The results of the 2008 Linton Parish Housing Development Questionnaire are in, tabulated and documented, reported to, and accepted by, the Parish Council, and are detailed below…
Overall, 441 questionnaires were sent out to 218 houses, and 187 (42%) were returned. This is considered an excellent response in general polling terms, well above average. However it is still a little disappointing that more than half our electors did not make the effort to respond.
The overall answers to the three questions put were as follows:
1. Are you in favour of the proposed development in Vicarage Field?
YES 36 19%
NO 130 69%
UNDECIDED 21 11%
2. Would you be in favour of a similar size development elsewhere in the Parish?
YES 31 16%
NO 130 69%
UNDECIDED 26 14%
3. Would you be in favour of …. :-
None 104 56%
1 to 5 25 13%
6 to 10 25 13%
11 to 15 4 )
16 to 20 7 ) = 18%
21 to 24 12 )
25+ 10 )
… more houses built in Linton over the next ten years?
These are the headlines, but a much more detailed analysis of the results is available here in .pdf format for download. It includes the results split into three "zones" roughly according to proximity to Vicarage Field.
Space was allowed on the response forms for comments, and about 90 comments were received, of all shapes, sizes and shades of opinion. A brief analysis indicates that one type of comment stood head and shoulders above all the others: something to the effect that Linton is a small rural village and it should stay that way. We do not want it turning into a clone of Coxheath or a suburb of Maidstone. Almost a third of all comments contained a sentiment to that effect.
Another very popular concern was with traffic issues;the volume, the speeds, the access onto an already busy road.
Other comments covered issues including: expressions in favour of development; in favour of minor developments only, not large ones; that any development would be the "Thin end of the wedge" and would lead to more; that developments would be unsustainable without any supporting infrastructure whatsoever; that "affordable" occupants may be undesirable in some way; and that a development would cause lighting pollution. All these were mentioned more than once, but not as frequently as the two main preoccupations, traffic and preservation of the rural nature of the village.
As to conclusions, it is probably best for each of us to draw his or her own. The Parish Council has taken careful note of the results and of the comments that accompanied them. Although the survey is not binding on individual councillors or on the Council as a whole, it will no doubt be taken into account as and when the subject of housing development, or any individual planning application, arises in future.
In the meantime, The Parish Council has taken a decision (at their meeting of 21 July 2008) not to implement the proposal to write to Maidstone Borough Council asking to Vicarage Field to be included as a development site in the Borough Wide Strategic Plan.