Wednesday, 22 May 2024

The village where locals fear new estate could turn it into a ‘concrete jungle’

Plans for a huge estate on the outskirts of a Kent village have sparked fears of “another concrete jungle” in the rural idyll.

Developers insist their proposal will be a “high quality residential development,” but the parish council argues it “would have no benefit to the village” of Headcorn, near Maidstone.

Catesby Estates lodged plans for up to 120 homes on a site the size of 10 football pitches off Moat Road, Headcorn, earlier this month.

It argues the site is suitable to for a housing development to meet the borough’s needs and it is “striving to create a high quality residential development” on the western fringe of Headcorn.

The developer adds that the bid will provide a new piece of open space which will benefit not just residents of the development but neighbouring areas.

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Children’s play areas, tree planting and new footpaths are set to be included in the project, but some residents aren’t enthusiastic, with 48 writing in to Maidstone Borough Council’s (MBC) planning department to speak their mind.

Deano English wrote: “The land itself and Moat Road regularly floods which causes major disruption and building on this bit of land would only make matters far worse.

“The infrastructure in this village can not take anymore new housing estates. As many people have stated the doctors, school and dentists are at full capacity.”

Mr English added: “Me and my wife moved here for a better quality of life and fresh air, we do not want another concrete jungle being constructed at the bottom of our garden.”

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Headcorn Parish Council is also opposed to the development, fearing it will put a strain on infrastructure and price locals out.

A spokesman for the council said: “We have had ‘hosepipe bans’ in the South East for years now.

“They are now being joined by unplanned water outages where the water pipes provision can no longer cope during the summer.

“An extra 120 houses is going to further stress an overworked system.

“This development is simply the wrong thing in the wrong place and would have no benefit to the Village or its current residents.

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“The houses would be at a price point to attract people downsizing from London which puts them out of the reach of local people and young families wanting a house in their home Village.”

As an outline planning application, all the detail of design, layout and scale of the estate will be dealt with through further planning applications in future if outline permission is granted.

It is not yet known when MBC’s planning committee will decide on the bid, but an internal deadline of April 8, 2024, has been set.

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