5,000 homes planned for 'garden suburb' on farmland near Maidstone
homes could be built on farmland between Leeds and
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
A new 5,000 home "garden suburb" is being considered for 350
acres of farmland in south-east Maidstone.
Plans for a 20-year £1 billion-plus self-contained community
east of Otham and west of Leeds have already won approval from the
Prince Charles-backed Prince’s Foundation and construction could
begin in 2016.
An 80-page booklet, A New Settlement for South East Maidstone,
has been produced by PRP Architects for Golding Homes detailing the
plans for the proposed site between the A20 and A274, west of the
B2163 Leeds-Langley road, east of Otham Road, and south-west of
Junction 8 of the M20.
Copies have been sent to Prime Minister David Cameron, Eric
Pickles, communities and local government secretary, and other
senior government figures.
Copies have also gone to Maidstone council cabinet members,
including leader Chris Garland, for possible inclusion in the Local
A map of the proposed
"garden suburb" in south east Maidstone
The document states: "This offers an unparalleled
opportunity to create an attractive and vibrant new community of up
to 5,000 dwellings and employment potential that promotes the
highest standards of design and sustainability.
"The essence of the project is the creation of a new garden
suburb that both reflects and respects its context and
It is believed the scheme, which would affect the parishes of
Leeds, Langley and Otham, could accelerate the long-delayed
Leeds-Langley bypass by attracting private sector funding.
Sources also say the new community would encourage investment by
"This offers an unparalleled opportunity to create an attractive and vibrant new community of up to 5,000 dwellings..." – planning document
close to Junction 8 and, potentially, a new Maidstone Parkway high
speed train station.
It is understood that four farming families have signalled their
willingness to sell their land for the new project.
Hampstead is perhaps the UK's most famous garden suburb. It was
created in the early 1900s and described by architectural expert
Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as a "most nearly perfect example of the
unique English invention and speciality, the garden suburb".
The scheme is backed by Golding Homes, which took over Maidstone
council stock and looks after 6,300 rented properties.
Chris Blundell, Golding Homes' director of development and
regeneration, said it would go some way towards creating the
additional housing that Maidstone will need over coming decades and
that it was better to build a single new community with built-in
"We wanted a free-standing settlement with its own boundaries to
create a place that did not merge with somewhere else," he
"Our plans would directly create thousands of jobs in construction,
and the creation of a new settlement of this quality would attract
other major employers.
"This could assist in bringing long overdue improvements to rail
transport to the area. Think of the increased prosperity that would
Some 40% (2,000) of the suburb's 5,000 planned homes would be
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