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15,000-home garden city is ‘just a theory’

GOLDING Homes has assured residents that an ambitious plan to create a 15,000-home garden city in south-east Maidstone is merely “theoretical”.

A 152-page document by Chris Blundell, director of development at the housing association, claims a large development expanding Otham to the east, Langley to the north and Leeds to the west would help meet the demand for new homes in the borough.

The project, Charthills Green,

was shortlisted for the industry- recognised Wolfson Economics Prize 2014 and is an extension of a proposal first aired in 2013 by Golding Homes, which was met with much criticism at a public meeting, to build a 5,000-home gar-

den suburb in the Otham area. The detailed document earned Mr Blundell a £10,000 prize and praise from judges. However, a spokesman for Golding Homes told the Downs Mail: “It was a the- oretical plan for the Wolfson prize and not part of a formal submission for Maidstone Council’s local plan. “At no point are we proposing 15,000 homes. This is some work that Chris has produced that is a larger version of the 5,000-home scheme that we submitted for the local plan.

“He sees it as a viable alternative

to piecemeal development but it is up to the borough council to decide how it develops the local plan. Maidstone Council has seen the document but only as an idea.” The Charthills Green scheme would urbanise greenfield land north of Sutton Road, east of New Road and Otham Street, both sides of Avery Lane and west of Back Street in Leeds.

The document states the homes would help fund a Leeds-Langley bypass and a new railway station – Maidstone Gateway – on the HS1 line near M20 Junction 8,10

Retail village

plan dropped SUPPORTERS of Maidstone town centre have welcomed the news that a redevelopment plan for Newnham Court, off M20 Junction 7, has been shelved.

Shoppers are not happy at a plan to replace shops at The Parade, Bearsted Protest to save shops

KCC leader Paul Carter has pledged to help save an historic parade of shops on Bearsted Green. Cllr Carter, who is ward councillor for the area, is making an 11th hour bid to get the Victorian shops at 1 to 4 The Parade listed with English Heritage to save them from demolition. The parade, built at the turn of the century, lies within the


Land Securities has confirmed the company will not be lodging an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the £85 million redevelopment of the Not- cutts Garden Centre and shops. The decision now opens the door to a major revamp of the Mall, which is already poised for a £4m shake up early in the New Year, providing two new entrances, new flooring and ceilings. When Mall manager Andy Davy took up his post in May, he re- vealed that it had sufficient space to accommodate an anchor depart- ment store, such as Debenhams, and said: “The long-term plans for The Mall depend on what does – or does not – happen at J7. “If the Newnham Court redevel- opment does not go ahead, we want to be in a position to react quickly. Maidstone needs Deben- hams – it is the missing department store.” 19

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January 2015 No. 213 News

‘Scandalous’ sellers

MAIDSTONE’s top police officer has criticised licensed premises for selling alcohol to vul- nerable young drinkers.

FIND out which local primary school was the top performer in reading, writing and maths.

Wardens U-turn

KCC has backtracked on its pro- posal to get rid of community wardens, with all 70 in the county told they can stay.

Working campaign

THIS month we focus on job op- portunities in the care sector.

Inquiry threat

KCC remains critical of Maidstone’s local plan. 36

Comment 30-3146-47

ARE local objections to new hous- ing indicative of mean-spirited- ness in our community? Should the sacrifices during World War One inspire us to allow our treas- ured open countryside to be lost for a greater good? See what a reader and the Downs Mail edi- tor think about these notions.

Obituaries 34 Crime Reports 36

Parish Councils A CONCRETE bird bath was

stolen from the garden of a home in Vinters Park.


THERE was a complaint of shot- gun use in Detling; Downswood agreed to support Otham’s neighbourhood plan rather than having its own; police gave ad- vice to a van driver offering lifts to young women in Holling- bourne; meeting minutes were removed from the Leeds website after it was hacked.

18 8 3 Top primary revealed 5

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