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Public briefing on the impact on the parish of government housing numbers and MBC Local Plan review

Please note that Parish and Borough Councillor, Steve Munford and Parish Councillor, Doug Smith will be giving a further public briefing on Wednesday 2nd December at 7pm on the impact on Boughton Monchelsea of government housing numbers and the forthcoming MBC Local Plan review consultation. This remote briefing will be conducted via zoom and there will be an opportunity to ask questions via typed message which will be dealt with at the end.

The maximum number of people we can accommodate using zoom is 100 so please join in good time if you wish to attend. 

Please note that this will be a repeat of the previous briefing, for those who were unable to attend on 25th November.

The zoom link for the briefing is as follows. We look forward to seeing you there.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87652267696?pwd=NEhUNy9wY2Y0TjZxcUNQL09qNTR0Zz09

Meeting ID : 876 5226 7696

Passcode : 118709

Boughton Monchelsea Amenity Trust (BMAT)

Maidstone Borough Council’s recent release of their regulation 18B consultation on preferred sites in its new emerging Local Plan has, again brought central government’s pursuit of residential sites into focus. We understand MBC intend to challenge the significantly increased housing number allocated to Maidstone and may be seeking to challenge the method of calculation, however, in the meantime it must progress matters and get its new Local Plan formulated and adopted as soon as possible or it runs the risk of being exposed to aggressive approaches from developers, and an ‘open season’ situation without policies in place to control and police such planning applications.

None of us like change, but with its proximity to Maidstone and its ‘larger village’ status it is inevitable that Boughton Monchelsea will be required to take some of the burden of providing some of the further allocated housing.

Your Parish Council is very conscious of this, and we continue to monitor the situation closely and to take a proactive view, rather than sit back and be dictated to regarding both housing numbers and, in particular, appropriate locations for such developments.

As a parish we are the envy of not only every other parish in Maidstone, but indeed parishes nationwide in that we are in a unique position due to the land BMAT holds, and we continuously review the situation regarding changes to the planning system.

Recap of what BMAT is and does

The members of the Parish Council had great vision when in 1994 they formed BMAT with the primary objective being to protect Boughton Monchelsea from the march of urban sprawl to the south east of Maidstone. It is worth noting that without the protection of any green belt designation, Maidstone, and its immediate hinterland, will always be vulnerable and a target for residential developers.

During the last 26 years BMAT has acquired, and has control of over 300 acres of land in the parish, (principally in the belt of land arching across the north of the parish, as well as in and around the village itself), to prevent us being absorbed into south Maidstone and preserving our largely rural character and identity. We continue to investigate further land when opportunities arise.

Environmental Commitment

Boughton Monchelsea parish has made a very clear commitment to improving the environment and combating climate change. Through our ‘Friends of BMAT’ initiative we have landscape projects coming forward which involve re-wilding significant areas of BMAT land including extensive tree planting to re-establish substantial areas of woodland creating semi natural public open spaces in the heart of the parish.

Our Parish Council Chairman, Borough Cllr Munford, co-heads MBC’s Climate Change & Biodiversity Emergency Committee so we are at the forefront of environmental matters in the borough, indeed our re-wilding project is seen as an exemplar.

Obviously, all projects require funding, and whilst grant aid is available for some of our projects, with BMAT having no source of income we are constantly looking at ways in which other important landscape improvement projects can be supported.

Nationwide Housing Demand

The pressure to identify residential development land continues unabated in the government’s search for sites to meet the enormous shortage of housing we have in the UK. You may be aware that the government is intending to change and simplify planning legislation still further so housing developments can come forward more easily and be built and delivered quicker to meet the demand and help re-stimulate the economy as we emerge from the pandemic. A White Paper is going through parliament at the moment.

It has also been muted that the government is investigating and considering simplifying compulsory purchase powers and the overall process in order to gain control over potential development sites. With this in mind, we are exploring ways in which we may further protect BMAT’s land holdings to combat such action.

As mentioned above, ‘nobody likes change’ and indeed we, of course, recognise that you cannot please ‘all the people all of the time’. However, I would like to reassure you that the Parish Council devotes a large proportion of its time considering all aspects of town planning related matters whilst always keeping the interests of the parish, its parishioners, and the strategic aims and objectives of BMAT at the forefront of their minds to protect where it can the parish of Boughton Monchelsea, for its Residents and future generations.

Ian Ellis

BMAT Chairman

Second national lockdown

Boughton Monchelsea COVID-19 support network

Please get in touch if you need our help

For further info and links click on the 'COVID-19 support' tab above

Following the announcement that the country will go into another lockdown from Thursday 5th November, the Parish Council would like to advise you that the Boughton Volunteers (set up during the first lockdown) are still there to support you.

Boughton Monchelsea Volunteers was set up by the Parish Council to provide support during the COVID-19 crisis to those people within the parish who are self-isolating as a result of symptoms, age or health condition. We are aware that many of you who are or will be self-isolating as a result of symptoms or being 'at risk' due to age or health conditions would under normal circumstances be leading fully independent lives.

If you are self-isolating then you have to protect yourself and others by staying at home for the relevant period of time but we're here to assist in any way we can. We can help with things like picking up shopping and urgent supplies but whatever your need is just get in touch. This is not just for the elderly, it's for every one of us here in Boughton Monchelsea.

If you are being supported already by Boughton Monchelsea Helping Hands then please don't worry, this will continue and there is no need to contact us unless you need any further help. 

Please contact your local Volunteer Coordinator if you need any help at all, we will be happy to assist. 

Contact details for all the Coordinators are shown below. If you are unable to get hold of your co-ordinator then please contact Cllr Steve Munford on 01622 741310.

Volunteer Co-ordinators

Area Name Tel E-mail

Heath Road

Bill Brown

01622 299760

[email protected]

Meadow View Road

Lewis Court Drive

Jo Gouldsworthy

01622 744391

07890 561031

[email protected]

Furfield Park dev.

Roman Way

Brishing Road

Helen Stevens

07976 057679

[email protected]

Green Lane

Caroline Kilbride

07974 495098

[email protected]

Haste Hill Road

Haste Hill Close

Windmill Court

Jen Cleaver

07743 893842

[email protected]

Wierton and everywhere 

south of Heath Road

John Starr

07966 015132

[email protected]

Church Street

The Green

Helen Love

01622 747072

07918 176028

[email protected]

Langley Park dev.

Helen Stevens

07976 057679

[email protected]

Joywood dev. (apart from

Brooker Close and Harling Close)

Brishing Lane

Nolan Wilde

07854 734125

[email protected]

Harling Close

Brooker Close

Carol Hudleston

01622 757464

07956 147440

[email protected]

The Quarries

Cliff Hill

Old Tree Lane

Gandys Lane

Rob Edmans

01622 743210

07971 584370

[email protected]

Beresfords Hill

Bottlescrew Hill

Atkins Hill

Boughton Lane

Wendy Smith

01622 749077

[email protected]

Boughton Monchelsea Neighbourhood Plan

Update October 2020

The Boughton Monchelsea Neighbourhood Plan has now reached the stage of formal Examination.

The recent consultation carried out by Maidstone Borough Council under national regulations closed on 28th September, and all the representations received have been sent to the independent Examiner, Mr Derek Stebbing.  

Mr Stebbing, who was appointed by Maidstone Borough Council with the agreement of Boughton Monchelsea Parish Council, is an experienced planner and neighbourhood plan Examiner.  He will consider all the representations made during the recent consultation, and check that the Boughton Monchelsea Neighbourhood Plan complies with all legal requirements.  He will then report to Maidstone Borough Council. We have received an initial procedural letter from the Examiner which you can find below.

You can see all the representations made at

https://localplan.maidstone.gov.uk/home/neighbourhood-planning/boughton-monchelsea-neighbourhood-plan-regulation-16-consultation-august-2020  

You can see all the documents which the Parish Council submitted below, and here is a brief explanation of each.

Neighbourhood Plan draft March 2020  – this sets out planning policies which, if we are successful in the independent Examination and subsequent referendum, will be used by MBC to help make planning decisions in the parish.

Consultation Statement  and Appendices 2019 – this describes all the community consultation the Parish Council have carried out on the Plan as it was drafted, and how your comments have shaped its contents.   

Basic Conditions Statement  2020 -  a Neighbourhood Plan  has to meet various legal requirements, known as the “Basic Conditions”.  This document explains how the Plan complies.  It also lists all the publicly available sources of information used to help develop the Plan.  

Environmental Statement 2019 – this is another legal requirement, and it explains why key national bodies consider that the Plan does not require a Strategic Environmental Assessment or a Habitats Regulation Assessment.

We have also submitted key pieces of information and reports which were compiled specifically for Boughton Monchelsea to help us develop the Plan:

Colvin and Moggridge, Boughton Monchelsea Landscape Management and Masterplan 2018 – this report was prepared by landscape architects to help the Parish Council understand, maintain and improve the landscape of the parish in partnership with landowners.  

Colvin and Moggridge, Boughton Monchelsea Priority Local Landscape 2019 – this report by landscape architects identifies an area of high quality landscape which is proposed for protection in the Neighbourhood Plan

Boughton Monchelsea Housing Needs Survey 2018, Action for Rural Communities Kent – this report supports the Plan’s policies on housing

A folder of additional parish-specific Evidence on Flood Risk, MBC Housing Register and Housing Density – these are shorter documents which support the Plan’s policies on locally important topics   

What Happens Next?

Once the Examiner has reported to Maidstone Borough Council, any final changes to the plan will then be made and MBC will organise a local referendum in the parish. National regulations resulting from COVID-19 mean that this will not be before May 2021. A simple majority in favour would mean that the plan is adopted and becomes part of the development plan used by MBC to make planning decisions.

We are working towards formal adoption of the plan in 2021 and will continue to keep you updated on progress.

On behalf of the Parish Council I would like to thank you for your input to date and hope we can rely on your continued support in getting our Neighbourhood Plan adopted, thus allowing us to properly influence and manage any future development in our parish.

Cllr Doug Smith

Chairman of Boughton Monchelsea Parish Council Planning Committee

 

Update on local needs affordable housing at Lyewood - October 2020

Please note that the housing association, Town & Country Group have now purchased more homes at Lyewood therefore there are now 15 shared ownership homes on the development. 2 of these are occupied, 6 are under offer but 5 no. 3 bedroom properties have just been released for sale and the remaining 2 homes (1 x 2 bed and 1 x 3 bed) will be released in October 2021.

Sandersons estate agents are handling the sale of these homes on behalf of the housing association. You can contact Sandersons directly on 01634 707070.

There are also 5 shared equity homes available now which are being sold directly by the developer, Crest Nicholson. Please visit the sales office on Green Lane for further details.

Priority for both the shared ownership and shared equity homes is for those people with a local connection to Boughton Monchelsea. If the homes cannot be filled this way then the net will be cast wider to those with a connection to Chart Sutton, Linton and Loose.

If you are interested in buying one of these homes then don’t miss out - please get in touch with Sandersons (shared ownership) or Crest Nicholson (shared equity).

Further information on the shared equity and shared ownership schemes can be found on the help to buy website www.helptobuy.gov.uk

There are also 24 affordable rented properties on the Lyewood development. You will need to be registered on Maidstone Borough Council’s housing list for one of these homes (eligibility criteria applies). If you are registered and fit the local connection criteria we suggest you keep a close eye on the Kent Homechoice website www.kenthomechoice.org.uk so you are ready to bid as soon as properties ‘go live’.  Please note that the Parish Council's only involvement in the process is confirming the local connection criteria therefore once you have returned your register of interest form to us you will need to contact Maidstone Borough Council’s housing officer for any further advice www.maidstone.gov.uk

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