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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Park regeneration plans approved
Central Park
The regeneration plans were approved after a five-hour meeting
Controversial plans to build a two-lane road through Dartford's Central Park have been passed by councillors.

The application for a multi-million pound regeneration scheme for Lowfield Street was approved on Thursday night.

Plans were agreed for hundreds of new homes and a supermarket, despite a petition signed by 13,000 people.

There were noisy protests from local residents outside the civic centre when they were told there was not enough room for them to attend the meeting.

The decision shocked local butcher Ray Richardson, who will now receive a compulsory purchase order.

What we have got to do now is engage everybody, including those who have reservations about the scheme, to make sure we get it right
Jeremy Kite, deputy leader, Dartford Borough Council
He said: "Even the report compiled by the officers ran the whole scheme down - yet they still passed it".

Objectors to the road had staged a number of marches, including a huge rally in Central Park in June, saying the road was unnecessary and would ruin the park.

But the council had insisted the town needed the road in order for the massive regeneration plans to proceed.

The road is also set to go through an ex-servicemen's club.

In a meeting that lasted more than five hours, councillors on the development control board approved the planning application by 10 votes to six, subject to conditions.

The council's deputy leader, Jeremy Kite, said the outcome had followed a very "robust debate".

"What we have got to do now is engage everybody, including those who have reservations about the scheme, to make sure we get it right," he said.




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