This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
News | Local plan


Lib Dems opt to stay away from meeting


THE Lib Dem members of Maid- stone Council boycotted the critical meeting to discuss the draft local plan, at which controversial sites for houses and shops dominated the agenda. The planning scrutiny committee meeting discussed 54 sites across the borough selected by officers as suitable for housing, as the council aims to meet an estimated need for 19,600 new homes by 2031. LibDemspokesman Ian Chitten-


den said: “We all believe that through attending this meeting we would condone and dignify a process and document which we utterly and totally reject.” The group criticised officers for


their “lamentable failure to seek any local or political consensus” in forming the draft, which the group says is in stark contrast to previous local planning documents. Committee chairman Cllr Steve McLoughlin, a Conservative, said: “This was the first opportunity for members to challenge the planners on the proposed sites and the Lib Dems have not only gone against the strong tradition of councillors


to keep politics out of the planning process, they have failed to repre- sent their constituents’views when important decisions are being asked of councillors which affect the future shape of the borough.” Rob Jarman, head of planning,


said any sites that could not meet “robust” flood mitigation stan- dardswould be rejected. He confirmed the Environment Agency had said Cross Keys in Bearsted – earmarked for 50 homes – fell into this category at present, although the EA’s views would be sought again as part of the consul- tation process if the cabinet was to leave it in the draft. The committee agreed with the rejection of land at M20 Junction 8 as a site for commercial develop-


ment, in favour of increasing in- dustrial space in Marden, although the recent decision to impose a 7.5- tonneweight limit in Yalding could harm this notion, members heard. Golding Homes expressed disap- pointment that its proposed devel- opment of a 5,000-home garden suburb in Otham had not been in- cluded but Mr Jarman said this would now be reconsidered as part of the public consultation. The committee urged the cabinet,


who were meeting as Downs Mail went to press, to throw out five housing sites and one gypsy site:  Medway Street: 40 homes (to re- main as a car park)  Barty Farm, Thurnham: 125 homes (poor access and impact on listed properties)  Cross Keys, sThurnham: 50 homes (flood risks)  Fant Farm: 355 homes (grade A agricultural land and impact on Medway Valley)  Cripple Street: 70 homes (en- croaching into LooseValley conser- vation area)  The Chances, Lughorse Lane, Yalding: four pitches.


downsmail.co.uk


Absence is a neglect of public duty


Comment by Dennis Fowle, president of Downs Mail


MAIDSTONE Lib Dems failed in their duty to the local public by boycotting Maidstone Coun- cil’s committee scrutinising the draft Local Plan. Many Lib Dem councillors contributed powerfully to the difficult task of drafting the much-needed local plan. Some Lib Dems may not like all the proposals – and the place to fight those corners started with the scrutiny meeting. Thiswas abrogation of politi-


cal responsibility on a key local document. The public expects much better. But are the Lib Dems more


intent on trying to score politi- cal points with elections pend- ing? This decision can do them immense harm.


More details of the local plan 30-31


Reassuringly tasty,


nutritious and dependable. Now that’s a recipe for an easier life.


Chicken & Vegetable C asserole £2.95


Chick egetable


At Wiltshire Farm F oods, we’ve been taking care o f mealtimes f or over 22 y ears, and our range o f 260 fro zen meals covers all mealtimes and appetites. You’ll enjoyYou’ll enjo y FREE delivery from our carefull y-selected drivers, who have all been individually vetted by the police f or your peace of mind. Simply take a look at our free brochure


e Farm Foods, we’ve been taking care of


mealtimes for over 22 years, and our range of 260 fr meals covers all mealtimes and appetites. Y


y-selected drivers, who y vetted by the police for your


peace of mind. Simply take a look at our fr and or der over the phone, or online.


TASTY MEALS FR For your of gr 4 of great service Maidstone Town March 2014


ASTY MEALS FROM ONLY £2LY £ 2.95 your FREE brochure call


01227 774 999 or shop online at


wiltshirefarmfoods.com wil tshir efarmfoods.com .95 & FREE DELIVERY


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48