CPRE Kent has said it is concerned about the scale of development – 18,560 new homes – proposed in the Maidstone Local Plan.
Responding to the Maidstone Local Plan Pre-Submission document, we also raised the following concerns:
- the absence of sound supporting evidence
- the accompanying draft Integrated Transport Plan has not been agreed with Kent County Council or the Maidstone Joint Transportation Board
- the cost of providing much of the necessary supporting infrastructure is unknown and there is no guarantee that statutory contributions will cover the cost
- the Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment has not followed government guidance.
Photos above: Harrietsham sign by Gregory Elliot and view near Staplehurst by Fraser Elliot
Most of the housing (84%) is allocated on greenfield land and this approach will not encourage the development of brownfield and previously developed land. The scale of residential development in villages and rural settings is disproportionate to their size, and is unlikely to promote sustainable journeys and more likely to increase traffic on the roads.
Finally, we are very concerned that land at Woodcut Farm close to junction 8 of the M20 is allocated for employment – this is an unsuitable location for development as agreed by the inspectors who considered the Kent International Gateway proposal, and the recent Waterside Park application.
Chairman of the CPRE Kent Maidstone Committee Gary Thomas said: “This local plan is already having a terrible impact on villages and countryside. It would cause enormous traffic problems and a strain on school, health and travel facilities. The number of new homes is unrealistic and unsustainable. There will be a loss of greenfield land, much of it valuable farmland and the beautiful landscapes so important to the character and enjoyment of our county.”
March 23rd 2016.