My responses to Maidstone Borough Council's consultation on the Local Plan:
OQ1 – What can the Local Plan Review do to make the growth we need ‘good growth’?
This is a biased question, you cannot frame the question in this way. We do not need 'growth'. The current quest for never ending growth is what is driving the sixth mass extinction. In medicine, the word growth has another meaning and for good reason. I urge the council to reject the notion of growth and aim for a de-growth of our economy and bring our town to a level that is sustainable in the long term.
OQ2 – What could the Local Plan Review do to help make our town and village centres fit for
Ensure that they are carbon neutral by 2025. Climate change in the biggest threat that we face and unless we tackle this as the emergency that it is then we face extinction. Moving to a fully sustainable economy is essential.
OQ3 – How can the Local Plan Review ensure community facilities and services are brought
forward in the right place and at the right time to support communities?
Facilities and services need to be placed where people live and where they can access them. They should not be in remote towns but in the heart of communities.
OQ4 – What overall benefits would you want to see as a result of growth?
See OQ1 - this is a biased question.
OQ5 - What infrastructure and services, including community services and facilities, do you
think are the most important for a successful new development?
Any new development must be based on true need rather than economic need or national policy. There is a need for a small number of high density / low cost / social housing but this must be close to town centres, shops and transport links.
OQ6 – How can the Local Plan Review help support a thriving local economy, including the
Your definition of a 'thriving' economy will be one based on growth rather than sustainability. You need to re-examine the economy in terms of ecological sustainability.
OQ7 – How can the Local Plan Review ensure we have an environmentally attractive and
sustainable borough that takes a pro-active approach to climate change?
See questions above but first and foremost are carbon neutrality by 2025, ecological sustainability and economic de-growth
OQ8 – Are there any other themes, issues and considerations that you believe we should
address as part of this Local Plan Review?
How about the true impacts on the environment and future generations?
TQ1 – What do you think should be the end date for the Local Plan Review? Why?
Dec 2019 as the plan needs urgent revision.
TQ3 How do you think the council can achieve a consistent annual rate of housebuilding throughout the Local Plan Review period?
Ridiculous question, why would you want to do this unless you are wedded to the god of continuous growth?
TQ4 Have we identified all the possible types of housing sites?
Only brownfield sites should be considered. There should be no building on much needed farm land or other greenfield sites
TQ6 What approaches could we use to increase the number of new homes being built on brownfield sites and to make brownfield development more viable and attractive to developers?
How about banning building on greenfield sites? How about refusing to have them in the local plan?
TQ7 What factors should we take into account when considering minimum density standards elsewhere in the borough, beyond the town centre?
All new homes must be affordable for young people and people in need. They should all have access to some area of garden.
TQ9 What approaches could we use to identify sites in and at the edge of the town centre for future shopping and leisure needs?
Shrink the town centre as you shrink the economy. We need to make provision for non-polluting and lower polluting forms of economy, e.g. music and art.
TQ11 Which is your preferred option for the future pattern of growth (A, B. Bi or C) and why?
D... see above.
TQ12 For your preferred option, what infrastructure would you want to see brought forward as a priority?
Rapid rollout of electric trolley buses covering all areas of Maidstone and surrounding villages 24/7. Closure of lanes for cars and lorries to provide space for these. Rapid insulation of all homes and businesses. Rapid rollout of electric based heating.