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"To put the record straight, the owners of Kent Science Park have no wish to develop homes in the vicinity of the science park"

James Speck

Kent & Medway Structure Plan

The Structure Plan is jointly produced by Kent County Council and Medway Council and sets out the strategic planning framework for the protection of our environment, major transport priorities, and the scale, pattern and broad location of new development including provision for new housing and major economic development across Kent and Medway.

The Kent & Medway Structure Plan forms part of the Development Plan for Swale, and the Swale Local Plan (see Swale Local Plan), must be prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Structure Plan.

The Structure Plan does not specify the use of individual sites – this is the job of the Local Plan for each district council area. Its purpose is to guide the preparation of Local Plans and provide a framework within which decisions can be made. It also guides and informs investment decisions made in both the private and public sectors.

The Structure Plan has to reflect the Government's national and regional policy, and in Kent's case this means providing for the large amount of new housing outlined in regional planning guidance. While accepting this responsibility, Kent and Medway Councils are determined that new housing should be accompanied by the necessary improvements in roads, other infrastructure and community facilities. Necessary development must be a positive force for change making the best use of land whilst reflecting a high quality of design and sensitivity to community needs.

The Kent & Medway Structure Plan is currently in draft form and has recently undergone a period of consultation. Kent and Medway Councils are now considering all the comments received and will decide whether or not any changes to the plan should be proposed.

An Examination in Public (EiP) (see Examination in Public), which is similar to a public inquiry, was held during September 2004 before an independently appointed panel. The EIP examined key issues raised during the consultation and may now recommend that the Councils change some of the policies. There will be an opportunity to comment upon any modifications that the Councils propose to make before the Draft Plan is finally adopted. This is expected to be in late 2004/early 2005.

Further information on the Kent & Medway Structure Plan can be found at www.kmsp.org.uk

Changes to the planning system will see the eventual abolition of the Structure Plan. See The Planning System - Proposed Changes to Structure and Local Plans.