17 / 09 / 20
It’s important local residents write to the Council letting them know you object to the current housebuilding proposals around Lenham and across the Borough. Ask the councillors to support your objections. Write to your Member of Parliament for their views and ask for their support. Write to Government departments, Ministers and Agencies that you think may get involved or have responsibility for all or certain parts of the proposals.
Coming soon – an email template to help you draft your letter.
We suggest you write about, in your own words, the following topics:
Housing Numbers. The Government’s housebuilding targets take no account of local circumstances. The Borough Council should be robustly challenging the targets.
Transport. The highways and public transport connections to the East of Maidstone are overstretched and incapable of taking additional trip volumes. Further significant development should not be considered until these shortcomings are fixed.
Infrastructure. An increased population of at least 12,000 people will place an unacceptable burden on public services, utilities and facilities in the local area. Infrastructure improvements are severely lacking at present and further housing should not be considered.
Employment. The area to the East Of Maidstone has no extensive employment opportunities. Further Housing development and population increases cannot be sustained locally. The proximity to London can only mean that any Garden Community Development will in effect be a Dormitory Town which cannot in any way be accepted as beneficial to both local residents and those who might eventually have to move into these areas.
The Parish/Village. The Lenham area (and its surrounds) is based upon longstanding and historic villages. Significant development will inevitably result in the merging of these areas into a single conurbation. This represents the destruction of a traditional environment and the loss of cultural and social identities.
Sustainable Development. Housing should only be considered where there are existing infrastructure and transport to cope with the increased population and where there is a clear demand for that housing.
Landscape. Development in the Lenham Heath area will result in the loss of longstanding and valuable agricultural land. The wider environment will also be affected by a high risk of irreparable damage to the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Pollution. Increased traffic and congestion will be net contributors to greenhouse gases and there is an increased risk to the environment and health.
Environment. The rural landscapes in the Lenham area contain many different species of wildlife. The proposed housing scheme has little regard for the preservation of the environment and the care of these species.
The Role of MBC. The role of Master Developer and Local Planning Authority are incompatible for a project of this scale. There are few ‘checks and balances’ and no transparency. Maidstone Borough Council’s stated interests in the scheme and its agreements with landowners are unwelcome and it is impossible to see how it can act without any bias when considering its own Local Plan.
Consultation. It’s clear that these proposals have been long in the making. Public money has clearly been spent and deals struck in secret. A total disregard for transparency and proper consultation. It is hard to trust the Council with such a complicated and potentially harmful project and it is not clear that the Council has been acting without the risk of a conflict of interest.
Timescale. A proposal of this scale and complication far exceeds any reasonable timescale. It is not acceptable for local residents to have these far fetched proposals imposed upon the area without a realistic and achievable timescale.
Blight. Maidstone Borough Council has no hesitation in positioning itself to take profit from Development Gain but has no regard to compensating local people for the inevitable losses that will arise from its decisions. Houses are becoming blighted and residents will find that their lives are severely impacted. No degree of landscaping or buffering can protect current residents homes from blight and the Council should introduce a discretionary blight scheme immediately in order to assist those that are unable ‘move on’ with their lives.
Please remember to send a copy of your correspondence to SOHL via email.