Last Chance to Have Your Say on Plans for 1,300 Homes at Invicta Barracks
Your local Lib Dem Councillors have consistently opposed Maidstone Council’s bloated housing plans for Invicta Barracks, once the Military move out ‘by 2027’. Hidden within the Barracks is a beautiful expanse of historic, veteran tree-studded parkland - formerly known as ‘Le Park’ and owned by Henry VII. This parkland forms the setting of ‘Grade II* Listed’ Park House and it enjoys national and international significance for its rich cultural associations, via the Lushington family, with some of the finest works of Victorian Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson – including his epic poem ‘The Princess’. The Barracks also boasts valuable areas of wildlife-rich woodland, surviving close to Maidstone town centre.
In 2017 a vague reference to a future "broad location for growth" at Invicta Barracks was made in the ‘Maidstone Borough Council Local Plan’, a development document setting out planning policies and future growth areas.
Now Conservative-led Maidstone Council has published detailed proposals for an ‘Invicta Barracks Strategic Development Location’ comprising 1,300 new homes. Shockingly, this housing allocation does not even commit to protecting open space on this largely parkland and woodland site, located within a part of the county town with a big deficit in ‘Accessible Natural Green Space’. The Local Plan states only that open space will be delivered ‘as proven necessary and/or contributions’. Adding insult to injury, the policy for the Barracks rules out provision of much-needed affordable housing and further states that much-needed health facilities and a new school will only be provided "where proven necessary".
Within days of these development proposals being released Maidstone Lib Dems sought to amend the Invicta Barracks Local Plan policy by capping new housing at 600/700 units, ensuring 20% of this reduced figure is affordable, while delivering a 20% gain for nature, alongside formal acknowledgement of the cultural significance of the site. Shockingly, a procedural motion was used to block this and other amendments from being voted upon.
The Council’s plans to shoehorn 1,300 private houses into traffic-choked, densely populated North Maidstone must be defeated and your local Lib Dem Councillors are already mounting a determined defence of Invicta Barracks. But we desperately need the help and active support of local people.
Cllr. Tony Harwood states: “This is the greatest threat to face North Ward since the Second World War. If we are to have any chance of defeating these unsustainable plans for local housing growth or, perhaps more realistically, reduce their scale, local residents must now stand-up and be counted.”
County Cllr. Ian Chittenden adds: “We need you all to submit a formal objection to Policy LPRSP5(B) - Invicta Barracks Strategic Development Location by 12th December at the latest by e-mail to: [email protected] or by post to: Strategic Planning, Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, ME15 6JQ.”