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Yalding safe – Official

January 20, 2014 11:12 PM

Following unsubstantiated reports that Yalding is to be turned into a garden city, Jasper Gerard, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner for Maidstone and the Weald, has taken up the issue with Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister.

Jasper made clear that it would be ludicrous to build a town in one of the most flood-prone corners of England, which also lacks access to necessary rail and motorway links.

The Deputy Prime Minister agreed entirely that Yalding would be totally unsuitable and dismissed the speculative reports naming Yalding as a possible site as being completely inaccurate. Nick Clegg had spoken of how garden cities, where they have popular local support, could be an alternative to piecemeal, ribbon development.

A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats commented:

"Nick Clegg was kick-starting a national debate about garden cities to tackle our desperate housing shortage. He was not recommending Yalding as a site for a garden city.

"The entire premise behind garden cities is that they are locally-led and sustainable; a high flood risk area matches neither of these criteria. We need urgently to find suitable sites which - unlike Yalding - are close to rail and motorway networks and where development could be safely and sustainably delivered."

Jasper Gerard commented: "I'm delighted that there are no plans to turn Yalding into a garden city. I was quite prepared to lie in front of the bulldozers if necessary. But I'm very pleased Nick Clegg has made clear that the government certainly won't be pushing development on Yalding.

"Now we must campaign with real vigour against proposals that have been floated by Conservative-led Maidstone Borough Council to turn Yalding into a Rural Service Centre designated for major development. We must ensure its rural, Wealden charm is maintained."

You can hear Jasper discussing the Yalding garden city rumour and recent flooding on BBC Radio Kent from Monday morning: