The Policy and Resources Committee were asked to consider progressing this work, with the ambition that the Council acts as the master-developer, whereby it; takes a controlling interest in the land, leads the design process, enables the required infrastructure, identifies suitable development partners and oversees the stewardship of the new community. The Committee also agreed to allocate adequate financial resources to develop the proposition and for officers to advance the commercial negotiations with the principal landowners.
This proposal has already been submitted to the ‘call for sites’ exercise, an important early stage of the ongoing Maidstone Local Plan Review that is being overseen by the Council’s Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee.
Should the proposal gain initial support from the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, it will become subject to public consultation at the next stages of the Local Plan Review process, no firm decisions have been made at this stage.
Therefore, the Council has two distinct roles; Policy and Resources Committee is acting as the land promotor whilst the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee performs the Local Planning Authority function for the Council.
Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee and Leader of the Council Martin Cox said:
“Tonight, this committee has given its approval to further explore plans for a new Garden Community. The Council is being proactive, we have listened to the feedback from the public and parish councils and have learnt from the previous Local Plan process. We are working together for the long-term benefit of the borough.”
Vice Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, John Perry said:
“We are at the start of a long process. Although this committee has taken the first step, this proposal will be evaluated against all the others.”
Policy and Resources Committee Member and Deputy Leader of the Council Fay Gooch said:
"Central Government requires us to meet incredibly high housing targets. Failure to deliver them will risk the government stepping in to take planning decisions on our behalf. This proposal could enable us to control the location, quality and type of housing we know will be needed into the future.”
If the proposal does eventually go ahead, the first homes could be built in 2027.
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