Sunday, 10 November 2013

Maidstone Green Party says no to mansions on Hermitage Lane - 11th November 2013

Maidstone Green Party has objected to the planning application for 500 houses on Hermitage Lane as being the wrong type of housing in the wrong place.

The Greens have cited the loss of ancient woodland and biodiversity being against national policy for housing, the loss of farmland, that the majority of houses have a 'mansion' footprint of half an acre, the appalling impact on the road network and that the scheme does not meet the desperate need for smaller, affordable homes in the Borough.

Stuart Jeffery, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald: "Building mansions on ancient woodland for huge profit while ordinary people are being made homeless demonstrates the appalling corporate greed that pervades our society.

"These mansions will have an average footprint of a quarter an acre, land that should be enhancing biodiversity or growing food for us to eat. Houses of this type on the outskirts of town will rely on cars which will clog up our roads and emit fumes that will clog up our lungs.

"We have to stop this appalling plan to put the wrong houses in the wrong place. We need small affordable homes close to the town centre."

Letter to the council:

Dear Planning / Development Control

Re: 13/1749 An Outline application for a Mixed-Use development comprising up to 500 residents

Maidstone Green Party wishes to object to this development on the following grounds:

  1. The application is for development of green field and ancient woodland. These are:
    • Ancient woodland
    • Deciduous woodland shown in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan 
    • Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative 2011-2014: Priority Catchments (England)
  2. Ancient woodland is protected under the NPPF: planning permission should be refused for development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats, including ancient woodland
  3. The NPPF states that: When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should aim to conserve and enhance biodiversity. This development removes biodiversity.
  4. Farm land is essential to future food security and therefore should be protected.
  5. There area range of brown field sites in the town that are suitable for development.
  6. The type of housing proposed is just 30% affordable, with the remaining 70% (350 houses) likely to occupy the majority of the land. These 350 houses would have a foot print of around 1/4 acre each and will be unaffordable to those most in need of homes. 
  7. Demographics indicate a need for smaller homes as the population ages and the number of children per family falls. This development does not meet that need.
  8. At a time when the "bedroom tax" is forcing social housing tenants on housing benefit to give up their assured tenancies because housing associations have insufficient stock of smaller dwellings to offer them as an alternative - large, luxury houses on greenfield sites are not the type of housing that Maidstone needs to address its housing crisis.  
  9. There is a growing homelessness problem in the borough that this development will not address.
  10. The additional car movements required from a out of town / urban fringe development cannot be accommodated on the road network even with the proposed changes to St Andrews Road.
  11. The residents on St Andrews Road will be negatively affected by the changes specifically:
  • There will be at least 14,493 vehicles per day moving on St Andrews Road as opposed to 781 now
  • Parking provision in St Andrews Road will be drastically cut, we understand to under 15 places but this could be further reduced by provision for disabled parking allocation for users of the Medical Centre and residents only bays
  • This will lead to parking problems elsewhere, particularly Heath Road, Heath Grove, Tarragon Road, Queens Road and Tonbridge Road.
  • No consideration has been given to the safety of ELDERLY, DISABLED or YOUNG having to cross St Andrews road with fast flowing traffic to go to the surgery or church
  • No consideration has been given to the safety of schoolchildren walking to local schools and having to cross an increased number of roads with large traffic flows.
  • There appears to be no provision for a bus stop for passengers to go into town.
  • Increased noise levels will have a major impact on residents and patients of the surgery, pollution levels will be much higher than at present and particularly bad for those with bronchial and chest problems. Drivers travelling South and West of St Andrews Road/ Heath Road junction will experience longer travelling time than at present, including traffic hold ups which will produce more pollution.
  • Residents of Beverley Road and North Street will experience much greater traffic flows caused by we believe the no right turn into Heath Road from Hermitage Lane, this will also affect Barming schoolchildren as they all have to walk along one of these roads to get to school.  

Stuart Jeffery
Maidstone Green Party

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