Lenham locals fear loss of green space over 4,000 homes plans

Tap on the video above to hear from the Lenham locals concerned about the loss of green space

Campaigners living in the Kent village of Lenham are dismayed and frustrated at the prospect of having thousands of homes destroy greenfield land.

Plans for four-thousand houses have been on the agenda for greenland above the village, as Maidstone Borough Council look to meet Government housing targets.

While nothing has been decided campaigners and parish councillors say there simply is not the infrastructure in place to deliver such a scheme which would eat up part of the Kent countryside.

Artist impression of the garden village Credit: Maidstone Borough Council

Councillor Kate Hammond, who is part of the 'Save Our Heath Land' campaign said,

"Once it's gone it's gone and that's the part which is really scary. Once the countryside is gone you can never get it back so concreting it over does not make sense. You need to build the homes where the need is, in the right place, where the services and facilities are. Not in the middle of nowhere in a remote location."

Lenham Heath is one of hundreds of potential development sites identified by Maidstone Borough Council

The land is one of 330 locations identified by Maidstone Borough Council who are currently looking at locations to build.

Initially the scheme was for 5,000 homes but that reduced to 4,000.The Parish Council has put forward an alternative plan of a-thousand homes over ten years but feel they're being ignored by the authority.

Councillor John Britt said, "Consultations are where you talk to someone and you listen to what they've got to say. What we feel is we are being told what is going to happen. We have told them all the reasons as to why this won't work but they're not listening."

There is opposition within the village

With its 14th century church Lenham has retained a lot of its character and if you look around there are signs of opposition towards any development.

In a statement, Phil Coyne, Interim Director of the Local Plan Review at Maidstone Borough Council said:

“It is no secret that Maidstone in common with many other authorities in the South East has very challenging housing growth targets imposed by government and these will  potentially increase significantly under the new approach to calculating housing growth currently being consulted on by the government.   

“A Council led garden community to the east of Lenham is just one of more than 330 sites that were submitted into the Council’s ‘call for sites’ exercise in May 2019, as part of the initial stage of the Local Plan Review.

“Work is ongoing in relation into which of these sites will contribute to the preferred spatial strategy as part of Maidstone’s current local plan review.

“Whilst this strategy will be subject to public consultation in December of this year no final decisions have yet been taken and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment any further at this time.”

John and Kate's fight will continue while Lenham Heath remains on the agenda.