Collier Street Parish Council

Kent, England


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The parish has now had a meeting with a principle planning officer,  at Maidstone Borough Council.

Cllr David Goff and The Clerk met with a principal planning officer, one of the strategic development team at the offices of Maidstone Borough Council on the 30th January 2020.
The strategic development team are currently very busy assessing well in excess of 300 sites that were submitted under the Call for Sites exercise.
This number of sites received was viewed as positive as it will potentially yield far more houses than the Local Development Plan will need to provide. Because of the sheer numbers it will take longer for each site to be accessed. This exercise will mirror the normal process followed for an ordinary planning application and will involve many different agencies, external experts and ecologists. 
By carrying out the exercise as detailed there will more certainty when the sites themselves are eventually included within the draft Local Development Plan. 
The strategic planning committee next meet on the 10th March 2020 and they will consider exactly how the numbers will be delivered. e.g. Do they consider developments solely around the town centre of Maidstone where they would already have substantial infrastructure in place? Do they consider a mix of a garden village where the necessary infrastructure would need to be created together; will they consider some other development outside of these suggestions? Consideration would be given to what combination of sites work? It is going to be no sooner than September 2020 when they unveil the plans – and seek views from the members of the public. Even this date could slip.
Talking of the PC reply to the Call for Sites the principal planning officer complimented us on the factual report we had submitted, looking at flooding, lack of infrastructure, highways issues, etc. The officer stated flooding was quite a significant concern in planning term.
So the procedure seems to be

10.03.2020 Members to decide on a strategy
No actual time-line given: – Discussions on Assessments made
9/12 months Draft Plan Consultation

The process will be longer but provide a greater assurance of chosen sites when the report is out for discussion.
The planning officer also briefed us on MBC’s legal duty to consultant with neighbouring Councils.
Our local Borough Councillor David Burton chairs the said committee. 
You may also have seen the Kent Messenger of the 30th January 2020 the same day that we met with MBC ‘Councillors of all political colours have joined forces with MP Helen Grant to call for the predicted rate of new builds to be eased. The Local Plan 2017 sets out key development sites across the area of 882 homes. But a new formula calculates Maidstone will soon need to increase that number annually to 1,236. This is a 40% jump, meaning 28,000 homes could be put up by 2037. 
A motion describing the targets as ‘impossible’ has already been tabled. 
At the end of the article the council requests its current target of 882 per year is maintained until the end of the Local Plan period in 2031.

If you have any further comments please contact The Clerk

When searching the Google link the site reference numbers are 24 | 25 | 26 | 267 

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