Maidstone Local Plan consultation: last chance to make your thoughts known

Maidstone Borough Council aims to build more than 80 per cent of its housing allocation on greenfield sites

Residents have until midnight Sunday (December 12) to comment on Maidstone’s plan for 17,746 houses in the borough, 82 per cent of which are to be on greenfield sites.
CPRE Kent is dismayed Maidstone Borough Council is persisting with a spatial strategy prioritising allocation of greenfield sites ahead of brownfield sites.
This includes 5,000 houses in Lenham Heath and 2,000 houses at Lidsing on greenfield sites under the guise of ‘garden settlements’.
The council openly accepts the strategy is based on a clear political desire for garden settlements, which seems to be being put above all other considerations.
This is despite its own consultants telling it that this is the least sustainable option and will have a significant negative effect with respect to climate change.
We think this is wrong and have made this known in our response.
The consultation ends on Sunday, December 12, at 23.59 and we would strongly urge residents to make their opinions known if they have not already done so.

•          CPRE Kent’s detailed comments on the Local Plan can be found here

•          The council’s consultation document can be found here

Friday, December 10, 2021

The absurdity of Lenham Heath ‘garden town’

Among the many protesters were the Chapman family from Egerton, who made their views very clear

Henny Shotter, chairman of Maidstone CPRE, reports on a protest against deeply unpopular plans for so-called garden town

People flocked in their droves to Lenham Community Centre to object against plans for a ‘garden town’ of at least 4,000 homes.
The garden town is essentially an urban extension to Lenham. The historic village, with its medieval market square, is two miles away and Lenham Heath, in Lenham parish, is designated to form part of this absurd idea.
‘Absurd?’ you might ask.
It is absurd that the place that scored worst in Maidstone Borough Council’s sustainability analysis has been chosen as a development hot-spot. It sits right on the border with Ashford district and will impact badly on the network of narrow lanes, services and infrastructure, not only in Lenham but also in villages like Egerton, Charing, Pluckley and the Kent Downs AONB.
A sustainability cop-out!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Lenham Heath new town faces water-quality hurdle after Natural England advice

Lenham Heath residents were not happy with plans for the new town, or ‘garden village’ as it was dubbed

Proposals by the council to build a new town at Lenham Heath have been stalled by advice from Natural England regarding water quality.
The government body has said “an appropriate assessment” must be carried out before the council agrees any new development likely to have “a significant adverse impact on water quality” in the River Stour catchment. The assessment must include any necessary mitigation measures.
With the source of the river system of the Stour Valley catchment being in Lenham, and part of the upper section of the Great Stour lying in Maidstone borough, the council says there will be “an immediate impact” on planning applications for new homes in and around both Lenham and part of Boughton Malherbe parishes.
The advice aims to ensure new residential development does not cause further deterioration of water quality at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve in terms of nitrate and phosphate discharges.
Maidstone council says it is “investigating possible solutions” and has “identified a way forward for larger housing sites”. It is, though, “taking a precautionary approach and will require appropriate assessments for any planning applications including those not yet determined”.
The Lenham Heath development had originally been set at 5,000 dwellings but since cut to 4,000. Nothing has yet been passed by any committee.

  • Similar concerns led to revised plans for the 4,000-home Mountfield Park development at Canterbury being pulled from the city council planning committee’s agenda in October. Planning permission for the huge scheme had already lapsed after legal challenges, meaning it will need to be decided upon again.

Monday, October 12, 2020