A Christmas Message..

.. from the Parish Council Chairman .. see also a further update, below!

 

At this time of year I want to send you all a Christmas message but first some news, well, it is a newsletter!

As part of the ongoing review of the Maidstone Local Plan Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) have issued a “Call For Sites,” which resulted in more than 330 sites being proposed for development across the Borough. Seven sites are in Linton with another on our border. The full list of sites was made public by MBC on 4th November 2019 on their webpage that can also be viewed here. It contains background information and a map with a link to all Maidstone sites.

The timetable for next steps is unclear but as yet it is not a consultation exercise. The Parish Council will continue to monitor events closely and publicise information as and when known on its website, in any event will do what it can to protect Linton.

Word of caution…. The Call for Sites would be sufficient to build something in the region of 64,000 houses but the Maidstone Local Plan only calls for 9,000 additional homes. It follows that only a fraction of the identified land will need to be incorporated into the Local Plan for homes.  However, the map of sites has Res and non res and may have errors since I know already that one Linton site on Redwall Lane shown as housing is in fact been offered up as an industrial site.

Completion of the Revised Plan and submission for examination by the Independent Examiner is not scheduled to take place until March 2021.

Vicarage field has now been sold and along with projects already funded by that development there will be more on the way, the playground by Cornwallis Avenue and significantly road safety measures that will hopefully carried out during 2020 along Linton Hill and some re-landscaping of the bus stop and its embankment to bring about a safe crossing point on the main road, see our website for a reminder of those plans.

Reflecting back on 2019, it’s comforting to have our volunteers bringing about such events as the Linton Cream Teas, Litterpicks, Linton Church coffee mornings and the Yuletiders Christmas lunch (3rd December) to name just a few.  And, these events are achieved by volunteers who deserve the seasonal good will at this time of year with our thanks of appreciation.

May we ask you all to remember your neighbours at this time of year, especially the elderly and those who live alone.  Our best wishes go to those who are sick at home or in hospital at this time of year.

Through our letter box recently was an advert for an online community webpage called Nextdoor. Trust Pilot Nextdoor review has it as “a local community webpage, it is hard to fault Nextdoor. The site is easy to use and the facilities such as ‘recommendations’ are very useful…..use it to organize local events, share safety tips and recommendations, put things up for sale, and to simply get to know one another better”. The last bit is worth highlighting, as anything that can bring a community together is no bad thing, it won’t however replace the Parish website for all important events and information on Linton Parish.

Good deeds are what makes for a better world and maybe you could help in some way in Linton, even if you’re not sure how then come and chat by making use of the contact details in this newsletter  or check out the Parish website.

After all it’s the good will of others like the editor Kath Cooper and Jerry Whitmarsh at the printing press that makes this newsletter available to you with a small number of volunteers having their fingers bitten by some challenging letterboxes! So a thought for our Postie(s) too at this time of year.

On behalf of your Linton Parish Councillors, I wish you a Very Happy Christmas and Season’s greetings and a healthy and peaceful New Year to you all.

Bernie Cresswell  

*** UPDATE 16 December 2019 ***

Dear all a news update on my Christmas message.

Vicarage Field. Cllrs Whitmarsh and Urquhart as part of our commitment to ensure Vicarage Field progresses as all would wish have met with the developers. They too are keen to engage with the Parish Council so that there is a line of communication with the surrounding community given the sensitivity of the development’s location. Fernham Homes will send a timetable and schedule of works to the Parish Council. The first homes to be built are 3 houses on the right as you enter the site – the aim is to have the roof on one or more of these by March/April – one of which will act as the show home. Completion of all builds is not expected before early 2022. Fernham will send the Parish Council details of The house designs that are largely the same as the previous design by Countryside (i.e. steep roof lines, use of ragstone etc, to echo the character of properties in the area).

Allotments. The utilities companies spontaneously appeared to get power onto Vicarage Field that meant temporary traffic lights on Linton Hill. That prevented equipment being brought to site and bad weather has delayed starting pipe laying under the path in the allotments. Work is now expected to start in January.

Call for sites. The above Councillors and myself met with the Planning Department last week to hear our views on why Linton should be excluded from the call for sites. In the time available we managed to cover matters ranging from Policies to infrastructure and sustainability that all tantamount to no thank you. We also dealt with sites individually and how as a small village any of the potential for limited expansion of “service centre and large villages” criteria were not appropriate for Linton. And we could not let the broader picture go without comment given that the A229 was in fact a narrow residential main road from the Wheatsheaf corner all the way to Redwall Lane with no room for capacity increase. Also,how Linton Corner reconfiguration was no longer viable given the intended funding from existing developers were no longer sufficient to get this project done, as admitted by KCC. Finally we pointed out that Linton had just recently disproportionately increased its home contribution to MBC with Vicarage Field and when it came to “non res” sites we had the huge expanse of Wares Farm Berry gardens that was approved on the basis it would disappear in the landscaping measures, so anything that went alongside this site would undermine all that was intended.
The time table going forward was revealed by MBC as somewhat fluid with the work needed to be done to whittle down the many sites put forward. Public consultation may happen February / March. That said the officers we met took notes for their considerations and it was only should we (Parish Council) wish to write our responses to them they should be done by end of January. We decided that for belt and braces we would.

Finally, the Linton Hill road safety measures project has been submitted to KCC for costings.

*