The Village Hall Committee has applied for the Village Hall to be formally listed as a Community Asset. The Hall is on land leased from EI Group PLC, formerly Enterprise Inns PLC, who own the freeholds of the nearby Windmill and Sugar Loaves public houses as well as part of the Windmill Lane public footpath. EI Group PLC has declined to renew the lease on the Hall which expired in August 2016 pending the determination of a planning application for houses alongside Windmill Lane. The application has been opposed by the Village Hall Committee, the Parish Council, and many local residents. EI Group PLC also own the freehold of the Dirty Habit PH in Upper Street.
The Village Hall which is used daily for community activities was built in 1968 on land then leased from Whitbread who were subsequently merged into EI Group PLC. Up to now the lease has been renewed on a regular basis and the Hall was built with funds raised locally following a fire at a previous Hall near the church.
If successful the Village Hall Committee has six months to raise the funds to buy the land on which the Hall stands and during this time they will have exclusive purchase rights at a price to be determined by EI Group PLC. So far the the Village Hall Committee has applied to Maidstone Borough Council for the Hall to be declared a Community Asset and the letter below is the letter from MBC to EI Group PLC is reproduced below. As and when there is further news it is hoped to make this information generally available in the local interest. The Chairman of the Village Hall Committee is John Holley.
EI Group PLC
3 Monkspath Hall Road
31st August 2017
Hollingbourne Village Hall, Windmill Lane, Hollingbourne
I am writing to you as owner of the above property to advise you that it has been nominated by the Hollingbourne Village Hall Management Committee for inclusion on the Council’s List of Assets of Community Value in connection with the Community Right to Bid.
We will notify you by 13th October 2017 whether or not the nomination has been successful. If the nomination has been successful, you will have eight weeks from the date of listing to request a review of the listing.
If you require any further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at the above address.
Corporate Property Manager
UPDATE as of 7th September – Maidstone Borough Council have stated that no date has been fixed for the Planning Committee to hear the application for housing in Windmill Lane. Ms Kathryn Altieri of the Planning Department has said that residents will be given seven days notice of the meeting in order that they may register a wish to speak. Members of the Village Hall Committee have complained to Ms Altieri and local MBC Councillor Patrik Garten that this is insufficient notice. Details of the application are or the MBC Planning website http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/residents/planning/planning-application-search where you need to enter Reference Number 17/503118/FULL
Pictured below is the Village Hall on the Windmill Lane Public Footpath. On the left is the car park of the Windmill PH and on the right is the field where 10 houses are proposed. Access to the site which is outside of the previously proscribed Village Envelope is via the privately owned Footpath which is no more than 3 metres wide at the narrowest point with limited room for pedestrians.