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LENHAM HEATH: Lawyers demand landowners' sites be dropped officially from scheme

Friday 25th June 2021

LAWYERS for the owners of 63 acres of land earmarked for the borough council’s controversial 4,000-home Lenham Heath scheme have demanded their plots are formally removed from plans.
In March, Maidstone Borough Council agreed to allow their sites to be dropped – but have not been told officially.
A third version of the Lenham Heath ‘garden community’ project is due to be published but pressure group Save Our Heathlands (SOHL) claims it is being withheld to avoid scrutiny.
A SOHL spokesman said: “MBC appears to have something to hide. If the new masterplan is so compelling, why are they not sharing it with residents whose taxes have been used to pay for its development?” 
SOHL says three out of the eight large landowners have opted out of the scheme and the remainder have not yet signed up.
MBC has signed a deal with the public sector housing provider Homes England and will step aside from its role as “master developer”.
SOHL said the 63 acres could have accommodated 1,000 homes.
A recent policy and resources committee meeting heard that no further progress has been made on the project since the local government elections in May.
But there were calls to seriously negotiate a railway station with Network Rail.
The SOHL spokesman added: “The incoming administration has committed to tighter control on the spending of public money as well as putting an end to unelected officers calling the shots. We are hoping to see far greater transparency going forward and that should start by sharing the latest masterplan without further delay and hopefully ending the blight and sheer misery many residents in Lenham have faced over the last two years.”
Maidstone Borough Council was approached for comment but has not responded.