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News | Hermitage Lane ‘Greedy’ plan

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among residents by insisting on also developing the southern field, which would have compromised the ancientwoodland. He said: “Any development on

this land is going to be difficult be- cause it is not connected to any local road infrastructure.However, this developer and the agent have done nothing to alleviate problems and have ignored local feelings and escalated the demand and spread of the development. This is seen by us as an expression of anger and greed. “I have seldom, if ever, seen such militant reaction from my commu- nity. We asked them to only de- velop the reservoir field but they virtually doubled their develop- ment numbers. “We asked them to respect the ancient woodland but they in- tended to drive a road through it.” The council will now turn its at- tention to defending its decision at an appeal. Cllr Tony Harwood, a committee member, said: “The ap- plicant has gone for the lowest com- mon denominator application.” Cllr Fay Gooch, who represents Barming and Teston, felt the scheme would have exacerbated traffic congestion on the A26.

‘We must stand up to government bullies’

A MEMBER of a residents group called on Maidstone Council to defy government “bullies” who want to force development on greenfield sites. On top of the Croudace Homes scheme, in the Hermitage Lane area there are pending applications for 250 homeswest of Hermitage Lane, north of Oakapple Lane (Swan Properties) and 80 homes south- west of Oakapple Lane. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust was granted outline planning per- mission late last year for 53 homes to replace the former nurses homes in Hermitage Lane. The draft local plan earmarks the

area for a total of 1,240 homes. John Wilkes

(left), a member of St Andrew’s Road Residents Association, told the plan- ning committee: “Sooner or later, the whole area will be over- whelmed. The

Protestors, including Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Jasper Gerard and borough Cllr James Willis, oppose the plan for homes on ancient woodland

UK is now suffering a population explosion, with an extra 400,000 people in the last year alone. It’s a mess, and the result of bad govern- ment policies in the last 20 years. It’s not the fault of Maidstone’s plan- ning committee members. But it is your problem, and we expect you to do as good a job as you can to fix it.

“We do need more homes but the

scale of the proposed homes in the Hermitage Lane area would de- stroy the local environment.We ask you to do simply what is in the best interests of residents, because we will still be here long after develop-

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ers have gone. “Look after your people and

don’t be bullied by developers or governments to satisfy permissions just to satisfy central targets, be- causeMPs atWestminster have no idea what’s needed locally, you do.”  The St Andrew’s Road Action Group was set up in 2012 to fight the proposed reopening of the road as part of a one-way system includ- ing the A26 Tonbridge Road and the B2246 Fountain Lane. The protest was successful, and

the scheme was removed from Maidstone’s proposed joint trans- port strategy the following year. OPEN 01732 362332 9.00-5.30pm 10 Malling July 2014



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