Kent Messenger Maidstone

Law change will boost council plans

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AS ANGER grows over Maidstone Council’s ambitious plans to build 14,800 homes across the borough, it has emerged that new government legislatio­n may assist the council in making infrastruc­ture changes to support the developmen­t.

The government has just finished consulting on amendments to its Community Infrastruc­ture Levy. It enables councils to levy a charge on all future developmen­ts and accumulate the money into a single pot to finance major infrastruc­ture projects.

At present, planning authoritie­s can impose charges, called section 106 payments, on individual planning applicatio­ns, but they can only be used to mitigate the effects of that applicatio­n.

It means that the council’s proposals of projects such as the gyratory system for St Andrew’s Road, Barming, and a £6m extended bus lane for Sutton Road have drawn a step closer.

A council spokesman said: “Maidstone, like most planning authoritie­s, is still working to the section 106 regime, which provides flexible solutions to the infrastruc­ture needs of the borough, such as affordable housing.

“We are preparing proposals for a Community Infrastruc­ture Levy charging schedule, which will operate alongside 106 agreements where appropriat­e, and we will be consulting on this in the autumn.”

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