As we enter a New Year we write to provide an update on our campaign to protect sylvan and historic parkland at Invicta Barracks from plans to asset strip the land for High-density housing and associated infrastructure.
A significant change is the recent Government announcement that the military will not now vacate the site until 2029 - rather than 2027 as previously indicated. Based on this new situation North Ward's Lib Dem Councillors have formally asked on a technical 'deliverability' point that the site be removed from the Maidstone Borough Council Local Plan Review, which only runs up to 2031. Simultaneously, we have challenged at the highest level the unrealistic 1,300 unit housing yield sought for Invicta Barracks. Indeed, we thank all those residents who have supported this campaign by writing so powerfully to Maidstone Council as part of their Regulation 19 Local Plan Review consultation.
Finally, the Ministry of Defence / Maidstone Borough Council development plans are so clearly unsustainable from historic, cultural, landscape and biodiversity perspectives that we have:
• Applied to Historic England seeking listing of land surrounding the Grade II* Listed Park House as a nationally protected 'Historic Park and Garden'.
• Asked the Government's wildlife watchdog Natural England to ensure that the significance of the Barracks site for wildlife is documented and taken into account in any plans.
• Submitted a formal request to Maidstone Council that all trees and woodland on the site be plotted and those meeting the relevant criteria be legally protected by Tree Preservation Orders.
You can listen to the Kent Online podcast by on this page, the item starts at 9.57.