Home   Maidstone   News   Article

53 homes to be built in Lenham after Maidstone Council approves plan

By Alan Smith

A council has approved plans for 53 homes on grazing land in a village.

Although it was likely that the site would eventually go to housing, the timing of the approval has upset Lenham residents.

Maidstone council's approved Local Plan - which sets out its housing strategy for several years - identified the village as "a broad location for growth" that would be expected to take "approximately 1,000 dwellings post April 2021".

The committee votes
The committee votes

But the village was also promised: "Master planning of the area will be essential to achieve a high quality design and layout, landscape and ecological mitigation, and appropriate provision of supporting physical, social and green infrastructure.

"Housing site allocations and associated infrastructure requirements will be made through the Lenham Neighbourhood Plan or through the local plan review to be adopted by April 2021."

No master plan has been prepared and although Lenham is working on its Neighbourhood Plan, it is not yet completed.

Cllr Janetta Sams (Ind): "This will open the floodgates"
Cllr Janetta Sams (Ind): "This will open the floodgates"

The proposal from Wealden Homes was for 45 homes and two block of four flats each on land west of Loder Close and Westwood Close, with access via Loder Close.

Resident Michael Jerrett objected, pointing out that two previous applications for fewer homes on the site had been rejected.

Cllr Alastair Walmsley of Lenham Parish Council said: "If the council chooses to exclude that part of the Local Plan it doesn't like, it will be seen as untrustworthy."

In a passionate speech, Cllr Tom Sams (Ind), speaking as a visiting member - he is not on the planning committee - urged his colleagues to refuse the proposal on the grounds of "pre-maturity'" while his wife Cllr Janetta Sams (Ind) warned: "People are angry that this is being pushed forward now and not between the 2021 - 2031 time-frame."

Cllr Louise Brice (Con): We should keep our promise
Cllr Louise Brice (Con): We should keep our promise
Cllr Tony Harwood (Lib Dem): Proposed approval
Cllr Tony Harwood (Lib Dem): Proposed approval
Cllr Janetta Sams (Ind): "This will open the floodgates"
Cllr Janetta Sams (Ind): "This will open the floodgates"

She warned approval would "open the floodgates to other developers." She urged the committee: "Be true to the Local Plan."

Her appeal fell on deaf ears.

Only Cllr Louise Brice (Con) advocated rejecting the application, saying the council should stick to its promise to Lenham residents.

New councillor Robert Eves, attending his first planning meeting, attempted to argue that the location of a proposed children's play area close to existing homes should be moved. He said his previous life with the police had taught him that play areas would be a focus for anti-social behaviour that was likely to disturb the existing residents, but Cllr Paul Wilby (Con) told him police had been consulted and raised no issue.

Cllr Tony Harwood (Lib Dem) moved to grant permission, seconded by Cllr Dennis Spooner (Con). It was approved with 10 votes in favour, none against, and three abstentions.

For the latest business news, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

Join the debate...
Comments |

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

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

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

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.

Follow us

Like Us on Facebook

Most popular

Kent Travel News

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More