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Maidstone East Edition August 2013 No.196 Fears over homes shortfall


MAIDSTONE Council faces an uphill task to prevent new homes being built in the coun- tryside, after it emerged it has not fulfilled the Government’s order to provide a five-year land supply for new homes. With the council’s emerging


Core Strategy not due to be adopted until summer 2014 at the earliest, planners have so far relied on the borough’s existing development plan, dating back to 2000, to determine where housing is and isn’t permitted. But the Government’s Na-


tional Planning Policy Frame- work (NPPF) demands that authorities without a core strat- egy should have in place a five- year land supply – and


WHAT a difference a year makes! Two of the borough’s largest an- nual events – the Kent Showand Leeds Castle concert – took place below cloudless skies on the hottest weekend of the year. Thiswas in marked contrast to


12 months earlier when heavy rain and cool temperatures put a dampener on both events. There were no such problems


at Leeds Castle this year as a record 14,000 picnickers stretched across the grounds as far as the eye could see, in glori- ous sunshine. In Detling, 75,000 people vis-


ited the Kent County Show- ground over three days, just a year after heavy rain transformed


the parking area into a mudbath and led to thousands of visitors being turned away. Kevin Attwood, chairman of


Kent County Agricultural Society, which organises the event, said:


“Whilst we are unable to control the weather, the sunshine cer- tainly encourages significantly more visitors to attend.”


 Leeds Castle concertP14  Kent County ShowP16


Protestors’ new fight to save J8 land


VILLAGERS are getting ready to take on a second fight to save valued land in Bearsted. A 40,000 sq metre section of


land at Woodcut Farm, saved from development as a major transport hub – the Kent Interna- tional Gateway (KIG) – is now being dangled before the council as a possible site for a business park and distribution centre. Landowners James Leggat &


Son are once again hoping to sell land at Woodcut Farm, much to the horror of residents and the Bearsted and Thurnham Society. Hobbs Parker Property Con- sultants have submitted a scop- ing request to the council on


behalf of Roxhill Developments, prior to the formal submission of a planning application. It relates to an area of 28 hectares, of which 18ha would be developed for warehousing, atWoodcut Farm – to the north of the A20 near junction 8. Part of the application says


theMarden company ADL is in- volved in the scheme – al- though ADL says it is committed to Waterside Park, on the opposite side of the A20. The Leggat family have been


dairy farmers at Woodcut and Thurnham Court Farms for many years and sons Nick and Colin own a large amount of


land around the M20. Planning consultants DHA –


who are supporting develop- ment of Waterside Park – pro- duced a document at the time of KIG, suggesting how the coun- cil might protect the land from future development, but it has not, as yet, been acted upon. Now, the Bearsted and Thurn-


ham Society is among those seeking swift and urgent action. A spokesman for the group


said: “We are concerned about any developments in the area of Junction 8, due to the lack of in- frastructure, the loss of agricul- tural land and the need to protect the relationship


P14


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Maidstone has a shortfall, which has now been picked up by a planning inspector in a po- tentially landmark decision. Using an interim figure of 11,080 new dwellings between 2006 and 2026 – as stated in the South East plan – officers have calculated that 2,508 new homes are required from April this year until April 2018. The council has land supply for 2,135, meaning there is a short- fall of 370 (14.8%). The resulting difficulties


came to the fore when a plan- ning inspector decided that a single detached dwelling in East Farleigh should be given permission for this reason. Francis Burniston appealed


over non-determination for his proposal for Eastleigh, Work- house Lane. Planning inspector John Papworth wrote: “The site is outside settlement bound- aries and within the country- side where policies of restraint apply.


“However, in the light of the apparent failure to identify a five year supply of housing land and the lack of real harm caused by the development…it is con- sidered that the benefits of the scheme outweigh the policy presumption against develop- ment.”


Following this landmark de- cision, Maidstone Council had no grounds to refuse Redrow Homes’ proposal to buildP12


Sun shines on county celebrations


Council may have lost £1m


on Next deal MAIDSTONE Council may have missed out on a £1m chimney pot tax receipt on the Next development, due to not having a policy containing a community infrastructure levy. In June, the council’s plan-


ning committee marginally voted to give the retailer plan- ning permission to build a 5,748sqm Next Home super- store at Eclipse Park, near M20 Junction 7. The council agreed that the developer should pay £100,000 in Section 106 money towards improving the town centre and the vicinity of the superstore to mitigate its negative effects. However, Wycombe District Council has secured £1.34m from Next for an almost identi- cal out-of-town superstore be- cause it has a community infrastructure levy policy (CIL) in its local plan. ACIL isachargeleviedon developers to pay for infra- structure, local services and en- vironmental enhancements. Maidstone Council leader Chris Garland said the borough might not have a CIL in place until 2015. He said: “HighWycombe had Section 106 agreements and also a CIL, which is a chimney pot tax where you can set tax for residential and commercial developments. “We are working to get a CIL


in place, but until then, the only tool we have is Section 106 to mitigate the impact on particular developments.” The CIL was established as


part of the Government’s Na- tional Planning Policy Frame- work. “The reason we have not got


CIL in place is because of a lack of staff resources.We are trying to get a local planning policy in place, which is our priority. Staff are working on that and are dealing with incoming planning applications. “There is an argument that


we could have made CIL P4


Council has to make £5.5m budget cut


Street fundraisers ‘deter shoppers’


P14 P4


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