News Friends meet

MEMBERS of the Friends of St Mary’s Church were able to pur- chase the newly-launched book on the history of the medieval church during the group’swell attended an- nual meeting. Fifty supporters enjoyed a drink

and nibbles whilst catching up with one another and discussing the book,The Story of St Mary’s Church, Lenham, which is for sale in local shops. The group has 100 members and

has carried out several large projects, including repairs and maintenance of the tower clock and the replace- ment of a large east-facing window. Future schemes include roof re- pairs and replacement guttering.

Village vision

LENHAM residents are invited to have their say on the future of their village when its draft Neighbour- hood Plan goes on display on Sep- tember 16. The consultation will be from

noon to 3.30pm at Lenham Primary School. The parish council said: “Lenham has to provide an increase in house numbers – there is no op- tion around this. However, support for the Neighbourhood Plan will en- sure Lenham Parish Council has a key role in where these houses go and what they look like.”

Local plan is sound, inspector confirms

MAIDSTONE’S Local Plan “is sound and capable of adoption”, according to planning inspector Robert Mellor’s final report. Mr Mellor’s 71-page summary of-

fers little different to his interim find- ings of a few months ago. A small reduction in housing by 800-900 homes in Maidstone Borough Coun- cil’s plan for 18,000 new houses by 2031 is the main change. A letter from MBC’s strategic planning department states: “The re- port concludes that, subject to main modifications, the Local Plan is sound and is capable of adoption.” The report takes in the council’s responses toMrMellor’s indications after evidence heard at the public in- quiry last year. Mr Mellor said the council had asked him to recom- mend main modifications necessary to allow the plan to be adopted. Following the hearings, the coun-

cil prepared schedules of the pro- posed modifications and carried out sustainability appraisal of them. Under the sections for “housing need and supply”, he says “the ob-

Cllr Gary Cooke

jectively-as- sessed hous- ing need is reduced and the backlog is to be ad- dressed over 10 years to smooth the trajectory with a further review of housing needs to form

part of the intended review of the Local Plan as set out in the submit- ted plan but with a target adoption date brought forward to April 2021”. Housing allocation at New Line Learning and Boughton Lane are deleted because of traffic worries; Lenham’s house-building is to be determined by the Neighbourhood Plan or in the LocalPlan Review and there will be a reduction in housing at Invicta Barracks in Maidstone. On Woodcut Farm, Mr Mellor

states: “Modifying the policy for the strategic employment site at Wood-

cut Farm to reduce its impact on the landscape and on heritage assets whilst safeguarding office provision. Modifying policy for employment development in economic develop- ment areas in the countryside and for development involving the ex- pansion of rural businesses.” On Yalding, he says: “Remove the residential and employment alloca- tion at the former Syngenta Works for reasons of flood risk whilst re- taining a policy to allow for other uses compatible with that location.” Resident and long-time critic of

the council KeithYoung said: “Adis- graceful waste of public effort and ratepayers’ money that will wreak havoc on Maidstone for the next 20 years and will be regretted far longer aswe sink under a blanket of unsus- tainable new housing.” County Cllr Gary Cooke (pic-

tured) said: “It’s a missed opportu- nity in the sense that it doesn’t have at its heart an integrated transport strategy for a relief road (for south Maidstone) at the soonest opportu- nity.”


Maidstone East September 2017

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