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Home Maidstone News Article
The majority of those who responded to a survey conducted by Coxheath Parish Council about Persimmon’s plans for a mixed-use development at Clockhouse Farm in Coxheath were opposed to every aspect of the scheme - even those that might have been thought to bring a community benefit such as affordable homes and housing for the elderly.
The company’s planning consultant, Alister Hume, said: “The intention of Persimmon had been to hold an exhibition which focused on proposals specifically for Clockhouse Farm only.
“However shortly before our event, local residents were leafleted by a group which listed a number of potential housing sites at the fringes of Coxheath including a single proposal with a capacity for more than 400 dwellings.
“In the eyes of many visitors to the exhibition, the questionnaire responses were viewed as an opportunity to voice opposition to the level of expansion of the village as a whole.”
Mr Hume said that many of those attending the exhibition were “understandably not aware of the planning policy context.”
In the earlier stages of the preparation of Maidstone’s Local Plan, the borough council had not identified Coxheath as having a Rural Service Centre status, so no further expansion of the village would be required.
Mr Hume said: “Many visitors were not aware that the borough-wide housing target for Maidstone needed to be increased to meet the updated demographic evidence.
“The increase meant that the potential for growth of other villages in addition to the five Rural Service Centres would need to be re-examined.”
Since the exhibition, Maidstone’s planning officers have indeed recommended that Coxheath - and Yalding - also become Rural Service Centres - opening the way for the huge housing expansion that residents feared.
Mr Hume said: “Persimmon maintains that if the principle of expansion of the village is accepted, the Clockhouse Farm site represents the most well related and sustainable location with a lesser environmental impact compared with other opportunities to accommodate growth.
“For these reasons Persimmon is continuing with the preparation of an outline planning application which early in the New Year will give the opportunity for residents to individually comment on a specific proposal for the Clockhouse Farm site.”
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