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‘Let’s act fast to avoid a rise in homes target’

THE borough's housing target could swell beyond the current 18,560 if the

local plan is not adopted soon, warns the leader of Maidstone Council. Lib Dem Cllr Fran Wilson cam- paigned to reduce the controversial housing target (initially 19,600) – be- tween 2011 and 2031 – while in op- position to the ruling Conservatives. But less than three months after re- gaining the role of council leader eight years since she was in charge, Cllr Wilson has admitted that she has “failed” to reduce the target. Furthermore, both the Lib Dems and Conservatives have warned that London's rapidly increasing popula- tion – up by 100,000 every year since 2008 – could force the borough to ac- cept an even higher target. Cllr Wilson told full council:

spokesman] and myself over the past 18 months to achieve this and we've failed.

“The leader of Kent County Coun- cil [Cllr Paul Carter] did all he could to find a way and he failed. “Kalc [Kent Association of Local Councils] provided a further report and MBC, in the interests of trans- parency, sent that to yet another in- dependent consultant. His verdict was that it would not stand up to the inspector's scrutiny.

“Everything has been tried to reduce our housing need assessment. No one worked harder than Cllr Tony Harwood [Lib Dem planning

“It would now be advisable to ac- cept the 18,560 housing need assess- ment and to understand that as yet no utility or highways authority have provided any evidence to en- able us to substantially convert that figure into a lower housing target. “There is a well-substantiated re-

Classic fun at castle

LEEDS Castle was a sea of Union Jacks as thousands enjoyed the yearly classical concert. A sunny afternoon

greeted swing from The Definitive Rat Pack and a programme from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Rigby. After a demonstration from a Spitfire and TV dancers James and Ola Jordan, who live in Kings Hill, the evening concluded with cannons and fireworks.


port in the independent magazine for housing professionals that indi- cates that the latest revision in pop- ulation figures puts existing housing data in question and that calcula- tions on which local authorities have based their figures for housing need have probably underestimated pop- ulation growth. “I beg everybody to work together to actually resolve our local plan.” Conservative Cllr David Burton, chairman of the strategic planning committee, said: “The impact of mi- gration to and from London will have an impact on the South East. “There is some uncertainty about if and when it will come to fruition. Delay in the local plan increases the risk that housing numbers need to increase further.” 8

Fruit fly threat

to our cherries THIS year’s cherry harvest is under attack from Asian fruit flies. Growers in Yalding and Loose

have already reported losing cher- ries to the bug, which enjoys the heat and thrives when tempera- tures top 20C.

The threat to this year’s harvest is just as real for commercial growers as it is to gardeners, with the pest partial to not only cherries, but plums and other soft fruit. Unlike most fruit flies, which at- tack fallen and over-ripe fruit, the female spotted wing drosophila (SWD) lays its eggs under the skin of healthy fruit. Larvae eat the fruit from inside, making them soft and unmarketable.

Malcolm Marden, manager at Worley’s Court Lodge Farm in Kenward Road, Yalding, says the bug, first recorded in the UK in 2012, first reared its h e a d on his farm last year. 23

For ALL your Mobility needs Newnham Court Shopping Village Notcutts Garden Centre, Maidstone (Next to Pennies Nursery) TEL: 01622 631511 

Charterwood August 2015 No. 220 News Involve replaces VAM

MEMBERS of Voluntary Action Maidstone voted overwhelmingly to change the charity’s name to Involve. 10

Show crowd increase

A TOTAL of 77,000 visitors at- tended the Kent Show – up 2,000 from 2014. 12

Gridlock forecast

TRAFFIC in the borough may rise by a third by 2031 – even if a new link road is built.

No to GP weekends

A PROPOSED six-month pilot to open doctor surgeries for seven days was scrapped.30

Crime Reports 30

WINDOWS and seats of a digger were damaged in Oakwood Park.

Comment Parish Councils Obituaries 46-47 32-33

NEIGHBOURING borough coun- cils should work to address traffic chaos, according to a writer.


NETTLES were causing com- plaints in Barming; dogs were banned from Brooks Field, Loose.


TRIBUTES were paid to Alistair Black (79), who was a Maidstone borough councillor for Fant ward.


Rubbish pick-ups

BULKY refuse collections now include Saturdays. For informa- tion see the Maidstone Council- sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the centre pages.


Mon-Sat 9-5 Sunday 11-4 FREE Parking

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