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Dartford MP Gareth Johnson welcomes government Bluewater decision

PUBLISHED: 11:23 28 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:48 28 June 2013

Bluewater shopping centre

Bluewater shopping centre

G-FONNE PHOTOGRAPHY

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has praised the government's decision not to intervene in the decision to expand Bluewater after opposition from Gravesham Council.

Dartford MP Gareth JohnsonDartford MP Gareth Johnson

Dartford Council passed plans to expand the shopping centre by a fifth last month, which could create up to 2,300 new jobs.

Gravesham are against the plans as they believe it could put off retailers coming to the £120million Heritage Quarter development in Gravesend, the first stage of plans for which were agreed at the end of April.

They asked planning minister to call in the application and make a ruling on it themselves.

Planning minister Nick Boles said in a letter: “After careful consideration I am satisfied that, whilst controversial, the application does not raise issues of the wider strategic or policy nature envisaged by the call-in policy.

“We remain committed to giving more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believe that planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.”

Mr Johnson said: “I was surprised that Gravesham Council objected to Bluewater’s expansion and that they had asked for central government to decide on the issue instead of local people. Whitehall should not interfere with local decisions like this.

“The expansion will bring thousands of new jobs to the area and allow its success story to continue.”

What are your views on Bluewater expanding? Contact the newsroom on 0208 477 3858, email robin.cottle@archant.co.uk or tweet @northkentnews.

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