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LENHAM HEATH: Residents show opposition against MBC plan for 5,000 houses

Tuesday 19th November 2019

RESIDENTS opposed to Maidstone Borough Council's plan to build 5,000 houses on Lenham Heath attended a drop-in event on Sunday.

Save our Heath Lands (SOHL) organised the session at Charing Heath Village Hall, to explain Liberal Democrat-led MBC proposal to be a "master developer" driving a so-called "garden community" with a new motorway junction and high-speed rail sation..

SOHL members were on hand to explain the proposal and encourage local residents to sign a petition.

Around 150 residents turned up.

SOHL campaigner, Kate Hammond said: “Many people weren’t aware of the scheme until they heard about our event. People were concerned and angry at MBC’s secrecy, lack of transparency and from what we understand councillors on the committees have already predetermined a £5m cost to the tax payer for the proposal.

 

“House building has to be sustainable and in the right place as per national planning policy.  Many of our villages and Maidstone itself have already accepted many new houses which have been built or are under construction without any improvements to the current infrastructure.  It would appear that some of these homes are now standing empty as the housing market has slowed down.

“That’s why we are calling on our local communities to unite and join us in our campaign to put pressure on Maidstone Borough Council to reassess their proposals and housing plans.”

To find out more about SOHL, then email saveourheathland@gmail.com  or find them on Facebook at Save Our Heath Lands or Twitter @SOHeathlands

The scheme was part of the much-criticised "call for sites" process and landowners were asked to sign non disclosure agreements by MBC agents after being approached to sell their land.

Some fear they will face compulsory purchase (CP) if they so not sell to MBC. MBC has denied CP is planned but admitted that the process does have in-built comepnsation.

The council has claimed there are no foregone conclusions in the process.

But MBC has been accused to "pre-determining" its own scheme by advancing the Lenham Heath proposal ahead of the launch of the call for sites process which started in February. Tens of thousands of pounds of tax payers' money has been spent on the scheme so far.

 

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