While there may be many retailers in the area who’ll be questioning the decision, and how it might impact on the Christmas trading performance, the application failed to persuade officers or councillors.
In what proved to be a damning indictment of the application and the multi-million pound project, planning officers said: “Whilst the proposal will result in benefits to the local economy, and additionally in terms of recreational activity and securing a management plan for Salomons, this is not considered to overcome the harm identified to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, heritage assets, the greenbelt and highways."
Despite the prospect of some seasonal employment opportunities, Markerstudy failed to convince local residents. Opposition to the plans focused on the impact of the festive attraction to the local road network, with it sitting between Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, an area that is already under significant strain.
With plans to open its doors in November, there can now be little if any chance of the company successfully appealing the decision. It will refund all the tickets already sold.