Late changes to a borough’s blueprint for development have the potential to add yet more traffic to a busy town road.
A field off Pested Bars Road in Maidstone that was earmarked for 196 homes has now seen that target increased to 300 in the latest edition of the Local Plan.
All the traffic from the site is destined to enter and exit via the A274 Sutton Road – already one of the county town’s busiest roads – after running through an adjacent site that is itself proposed for 247 homes.
The extra allocation was not part of the plans that were twice submitted to public consultation by the borough council, but is the result of changes suggested by the planning inspector, David Spencer, following his public inquiry at the Town Hall.
He suggests the developable area of the site should be increased from 11 hectares to up to 14 hectares, with a housing density of around 30 homes per hectare.
His changes – for this and other sites in the Local Plan Review – are known as his “main modifications”.
South Ward’s Cllr Brian Clark (Lib Dem) said: “This proposal significantly increases the housing numbers for this field which sits behind the New Line Learning Academy in Boughton Lane.
“This 53% increase could have a much greater impact on the local road network – and other services – than the original 196-unit figure.
“This really is hammering the site right at the last moment.”
Cllr Clark also pointed out the inconsistency in the wording of the allocation – the plan talks of both allowing “up to 14 hectares of developable land” and of “a 30dwellings per hectare density” – which actually implies an even higher housing figure of 420 homes is possible.
Maidstone council is currently running a public consultation on the “main modifications.”
Anyone wishing to comment on the inspector’s changes can do so by clicking on this link, and then opening the tab marked Main Modifications Consultation.
To read the inspector’s changes, look for the allocation labelled LPRSA270.
Any response to the consultation about Pested Bars Road should include the reference number for this modification, which is MM78.
The deadline for responses is 5pm on Monday, November 13.
Cllr Clark said: “I strongly urge residents to respond to this if they think this increased housing number is too high.
“However, many people – myself included – that have tried to do so via the council weblink have found it doesn’t work.
“An alternative way to respond would be to email comments to the council on email@example.com.
“But then, they must include their full name and address, and refer to the modification MM78.”
The Local Plan Review is to determine where development will be allowed in the borough up to the year 2031.