Sunday, 7 July 2013

Housing in Fant - public meeting

I attended a meeting organised by the Upper Fant Community Group who had arranged for Cllr Paine (Tory Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Development)to talk about housing plans for the next 20 years.The meeting was well attended with about 40 people.

He explained that independent assessment of housing need had demonstrated a requirement for between 14,800 and 17,200 homes in Maidstone over the next 20 year with 60% of the demand driven by population growth. He explained the need was greatest for 2 / 3 bedroom homes and he talked about the increasing number of sole occupancy homes. All interesting stuff but what he failed to explain (in his response to my question) was why he is planning to reduce the requirement for affordable homes from 40% to 15% in towns, and from 40% to 30% in the sub-urban fringe.

Aside from a good range of questions from the public, it was sad to witness Lib Dem Jasper Gerard trying to turn the meeting into a Party Political slapping session after he had be specifically asked not to. It was also sad to listen to Lib Dem Councillor Beerling regularly talking over people while the chair repeatedly asked him to let others speak. Not a great showing by them, but only slightly worse than Labour (I couldn't spot even one of their activists at the meeting).

Overall it was a good meeting, Richard Wadey chaired well and Stephen Paine kept his nerve on a difficult and emotive subject.

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