This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. Nimbys have their place

Dear Sir –Alifetime ago when I first knew Maidstone, it still had all the characteristics which made it the unique place itwas. Athriving local industry and town centre; a workforce which lived andworked here; a working river; a cale market and an unspoiled rural hinterland almost within walking distance of the town centre – a real country town of character and historical resonance. The past,we know, is another place. Time

moves on and there have been inevitable changes, many very much for the beer. The river frontage and the town centre have never looked cleaner and more aractive than they do now, for instance. But will it still be that country town in a few years time, or will it become just another car- choked commuter town surrounded by relentlessly creeping tides of roads, concrete, bricks and mortar eating into a green and irreplaceable Kent? Once that is gone, it is gone forever. Doubtless there will be cries of nimbyism,

but nimbys are the guardians of a unique and irreplaceable past.Without them, nothing stands in theway of the diktats of a distant government bureaucracy without local knowledge or empathy. There is an old poem that has some

relevance here: The British populace observed with frowns that those who went before had spoiled the towns. This cannot be endured, they loudly cried and started in to spoil the countryside. GE French, Marion Crescent, Maidstone

I see exactly what you are saying about nimbyism, which has skilfully been used by the pro-development lobby as a byword for citizens who want to stand in the way of “progress” – whatever that is supposed to be – for their own selfish ends. We are all familiar with the race card. In Maidstone, local people risk being accused of playing the nimby card, and this is an insult to those who value their domestic environment and take pride in where they live. There is a feeling that the creation of thousands of new homes in the open countryside is an inevitability, as if it is wrien in the stars and we must all get used to it. Nonsense. This state of affairs is the result of a Government-led agenda that has led to a severe weakening of the planning laws. Communities all over Maidstone, many of generations standing, are about to witness their neighbourhoods change beyond all recognition. This should not be allowed to happen without scrutiny, without dissent and without the option to fight against it. For the sake of the future, nimbyism needs to

be embraced and careful choices need to be made by as many people as possible at the ballot box both this May and next year. Response by Stephen

KIMS a missed opportunity

Dear Sir – The Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery maywell be a huge asset to the area. It is just a pity it has not been beer designed. The development looks like poorly-designed 1960s council flats.Ahuge opportunity for good design has been missed. Let us hope that the developers of Newnham Court use architects who have a

40 Maidstone Town April 2014

bit of flair and will produce buildings that will be sympathetic to their situation and a credit to the area. Colin White FRICS, by email

Though the KIMS development has its supporters economically, and will boost private health provision locally, the undoubted by- product is a loss of what was once a very pleasant rural gateway to Maidstone. This urbanisation of Newnham Court will become much greater when the large Maidstone Medical Centre is built and if the proposed retail redevelopment gets the go-ahead. One’s view of architecture is, like music, about taste. Very few 21st century developments have le me feeling aesthetically enthralled and KIMS is no different. Response by Stephen

Planning together

Dear Sir –With all of the extra housing proposed for Maidstone, has any thought been given to the effects on traffic, particularly as the town has, in effect, just one bridge capable of taking large vehicles across the Medway? Itwould be hard to think of anywhere less

suited to a supermarket, two non-food stores and a drive-through fast food restaurant than the junction of Hermitage Lane and the A20 London Road (Downs Mail, February). This area comes under Tonbridge and Malling Council and it appears that it doesn’t care about the major problems such a proposalwould cause. It will receive the rates revenue without any of the headaches. Isn’t it time adjoining councils co- operated with one another? Anyone who has driven in Hermitage Lane between about 3pm and 6.30pm will know how dense the traffic can be – and don’t forget it has the town’s hospital on it and so needs easy access for ambulances. R.E.Stubbs, Silverdale, Maidstone

Your suggestion makes a lot of sense,Mr Stubbs. In the past few years councillors in the Allington ward of Maidstone, such as Dan Daley, have raised concerns about the impact of proposed housing developments on both sides of the borough boundary. A group involving politicians and residents on both sides might be able to present a strong case about how the developments will put a strain on local resources and press for more beneficial Section 106 developer contributions. Response by Stephen

Reason for evictions

Dear Sir – I am writing in response to the article about Judith and FergusWilson evicting tenants on benefits. My husband and I lived in a property in Maidstone thatwe rented through a private landlord andwe toowere evicted because part of the rentwas paid to our landlord by housing benefit, but I believe thiswas not the only reason. Our landlord had not placed our deposit

in a rent deposit scheme and whenwe received the court paperswe put this in our defence. Whenwewent to court, shewas fined a month's rent. She pleaded ignorance even though she rented out three other properties. She had previously rented the flatwe lived in to foreign tenants because they are

not up on English law and I think the same applies to Judith and FergusWilson because housing benefit is guaranteed and people can lose jobs in this economic climate. Linda Sane, by email

There may also be another element to this, Linda. The introduction of the benefit cap last year has frightened off some private landlords from accepting people on housing benefit. With claimants now less likely to afford the

market value of their rent and rental property in high demand by those in employment, the temptation is greater for landlords to seek tenants not on state benefits. Response by Stephen

Thanks for balance

Dear Sir – Like Martin James (Comment, January) I appreciate the local political balance of the Downs Mail. I too have given up on local and national newspapers I have come to distrust. Many major and difficult decisions are

now before Maidstone Council and I believe most Conservative and Lib Dem councillors face them intelligently. Madeleine Moore, Maidstone, by email

Habitats, not homes

Dear Sir – Last month’s Downs Mail seems to have been saturated with discussions about our current housing needs. Apparently Maidstone Council has been calculating a figure of about 14,080 new houses, whilst independent consultants say the need is for 19,600 dwellings up to 2031. What is ridiculous about this, if one stops

to think, is that one day, all of this “discussion” will have been awaste of time! Human life generally will not be able to continue when all wild resources – animals, plants, insects, flowers etc have been lost due to destruction of habitats for human purposes. Derek Gould,Woodcut, Maidstone

Ring road suggestion

Dear Sir – Iwas born in Maidstone in 1933 and have lived here since 1935. I have always been interested in planning, as I served on Maidstone Council planning commiee for seven years. I have already sent a suggestion for a southern ring road to KCC, which involved a Leeds bypass. I feel a housing development to thewest

of Leeds, funded by the developers,would cost the ratepayers nothing. Aring road is necessary to relieve congestion around Maidstone. Gordon Savage, Aldington Road, Maidstone

Gordon, had money been designated in Section 106 agreements from the three recently permied Suon Road developments, which totalled 886 homes, we may have been well on the way to geing funding for a long-awaited south-east link road. Instead, money was put towards road widening on Suon Road itself. Cllr Paul Carter, who lives in Langley, has

previously ruled out the link road idea and it is doubtful that the scheme will get any backing while he is leader of KCC. Response by Stephen


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  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56