Windmill Lane closing date deferred to 17th February 2017

The closing date for comments on the proposed development of 12 houses in the field to the west of Windmill Lane has been deferred again to 17th February. At the time of writing some 103 documents have been deposited with Maidstone Borough Council including objections from Hollingbourne Parish Council, the Village Hall Committee and local residents.

Access to the site via the privately owned and maintained Windmill Lane Public Footpath (PROW KH199) and Country House Homes Limited, the developers, have confirmed in a letter of 12th January to Enterprise Inns PLC, that they are still to discuss the matter of vehicular access to the site over the section of the Lane that is owned by Enterprise Inns PLC. When the Village Hall was built in 1968 it is understood that an easement was required from Leeds Castle over another section of the Lane which serves the site.

Documents on the Maidstone Planning website at http://pa.midkent.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OI4GQCTYLYI00 indicate that no required Transport Statement or Landscape Maintenance Plan has been prepared. Additionally Southern Water have confirmed that no sewerage capacity check has been requested although the site is not connected to the main sewers and will require a new drain under Windmill Lane which will restrict access to the Village Hall, the Windmill PH, and other local properties for some time. South Eastern Water have not been contacted about a water supply. The provision of services, traffic issues, and landscape maintenance are some of the points raised so far.

It may also be difficult to close the Lane for the installation of services because the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996 specifies the Lane as an access route for the operation of HS1. So far this month HS1 engineers have been seen in the Lane on three occasions.

The developers have conceded that they had previously overstated the width of the Lane at the narrowed point by around a metre and a revised Site Access Plan now shows it as only 3.7 metres wide including a privately owned grass verge. Local residents have measured the width between the Windmill PH wall and the Stable Cottage fence at the narrowest point as 3.5 metres including a grass verge. The minimum requirement for a fire engine according to generally accepted planning guidelines is 3.7 metres and presumably one of the reasons that MBC refuse collection vehicles do not enter the Lane is because it is too narrow. For more details about fire engine access standards please go to http://www.gov.scot/resource/buildingstandards/2013Domestic/chunks/ch03s13.html . Several other websites state that 3.7 metres between kerbs is the absolute minimum for fire engines.

Comments must be made by 17th February and these can be done via the Maidstone Planning website at http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/residents/planning/planning-application-search quoting 16/508436/FULL  or can be sent to planningcomments@midkent.gov.uk

Please see below for the revised access plan which no longer goes through the garden of Stable Cottage. The route is a c 55metre long single track with no passing places and no space for a pavement.

January 16_508436_FULL-Site_Access_Plan-3877112_pdf Revised