The progress of the LPR is being outlined to the Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) Committee regarding the production of the plan and the agreed timescale to consider approaches to future development across the borough.
During this evening’s meeting Members were advised that the nine Garden Community sites originally submitted during the 2019 Call for Sites exercise, (later reduced to seven through the clustering of sites), were subjected to an initial appraisal by independent consultants commissioned by Maidstone Borough Council. As a result, there are three sites currently undergoing second stage independent evaluation which will include a more detailed assessment.
Philip Coyne, MBC Interim Director for the Local Plan Review said:
“Independent consultants have been appointed to undertake a two-stage process to assess the Call for Sites submissions for potential garden communities.
Whilst only three of the garden community sites are undergoing assessment as part of stage two, it was stressed that all of the original sites are still part of the Local Plan process and will remain so until it is determined that there are sufficient site options to recommend a cohesive and sustainable spatial strategy for the borough. Furthermore, this strategy will need to be agreed by elected members, subjected to very detailed public consultation and ultimately, approved by a planning inspector during an examination of the plan.”
Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) is working with its Councillors to discuss the commencement of and agree a programme of work that will lead to the next major public consultation of the LPR. The programme of work includes several stages between now and October when public consultation is expected to commence. and provides for all interested parties to comment.
The Maidstone Local Plan Review is currently approaching the second stage with a second public consultation (Preferred Approaches – Regulation 18B), which will allow for all interested parties to comment. This is due to begin in October 2020, and a further round of public consultations will commence in February 2021.