Maidstone Borough Council has adopted a new Local Plan. This document, required by Government, identifies sites for new development, provides some limited local landscape protection, and will facilitate delivery of new infrastructure. The new plan will run until 2031, but is subject to a review in 2021. Despite widespread anger at the level of housebuilding imposed on Maidstone by the Government's housing targets, it had become increasingly clear that the Council had to adopt a new plan in order to gain some control over where and how development took place, and to try to prevent the Government intervening and imposing an even higher level of development in Maidstone
Martin Cox (Vice Chairman of SPST) commented: 'The adoption of the local plan will help the council and the public resist unwelcome and poor development, hep defend our countryside and wildlife and help provide the infrastructure needed to support our communities.'
But the Tory government want more.
As reported in our last Focus the government is consulting on a new way of calculating housing delivery targets. In Maidstone this could mean a further increase in the already high level of housebuilding of nearly 40% per annum. The adoption of a new Local Plan should delay the introduction of the proposed uplift in Maidstone Borough until the review in 2021.
Maidstone's Liberal Democrat Councillors are working with other Councils in Kent, who are also concerned about the high increases that are proposed, to try and change the Government's mind.
Lib Dem group leader and leader of the council Fran Wilson said 'The new method the government is proposing to use would drastically increase house building in parts of Southern England and would make it very hard to build any housing at all in parts of the Midlands and the North of England. It needs a complete and immediate rethink.'