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Rallying cry over 'impossible' Maidstone housing targets as Lenham campaigners Save Our Heath Lands plan protest


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A rallying cry has been made for Maidstone's councillors, of all political colours, to come together and fight "impossible" housing targets being imposed on the borough.

Independent Cllr Janetta Sams has submitted a motion ahead of Wednesday's full council meeting, following publication of more than 300 sites which have been earmarked for development over the coming years.

Cllr Janetta Sams has submitted a motion. Picture: Andy Jones
Cllr Janetta Sams has submitted a motion. Picture: Andy Jones

The motion describes the 30,000 new homes the local authority must accept up to 2037 as "untenable", warning such large-scale development will have a detrimental effect on people in a number of ways.

This includes more strain on medical service, poorer air quality, more congestion on the roads and the loss of open spaces.

It calls on the council to "temporarily suspend its analysis" of the land submitted during the controversial Call for Sites process and to allow residents' groups and parish councils to make representations directly over the impact of development.

The motion then demands to produce and resource a review based on this information, "to positively demonstrate and evidence that the borough's housing numbers are impossible to deliver".

It adds: "We believe that we owe it to our residents to do the right thing, for the future wellbeing for the entire borough."

A map outlining all the land that was submitted to Maidstone's Call for Sites. Image: KM Graphics
A map outlining all the land that was submitted to Maidstone's Call for Sites. Image: KM Graphics

The motion, sent to all representatives on the council, has already received the backing of some members.

Cllr Jonathan Purle (Cons) said: "The motion sums up how we’re all feeling.

"Maidstone and its surrounding villages are being over-developed, the infrastructure isn’t there and the various proposals for tower blocks in town or urban sprawl taking over places like East Farleigh, Marden and Staplehurst are totally unacceptable.

"The thing I heard most when we were campaigning against the Broadway 14-storey tower block proposal was that people feel they’re just not being listened to.

"So something like this needs to happen to give people a voice.

Protest march against MBC's 'Call for Sites' scheme which includes proposals for 5,000 homes in Lenham. Kate Hammond and Afsaneh Smith with other protestors. Picture: Matthew Walker
Protest march against MBC's 'Call for Sites' scheme which includes proposals for 5,000 homes in Lenham. Kate Hammond and Afsaneh Smith with other protestors. Picture: Matthew Walker

"But we’re going to need to be careful we don’t slow down the rejection of many of these sites – the council works slowly enough as it is."

Meanwhile, campaigners against proposals for a 5,000-home garden community in Lenham will be protesting outside the town hall in a "sea of green" at 6pm on Wednesday, prior to the meeting.

Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) delivered 112% of the homes the area needed last year and the figure for 2019 is expected to be published shortly.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said local authorities should make a realistic assessment of the number of homes their communities need and then consider land availability, relevant constraints and whether the need is more appropriately met in neighbouring areas.

MBC was contacted for comment.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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