Maidstone’s Liberal Democrat Group came to Wednesday's Full Council Local Plan Review meeting, where councillors were asked to consider Maidstone’s housing plan, fully intending to table amendments to remove far reaching last-minute additions.
Instead, the Mayor, having taken instruction from MBC’s Legal team, refused to allow any discussion on the amendments, sighting the extent of changes they would make to the housing plan, as her reason for refusal.
The points of contention included the building of 1300 homes without social housing and minimal open space at Invicta Barracks; allocating housing at Beacon Park in Coxheath without any prior public consultation; building 2000 houses at Lidsing, many within the AONB, along with a poorly considered policy on the Leeds and Langley relief road (which actually risks allowing a further 4,000 to 10,000 extra houses ahead of any relief road). None of these proposals had been reviewed by elected members prior to this week.
The Liberal Democrat Group, questioning how the evening’s events could be considered democratic, unanimously voted against progressing the unchanged plan. While joined by many members from across the chamber, they were unable to prevent the Conservatives pushing the plan through.
This Local Plan Review now moves on to a further round of public consultation before being considered by Government Inspector.
We urge all residents of our Borough to use their right to comment ahead of the Government Inspector’s review.