News ‘Hands tied’ over Yalding plan

THE highways report which helped push through a controver- sial plan for 65 new homes in a village has been criticised as “shameful” by campaigners. Maidstone Borough Council’s

planning committee approved plans for the development in Yald- ing despite more than 200 objec- tions and major concerns over traffic and sewerage. But the committee chairman ad-

mitted his handswere tied over the plan because of its inclusion in the Local Plan and the presence of a re- port from Kent County Council’s highways department which indi- cated increased traffic volumes were not enough to reject the pro- posal. Richard Bolsin, of Yalding Resi- dents for SustainableDevelopment,

who spoke against the plans at the meeting, said:“We’re disappointed and frustrated. We didn’t feel like democracywasworking for us. The considerations of water treatment, sewage and highwayswere glossed over. “I think the highways represen-

tatives from KCC have behaved shamefully. With 65 houses, most will havemore than one car, every- one is going to be going to work, a lot of people will be taking kids to school, so the idea that only one house in two is going to have a car moving from it in the morning is absolutely preposterous.” Yalding has suffered issues with

flooding in the past, and the addi- tion of more homes to the area is, Mr Bolsin fears, likely to increase flood risks.

A DOG walker fromStaplehurst is on the look- out for a field inMaidstone to securely walk her ever-growing list of doggy clients. Charlie Voller (29) has been walking dogs

professionally since 2014, and Kent DogWalker now hasmore than 150 active clients. The former entertainer has built up the

business fromjust her walking a couple of dogs a day to now being a teamof 10.

10% He said that the inspector who

approved the site’s inclusion in the Local Plan offered sympathies, but his handswere also tied because of the lack of alternative areas in the village to site newhomes. And he admits it will take some

time before the group – of whom around 70were in attendance at the councilmeeting – decidewhat their next step is. “We’re thinking that one ap-

proach would be to start to engage with Southern Water because they’ve got to produce an agreed strategy before anywork can start,” he said. “You could take something to appeal or judicial review, but the costs are high and I don’t think that’s a serious option for us. “We need to check the mood in the village, it’s one of frustration

Charlie’s quest for dog business space She said: “I started working as a

temp but hated it, so left to walk some dogs. “As it becamemore popular,we took

on a field in Snodland towalk the dogs and nowwalk 40 dogs a day there. “We are hoping to recreate the same

thing for the local community in Maidstone.."

and resignation at themoment.We hadn’t gone in with high hopes, everything was stacked against us, but we hoped that maybe the case in terms of sewage and traffic could have led to a deferral.” Chairman Clive English told the

meeting his hands were effectively tied.He said: “ I don’t think any of us as borough councillors would like to be in this position. “Time and time again, we have

been battered as a council over planning issues.Wemay doubt the logic of the county council’s assess- ment, but they are the highways authority. If we refuse this plan- ning application on highways grounds, itwould be refused for as long as the appeal process takes. But, in five or sixmonths, itwill be overturned.”

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