Published: 13:47, 24 November 2020
| Updated: 14:34, 24 November 2020
Opposition is beginning to surface to Maidstone Borough Council's draft Local Plan Review proposals for a garden village at Lidsing, near Bredhurst.
The council is proposing a community of 2,000 homes on land north of the M2, close to The Harrow pub.
The borough has described the proposal as "a large, deliverable and sustainable development that could come forward in the early years of the Local Plan Review period."
But one Lidsing resident, Sandra Sherlock, said: "There's been no local opposition because we've only just heard about it.
"People moved to the village of Bredhurst for the countryside, not to be surrounded by houses. No one will be happy."
Another resident who asked to remain anonymous, said: "I assure you that I object.
"However, currently residents can’t voice our concerns, because we have no information, no plans, no awareness, no knowledge of it! "
She said: "It’s being kept suspiciously quiet.
"I live on Lidsing Road, and have heard nothing. It’s being swept under the radar. And will be catastrophic for the country lanes, the traffic and the beauty of the North Downs."
Part of the problem seems to be that the area, which borders Lordswood (in Chatham) and Hempstead (in Gillingham) tends to look naturally to Medway Council for guidance, although it actually falls within the borough of Maidstone.
The postal address for Lidsing properties is Gillingham.
An existing application for 450 homes at nearby Gibralter Farm, just north of the Medway/Maidstone border for example has garnered more than 1,400 letters of objection.
The area is covered mostly by Boxley Parish Council and partly by Bredhurst Parish Council.
The garden village was discussed briefly by Bredhurst Parish Council at its meeting on October 7. The minutes recorded: "One of the sites is Lidsing, which has a proposal for a garden community of up to 1000 houses. (sic)
"It was noted that the current infrastructure would struggle to cope, but the planned highways improvements on the A229 would help. Borough councillors are aiming to get the proposed numbers reduced..."
In fact the proposal is for 2,000 homes.
The seven-man parish council currently has three vacancies.
Boxley Parish Council will discuss the issue at its next meeting on December 7.
Another Lidsing resident said: "No-one is aware of the council's plans for the 2,000+ homes that they are trying to push through in Lidsing.
"There is definitely no infrastructure to support that number of homes and the nearest station is over eight miles away. How the council can claim this is viable is laughable.
"The surrounding roads are country roads that can barely accommodate the traffic now.
"Shame on Maidstone, Boxley and Bredhurst councillors who are allowing this to go through without even a fight."
The borough's garden village proposals include "the potential" of adding a new arm to junction 4 of the M2 motorway to provide a direct access to the motorway from the North Danes Way, but that would take land from an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
People will have the opportunity to give their views to Maidstone Borough Council when the draft Local Plan Review document goes out to pubic consultation between December 1 and December 22.