Share

Heavy showers

Sun

14°C | 6°C

Light showers

Mon

18°C | 7°C

Broken cloud

Tue

17°C | 6°C

Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Urban sprawl to eat up villages and countryside under Maidstone council's new draft Local Plan

13 February 2014
by Alan Smith

It's here at last.

Maidstone Council has finally produced its draft Local Plan - the document intended to guide the borough’s development until 2031.

The 368-page plan, which was due to come into force in 2006, covers everything from proposed sites for new homes, offices, factories and shops, to policies guiding the provision of solar farms, gypsy sites and traffic congestion.

New homes go up at Hayle Park, off Postley Road

New homes go up at Hayle Park, off Postley Road

Recently the council has been blamed for effectively giving developers carte blanche by failing to produce the plan on time. But now the much anticipated document has been revealed, the real complaints begin.

Kent County Council was the first to condemn it as “fundamentally flawed.”

KCC’s cabinet member for transport and environment said there were “serious concerns” about Maidstone’s target of 19,600 new homes in the next 17 years, and of many of the sites it had identified to take them.

Cllr David Brazier (Con) said: “We (KCC) cannot support plans to build such a massive number in such inappropriate locations.

“We have major concerns as there is clearly insufficient highway capacity to cope.

“Building this number of houses will create urban sprawl, eroding the open countryside between Maidstone and surrounding villages.”

The plan's architects Chief planning officer Rob Jarman and council leader Chris Garland (Con)

The plan's architects: Chief planning officer Rob Jarman and council leader Chris Garland (Con)

Although, it is the borough council which is responsible for setting planning targets and allocating sites, it is the county council in charge of the provision of the infrastructure, such as schools, highways and social care that these new householders will need.

KCC said plans for such as large number of dwellings in the borough were “unsustainable.”

Sustainability is the first measure of the Government’s new Planning Policy Framework which local authorities are supposed to follow.

Cllr Brazier said that KCC had commissioned its own planning consultants to re-examine the methodology used by the borough council that had resulted in such a large housing target.

The MoD said there were no plans to close the barracks

The MoD said there were no plans to close the barracks

Another controversial aspect of the document is the borough’s expectation that the Army will quit the Invicta Barracks site before 2031, making it available for redevelopment for 1,300 homes.

However, the Ministry of Defence flatly denied any such plans. Saying it carried out a review in March last year in which some bases were identified for closure, but that Invicta Barracks was not one of them.

*A full report on the Local Plan, including a list of all the identified housing allocations is published in this week's Kent Messenger.

Do you support MBC's draft Local Plan?

 

Click here for more news from Maidstone.

Click here for more news from around the county.

Comments 
Sorry, comments are not enabled for this article.

Login or register to post commentsPost Comment

Forgotten Password?

Forgotten Username?

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments.
Please click here for our house rules.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.