As many of you know, the planning application for the 39 ‘retirement bungalows’ by DHA Planning/McCarthy & Stone for older people is now open for public comment. Marden Planning Opposition Group (MPOG) have prepared this basic guide, for those residents who wish to object to this proposal but aren’t sure where to start.
The deadline to comment or object is 31st May 2022, so there isn’t long left. You can do so here on the Maidstone Borough Council planning portal.
The full planning application reference is: 22/501275/FULL | Erection of 39 no. bungalows for the over 55s, a communal hub, communal garden, footpath link to the cricket and hockey club and associated access and landscaping. | Land At Maidstone Road Marden Kent
“7 Reasons to Object”
- The development would breach the northern perimeter of Marden village – the only housing development that has ever been permitted north of the railway, is an “exception site” (for affordable housing) at Rhodes Close.
- The site is not in Maidstone Borough Council’s Local Plan nor the draft Local Plan (that is now being reviewed by the Planning Inspector). It is contrary to Local Plan Policy SP17 (“Development in the Countryside”).
- The proposed layout is very cramped; it would be at risk of becoming a “ghetto”, completely disconnected and out of character with the rural surroundings and rest of the village. “The need to see the outside world passing by the window” is a primary requirement according to the Marden Neighbourhood Plan.
- The proposed footpath has been continuously promised but has never been built. It was originally promised back in 2017! It still has not been built, despite the same applicant owning the land for several years. It is difficult to see why it would suddenly be built now, if this development goes ahead.
- The site’s location is not sustainable. There would be very limited access to Marden village by foot. For many of the older residents of this site, walking long distances would be unlikely. Instead, they would use vehicles. Car-reliant sprawl is not what Marden wants or needs.
- The “proposed” footpath is poorly lit; it is narrow and – after dark in particular – would potentially be unsafe. Crime would be a worry.
- The site is NOT a brownfield site. The applicant says it is – but it has been left fallow for years, and before that, it was a hop garden!
Tips & Hints
- Do not just copy and paste this document; write it in your own words, it will carry more weight if comments are original.
- The Planning Officer is not able to take into account any suggestions that this proposal is simply a route to securing future planning permission for the 2,000 houses (even if it might be…!). Every planning application must be considered on its own merits, only.
- If you can, it’s a great idea to directly cite the Marden Neighbourhood Plan and the Maidstone Borough Council Local Plan – referring to the policies & headings directly is always a good idea. You don’t need to be a planning expert! (See below)
- If you need further advice or guidance, post your question / comment on the MPOG Facebook page.
Maidstone Borough Council Adopted Local Plan – link
Marden Neighbourhood Plan – link
Marden Parish Council’s comments on this application – link