Monday, 30 September 2013

Maidstone: the most dangerous place to walk or cycle in Kent

1st October 2013
A decision to be made by Kent County Council on Thursday could start to make 20mph limits a reality in Maidstone and Kent [1]. Maidstone Greens have been campaigning to make Maidstone's residential streets 20mph across the borough for many years. 20mph for residential street have recently been introduced or agreed for Brighton, Birmingham and the City of London, whereas Maidstone has a few 'zones' but no blanket limit.

Latest statistics show that the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in Kent rose by 29% last year, cyclists rose by 18% and overall the number killed and seriously injured rose by 1% in contrast to a national fall of 4% [2]. Maidstone had the highest number of pedestrians and cyclists killed or seriously injured of anywhere in Kent [3].

Stuart Jeffery, Maidstone Green Party: "I have my fingers crossed for the decision on Thursday. Kent is in the dark ages when it comes to road safety and Maidstone suffers with the worst record for road safety in Kent for non-car users.

"Reducing speed by 1 mph leads to a 6% fall in accidents - slowing down traffic is a simple and effective measure to improve road safety, so with 524 people killed or seriously injured on our roads last year, why has KCC failed to take action?

"Maidstone had the highest number of pedestrians and cyclists killed or seriously injured of anywhere in Kent. The council should be encouraging people to get out of their cars to walk or cycle, not making Maidstone the most dangerous place in Kent. KCC needs to take action urgently."

1. https://democracy.kent.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=4911
2. https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/roads-and-transport/road-safety/Review%20of%20personal%20injury%20crashes%20occurring%20on%20Kent%20%20Roads%20i.pdf
3. Pedestrians = 16 KSI (see page 40); Cyclists =10 (page 43)

Friday, 27 September 2013

Greens deliver 650 letters of objection to Maidstone Borough Council

24th September 2013
Maidstone Greens have handed over 650 letters to Maidstone Borough Councillors asking them not to allow building on Fant Farm. The Green Party handed the letters to Councillor Paine (Cabinet Member for Strategic Planing) today at 2pm outside the Town Hall. They have collected the letters from residents around the 150 acre site that has been put forward for 590 houses. The Greens are concerned that building houses using a quarter of an acre of green field land for each is unnecessary and will not meet the future housing need of the town. The site has been put forward by its owners as a future area for housing.

Stuart Jeffery, Green Party campaigner in Fant Ward: "Fant Farm is much loved by local residents. Building across this site would be disastrous for the area. The roads would not cope, there are not enough schools or doctors locally and Maidstone would lose yet another piece of green space to houses.

"We recognise the need for homes, however, and we have shown that there is enough space on existing 'brown field' sites where there are under-used offices and closed factories to provide homes for the next 20 years. With the need for homes being focused on smaller homes, the huge executive mansions suggested by the land owners with an average of a quarter of an acre for each house, the proposal is unnecessary as well as unwelcome.

"We have knocked on all the homes in the streets around Fant Farm and almost everyone wants Fant Farm to remain as it is - an asset to the community. Over 650 letters to the council have been signed by residents."


Notes:

2013 SHLAA: Fant Farm and Land by Farleigh Lane - 60.22 hectares (149 acres) identified for 590 homes - or a quarter of an acre each.
http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/residents/planning/local-plan/local-plan-progress

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Irresponsible Helen Grant backs fracking

7th September 2013
Maidstone Greens have hit out at Helen Grant for backing fracking:in a letter to Stuart Jeffery, she stated that the 'benefits far outweigh the negatives' and that it could be a 'very positive development'. Local Greens have branded her response as irresponsible.

Stuart Jeffery: "If the worst impacts of climate change has any have any chance of being avoided, we have to stop drilling for gas and oil and rapidly invest in alternatives. Helen Grant's backing of climate chaos is therefore irresponsible to say the least.

"Furthermore, the impact on the local environment is huge. The groundwater contamination experienced in the US cannot be underestimated. Kent gets almost all of its drinking water from aquifers, yet Mrs Grant is backing a scheme that will pump carcinogens into the same ground water.

"There are three more applications for exploration in Kent this week - a truly worrying state of affairs and I doubt that will be long before an application is made close to Maidstone.

"The Green Party is the only party opposed to this dreadful destructive concept and we will continue to fight fracking wherever it happens."

Sunday, 1 September 2013

No need for greenfield house building in Maidstone

2nd September 2013
On the day that Maidstone Borough Council has descended into turmoil about its housing strategy[1], Maidstone Greens have published a report[2] clearly showing the number of homes required over the next 20 years and where they can go. Maidstone Greens have identified enough brownfield sites in the town to meet the future needs without having to build on any green field site.

Maidstone Green Party have also shown that there is a need for around 10,000 more homes over the next 20 years rather than the 14,800 suggested by the Conservatives. The report also shows that these new homes need to be one and two bedroom homes rather than the large executive houses favoured by the Conservatives.

Stuart Jeffery: "Our report uses population forecasts from Kent County Council which clearly demonstrate that the town needs around 10,000 more homes over the next 20 years, a figure far lower than the hyped up one being touted by the Conservative administration.

"Not only do we know that fewer homes are needed but we have demonstrated that there is a need for smaller, more affordable homes in the future rather than the swathes of mansions being proposed by the Conservatives.

"By building affordable homes close to the town centre, residents will have the benefit of easy access to public transport, access to jobs and access to shops. There will be less need for people to own a car, reducing the congestion that building out of town would bring us.

"Our report identifies a range of sites close to the town centre that can be converted to providing enough homes for people in the future without the need for building on farm and woodland. Unlike Maidstone's Tories and Lib Dems, the Greens have not given up on keeping our green fields safe from development."

Notes:
1. Extraordinary Council meeting to discuss housing: http://meetings.maidstone.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=151&MId=2049&Ver=4
2. Maidstone Green Party Housing Needs 2013 to 2033