How not to create a local plan

As the Local Plan Review consultation closes Maidstone Liberal Democrats have condemned the approach of the ruling Conservatives.



Group Leader Clive English said "Whilst Maidstone must have a Local Plan the current Regulation 19 document is more full of holes than 20 fishing nets.  The Plan includes potentially 'unsound' housing allocations including those at Lidsing, which clearly contravenes national policy designed to protect Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Maidstone Barracks, where no survey of trees or historic landscape had been undertaken to inform the eventual numbers of houses it will yield, making the proposed figure of 1,300 a fantasy. This means that space for some 3,000  houses will likely need to be found elsewhere in the Borough. 


Further, at 'Beacon Park' in Coxheath a proposed allocation has been brought forward without proper consultation and that will join Loose to Coxheath and harm ancient woodland. 


Perhaps most shocking is a secretive policy proposal that purports to make it easier to build a Leeds-Langley bypass, but will in fact open the door to many thousands of new houses on beautiful, and supposedly protected, countryside between Bearsted and Leeds. The traffic generation from a Len Valley development - a kind of Heathlands and Lidsing hybrid, on steroids - will generate traffic levels which will dwarf any perceived benefit from a new road. "


Liberal Democrat Planning Spokesman Tony Harwood added " As if the Local Plan allocations were not enough, other policies in the Local Plan Review do little to address climate change adaptation, stem the decline in local biodiversity or tackle our Borough's polluted rivers. Depressingly, if this document is agreed it will mean no affordable housing is delivered across large parts of the urban area, and unforgivably it is also silent on providing homes for the elderly. Many residents had asked for more time to respond to this flawed document but the Conservative administration used its majority to vote down an extension."