Published: 21:46, 09 November 2020
| Updated: 21:48, 09 November 2020
Plans for a huge housing development near Maidstone have taken a step forward, as councillors approved a blueprint for building in the borough to go out for public consultation.
Maidstone Borough Council's (MBC) Local Plan Review (LPR) sets out where residential and employment sites should go up until 2037 and is currently being worked on.
Thanks to a government mandated rise in housing figures, MBC needs to provide an additional 1,236 homes a year, to come into effect with the Local Plan Review in 2022, up from 883.
In a comprehensive document released ahead of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure (SPI) committee meeting this evening, it was revealed the council is pressing ahead with plans for two garden settlements, where thousands of homes would be built, one in Lidsing, north of the M2 and the other close to Lenham, known as Heathlands, which has received
In June, potential sites for garden communities were whittled down from seven to four and in September it was taken down to three.
However, in the Regulation 18b Preferred Approach document, which is being consulted upon and was the discussion point tonight, a garden village of 2,000 homes in Marden has been dropped, much to the delight of villagers.
The document also reveals that MBC needs to allocate 5,790 new homes in the LPR, which covers growth to 2037 in order meet housing targets.
This would be met by 2,700 units from the garden communities as well as small developments in towns and villages.
When the Heathlands project was first unveiled, 5,000 homes were planned, to be served by a new junction on the M20 and a railway station connecting the new community to HS1.
However, in the consultation documents it appears 5,000 is back on the cards as is a potential future M20 junction and a new rail station provided on the Maidstone-Ashford line.
A new primary school is also proposed and 50 % of the site area will be publicly accessible open space. Development should also 'aim to prove for as close to 5,000 new jobs as feasible and viable.'"
The Lidsing settlement proposed in comparison is much smaller, with 2,000 homes planned and a new primary school.
"Development should aim to exceed 2,000 new jobs", the document reads and a new connection to the M2 at at Junction 4 will be created.
Overall, 45 new site allocations are proposed in the LPR, which include ones for employment use.
The Preferred Approach will be out for consultation from Tuesday December 1 until Tuesday December 22.
The document stresses that the plans are not final and work, including evidence gathering is still ongoing.
A final consultation on the draft local plan, which will draw on responses to this consultation, is expected to take place in June.