During this morning’s rush hour through the Eyhorne Street Conservation Area which is regularly jammed with traffic, an articulated lorry tried to turn right into the Windmill Lane Public Footpath and got stuck next to the Windmill Public House. Although the tractor unit just managed to enter the gap between the Windmill and Stable Cottage, the trailer unit could not and any further movement could have resulted in the demolition of the end wall and a large part of the bar area. The foreign owned lorry had to back out very slowly in order to get back into Eyhorne Street.
On 26th April the Maidstone Borough Council Planning Committee elected by a majority vote to approve a planning application for 10 large detached houses alongside the Windmill Lane Public Footpath which is privately owned despite strong opposition from Hollingbourne Parish Council, the Village Hall Committee, and many local residents. One of the principal reasons for the opposition to the development is the poor access along the Footpath which is only 3 metres wide at one point. Despite a number of invitations to visit Hollingbourne, only two members of the Planning Committee have acknowledged that they have visited Hollingbourne. The decision to approve the application was based on the fact that the site next to HS1 and the M20 is in the Local Plan despite requests from Hollingbourne to have it removed.
This was not the first time that a lorry has been stuck trying to enter the Lane and smaller ones have often damaged properties on both side of the Footpath which is maintained on a pro bono basis by local residents. Members of the Planning Committee were made aware of the access problems and the fact that it is unlikely that construction traffic, fire engines, and removal vans can safely enter the Footpath.
Pictures of the lorry which tried to enter the Footpath for reasons which are unclear appear below.