PRESS RELEASE- Issued 13th May – for immediate release
Villagers march to save Marden
The residents of Marden will be taking to the streets on Saturday 18th May to demonstrate their opposition to a proposed scheme to build another 2000 houses in the village. The ‘March for Marden’ has been organised by Marden Planning Opposition Group, whose Facebook group now numbers over 1000 members, many of whom are expected to turn out for the protest parade.
“The scale of this proposal is truly shocking,” says Claudine Russell, Chair of Marden Planning Opposition, “and has united the people of Marden in fighting this development. We simply don’t have the infrastructure or services to support 2000 more houses and two new schools, and it would mean Marden would cease to be a village and instead become a town.”
The group has set up a website (SaveMarden.com) and secured over 1650 signatures so far in an on-line and paper-based petition. The campaign has already received media coverage, including on Mail Online, with a significant number of hits having been received for a mocked-up image that slides from a view of the proposed site ‘before’ to that ‘after’.
Protesters will gather at 12 noon at Marden’s Memorial Hall for a fun warm-up session before setting off at 12.30pm for the half-mile walk up the High Street to Southons Field, where villagers will congregate for a picnic lunch and games. The High Street and parts of both Goudhurst and Maidstone Roads will be closed from 12.30 until 1.00pm to ensure the safety of marchers, in what is planned to be a peaceful and family-friendly event. Residents will be marching in yellow and black – colours that have been very evident in Marden in recent weeks, as villagers have adorned their windows with posters and their hedges with banners.
The development proposal, which aims to meet the criteria for a ‘Garden Community’, is being submitted to Maidstone Borough Council by three local landowners in response to its
‘Call for Sites’. “We are determined to show the council the strength of opposition as early as possible in the process,” explains Claudine Russell. “The scale of this development – which effectively doubles the size of Marden – is unthinkable in terms of traffic congestion on country roads, loss of wildlife habitat and negative impact on both the village’s heritage and the wellbeing of the people who live here.”
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Key information for the March for Marden
12 noon: Marchers gather at Memorial Hall, Goudhurst Road, Marden, Kent TN12 9JX
12.30pm: Road closes and the march departs from Marden Memorial Hall
1.00pm: Arrival at Southons Field, Maidstone Road, Marden, TN12 9AE; roads re-open; picnics and games on Southons Field
About Marden Planning Opposition
Marden Planning Opposition is a group of residents from the parish of Marden who are campaigning against the ‘Garden Community’ development off Maidstone Road in Marden that is currently being put forward to Maidstone Borough Council as part of its ‘Call for Sites’. Marden Planning Opposition is not opposed to all development but believes that the scale and location of this proposal makes it unthinkable. Marden has seen the construction of over 570 new houses since 2013, representing a 37% increase in the number of dwellings.