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Consultation on Neighbourhood Development Plan in Lenham, near Maidstone, launched

A consultation into the Lenham Neighbourhood Development Plan, which could give parish councillors more say in plans for 5,000 homes in the area, opened today.

Residents from the village, near Maidstone, are being encouraged to comment on the proposal by the parish council which sets out a vision for building in the area.

Helen Whately, Fay Gooch, Martin Cox and William Cornall discuss the Lenham Heath proposals
Helen Whately, Fay Gooch, Martin Cox and William Cornall discuss the Lenham Heath proposals

The proposition sets out a sustainable plan for the neighbourhood and a series of policies that the community is proposing to be used when giving the green light on planning applications.

It could provide residents concerned about proposals to build more than 5,000 homes on Lenham Heath with more influence on the end result.

The parish council has been preparing and consulting on it over several years and it has now reached the final consultation stage.

Once residents have had their say, the plan will be subject to independent examination.

If successful, a referendum will be held where people can vote on whether to accept or reject the plan.

Maidstone Borough Council's vision for the Lenham garden community
Maidstone Borough Council's vision for the Lenham garden community

Rob Jarman, head of planning at Maidstone Borough Council said: "Neighbourhood Plans were introduced to provide a tier of planning to support the more strategic borough wide Local Plan, but which would encourage communities to become more involved in shaping their local area at the neighbourhood level.

"The Council is currently working alongside a further seven local areas to assist with the preparation of Neighbourhood Plans."

Last month, Helen Whately clashed with council chiefs over the plans for a garden community on Lenham Heath, telling them to stop passing the blame on to the government.

The consultation will be open until 5pm on 27 March 2020.

The public are encouraged to make comments on the Neighbourhood Plan by emailing neighbourhoodplanning@maidstone.gov.uk or by post to Strategic Planning, Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, ME15 6JQ.

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