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Home Maidstone News Article
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 Development Framework.
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 environment."
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 blue
"this offers an unparalleled opportunity to create an attractive and vibrant new community of up to 5,000 dwellings..." – planning documentchip businesses 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 quality.
"We wanted a free-standing settlement with its own boundaries to create a place that did not merge with somewhere else," he said.
He added: "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 bring."
Some 40% (2,000) of the suburb's 5,000 planned homes would be "affordable".
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