Local Maidstone Borough Councillor Patrik Garten has advised Hollingbourne Parish Council that the most likely date for the Maidstone Planning Committee to consider the application for 10 houses to the west of the Windmill Lane Public Footpath is on Thursday 19th October at 6pm in the Town Hall. Maidstone Planning Officer Ms Kathryn Altieri has undertaken to contact all of those who have objected to the scheme some seven days before the meeting. UPDATE – Hollingbourne Parish Council has been advised as of 13th October that the application will not be considered on the 19th October and as yet no other date has been indicated.
The scheme has been opposed by Hollingbourne Parish Council, the Village Hall Committee, and numerous local residents while Kent County Council Highways Department has reservations about the access which in parts is only 3 metres wide via a privately owned and maintained footpath. There is no space for several metres for pedestrians or verges where pedestrians might avoid vehicle traffic. Property on both sides of the Lane is often hit by vehicles and a proposal to fit a defibrillator on the side of the Windmill PH has been abandoned because of the risk of damage from passing vehicles. The access to the Eyhorne Street Conservation from Windmill Lane can be difficult as Eyhorne Street is effectively one way because it is also narrow. Other issues are the lack of places at Hollingbourne County Primary School, traffic, and other infrastructure issues.
Some of the footpath is owned by EI Group PLC, formerly Enterprise Inns PLC, who also own the freeholds of the Windmill PH, the Sugar Loaves PH, and the Village Hall. They have declined to renew the lease for the Village Hall which expired in August 2016 pending the resolution of the application and the fear is that if planning permission is granted in the field, which is outside of the Village Envelope, then a precedent could be set for further development including the site of the Village Hall which has been in Windmill Lane since 1968 and which is used daily for community activities.
The Planning Reference 17/503118/FULL and further details are the Maidstone Borough Council website.
Please see below for a picture of the Lane with the Hall on the left and the proposed building site on the right.