Javid declines request to intervene in Kent authority's plan

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has declined a backbench Tory MP's request to issue a Kent authority with a holding direction preventing it from adopting its local plan.

Leeds castle: MP warned that plan's proposals would change the experience for visitors (picture: Chris Thompson, Flickr)
Leeds castle: MP warned that plan's proposals would change the experience for visitors (picture: Chris Thompson, Flickr)

Last month, Maidstone Borough Council postponed a full council meeting, which had been due to consider the adoption of the authority’s local plan, while it waited for a response from the secretary of state to a request from Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately to intervene.

The local plan, which sets out a housing requirement of 17,660 homes over the period 2011 to 2031, was found sound by inspector Robert Mellor in July.

But in September, ahead of the adoption of the plan by the local council, Whately wrote to Javid to ask him to "personally intervene and consider whether this local plan is good enough".

Whately warned that the local plan’s proposals could jeopardise Leeds Castle and the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

But in a statement issued this week, Maidstone Borough Council said that Javid had confirmed that the local plan would not be issued with a holding direction. The plan, it said, would now be put forward to be voted on by a full council meeting on 25 October.

A letter from Javid said: "I am determined to ensure we support local authorities in bringing forward plan-led development rather than allowing the speculative development which causes communities concern.

"The Maidstone Local Plan is the framework that provides a five year supply of deliverable housing sites and the best defence against unplanned development.

"I do not want to introduce this unnecessary delay in Maidstone’s local plan being brought forward."


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