Hollingbourne Parish Council has been advised that the provisional date of Thursday 1st February has been set for the application to build 10 houses to the west of Windmill Lane will be considered by Maidstone Borough Council Planning Committee. Local Borough Councillor Patrik Garten has arranged for the application to be considered by the full Planning Committee and not by the officers of the Council.
MBC Planning Officer Kathryn Altieri has advised the Parish Council as follows:-
A committee date of the 1st February has been pencilled in for this application but I am not in a position to confirm this as I am still waiting for the agent to come back to me on some issues. However, as with every application reported to planning committee, it is usual practice to notify all interested parties a week before a confirmed committee date.
Hollingbourne Parish Council, the Village Hall Committee, and many local residents have opposed the application on a number of grounds including the narrow access via the Windmill Lane Public Footpath (PROW KH199) which does not leave any room for pedestrians. KCC Highways have stated that it is unsafe for pedestrians. The Footpath has been maintained by local residents on a pro bono basis for many years.
Additionally EI Group PLC who own part of the Lane, the Windmill PH, and the site of the Village Hall have refused to renew the lease on the Village Hall pending the outcome of the application. The lease expired on 21st August 2016 and it is feared that a replacement Hall would cost Hollingbourne in excess of £1 million assuming a site could be found. The Hall was built using funds raised locally in 1968 and is used daily by village organisations.
Last month the Parish Council wrote to EI Group expressing concern about the uncertainty over the Village Hall and today EI have agreed to meet with the Village Hall Committee on 10th January. No further information is available.
More information about the planning application is at http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/residents/planning/planning-application-search
The Application number which needs to be input is 17/503118.
Pictured below is Windmill Lane with the threatened Village Hall in the middle and the proposed development site on the right. The car park is for Windmill PH customers and was once shared with the Village Hall and local residents. Since May 2017 non-customer of the Windmill face the possibility of an £85 charge for using the car park. The smaller Village Hall Car Park which was formerly a garden for the Play Group is at the rear of the Village Hall.