RSPB spokesman Alan Johnson said: "We appreciate the support of local people who really value this special place.

"We now look forward to working with them to enhance the area further for their enjoyment now the impact of this illegal development has been removed."

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