24 JAN 2017

MP express disappointment at Inspector's interim findings

An Inspector who is reviewing Maidstone Borough Council's draft local plan recently released his interim findings in advance of the final hearing being held today.

Local MP Helen Grant, who presented to the Inspector on 17th November 2016 with concerns for transport and congestion around the town, has written to the Inspector in response to this document, to express her serious concern.

The interim findings, which set the tone for the Inspector's final report, seemingly ignore the concerns that were raised, not only by Mrs Grant but also Kent County Council (the highways authority) and a number of other stakeholders regarding the issue of congestion. This is a particular issue for the South of Maidstone where the draft plan proposes a large number of houses will be built in coming years, in addition to those already in progress.

Helen criticised the Inspector's conclusion that an extension of the Sutton Road bus lane would help to mitigate traffic travelling into the town centre. She also expressed her disappointment that the Inspector did not feel that the matter of poor air quality in this area was sufficient enough to limit or prevent development.

Furthermore the MP for Maidstone again stressed the case for the long-discussed 'Leeds-Langley Bypass' saying:

"I feel that the people of Maidstone deserve the right for investigations to be made into a possible relief road, which would divert a significant amount of traffic away from this area of the town."

In addition to above, Helen reminded the Inspector of the fact that she is fighting the closure of Invicta Park Barracks, which has been earmarked for possible housing in the future.

Mrs Grant closed her letter by imploring the Inspector to listen to the views of local people writing:

"As I indicated in my presentation to you previously, the most common concern raised with me as the MP for the area is regarding the rate, scale and impact of housing developments around the county town. I do not feel that your interim report has recognised the severity of these concerns especially with regards to congestion. I therefore very much hope your final report can recommend mitigation and in doing so will recognise the objections raised by local people."

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