Three housing development sites that are within or border upon Otham recently received outline planning consent (subject to 106 agreements):
- Bicknor Farm – c. 270 dwellings
- Land North of Bicknor Wood (Bicknor Green) – c. 250 dwellings
- South of Sutton Road (Rumwood Green) – c.800 dwellings
These developments are likely to have a significant impact upon our village, not least due to increased traffic flows. However, all hope is not lost as the sites have been “called in” by the Secretary of State and a Planning Inspector will be appointed to carry out a review to determine if the developments should go ahead. Any work is halted whilst the review is under way. Whilst we have no timetable for a result, we do have a window for discussion and consultation.
Meanwhile, the public examination of Maidstone Borough Council’s Local Plan begins on Tuesday 4 October. The purpose of the hearings is to allow all stakeholders to give evidence to the appointed Planning Inspector who will decide the soundness of the plan based upon whether it is:
Consistent with national policy
MBC has published full details of the hearings as to dates, times, subject and speakers:
We would encourage Otham residents to attend as many sessions as possible, especially where residents or representatives from Otham and neighbouring parishes will be speaking. Not only does this demonstrate support for the speakers, but also shows how strongly we feel that the housing development plans for south east Maidstone will disproportionately affect Otham and nearby parishes, as can be seen from the above outline planning consents, on top of developments already under way.
Below are sessions where there are Otham speakers and that may be of most interest to you:
Session 1A – 4 October – Legal & Procedural (KALC intends to challenge the premise of the plan)
Session 1B – 4 October – Housing Needs 1
Session 2B – 5 October – Housing Policies
Session 3B – 6 October – Alternative Strategic Development (Helen Whately, MP, is amongst speakers)
Session 5B – 12 October – Strategic Development
Session 10B – 15 November – Gypsies & Travellers
Session 12 – 17 November – Transport & Infrastructure
Session 14A – 30 November – Alternative sites
Please go along to the sessions which will be held at The Council Chamber, Maidstone Town Hall, Middle Row, Maidstone, ME14 1TF. It is an opportunity to show your support for speakers who are representing the interests of our village, Otham.