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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

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg with Lib Dem

candidate Jasper Gerard and Yalding parish council chair Geraldine Brown

Clegg brings flood hope

DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg brought cheer to the people of Yalding when he announced Government funding for flood defences. The Lib Dem leader visited the village recently, chatting to residents

and traders hit by the floods a year ago, after revealing £17m would be set aside for vital defences to protect the region in future years. The news – contained in the chancellor’s autumn statement –

brought relief to many of the 200-plus homeowners affected by the deluge. KCC says it will underwrite the £17m required to match-fund the project.

Full story – page 12

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 J8,10


plans falter THE supermarket battle in Staple- hurst could end up being a damp squib, with big question marks over both the Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s plans. Tesco, which in 2013 was twice denied planning permission for a supermarket off Station Approach, has confirmed it will not be lodg- ing an appeal.

Sainsbury’s, which was granted planning permission the same year for a 2,975sqm supermarket on the site of diamond tools manufacturer DK Holdings, on the other side of Station Approach, has put its pro- posal on hold.

A spokesman said: “Sainsbury’s is reviewing its plans for a number of sites across the country includ- ing the proposed petrol station and store in Staplehurst. We will pro- vide an update once we have fur- ther news.”

Both companies saw falls in prof- its in 2014, which may be a key rea- son for the decisions.

The Sainsbury’s scheme includes the creation of a factory nearby for DK Holdings, which was due to be completed as we went to press.

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January 2015 No. 213 News

Festival go-ahead

ORGANISERS will go it alone in this year’s river festival, after Maidstone Council said it would not back the event.

Wardens U-turn

KCC has backtracked on its pro- posal to get rid of community wardens, with all 70 in the county in line to stay. 8

‘Scandalous’ sellers

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

Inquiry threat

A KCC member has threatened to object to Maidstone Council’s local plan.

Working campaign

WE focus on job opportu- nities in the care sector. 18

Comment 22-23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 26 Crime Reports 28

Parish Councils A HOTPOINT cooker was taken

from a communal area at a prop- erty in Coxheath.


THERE was a complaint of over- crowding at a neighbourhood plan event in Loose; councillors supported a street trading licence for the sale of pizzas in Staple- hurst; fencing was considered after a boy tripped on a rabbit hole in a play area in Sutton Va- lence; West Farleigh performed well in a Kent trees competition.

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