Re­port on vil­lage homes out be­fore pub­lic ex­piry date

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Alan Smith aj­smith@thek­m­group.co.uk @aj­smithKM

Maid­stone Bor­ough Coun­cil’s plan­ning depart­ment has been crit­i­cised for rec­om­mend­ing a con­tro­ver­sial hous­ing scheme should go ahead – be­fore the ex­piry date for the pub­lic to sub­mit their views.

Of­fi­cial no­tices posted around Yald­ing gave res­i­dents un­til Fri­day to re­spond to an ap­pli­ca­tion to build 65 homes on glebe field off Vicarage Lane.

Yet the agenda was pub­lished two days be­fore the orig­i­nal meet­ing date and al­ready con­tained the plan­ning of­fi­cer’s rec­om­men­da­tion that coun­cil­lors should grant plan­ning per­mis­sion, sub­ject to con­di­tions.

Dr Robin Schulden­frei, of Yald­ing Res­i­dents For Sen­si­ble De­vel­op­ment which is op­posed to the ap­pli­ca­tion, said: “How can the of­fi­cer have prop­erly con­sid­ered res­i­dents’ views when the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion still had two days to run?”

Cllr Steve McLough­lin (Con), who rep­re­sents Mar­den and Yald­ing, said: “This is ap­pall- ing. It’s out­ra­geous.

“I have no idea why the plan­ners are try­ing to push this through so quickly, but I shall be ask­ing for it to be pulled from the agenda un­til the of­fi­cers have had a chance to hear all the pub­lic’s views and those of the con­sul­tees.”

The ap­pli­ca­tion from Coun­try­side Prop­er­ties is for 65 homes rang­ing from one-bed­room flats to four-bed­room houses on land owned by the church dio­cese next to a con­ser­va­tion area, and close to listed build­ings.

English Her­itage had also not re­sponded.

Cllr McLough­lin said if coun­cil­lors de­clared views on plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions be­fore hear­ing all the opin­ions they would be deemed to have “pre­de­ter­mined” the is­sue and be re­quired not to take part.

Nu-Ven­ture bus com­pany ob­jected be­cause of con­ges­tion and South­ern Wa­ter has in­di­cated the ex­ist­ing sew­er­age scheme will be in­ad­e­quate.

A to­tal of 210 let­ters of ob­jec­tion, plus op­po­si­tion from Yald­ing Parish Coun­cil, have been made but the plan­ning of­fi­cer said the pro­posal ac­corded with the newly adopted Lo­cal Plan.

A coun­cil spokesman said: “Any new in­for­ma­tion that comes in would be fully con­sid­ered and added to the re­port as an ur­gent up­date. This would in­clude in­for­ma­tion re­ceived right up to the day of the com­mit­tee.”

The meet­ing was resched­uled from today (Thurs­day) to Thurs­day, Novem­ber 16.

The vil­lage must also take 30 ex­tra homes off Blun­den Lane af­ter Mill­wood De­signer Homes won an ap­peal

Cllr Steve McLough­lin

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