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Lidsing Garden village plan for 2,000 homes submitted by Maidstone Borough Council despite backlash from campaign groups

Maidstone council has voted to submit controversial plans - which could usher in thousands of new homes into one small hamlet - to the planning inspector.

The authority's strategic planning and infrastructure committee agreed to put forward its Local Plan - despite local campaign groups holding protests outside the town hall.

SOHL and ALGD outside Maidstone Town Hall yesterday

Representatives from the Save Our Heath Lands (SOHL) and Against Lidsing Garden Development (ALGD) gathered last night in opposition to the plan which includes proposals to build more than 2,000 houses on farmland at Lidsing, a hamlet of 13 houses between Hempstead, Lordswood and Bredhurst.

A public examination is due to take place in the summer, which will test if the plan is ‘sound’ and ‘deliverable’.

If the plan - which is right on the border with Medway - gets the nod, the promoter of the Lidsing scheme, landowner Kevin Attwood, will then work up a planning application for the site.

Kate Hammond, from SOHL said: “It is blatantly clear that the ruling Conservative administration at Maidstone are pushing through a plan to destroy thousands of acres of green fields in pursuit of new housing development in the countryside.

The controversial scheme has left many fuming
The controversial scheme has left many fuming

“The Conservative Party talk nationally about protecting the environment and leading with a brownfield-first approach, however, locally, the Maidstone Conservatives are choosing a very different approach."

Both campaign groups are united in a stand to 'Save Kent's Green Spaces'.

Sue Harwood, from the ALGD said: “Thousands of residents have objected to this Maidstone Local Plan in recent months and in Lidsing we have a petition with over 3,500 signatures opposed to the development.

“Residents’ views seem to be being completely ignored by Maidstone Borough Council who are in favour of rushing through their plan regardless of public opinion”.

In the meeting, MBC councillor, Cllr Malcolm McKay (Ind) said: “If you showed people where Lidsing was on a map, they would say that's in Medway, this is trying to bury our problem in someone else's backyard.”

The controversial scheme will now be included as part of the authority's Local Plan
The controversial scheme will now be included as part of the authority's Local Plan

The development is expected to have significant knock-on effects for the surrounding area, and has also been opposed by Medway Council which fears that it - rather than Maidstone - will end up having to deal with the majority of the extra traffic generated and pressure on local services.

Prior to this, Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con), leader of Medway Council, has called the Maidstone proposal "reprehensible".

Maidstone on the other hand, points out that the scheme would provide the area with a new primary school and a new link road to the M2.

Although right on the border with Medway, the development site falls mostly within the parish of Boxley and partly within Bredhurst, both in Maidstone.

Against Lidsing Garden Devlopment and Save our Heath Lands outside Maidstone Town Hall (55609653)
Against Lidsing Garden Devlopment and Save our Heath Lands outside Maidstone Town Hall (55609653)

Last month, Maidstone Borough Council said: "The UK needs more homes, and the Government has set out its strategy for how local authorities should achieve this.

"Maidstone is working to deliver the Government’s strategy both in terms of the number of new homes required, along with the wide range of jobs, health, education, other facilities and infrastructure needed to support our existing and future communities.

"This is a challenging task – and we very much appreciate that there are a wide variety of views about how this should be achieved. However, it is important to recognise that there is not an option for doing nothing.

"Delaying the identification of a suitable and deliverable spatial strategy, and thus the Local Plan Review timescales, also brings with it risks and adverse consequences for our communities."

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