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Linton Conservation Area

Linton Conservation Area

A number of documents and maps are available for viewing and download from the links on this page. Be advised that some of the files are large, and a broadband connection is recommended!

For the latest update click here


1.  Background

The centre of the village of Linton is designated as a Conservation Area, and has been since 1972. You might not care, you might not even have known – but it is, and that simple fact has had a real impact on our village, over the years.

Put simply, it means that all proposals for change or development within that area are subject to an extra level of scrutiny. In addition, many individual buildings and monuments are listed, and thus protected from demolition or removal or any other significant change. A recent example is our red telephone box outside the Village Hall, which was completely demolished in 2006 by a car that left the road and collided with it. Because the box was listed, and was situated in a conservation area, it has been replaced by BT… otherwise it would have been lost forever.

Overall, it is clear that the properties and the roads (yes, really!) are better maintained because they are inside the conservation area than might otherwise have been the case.

2.  Conservation Area Reviews

The Borough Council has a statutary duty to review all of the conservation areas in the Borough on a regular basis. This does not appear to have happened with the Linton Conservation Area – it was first designated in September 1972, was reviewed in April 1974, and then left untouched until it was finally reviewed again in 2007. An opportunity was given at that time to all residents, and to the Parish Council, to make comments. The comments made at that time by Linton PC are available here

The appraisal document was approved and adopted by Maidstone Borough Council in March 2008. The appraisal document is interesting and well worth reading.

It comes in several parts – click on the titles to download and read them.

Linton Parish Council held a special meeting on Monday 9th February 2009. Some twenty members of the public attended, and had the opportunity to state their views. The minutes of the meeting are available here.

The above appraisal documents can also be downloaded from the MBC website, here, along with those relating to a number of other Conservation Areas including Boughton Monchelsea.

3.  Conservation Area Management Plan

Originally scheduled for delivery in March 2009, a Conservation Area Management Plan was finally drafted and issued for consultation in January 2010. This contained important issues for residents, including proposals to make several changes to the boundary, and may – for example – have a bearing on future planning applications in the Conservation Area. Residents and other interested parties once again had the opportunity to comment, though the timetable was tight. The original Draft Management Plan for consultation can be viewed or downloaded here:

Management Plan

Accompanying Maps

The Consultation Period on the Plan ran until 5th February 2010. The Plan could be viewed at Coxheath Library and at Maidstone Library in St.Faiths Street, Maidstone.The Plans were also available at the Maidstone Gateway on King Street, Maidstone.

Maidstone Borough Council considered that this constituted sufficient advertisement of the plan, but at the insistence of the Parish Council,  a special public meeting was held on Tuesday 9th February 2010 in Linton Village Hall to discuss the Plan. The minutes are available here.

4.  Revised Management Plan

Following the public meeting, and other feedback received, a revised version of the Management Plan was submitted for approval, and was duly approved. The following documents are available here for viewing and download:

The documents are also available for viewing and download from the MBC website, here.

It is clear that as a result of the consultation initiative undertaken by Linton PC, and the forthright views expressed at the public meeting and elsewhere, significant and welcome changes have been made to the Management Plan. Democracy in action!

Linton Parish Council would like to thank Maidstone Borough Council Conservation Officer Mike Parkinson and his staff for their co-operation, and for their willingness to take account of the views expressed to them during the consultation exercise. We would also like to thank those residents who took the trouble to attend the special meeting, to provide written feedback, or who otherwise contributed to the success of the consultation.

5.  Next Steps

See the Management Plan, which includes both a summary of actions and a more detailed discussion of the way forward.

The proposed actions fall into the following areas:

Suggested boundary extensions and amendments
Introduction of Article 4 Direction
Intrusive wirescape
Traffic management

Linton Parish Council will monitor progress in these areas. Significant changes or actions will be noted here. The Council remains interested in the views and experiences of all residents of the Conservation Area. You can express them directly via the Message Centre on this site, or you can talk to any Parish Councillor, or you can attend and if you wish to, address, any Parish Council meeting.

6. Update as at January 2012

Progress with this issue has never been rapid. However during 2011 the resources available to the conservation Officer, Mr Mike Parkinson, were apparently reduced to save costs. As a result, we are told, matters have now ground to a complete halt. Linton Parish council is unhappy with this situation since the proposed changes to the boundary of the Conservation Area and the administration of the Management Plan are seen as beneficial to the village and the community. It is currently exerting what pressure it can on Maidstone Borough Council to restart the process. This may involve the PC having to take a more active role.

If your property falls inside the proposed extension of the conservation area, you may wish to understand the implications for the future which might arise from this. It is difficult to say with certainty, since much depends on the manner of operation and administration of the scheme by the Borough Council. Our advice is to see the links contained in Section 4 above, since the maps will confirm whether or not your property is to be incorporated within the expanded boundary, and the revised Management Plan will give an idea of the consequences. To the best of our knowledge, the Parish Council have not received a complaint related to the fact that a given property lay within the conservation area, at least in say, the last five years.

7. Update as at January 2017

Disgracefully, owing to serious procrastination and delays by the Maidstone Borough Council Conservation Officer and MBC Planning Department, no progress has been made for almost five years. The Parish Council are concerned and have exerted pressure on MBC, so far to no avail.

 8. Update as at April 2018

Mike Parkinson retired at the end of 2016. Finally, In October 2017 a replacement was appointed, Matthew Crook. In April 2018 he accepted an invitation to address the Parish Annual Meeting, and expressed his intention to progress the Conservation Area revision. A consultation exercise was promised to take place before the end of May 2018, but it will surprise no-one to learn that so far that has not happened. A further update will be provided on material developments.

Regrettably it is clear beyond reasonable doubt that Maidstone Borough Council attach very little importance to conservation plans. For more than a decade now, it has failed Linton – it will not work in partnership with the village community and it has not kept its various promises of action.

9. Update as at March 2019

Finally, MBC have found resources to progress this work, and some progress has been achieved. The proposals to extend the Conservation Area are contained in an appraisal and report which were considered by Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee at their meeting on 11 April 2017, and approved. Now, the consultation exercise is being undertaken and a letter has been sent by MBC to all those who may be affected – ie, those inside the boundary of the old or the  proposed conservation areas. Comments or representations must be made before 5pm on 21st March 2019.

The major change relates to the inclusion of Linton Park within the Conservation Area. Vicarage field will also be included, despite the planning approval for building on the site. No additional residential properties are included except for some properties on the Western side of Loddington Lane. For the record, Linton Parish Council strongly supports the proposed boundary changes and we would very much wish to hear from any Linton resident who might feel they will be affected adversely, or who has any negative view of the proposals.

The next steps, once the consultation exercise is complete, should involve progression of the Article IV directive, but the timing for this is still unclear. Further updates will be provided when information becomes available.

The minutes of the 2017 committee meeting can be viewed here (it is item 186).

The appraisal and report can be downloaded from here (it is quite a big file: 3.4Mb)

The letter to those potentially affected, with a map showing the changes, can be viewed here.

This is the map: