CPRE Kent objects to sites on greenfield land

We have objected to the high number of inappropriate, unsustainable greenfield sites identified in the Maidstone Local Plan.

Commenting on the council’s latest consultation into additional site allocations, Gary Thomas, Chairman of the Maidstone Committee, said: “It is disappointing that Maidstone has set such a high housing target of 18,560 homes, the consequence of which is the number of inappropriate and unsustainable sites which could change the character of many villages and communities within the borough as well as lead to the loss of beautiful greenfield land and important agricultural land.”

View of valley from Boughton Monchelsea, photo by crocus08, flickr

View of valley from Boughton Monchelsea, photo by crocus08, flickr

We particularly object to the concentration of sites in Boughton Monchelsea:

  • Land at Boughton Lane Loose (75 homes) – grade 2 agricultural land, greenfield, within an area defined as the Loose Landscape of Local Value
  • Boughton Mount, Boughton Lane (25 homes)- grade 2 agricultural land, greenfield, within an area defined as the Loose Landscape of Local Value
  • Land at Church Street / Heath Road (40 homes) – loss of woodland, within Landscape Character Area No. 29 Boughton Monchelsea to Chart Sutton Plateau’ lack of school places and impact on pedestrian safety by school
  • Land at Lywood Farm, Green Lane (25 homes), – unsustainable location and increased traffic
  • Hubbards Lane (8 homes) – inappropriate greenfield site, grade 2 agricultural land.

The cumulative effect would be a lack of facilities and infrastructure and an impact on green and the identity of settlements and communities.

We are also objecting to the following incongruous backland development sites (unsuitable sites behind existing houses):

  • Land south of the Parsonage, Goudhurst Road, Marden (50 homes)– inappropriate location, greenfield, grade 2 agricultural land, within the Staplehurst Low Weald Landscape Character Area, harmful effect on landscape character, Marden village is now entirely surrounded by new developments of large estates which has had a cumulative impact on residents and infrastructure
  • Land to the north of Henhurst Farm (60 homes) – greenfield, within the Staplehurst Low Weald Landscape Character Area, harmful effect on landscape character, impact on local roads, no access shown
  • Land adjacent to The Windmill PH, Ethorne Street, Hollingbourne (15 homes) –greenfield agricultural land
  • Brandy’s Bay, South Lane, Sutton Valance (40 homes) – over development of the area, pressure on doctors’ surgery and schools, outside village envelope; possible flood risk from stream.

We are extremely concerned that Woodcut Farm, Ashford Road, Bearsted has been identified as an employment site. This site, near to Junction 8 of the M20, is controversial – both the Kent International Gateway and Waterside Park applications were refused at inquiry because of concerns about the visual and landscape impact, harm to the setting of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Leeds Castle and loss of countryside. These same concerns also apply to Woodcut Farm – it is a greenfield site in an inappropriate location; it is a working farm adjacent to ancient woodland; and it will result in encroachment into the open countryside. It is not easily accessible by cycle, rail or bus and is remote to the Maidstone urban area. It is also contrary to Government planning guidelines.

“We are dismayed that Maidstone continues to put forward this area as an employment site despite the rulings of planning inspectors and the strong campaigns and arguments against development here,” said Mr Thomas.

The next stage of the local plan will be further consultation before the final draft of the plan is presented to an inspector at a local plan examination.

To read our full submission click here.

November 5th 2015.

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