Hollingbourne Parish Council has today been advised of a planning application from Country House Developments for twelve new houses in Windmill Lane opposite the Village Hall. UPDATE – As of 22nd December – Ms Kate Alteri of the MBC Planning Department has agreed to refer queries about the accuracy of the Windmill Lane plans and drawings with the applicant. Unfortunately the closing date for comments will not be deferred while the material issues principally relating to access are resolved.
The site is outside of the Village Envelope and is to be accessed by the Windmill Lane Public Footpath (PROW KH199) which is mainly owned by Enterprise Inns PLC who have not been consulted on the scheme. Their legal advice is that no development can proceed without their consent as the Lane is legally only a footpath. The Lane is privately maintained and was last resurfaced in 2010 to a depth of 35mm which may not be sufficient for construction traffic or heavy vehicles.Trenches dug for the installation of a new gas line in October 2016 revealed that the surface is very thin with plain earth beneath.
Maidstone Borough Council have been asked to confirm that the Site Access Plan that has been submitted is correct as the Plan appears to show a Lane alongside the Windmill PH that is substantially wider than the one on local Land Registry plans. The Lane at the narrowest point is actually about 3 metres wide, as confirmed by Land Registry entries, whereas the Site Access Plan shows the width as 4.7 metres with the Footpath extending into a private garden. A new path into the site would cut into the privately owned bank opposite the Windmill PH waste loading bay gates which extend across the width of the Lane from time to time.
The Parish Council had a a number of concerns following a presentation about development in Windmill Lane by Country House Developments at the July 2016 Parish Council Meeting. It is understood that the Village Hall Committee are likely to oppose the development because of possible additional access,parking, and traffic issues and because there is no space for a pavement for pedestrians from Eyhorne Street. There are also no vehicle passing places for 55 metres between Eyhorne Street where the Footpath is widens to 4 metres wide and the site entrance by the Village Hall.
Additionally it is noted that no Sewerage Capacity Check has been done by the applicant despite the fact that Hollingbourne has had well publicised back flow problems which are not completely resolved. South Eastern Water has confirmed that have not been consulted by the applicants and that a new water main will have to be laid to the site which will most likely be under Windmill Lane. As other services will also have to be connected it may be necessary to close the Lane for several weeks for the works to be done. It may also be necessary to close Eyhorne Street to through traffic for a period in order to connect the new services to the main village system. Residents may recall that Eyhourne Street was closed to through traffic for three weeks in August 2015 when the services were installed for the new Godfrey Meadow development of 14 houses.
KCC Highways have previously published their views on residential development in the Lane in the MBC Draft Local Plan as Concern about access, as it lies along narrow track next to the pub. Particularly difficult for pedestrians.
Local Borough Councillor Patrik Garten will be in Windmill Lane at 3.15pm on Wednesday 4th January to meet with local residents and others in order to listen to their views. He is due to meet Kate Alteri, the MBC Planning Officer on 10th January.
The application reference number is 16/508436/FULL and more detail is at the Maidstone Planning Portal at http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/residents/planning/planning-application-search or direct at http://pa.midkent.gov.uk/online-applications/centralDistribution.do?caseType=Application&keyVal=OI4GQCTYLYI00
The Site Plans and Comments to date on them are at http://pa.midkent.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OI4GQCTYLYI00
Comments are required by 27th January (revised date as advised by MBC Planning Department) and the matter will be considered at the next Hollingbourne Parish Council meeting on Monday 9th January 2017 in the Cardwell Pavilion. Comments can be sent to email@example.com
Pictured below is a picture of the Country House Developments site plan for the proposed development.