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HOUSING CRISIS: Now Tories threaten revolt over major house-building schemes

Wednesday 6th October 2021

THE future of Maidstone hangs in the balance tonight as the Local Plan Review (LPR) faces a Liberal Democrat revolt.
At an extraordinary meeting of Maidstone Borough Council's members, the Lib Dems wil attempt to scupper the LPR which its leadership drew up while in power.
But the newly-elected Tory administration will also face three possible rebels in the Boxley ward over the Lidsing development proposal.
At the LPR's heart are "garden villages" in Lenham (5,000 homes) and Lidsing (2,000).
MBC must come up with 1,200 houses a year and command a five-year land supply to deliver them.
Tory sources have conceded the administration may be defeated, with the danger of the council losing planning powers and a free-for-all for builders.
The Lib Dems have been accused of playing politics "because they can" although they claim that the LPR cannot bear close scrutiny when the Secretary of State examines it.
A Lib Dem source said: "There are so many things wrong with the would fall over."
At today's Conservative Party conference, PM Boris Johnson appeared to concede house-building is causing anger in many Conservative constituencies. 
He referred to “the constant anxiety that your immemorial view of chalk downland is going to be desecrated by ugly new homes”.
He added: "And that is why levelling up works for the whole country and it is the right and responsible policy, because it helps to take the pressure off parts of the overheating South East, while simultaneously offering hope and opportunity to those areas that have felt left behind."
He did not explicitly mention sacked housing minister Robert Jenrick's planning reforms announced last year.
These have been halted, temporarily at least, by new housing secretary Michael Gove.
The council meeting takes place at 6.30pm at the Maidstone Leisure Centre.