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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

Operation Stack latest

Leeds Castle: visitors down 30%, causing a £90,000 loss. Funeral operators: reports of mourners missing ceremonies. Pregnant women: worried they won’t get to hospital when they go into labour.

Businesses: some struggling to survive, with the Kent econ- omy losing £1.5m a day.

Police: Budget hole up to £1m. Social services: has had to find over £5m to care for young im- migrants entering the country. Special feature – page 34.

FORMER mayor Brian Mortimer is recovering after being given a 20% chance of surviving a cancer scare.  Full story – page 14

“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-

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

On the mend Cash query as

bypass agreed MAIDSTONE Council is set to press ahead with the Leeds-Lang- ley bypass, but there is still no indi- cation of how the scheme will be funded.

01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

The proposed road linking the A274 south-east of Maidstone with the A20 near M20 Junction 8 has been an aspiration for more than 30 years. It has become even more im- portant in recent years, with the council's local plan target of 18,560 homes between 2011 and 2031 in- cluding about 4,000 homes along the Sutton Road corridor. Previously the link road idea had caused divisions but the Maidstone Joint Transportation Board, con- taining borough, county and parish councillors, has recommended the inclusion of the scheme in the Inte- grated Transport Strategy (ITS), which will form part of the local plan. But Cllr Paul Carter, who lives in Langley and repre- sents Maidstone Rural22

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 Fun on the river

ALMOST 100 boats lined along the Medway for the informal boat gathering, collated by River Medway Boaters. 4

Show crowd increase

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

Hospital boost

THE local NHS Trust says the treatment of strokes is improving.

16 Involve replaces Vam

LOCAL charity Voluntary Action Maidstone is to change its name to Involve. 17

Obituaries Comment 30

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

46-47 32-33

Crime Reports 33 Parish Councils 42-43

THERE was little interest in an emergency plan at Broomfield and Kingswood; incorrect road signs made a Chart Sutton resi- dent “irate”; rabbits were being controlled but moles were still a problem in Hunton; rumours of a housing scheme at a pub in Net- tlestead were denied; a barbecue had destroyed a bin in Yalding.

Rubbish pick-ups

PAID-FOR bulky refuse collec- tions now include Saturdays. For information see the Maidstone Council-sponsored 12-page Bor- ough Update in the centre pages.


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

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