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‘Unnecessary damage’ fears for borough


PROTECT Kent says the scale of housing proposed for Maidstone borough will cause “significant and unnecessary damage”. The Maidstone branch of the group – formerly the Campaign to Protect Rural England – says evi- dence in the draft local plan does not jus- tify what would be a 30% increase in homes, from 64,400 in 2011 to 84,000 in 2031.


Director Hi-


lary Newport (pictured) said: “We are highly concerned that if these unrealistic and undeliverable tar- gets are adopted, Maidstone will suffer significant – and unneces- sary – damage.


“Maidstone growth figures are approximately 60% higher than the average growth in the South East and even greater than that of the national population.


“The report does not make any comment as to why this should be.


It also does not include figures for Kent, which has similar growth to the South East.” A total of 19,600 homes between 2011 and 2031 equates to 980 new homes per year in Maidstone. In Kent, only Dartford (1,153 homes per year) and Ashford (1,033) are accepting more. Other boroughs are working to lower targets: Dover (700), Canterbury (557), Swale (540), Tonbridge and Malling (425), Shepway (400), Gravesham (362), Sevenoaks (220).


Ms Newport added: “No attempt has been made, or included, to identify how any need arises. “If the figure for Maidstone of 19,600 was reduced to match the South East average of 10.8% this would result in a much more de- fensible and achievable figure of around 11,000 to 12,000 dwellings maximum by 2031, or even less if credit can be taken for the recent excessive supply.


“These numbers will also create the situation whereby Maidstone would have a current five-year land availability and gain more ability to control speculative developments.”


Local plan | News PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT SITES


ALLINGTON / BARMING/ FANT (Number of homes allocated for each site) East of Hermitage Lane .................................................................................. 500 West of Hermitage Lane ................................................................................ 300 Fant Farm ............................................................................................................ 355 Oakapple Lane ................................................................................................... 240 Bridge Nursery, London Road ........................................................................ 165 North Street, Barming ....................................................................................... 35


LANGLEY / OTHAM / SOUTH MAIDSTONE South of Sutton Road, Langley ..................................................................... 930 Langley Park, Sutton Road ............................................................................. 600 West of Church Road, Otham ....................................................................... 440 Bicknor Farm, Sutton Road, Otham .............................................................. 335 North of Sutton Road, Otham .......................................................................... 285 New Line Learning, Boughton Lane .............................................................. 220 North of Bicknor Wood, Gore Court Road, Otham .................................... 190 Kent Police HQ, Sutton Road ............................................................................ 115 Postley Road, Tovil ................................................................................................. 80 Kent Police training school, Sutton Road ...................................................... 70 Cripple Street, Loose ............................................................................................. 70


TOWN CENTRE Springfield, Royal Engineers Road & Mill Lane .......................................... 950 Haynes, Ashford Road, Maidstone ............................................................... 250 American Golf, Tonbridge Road ....................................................................... 60 Laguna, Hart Street ............................................................................................. 55 Medway Street, Maidstone ............................................................................... 40 6 Tonbridge Road .................................................................................................. 15 Whitmore Street ...................................................................................................... 5


HEADCORN / MARDEN / STAPLEHURST..................................................1,880 HARRIETSHAM / HOLLINGBOURNE / LENHAM..................................... 605 BOUGHTON MONCHELSEA / COXHEATH / YALDING...........................520 BEARSTED / BOXLEY / THURNHAM............................................................. 355


EMPLOYMENT/ RETAIL SITES WITH HOUSING (Number of homes which could be part of a mixed use development) Maidstone East and Maidstone sorting office, Sandling Road .......... 210 King Street car park and former AMF Bowling site ................................... 70


EMPLOYMENT/RETAIL SITES (Sites where employment could be created) Mote Road Newnham Park, Bearsted Road


TOTAL ..................................................................................................................... 9,945 J8 warehouse schemes rejected More gypsy


A SHOCK recommendation to re- ject land at M20 Junction 8 for warehousing and employment will be one of the key bones of con- tention when councillors make their final decision on the local plan. A proposal by the Gallagher Group to develop land on the south side – Waterside Park – is due be- fore the planning committee shortly, but officers believe the ad- verse environmental impact out- weighs the need for development


Park and ride plan


A PARK and ride facility is planned at Linton crossroads.


With 1,000 spaces, it is hoped this would ease congestion on the southern approach to town. It would complement sites at Old Sittingbourne Road, London Road and Willington Street. In 2012/13 there were 400,000 park and ride transactions, down 7%on the past year. Just 2% of people use park and ride to enter the town centre at peak timses.


on any of the land near J8. Officers say either Waterside


Park or Woodcut Farm, north of the A20, could accommodate the bor- ough’s entire need for industrial and warehousing space but they would prefer to see a dispersed se- lection of sites, using space in Pat- tenden Lane, Marden, and at Barradale Farm, near Headcorn. Latest studies into the need for employment land have revealed a greater need for office space and a lesser need for warehousing and in-


dustrial accommodation, say the council’s planning chiefs. It is proposed to allocate the brownfield site previously occu- pied by Syngenta / ICI at Yalding for mixed employment and resi- dential use – including 200 homes – as well as the site at Clockhouse Farm, Coxheath, which could pro- vide 40 more houses, as well as em- ployment space. Sites in Marden would continue to be used for manufacturing or distribution.


How you can have your say


THE planning scrutiny commit- tee was being asked to approve the draft Maidstone Borough Local Plan as fit for public con- sultation, while approving a fur- ther call for housing sites and sites for gypsy and traveller pitches.


Officers stress they are not seeking members’ approval of all the sites included – just a gen- eral agreement that the plan is in


a fit state to go out for public consultation. Once residents’ views have


been taken into account, a defin- itive draft will be put together for further public consultation. The first consultation period is between Friday, March 21 and Wednesday, May 7 at 5pm.  To see the draft local plan in full, go to the news section of www.downsmail.co.uk


sites needed AN external assessment says the


council needs to come up with 187 gypsy and traveller pitches and 10 for travelling showpeople by 2031. Officers expect these to be pro- vided through privately-owned and affordable pitches on publicly owned sites.


Sites providing 57 pitches have been granted planning permission since 2011 and sites delivering a further 23 pitches are allocated in the local plan, so the council ex- pects to make a further call for sites, as part of the consultation, to help meet the shortfall. The proposed sites are: Flips Hole, South Street Road, Stockbury (5) The Ash, Yelsted Road, Stockbury (5)


The Chances, Lughorse Lane, Hunton (4)


Hawthorn Farm, Pye Corner, Ul- combe (3)


Oak Lodge, Tilden Lane, Marden (2)


Little Boarden, Boarden Lane, Headcorn (2) Cherry Tree Farm, West Wood Road, Stockbury (2).


Maidstone Town March 2014 31


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