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Two Maidstone opportunity sites being eyed up for housing by developers

Developers are already eyeing up two of five opportunity sites that could bring nearly 1,000 homes to the town centre.

Tuesday night saw a discussion of five opportunity sites around Maidstone which could be converted into housing, offices and shops.

An early impression of what Len House could be converted into
An early impression of what Len House could be converted into

The sites are Len House, Maidstone West, Mote Road car park, Maidstone's riverside including St Peter's Street and the Powerhub and finally the Gala Bingo and Granada House site.

Maidstone Borough Council's head of planning Rob Jarman revealed developers have already held pre-application meetings with council chiefs to build on two of those sites, but did not disclose which sites those were.

Mr Jarman said: "They're to give an indication that we welcome development on these sites. We've come up with illustrations of how the sites may be developed but we're not saying you must develop it in this way at all.

"The primary reason for them is to get on the front foot and positively manage change that is occurring in the town centre.

Maidstone Borough Council's head of planning Rob Jarman. Picture by Matthew Walker
Maidstone Borough Council's head of planning Rob Jarman. Picture by Matthew Walker

"I'd like to emphasise what we're proposing is illustrative layouts and scales we're not saying you must build it like this. It's an outline with general parameters being sent."

Councillors Brian Clark made recommendations for the riverside development, suggesting among other things a pedestrian bridge could be attached to St Peter's Bridge.

Cllr Clive English and visiting member Cllr Jonathan Purle all began to raise questions over the proposals, prompting an intervention from Cllr Steve Munford.

Cllr Munford said: "This document is larger than the local plan. I'd like to propose we defer this.

"During that down time we email to Mr Jarman our questions and concerns. When it comes back to this committee Mr Jarman doesn't introduce this, he comes up with a paper answering those points we've put forward.

An early impression of what Len House could be converted into
An early impression of what Len House could be converted into

"We will reduce the debate time, the disagreements we will make sure everyone's had time to think about it and get their points across and nothing will be missed.

"At the moment I think Cllr Clark has put through a lot of good ideas which will be a major amendment and we'll be here all night trying to come up with a motion."

Cllr David Burton agreed with the suggestion and the motion to defer was voted through unanimously.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone.

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