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