UPDATE ON MBC’s CALL FOR SITES

Update on MBC’s Call for Sites

There is a lot of concern and misunderstanding relating to Maidstone Borough Council’s latest Call for Sites. The following information will be of interest.

The Call for Sites is a process whereby MBC ask for land to be nominated that could be suitable for future housing, employment, retail, leisure, infrastructure and Gypsy & Traveller development for the forthcoming Local Plan Review. This is a normal process in the production of a Local Plan.

Having an up to date Local Plan is key to keeping local control over new development. Without an up to date Local Plan in place, it is highly likely that planning applications will be approved on appeal by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate for developments which MBC considers are inappropriate. Additionally, if MBC does not make progress with its Local Plan Review, the Government could decide to take over its plan-making powers and prepare the Local Plan itself.

The latest sites have been put forward by landowners and/or prospective developers to MBC as part of its Local Plan review process. At the point of release (4th November 2019) no decisions have been taken on these sites. Not all sites will be needed for the Local Plan review and many will be deemed unsuitable.

Will all sites be delivered? No. The sites that have been submitted are an expression of interest by the landowner or developer with, currently, no input from Maidstone Borough Council. It provides the council with a long list of potential sites from which to choose. The land that has been submitted is very much more land than will be needed for the circa 1,236 new homes/year which the Government says need to be built in our borough from 2022, an increase from circa 800, which the Local Plan Review needs to plan for. These figures are calculated by MBC using central Government methodology which dictates that 300,000 new homes must be delivered each year throughout the country.

MBC will now assess the suitability of each site. This work will feed into their Local Plan Review which will be subject to future public consultations and an independent examination by an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State.

Further information is available as follows:-

Borough wide map

https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/__data/assets/image/0019/316342/Map-of-All-Sites1.jpg

Detailed site by site information :

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DgrXSNiEIQdHxxrwo1HoeKVpXwiFdBR9?usp=sharing_eil&ts=5d8b42bf

It must be stressed that :

  • no decisions on any sites have been made by MBC
  • there are many more sites than required
  • many will be deemed to be unsuitable
  • many of the sites are re-submissions of those that were unsuccessful on the previous call for sites