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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Maidstone Council to consult public on where to build 19,600 new homes

01 March 2014
by Alan Smith

Cabinet member Stephen Paine, chief planning officer Rob Jarman and council leader Chris Garland examine a map of the proposed sites

Cabinet member Stephen Paine, chief planning officer Rob Jarman and council leader Chris Garland examine a map of the proposed sites

Maidstone Council is to ask the public what it thinks of its Draft Local Plan.

The plan has identified 50 specific sites for development as well as a number of larger strategic areas.

However all the allocations so far identified only take the council to a figure of 16,700 new homes by the end of the planning period in 2031, and it proposing a target of 19,600 new homes, leaving plenty more to find.

So far 140 possible sites submitted by landowners or developers have been rejected as unsuitable, including Fant Farm; Cross Keys at Bearsted;

Cripple Street, Loose, and Ware Street, Thurnham.

The leader of the council, Cllr Chris Garland (Con), said: “The loss of grade 1 agricultural land at Fant Farm was not acceptable, and Cross Keys is known for its flooding.

“Development at Cripple Street and at Ware Street would have had an unacceptable impact on our countryside, and we are determined to protect the natural beauty of the borough as far as possible.”

The Draft Local Plan also contains policies on affordable housing, transport, business and retail provision and gypsy sites.

The pubic consultation will start on Friday, March 21. Residents will have the opportunity to view the plans and speak to planning officers, and can join in workshops or take part in the online consultation.

Council spokesman Roger Adley said: “The Maidstone Borough Local Plan will give Maidstone council the power to reject inappropriate development.

“In order for the Planning Inspector to approve the plan, the council must prove that it has done all it can to meet the borough’s objectively-assessed housing need.

“Consultants G L Hearn carried out the housing needs assessment for the council, identifying a need for 19,600 homes for the period 2011-2031.

“If space cannot be found for this many homes, the council must be able to submit evidence as to why this is the case – or risk having the Local Plan rejected.”

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