According to the Maidstone Borough Council Planning Portal Country House Homes who wish to build 10 houses costing around £1 million each are still looking for sites to build 4 affordable homes elsewhere which is a condition of their planning application which has been opposed by Hollingbourne Parish Council, the Village Hall Committee, and many local residents principally because the access to the site is via a 3 metre wide privately owned and maintained public footpath. Also some of the access from Eyhorne Street appears to cross private property and this has been taken up with the Maidstone Planning Department.
There are no mains services to the site and the access to the Eyhorne Street Conservation Area can be difficult especially during the morning rush hour when the traffic backs up from the A20. This application and a previous one for 12 houses has been going through the local planning system for over two years. The site was previously outside the Village Envelope.
According to the MBC website the developers have approached a number of housing associations without success so far. Their responses are summarised on the website and reproduced below:-
1 Michael Bull MHS Housing Trust Broadside Leviathan Way Chatham Kent ME4 4LL 26/10/2017 email 15/12/17 – Not interested – Too few units, wrong type of units, not enough shared ownership
2 Geoff Reynolds Housing and Care 21 10th Floor Tricorn House 51-53 Hagley Road B16 8TP 26/10/2017 – H&C21 have now changed their minimum requirements to sites of 30 units plus – not interested.
3 Ade Adeyeloja Golding Homes Whatman House St Leonards Road Maidstone Kent ME16 0LS 26/10/2017 email 15/12/17 email 22/1/18 Discussed with GH but no offer forthcoming
4 Veronica Mabey Gravesend Churches Housing Association 14 London Road Northfleet Kent DA11 9JQ 26/10/2017 email 15/12/17 email 22/1/18
No response despite chase ups and contact to Keeley Henderson, GCHA rejected 4 units at Boughton Monchelsea where they already have housing stock, GCHA does not have any stock in Hollingbourne so expectation would be same
5 Alex Montgomery Heylo Housing 6th Floor Design Centre East Chelsea Harbour London SW10 0FX 26/10/2017 email 15/12/17
Responded on 22/1/18 – Not interested unless we can change to shared ownership (not shared equity) which is the only way they will take such a small number of units
6 James Briggs Amicus Horizon (Optivo) PO Box 322 Sittingbourne Kent ME9 8PQ 26/10/2017 email 15/12/17
Gemma Harper responded, James has now left Optivo. Not interested, want sites of 50 units plus
7 Colin Lissenden Town and Country Monson House Monson Way Tunbridge Wells Kent TN1 1LQ 26/10/2017 –
T & C responded with copy of their basic requirements – the number of units proposed does not meet this requirement.
More information relating to application 17/503118/FULL is on the MBC website at http://old.maidstone.gov.uk/residents/planning/planning-application-search
No confirmed date has been set for the application to come before Maidstone Planning Committee but the next meeting is at 6pm on Thursday 26th April in the Town Hall and it is likely that application will be considered at that time. Until the matter is resolved EI Group PLC who are the landlords of the Village Hall in the Lane, have declined to renew the lease which expired in August 2016 which has given the Village Hall Committee some cause for concern. It is estimated that the cost of a new Hall would be £1 million plus site costs.
Pictured below (top) is part of Windmill Lane which is also used as a loading bay for the Windmill PH and (bottom) is the site plan. EI Group own the lane as far as the bins on the left while the site is on the right of the Lane with the corner of the Village Hall in the distance. The green and black bins, the grass bank and steps, and the post on the right are shown on the MBC Portal as being part of the access route to the site for the proposed new detached houses. The Hall is used daily by local organisations and includes a chapel where regular services are held.