What is Regulation 19?
Maidstone Borough Council have been drafting an update to their Local Plan. Regulation 19 is the very last stage of this process – it’s the public consultation stage before the Local Plan is sent to the Government for approval. Why is Regulation 19 important? Because it is YOUR last chance to comment on Marden’s future and let your voice be heard.
There are other proposed sites within the Borough that are being called “garden communities”. Maidstone Borough Council has indicated, as part of Regulation 19, that it prefers both Lidsing and Lenham (Heathlands); as a result Marden is no longer a preferred site at this current time.
To be clear: Marden has not been included in the draft Local Plan – the other two aforementioned proposed garden communities have. (Confused? Check out our timeline of events here for a quick reminder). But the Local Plan has not been fully approved by the Government just yet, so it’s not fully ratified and things can still change. Regulation 19 is the final stage of this process where the Local Plan will either be accepted or rejected by the Government. And it goes without saying that MPOG need as many Marden residents to have their say on the draft Local Plan now, to see off this hideous ‘Land north of Marden’ proposal once and for all!
The first step is to read the draft Local Plan. It’s a long document, you don’t have to read it all, instead try to focus on the parts that concern Marden and the other larger proposals. Please go here to MBC’s “Local Plan Review” mini-site. From there, you can download the council’s Local Plan draft document and read it for yourself.
What should I say in my comment?
Be concise, be polite, and be bold. But remember it’s important to write it in your own words, at all times. The Planning Inspector will disregard any comments that are copy/pasted, or overly unprofessional or not related to the NPPF (see below).
To familiarise yourself with the main points about why Marden is NOT the right place for this development, please download and read MPOG’s tech document.
Some points that you may wish to raise are:
- The proposed development is inherently unsustainable and is contrary to the main principles of sustainable development.
- There is insufficient infrastructure in place and there is inadequate / no co-operation between infrastructure providers (such as National Rail, Highways England, etc) and the proposers.
- The mainline railway line has always been a development boundary, i.e. Maidstone Borough Council have repeatedly refused new planning permission to the north of the railway; this must continue to be the case.
- There are a number of Red List species present on the proposed site in Marden, such as European turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur), and yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella).
- The March for Marden saw over 2,000 local people turn out to object to these plans – the feeling is still very strong in the village and we still say NO. Remember to point out there is no community support, it is not community-led and there has been a complete lack of community engagement.
- The Marden mainline railway station is at capacity and cannot handle a surge in passengers.
- The road network around Marden is made up entirely of country lanes and “B” roads; other sites within the Borough have easy access to the M20.
- There is significant traffic congestion already leading up and into to Maidstone every day. The road network already creates significant pollution.
- Marden has no easy transport links to Maidstone, making this is an unsustainable location.
- Grade 2 and 3 (“prime”) agricultural land should be preserved, not built on.
- The proposal suggests that employment will be created, but the job creation numbers are questionable at best, and completely unquantified.
- Marden has the highest number of Listed buildings within the Borough of any village, it is historic and should be preserved.
- The Grade I listed church in Marden must be preserved including the views.
- There is no road access from the proposed site that connects easily to Marden village, except an extremely tight railway bridge on Maidstone Road.
- The development at Marden if it went ahead would be unsustainable according to the NPPF, it would be car-dependent sprawl.
- Marden Meadows, an SSSI, will be adversely affected by this development, as would the River Beult, and the ancient woodland at Bridgehurst Woods.
- Remember to mention the frequent flooding that occurs in and around Marden!
- Marden sewerage and water systems are already at capacity and the GP surgery has no new places available.
- Optionally, point out why other sites in the Borough might be a better location for a ‘garden community’, if you feel comfortable doing so.
- …And any other reasons you can think of!
Remember you must connect your points to the NPPF – the National Planning Policy Framework – wherever possible. The Planning Inspector is looking for salient, factual points related to planning regulations. Find out more about the NPPF here.
Before you submit your response, have you included all of the following?
- It is critical that your consultation response specifically mentions that you consider the proposed Local Plan to be either sound and/or legally compliant.
- You must also include your full name and address.
- Make sure that your response refers to the NPPF and the “soundness” and viability of the Local Plan.
- Tell your friends, family and your neighbours to write in too.
- CC your response to MPOG (see below!)
Where do I send my response to to?
- Send in your personal response, in your own words, via MBC’s consultation portal at: https://maidstone-consult.objective.co.uk/kse
- Alternatively, complete this response form here and forward it Maidstone Borough Council
- You may wish to email it to email@example.com
- Or send it via recorded post to: Strategic Planning, Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, ME15 6JQ
Any of these methods can be used to send your response, but make sure you get an acknowledgement.
CC your response to MPOG
Whatever method you choose, please also CC / copy your response to MPOG at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When does the Local Plan Review finish? What’s the deadline?
The consultation is open NOW and runs until 12th December 2021. There isn’t long, and Christmas is no doubt going to take up a lot of your time shortly, so don’t delay. Other sites with proposed “garden communities” in the Borough will also comment themselves, not just on their proposals but also on Marden’s. We need to remind both MBC and the UK Government that Marden is NOT the right place for any large-scale development like this.