Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Meeting - The public proceedings of the meeting will be broadcast live and recorded for playback on the Maidstone Borough Council website.

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Munford.


Notification of Substitute Members


Councillor Gooch was present as Substitute for Councillor Munford.


Urgent Items


There were two urgent items that were published, Item 15a – Urgent Update – Item 15 Amendments and Item 16 – Urgent Update to Item 15 – Appendix 2: Sustainability Appraisal of Spatial Approaches.


The items would be taken with Item 15 – Maidstone Local Plan Review Regulation 18 Preferred Approaches Consultation Document.


Notification of Visiting Members


Councillors Cox, Naghi, Newton and Webb were present as Visiting Members for all items.


Councillors Brice, Kimmance, Perry, Powell, Purle, Round, J and T Sams, Springett and de Wiggondene-Sheppard were present as Visiting Members for Item 15 – Maidstone Local Plan Review Preferred Approaches Public Consultation Document.


Disclosures by Members and Officers


There were no disclosures by Members or Officers.


Disclosures of Lobbying


Councillors English, Garten and Gooch had been lobbied on Item 14 – Otham Parish Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 16 and Item 15 – Maidstone Local Plan Review Regulation 18 Preferred Approaches Public Consultation Document.


Councillors D Burton, Clark, Mrs Grigg, McKay, Parfitt-Reid and Spooner had been lobbied on Item 15 – Maidstone Local Plan Review Regulation 18 Preferred Approaches Public Consultation Document.


To consider whether any items should be taken in private because of the possible disclosure of exempt information.


RESOLVED: That all items be taken in public as proposed.


Minutes of the Meeting Held on 7 October 2020 pdf icon PDF 77 KB


RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 7 October 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed.


Presentation of Petitions


There were no petitions.


Question and Answer Session for Members of the Public


There were eleven questions from Members of the Public.


Question from Ms Gail Duff to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee


‘The Council’s guidance for making a submission to the Call for Sites last year explicitly states: “It is important that the submission includes confirmation from the landowner (or the person in legal control of the site) that the site will be available for the development being proposed.” Please confirm how many of the call for sites submissions, that you are actively considering as part of your emerging spatial strategy, do not have landowner agreement to develop, and which therefore pose significant risk to the deliverability of your new Local Plan?’


The Chairman responded to the question.


Ms Duff asked the following supplementary question:


‘Certain land-owners within site 289, have expressly stated that they do not given you permission to use their land in this garden community proposal. Do you agree that this site should therefore be removed as a potential development site in order to avoid risking the whole local plan and failing at public examination stage?’


The Chairman responded to the supplementary question.


Question from Ms Kate Hammond to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee


The option to provide a Garden Village at Pagehurst Farm and North of Staplehurst was ruled out by Stantec in a report produced by MBC in April 2020 (para 10.2.7) on the basis:


"We cannot see this area being attractive to the scale of employment on site or scope of sustainable access to offsite employment" Stantec acknowledged that a similar concern applies to Heathlands but refer to the scope for a new motorway junction or access to the existing rail lines by way of mitigation. Both of these infrastructure elements will be impossible to deliver within the timeframe and scale of development currently envisaged for Lenham Heath Garden Community. Why is Heathlands still being actively considered as a potential site for this Local Plan?’


The Chairman responded to the question.


Question from Mr Darren Hammond to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

The Council's appointed consultants, Stantec are raising concerns about the Heathlands proposal along with Save Our Heath Lands Action Group who have raised significant issues and evidence, so has borough councillors, local Parish Councils, MP's and KCC. The promoter's (your own council) response is that it is an iterative process and they will be resolved later. Many of the issues are not resolvable as the site and location is fundamentally flawed. Do you agree with us and your own consultants that Heathlands is not sustainable, deliverable, or viable?’

The Chairman responded to the question.

Question from Mr Steve Heeley to the Chairman of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee

‘The Stantec assessment of the Heathlands garden community proposition states ‘the promoter’s [financial] assessment is only just viable at 3,000 units and still very marginal at 4,000 units. Progressing on an assessment showing little contingency is risky’. Members know as well  ...  view the full minutes text for item 238.


Questions from Members to the Chairman


There were no questions from Members to the Chairman.


Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 129 KB


RESOLVED: That the Committee Work Programme be noted.



Reports of Outside Bodies


There were no reports of Outside Bodies.


Otham Parish Neighbourhood Plan Regulation 16 pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:


The Planning Policy Officer introduced the report. The Otham Neighbourhood Plan was in general conformity of the strategic policies within the Council’s adopted Local Plan (LP), except for policy AC1.


Policy AC1, criterion 2 sought to enforce restrictions on development beyond those within policies SP1 and SP17. Map 6.1, as shown in Appendix 1 to the report, displayed overlap with the LP housing site, H1(8), West of Church Road, Len Valley Landscape of local importance and proposed local green space designation within the Neighbourhood Plan. It was proposed that criterion 2 and Map 6.1 be deleted, alongside the other amendments shown within Appendix 1 to the report.


Consideration was given to the removal of the land of West Church Road in light of the ongoing public enquiry. The Strategic Planning Manager confirmed that removal of the reference would not negatively impact the Council’s representation to the examiner.





1.  The Otham Parish Neighbourhood Plan be supported, subject to the resolution of matters raised in the Council’s representation, as attached in Appendix 1 to the report; and


2.  The Council’s representation in response to Regulation 16 consultation on the Otham Parish Neighbourhood Plan, attached at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved.


Maidstone Local Plan Review Regulation 18 Preferred Approaches Public Consultation Document and Item 15 Amendments and Item 15 - Appendix 2 - Sustainability Appraisal of Spatial Approaches pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Additional documents:


Prior to the report’s introduction, several speakers addressed the Committee; Gail Duff, Save Our Heathlands Action Group; Claudine Russell Chair of the Marden Planning Opposition Group; and Chris Hawkins, Countryside Planning; Councillor Tippen, Vice-Chairman of Marden Parish Council; Councillor Brown, Chairman of Yalding Parish Council; and Councillor Britt, Chairman of Lenham Parish Council.


The Interim Local Plan Review Director introduced the report. The Committee and full Council had agreed in September 2020, to an accelerated Local Development Scheme (LDS) timescale through a consolidated Regulation 18 consultation. The aim was to achieve Regulation 19 in June 2021 and submission of the plan in December 2021.


In relation to Garden Communities, the three proposed sites of Heathlands, Lidsing and North of Marden had undergone a second stage of assessment by Stantec, on the schemes’ sustainability, deliverability and viability. All three were found to be acceptable in principle and it was highlighted that for projects of this scale, it is not uncommon for further work to be required at this stage of the Local Plan process. Heathlands and Lidsing had been included in the spatial strategy presented to the Committee. The development focus during the early years of the plan would be within the urban areas, town centre, larger villages and the rural areas to a smaller degree. The town centre had a separate planned development document that would focus on the provision of employment opportunities to maximise flexibility and choice to aid economic recovery.


The Highways Authority felt that the Leeds Langley corridor had not passed the cost-benefit tests as a lone infrastructure project. The Council would undertake further exercises with developers and Kent County Council to ascertain whether there was a level of development which could justify a suitable road alignment, with the necessary funding. This would take place in between Regulations 18 and 19.


The Strategic Planning Manager highlighted that the public consultation proposed would provide increased certainty to the public, consultees and key stakeholders on the preferred approaches and reasonable alternatives on matters considered within the Local Plan Review (LPR). The nine chapters within the Regulation 18 Preferred Approaches Public Consultation Document were outlined.


It was noted that the comments received on the evidence base would be considered. There was further work on the strategic land availability assessment (SLAA) that concerned sites submitted after the original call for sites deadline, and alternative sources of sites which would be published at the same time as the public consultation. The deadline for sites to be submitted to the final call for sites process would be 22 December 2020 and those submitted afterwards may not be assessed for the current LPR.


A sustainability appraisal had been undertaken on the reasonable alternative spatial approaches which included the green sites that were initially considered through the SLAA. It was confirmed that the appraisal process was subject to a separate legislative process than that of the LPR, with comments from statutory consultees as a minimum requirement. The consultation on this would occur at the same  ...  view the full minutes text for item 243.




6.30 p.m. to 9.15 p.m.