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Residents gain help from Lib Dems to fight housing plans in Coxheath

By Alan Smith

Residents campaigning against extra housing in their village have recruited the Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and The Weald to their cause.

Jasper Gerard joined ward councillor Brian Mortimer (Lib Dem) and around 60 residents at a protest meeting on Tuesday.

Hands Off Coxheath campaigners have posted banners around the village and are planning to distribute leaflets.

Jasper Gerard (to the right of the banner) supporting the Hands Off Coxheath campaigners
Jasper Gerard (to the right of the banner) supporting the Hands Off Coxheath campaigners

One of the organisers, Sally McDermid, of Aspian Drive, said: “We will be reminding everyone that the final stage of public consultation on Maidstone council’s draft Local Plan is about to start and that this will be the last opportunity for us all to make our voices heard and to get the council to reconsider the quantity of housing proposed for our village.”

Although the Local Plan has yet to be finalised, Coxheath has been earmarked to take an extra 410 houses - a 23% increase on the 1,800 homes in the community.

Mr Gerard said: “All the villages around Maidstone are under tremendous pressure to take extra housing, but often without any increase in infrastructure.

“Congestion is already a nightmare. Doctors surgeries are full; schools are full.”

A petition, signed by 1,100 residents, was earlier delivered to the council’s new cabinet.

One of the sites is already going through the planning process in advance of the Local Plan being adopted.

The application, for 130 homes on land off Heath Road, is expected to go before the planning committee shortly. For details about the campaign, visit www.facebook.com/handsoffcoxheath

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