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Agenda item

Local Plan Review Requirements Leading to Submission


Prior to the introduction of the report by the Strategic Planning Manager:


Mrs Sue Harwood presented a petition objecting to the Lidsing Garden Community proposal.


Ms Kate Hammond addressed the meeting on behalf of the Save Our Heathlands Action Group.


Mr Chris Hawkins of DHA Planning addressed the meeting.


The Strategic Planning Manager then introduced his report setting out the three primary areas of work to be considered as the Local Planning Authority moved towards submission of the Local Plan Review documents at the end of March 2022; these being the updated evidence base; the draft Statements of Common Ground; and the proposed Main Modifications to the Local Plan Review.


The Strategic Planning Manager explained that:


·  With the agreement of the Committee, the proposed Main Modifications would be forwarded to the Secretary of State as part of the submission documents.  There was an urgent update to the report regarding the updated evidence base and the proposed Main Modifications.


·  The report also provided background to the current position including the results of the Regulation 19 consultation that finished in December 2021 and a summary of the main issues raised.  The individual representations had been published and were available to view.


·  The evidence base for the Local Plan Review was constantly under review and had been updated at various key stages of production.  Updates to certain components of the evidence base had also taken place following the Regulation 19 consultation and were set out as background documents to the report.  They included evidence updates from strategic site promoters, further information on transport modelling, additional work on the Habitats Regulations Assessment and an AONB Mitigation Paper.  The updated evidence would help the Local Planning Authority as it sought to meet the tests of soundness at the forthcoming Independent Examination.


·  Regarding the draft Statements of Common Ground, the Inspector was required to examine whether in preparation of the Local Plan Review, the Council had complied with the Duty to Co-operate.  The Local Planning Authority had engaged, as it was required to do, with neighbouring authorities and other relevant prescribed bodies.  It was the intention to finalise and sign off the Statements of Common Ground following the meeting in order that they may form part of the submission documents.


·  The proposed Main Modifications were not minor changes such as typographical or graphical adjustments.  They would be proposed by the Local Planning Authority on the basis that they would help the Local Plan Review documents to be found sound and legally compliant at Independent Examination.  Most of the Main Modifications were relatively straightforward and represented opportunities to clarify the Local Planning Authority’s position regarding specific matters. 


·  There were Main Modifications proposed to the Policies for Heathlands, Lidsing and Invicta Barracks so that there is greater clarity regarding the expectations of the Local Planning Authority in terms of the delivery of housing and other forms of development as well as the timings of infrastructure.  This was to address various representations that sought greater clarity and certainty regarding the delivery of these schemes.


·  Concerns over the coalescence of Coxheath and Loose/Linton had resulted in a reversion back to land at Forstal Lane as previously included in the Regulation 18b version of the Plan.


·  The proposed Main Modifications were included in Appendix 2 to the report as amended by the urgent update.


·  Submission of the Local Plan Review documents was scheduled to take place at the end of March 2022.  Following submission, a Planning Inspector would be appointed by the Secretary of State to undertake an Independent Examination of the Local Plan Review documents to determine whether or not they had been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements, as well as whether they were sound.


Councillors J Sams, Hinder, Brindle and English (Visiting Members) addressed the meeting.


In response to questions by Members, the Officers provided updates on:


The implications of any delay in the Local Plan Review process in terms of the housing figures; the Main Modifications proposed to the safeguarding requirements for the Leeds-Langley Corridor; the discussions with Medway Council regarding the impact of the proposed Lidsing Garden Community on communities and infrastructure within that Council’s administrative area; the implications of the omission of Park and Ride and the opportunities for further sustainable transport within the Spatial Strategy; and the arrangements for summarising and providing responses to the representations received to the Regulation 19 consultation on the Draft for Submission documents.


Councillor S Webb wished to record that he had visited Lenham, viewed the site of the proposed Heathlands Garden Community and attended the engagement meeting at the Village Hall.




1.  That the list of documents within the updated evidence provided as background documents to the report be noted.


2.  That the draft Statements of Common Ground attached as exempt Appendix 1 to the report be agreed.


3.   That the proposed Main Modifications attached as Appendix 2 to the report (as amended by the urgent update) be approved in order that they may be submitted with the Local Plan Review Draft for Submission documents and associated Policies Map to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities subject to the following amendments:


Agenda Page


Change Proposed


LPRSP1 Maidstone Town Centre

Broad location

Sites TBC reflecting Town Centre Strategy, but could include components of Sessions House; Broadway; Sites on Week Street, Mill Street Car Park and others


LPRSP5(B) Invicta Barracks

New Point 11: The SPD should have a focus on celebrating the military heritage and broader history of the site.


LPRSA362 Access New Point

Prior to the first occupation, the private access gate between the site and Boughton Lane at the junction of Cliff Hill and Pested Bars Road shall be closed to traffic, but for emergency/operational police vehicles.


Note:  Councillor Clark voted against decisions 2 and 3 above.


Supporting documents: