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Striking images suggest potential impact of 2,000-home garden community project in Marden

Campaigners have produced striking images revealing what they believe will be the potential impact of a project to double the number of homes in a village.

Developers announced plans to create a "garden community" in Marden earlier this year, which would include up to 2,000 homes as well as two new schools, health facilities and office space.

It came after Maidstone Borough Council launched a Call for Sites, in which it asked for ideas of land which could be developed, ahead of a review of its Local Plan in 2022.

VIDEO: Campaigners slam plans to build more than 2,000 homes

However, the scheme has been met with anger by hundreds of locals, who fear such large-scale development would "crush" them.

In response, huge numbers of stickers and banners have been produced by the Marden Planning Opposition Group (MPOG), which have since appeared all over the village, and Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has also met with campaigners to discuss concerns.

Developer Countryside Properties, which argues the project would see Marden benefit from new facilities and better links to Maidstone town centre, says it is also meeting and speaking with those living and working in the village.

How the village of Marden could look once the proposed garden community is built
How the village of Marden could look once the proposed garden community is built

Project chiefs add that while the scheme would include green open spaces, the site sits outside any Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and other protected areas, and so is suitable for development.

Now, the MPOG has created a mock-up image outlining what they believe the potential consequences of the project could mean for land in the village.

How the village of Marden currently looks
How the village of Marden currently looks

Group chair Claudine Russell said: "We created this to give a sobering view of what the 2,000 homes might look like.

"The response has been brilliant, the whole village has really come together over this and that's what we wanted.

Use the slider tool below to see the potential impact of the development

"It's all happened in such a short space of time and I couldn't be more proud of everyone."

The group has also organised a protest march through the village on Saturday, May 18, where hundreds are expected to demonstrate their opposition.

A spokesperson for Countryside Properties said: “Maidstone Borough Council’s Call for Sites and Local Plan Review process is at a very early stage.

“Land north of Marden will be one of many options to be considered by the council.

Claudine Russell, chair of Marden Planning Opposition, with supporters on the land proposed for 2,000 homes
Claudine Russell, chair of Marden Planning Opposition, with supporters on the land proposed for 2,000 homes

"If it is selected as a preferred option, it would be a number of years before a planning application would come forward.

“No firm plans or indicative images similar to the one produced by MPOG have been submitted or created.

"Any future development would be sensitively masterplanned and the local community would have the opportunity to help shape any proposals.

“We will update the community after the borough council’s call for sites process has been completed.”

Read more: All the latest news from Weald

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