Chattenden: Developer pulls out of plans for 5,000 homes

Lodge Hill camp
Image caption The land at Lodge Hill, Chattenden, is owned by the Ministry of Defence

A developer has pulled out of a scheme to build more than 5,000 homes on a former military site in Kent.

Land Securities said it was not going ahead with the homes at Lodge Hill, Chattenden, for commercial reasons.

Its annual report said it had lost £11.3m on the development and was "disappointed" that a public inquiry had been called into the scheme.

Medway Council approved plans for the site of special scientific interest (SSSI) last year.

Threat to nightingales

Proposals put forward for the site, owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), included housing, four schools, a healthcare centre and shops.

But the scheme was opposed by many residents, Natural England, the RSPB and the Wildlife Trust.

The RSPB objected on the grounds that the development would threaten 84 pairs of nightingales which nest on the land, which it said was vital for the UK's nightingale population.

The Department for Communities and Local Government called in the planning application in February and said a final decision would be made following a public inquiry.

No date has yet been set for the inquiry.

Image caption Some 5,000 homes, along with schools and shops, were to have been built at Chattenden

Land Securities, which owns a 30% stake in Bluewater shopping centre in Dartford, said it had had a long-term contract with the MOD to obtain planning permission at Chattenden, on the Hoo Peninsula.

But it said in its annual statement: "We have recognised a loss of £11.3m due to increased uncertainty over the recoverability of our costs to date following the disappointing decision by the Secretary of State to call in the proposed scheme for public inquiry."

The MOD said it would await the result of the public inquiry and may appoint another development partner.

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