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Newspaper Columns

KM Column - Local Plan - 4 October 2018

On Monday, arguably the most important Council Consultation in years opened. It’s all about the Tonbridge and Malling Local Plan. This will decide where our future houses will go. It will shape our communities for generations, and identify the infrastructure that needs upgrading and improving so that we can get to work, school and the doctor when we want.

There is no doubt we need more homes. Every time I hold a surgery, families and young people come and ask me why they can’t afford a home. They remind me that we need to build more. The question is: where?

Whether you agree or not with the proposals that Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council have suggested, now is your chance to comment on them. All the responses are sent to a Planning Inspector, who will assess the quality of the arguments. So it’s crucial that as many people as possible have their say before 4pm on Monday 12 November.  

You can write to the Council, or e-mail localplan@tmbc.gov.uk to make your views heard. There will be drop in sessions on 15 October at the Council Offices in Kings Hill, and 17 October at Tonbridge Castle, where you can view the plans in more detail.

It’s also important to be clear which proposals you agree with. I’m sure many in East and West Malling will welcome the greenbelt extension and we need to demonstrate to the Planning Inspector that this is important. But, if you feel that the quantity of homes in Borough Green or anywhere else is excessive, then make sure you make your views heard too. I’m sure you will.

At the end, I’ll present to the Planning Inspector my thoughts based on what you want. The Planning Inspector is an arm of Government, and as your representative in Westminster it’s crucial I promote your views properly. Please send me your thoughts. I can only do my job for you if you let me know what you think.

This isn’t just about places, the total number of houses is higher than many think are necessary and we need to make sure the government isn’t asking us to do too much. I’m challenging the government to make sure we get the homes we need, in the community we love.

This consultation matters. It defines the future of Tonbridge and Malling. Please take the time to read the document and have your say.”

Georgie Welford