Dover Western Heights and Farthingloe challenge rejected

Drop Redoubt Image copyright English Heritage
Image caption The developers are to contribute £5m to the Drop Redoubt fort at Dover's Western Heights

An application for judicial review into plans to build housing in an area of outstanding natural beauty in Kent has been dismissed.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) was challenging Dover Council's approval of more than 500 new homes at Western Heights and Farthingloe.

The council described Wednesday's decision by the High Court as a "great day for democracy".

CPRE Kent said it was considering its options.

The development includes a 130-bed hotel, 521 homes and 90 retirement properties.

The developers are to contribute £5m to the Drop Redoubt fort at Dover's Western Heights for restoration and a new visitors centre.

'Dismayed and disappointed'

High Court judge Mr Justice Mitting dismissed the CPRE's application on the grounds that the council's planning decision was democratic and legal.

Council leader Paul Watkins said the site would bring "a package of much needed, high quality housing, countryside access improvements and heritage works at Drop Redoubt alongside a new top quality hotel".

But CPRE Kent director Dr Hilary Newport said they were "utterly dismayed and disappointed" by the judgement.

"It is vital that we protect areas of outstanding natural beauty for future generations and to allow this intensive building at Farthingloe makes a mockery of the whole planning system.

"The reality, when tested through the courts, is that it has failed to protect the AONB," she said.

The CPRE now has 21 days in which to seek leave to appeal.

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