Kent Messenger Maidstone

Law change will boost council plans


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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