18 SEP 2017

MP signs resident's petition

Standing up for Staplehurst

Helen on a recent visit to Staplehurst with residents and local councillors

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has signed a petition created by Staplehurst residents, opposing the inclusion of Henhurst Farm in Maidstone Borough Council's emerging local plan.

This follows on from a letter Mrs Grant sent to the Chief Executive of Maidstone Borough Council, Alison Broom last week asking for answers on why this site has been added at the last minute.

Staplehurst Parish Council worked for months on securing a Neighbourhood Plan which was voted for by 92% of residents and adopted in November 2016. The site north of Henhurst Farm was not set out as an area for development by locals but has nevertheless been included by the borough.

Mrs Grant has already been vocal about the number of houses set out in Maidstone's local plan and the impact of increased congestion and air pollution. When speaking on the matter she said:

"I am very disappointed by this move from Maidstone Borough Council. The entire purpose of local communities putting together a neighbourhood plan is to involve them in the process of developing their area.

Staplehurst have taken a fair share of new housing already and their approach was accepted by the borough at the time of agreeing their neighbourhood plan. To then sneak in another application at the very last minute, seriously undermines the democratic process and all of the hard work that was done."

In her letter, the MP has asked that Alison Broom responds urgently on the points she has raised, although she recognises that it may be too late to remove this application from the Local Plan.

In addition she stated that she would be raising this matter with the Housing and Planning Minister, Alok Sharma MP.

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