Other December news in brief

Hollingbourne’s Pre-School which meets mornings in school term time in the Cardwell Pavilion has been rated as “Outstanding” by Oftsed for the second time. The Pre-School was founded in 1990 and followed on from the Pre-School Play Group which previously met at the Village Hall with a grass play area that now forms part of the Village Hall Car Park.

For more information about the Pre-School Group please go to https://www.facebook.com/HollingbournePreSchool

Please note that this page is updated from time to time during the month.

The Sugar Loaves public house in Eyhorne Street has recreated the staircase from the Sugar Loaves Car Park to the Village Hall which had fallen into disrepair .Regular events in the Sugar Loaves which has been under new management since March 2016 include a Thursday quiz night and a Saturday lunchtime cheese club.

Athelstan Green and Musket Lane residents have complained to the Parish Council about the mud on Musket Lane and on Eyhorne Street which appears to have been caused by construction traffic from a building site in Musket Lane. The Parish Council has taken up the matter with the the site owner.

All Saints’ Parochial Church Council and the other Parochial Church Councils in the North Downs Benefice have produced a revised Parish Profile for the vacant post of Team Vicar based in Hollingbourne. There has been no incuimbent in Hollingbourne since the retirement of the Reverend Nigel Fry in April 2015 and a previous attempt to recruit a Team Vicar for the parishes along the Pilgrim’s Way on the north side of the A20 was unsuccesful. The post is still vacant and the revised Parish Profile is here The post will be avdertised again in January 2017. Until a new incumbent is recruited it has been decided to substitute the Family Services on the first Sunday of each month and replace them with Sung Eucharists.

The Christmas Market organised on 26th November in the Village Hall by the Social Committee of All Saints’ Parochial Church Council made a surplus of £655. The Harvest Supper in the Autumn made a profit of £583.

The Beanstalk Charity which is based in Maidstone is seeking volunteers to help with reading in local schools. For more information please go to http://www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk/Pages/Category/become-a-reading-helper?gclid=CMjBlKXD8dACFVcz0wod0OoFww or contact Kate Rumsby at kate.rumsby@beanstalkcharity.org.uk

Kent Highways have advised the Parish Council that they will be closing over Christmas as follows:- Our last day before Christmas will be Friday 23rd December and the office reopens on Thursday 29th December after the Christmas break.  We will be operating an ‘Out of Hours’ service during the Christmas period to deal with emergency works, fallen trees, etc. and a crew will be available to deal with this.  Any emergency issues should be called through to our ‘out of hours’ number on 03000 419191.  

South Eastern Trains are still not maintaining the Station Lane lights properly or clearing up after fly-tipping. They do not always responds to complaints about Station Lane but if enough people contact them something might happen. You can help by writing to them at customerservices@southeasternrailway.co.uk .

South Eastern Trains have issued a new timetable for Hollingbourne services with effect from 11th December. For more information please go here

A white Vauxhall Frontera was abandoned in Target Lane on 3rd December after it became stuck in one of the deep ruts that have been caused by 4WD and off road motorcylcists in the byway which runs between Greenway Court Road and the Pilgrim’s Way. PCSO Dave Rowley has informed the Parish Council that Kent Police have been unable to identfy the owner of the vehicle which has made the track impassable. He has advised the Council that it will be removed once suitable recovery equipment becomes available.


Last Bank Closure

The tax-payer owned Natwest bank has announced that they will be closing Hollingbourne’s nearest bank branch in Bearsted in June 2017 which will mean that the nearest bank to the village will be in the centre of Maidstone. Natwest have in recent years also closed their branches in Lenham, Charing, and Headcorn while Lloyds Bank have also closed their Bearsted, Lenham, and Headcorn branches. If Hollingbourne’s village shop closes when Christopher Rudgard plans to retire in March 2017 the weekly Wednesday Post Office branch will also go and villagers will have to travel miles for any banking or cash machine facilities.

The Bearsted and Thurnham Society has launched a petition against the closure and this can be signed at Christopher’s Village Shop in Eyhorne Street or  at Taylor’s the Newsagent on Bearsted Green, ME14 1DN.

Our local MP Mrs Helen Whately has written to the Chief Executive Officer of the Natwest Bank and a copy of her letter is here. More information is at https://www.helenwhately.org.uk/news/natwest-branch-bearsted-close .

The bailout of the Natwest in 2008 by the Government cost £45 billion or about £750 per head of population or about £675,000 from Hollingbourne! Last year New Zealander Mr Ross Maxwell Mc Ewan, the CEO of Natwest was paid £3.8 million.

Pictured below is the threatened branch of the Natwest in Bearsted where All Saints’ Parochial Church Council amongst others bank. The Natwest is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland and was created from an amalgamation of the National Proviincial, Westminster, and District banks with the slogan “our roots are our branches”.  As the Ashford Road branch is the last bank between Maidstone and Ashford it is expected that the need to go into Maidstone in order to visit a bank will have an adverse traffic and environmental impact. There is also no free parking near any of the Maidstone banks. The expected closure date is 5th June 2017.