The proposed development of 10 possibly million pound houses may depend on the developer agreeing to build affordable houses elsewhere in Maidstone in exchange for the new houses alongside the privately owned Windmill Lane Public Footpath. The first application to build 12 houses in Windmill Lane was received by Maidstone Borough Council on 13th December 2016 (MBC Reference 16/508436) and this was subsequently withdrawn and replaced on 13th June 2017 with an application for 10 houses (MBC Reference 17/503118) which should have been time expired on 5th February 2017. The application has now been extended to 1st May 2017 at Country House Homes can come forward with a proposal for affordable houses somewhere else in the Borough. Local MBC Councillor Patrik Garten has advised Hollingbourne Parish Council that the Maidstone Planning Committee will consider the application sometime towards the end of May.
This is the third development scheme in the last few years without affordable housing since the planning restrictions of the Village Envelope were abolished.
The recently completed Wealden Homes development opposite Godfrey House of 14 houses has no affordable houses with the cheapest two bedroomed property starting at £535,000. In February 2017 Fernham Homes were given planning permission to build 12 new houses next to Godfrey House in Eyhorne Street with the S106 payment from the developer going to Harrietsham. Both developments were opposed on traffic and infrastructure issues and the fact that there are no affordable houses despite a Parish Council housing needs survey some years ago which indicated that a small number of affordable houses are needed in the village. A number of local residents have more recently expressed a request for affordable housing in Hollingbourne to Councillor Garten.
Kent County Council has proposed that the Section 106 payment of £33,720.16 from the developer for the 10 houses in Windmill Lane, if approved, goes to Harrietsham School.
The development in Windmill Lane has been opposed by Hollingbourne Parish Council, the Village Hall Committee, and a large number of local residents on several grounds including the access which is via a 3 metre wide single track Public Footpath which has no space for pedestrians and has no drive in from Eyhorne Street. KCC Highways are on record as saying that the Lane will be dangerous for pedestrians with the extra traffic. Over the years there have been a number of vehicle incidents causing damage to properties on both sides of the Lane and the middle picture (below) is of repair work going on in month ten following an incident in June 2017. The KCC map of Hollingbourne on Eyhorne Green which is based on the Ordnance Survey shows Windmill Lane as being only suitable for pedestrians.
Windmill Lane is part owned by EI Group PLC who have declined to renew the 20 year Village Hall lease which expired on 21st August 2016 until such time as the Windmill Lane Planning application is resolved. The concern is that a successful application will set a precedent for more development on the Village Hall site which will mean that Hollingbourne will lose the Village Hall which advice received suggests will cost a million pounds to replace subject a suitable site being found.
Pictured immediately below is Windmill Lane with the Village Hall and Windmill PH Car park on the left and the development site which has no services on the right. The lane has been maintained on a pro bono basis by the Village Hall Committee and local residents. The Hall was built in 1968 and includes a chapel which is used on a regular basis for Holy Communion.
Pictured below is repair work going on in March 2018 following an incident involving a car turning into Windmill Lane in June 2017. The project which has been ongoing since last year is expected to be completed in the next month or so. On the right of the picture is the Windmill Lane Footpath sign and just out of shot is a pavement bollard which was damaged beyond repair in a separate incident. A representative of the insurers involved in this incident has suggested that bollards be placed at the edge of the Footpath which would further restrict the drive in from Eyhorne Street where there are already frequent traffic problems. Most weekdays mornings the traffic tails back for almost a mile from Hollingbourne Corner on the A20 to Tilefields.
Pictured below are the plans for the 10 large detached houses which can only be reached by the privately owned Windmill Lane Public Footpath (KH199). The Lane is only designated for use by pedestrians snd is totally single track with only one passing place.