Published: 06:00, 01 October 2021
| Updated: 15:59, 01 October 2021
A proposal for a link road joining the M2 to support a controversial 2,000-home development has sparked fury among villagers.
Some homeowners who look out on to the farmland in Kemsley Street Road believe it will destroy the character of their historic village, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
Parish council chairman Vanessa Jones fears the plan earmarked for a site of “outstanding natural beauty” will “open the floodgates” to build on neighbouring green spaces, such as Capstone Valley and Gibraltar Farm.
Mrs Jones, who has lived in the area all her life, said: “The development will totally change our village.
“At the moment there are about 170 properties here, some of them listed, and now they are proposing thousands of new houses and this monstrous road. As well as the extra traffic it, will cause noise and light pollution.”
Peter Hannan,72, who lives opposite the earmarked field, moved to the area 20 years ago and enjoys walking in the surrounding countryside. He said: “It’s all disappearing and turning into an urban sprawl. They are gradually paving over the Garden of England.”
His neighbour Linda Brown, 71, and husband Clive moved there 45 years ago and brought up their three children at their home in Kemsley Street Road.
She said: “The view out to the field is one of the reasons we bought the house.
“If Maidstone council give permission to desecrate this area of outstanding natural beauty it could well set a precedent to all other swathes of AONB in Kent and nowhere will be safe from development and developers.
“Surely we learned during the pandemic the value of our open spaces. This is a step towards making us part of a large Medway conurbation. We are not being listened to.
“After all these years we have got our home as we want it, somewhere we can retire.
“I for one am not going to take this lying down – even if I have to lie in that field.”
Mrs Brown also feels wildlife, trees and hedgerows which flourish in the area would disappear.
Although the site falls outside her constituency, she felt it would impact on the areas of Walderslade and Lordswood, which she represents.
Mrs Jones, speaking on behalf of the parish council, is urging people to lobby Maidstone councillors on the planning committee to oppose the application and stop it going ahead.
She is also encouraging protesters to picket at the town hall in Maidstone ahead of the crucial meeting on Monday.
If the plans go ahead, the existing motorway bridge at the end of The Street will be demolished and configured.