16th December 2010
Maidstone Borough Council has backed the Green Party's 400 plus signature petition to reassess where houses will be built across the borough. The current Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment was considered not to give enough regard to green spaces or to existing infrastructure and with the end of central housing targets, local Greens were pushing for a revised plan.
Stuart Jeffery, Maidstone Green Party: "This is good news for Maidstone. The existing housing plan was fundementally flawed and we are pleased that the council recognised this.
"The world is changing quickly and with it the needs of the people in Maidstone. It is essential that we protect farm land and other green spaces from development whenever possible and that we use existing infrastructure wisely. The news that the council will be producing a new assessment is welcome indeed. We do not underestimate the challenge to provide housing either, and the new plan must make sure that the needs of people on moderate and low incomes are met."
The petition was debated at last night's council meeting and received cross party support. The petition was started after residents in Fant Ward became concerned about the plans for 380 houses on Fant Farm.
Ian McDonald, who presented the petition at the council on behalf of Maidstone Green Party: "The housing assessment produced last year was clearly contraversial and we had serious concerns about the principles that underpinned it.
"As regional spacial strategies were scrapped in July this year and with them the housing targets, the council has the ideal opportunity to review the housing assessment and also the balance between social and affordable housing, and more expensive homes. We want to see more of the former as the need is growing quickly for people on lower incomes."
The petition reads: "We, the undersigned, call on Maidstone Borough Council to commission a new Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment that protects green spaces and ensures that any new areas identified for housing are served properly by existing schools, roads and other infrastructure"