The Bearsted and Thurnham Society, who have campaigned for many years against development around Junction 8 of the M20 in Hollingbourne, have challenged Maidstone Borough Council on the numbers of development sites in the Hollingbourne and East of Maidstone area. The list of possible sites, including 10 in the Parish of Hollingbourne, was published on 4th November. Additionally Robert Sinclair of the Society has asked William Cornall, the MBC Director of Regeneration and Place to say how many residents had responded with comments on the Local Plan Review which includes the allocation of development sites by the closing date of 30th September.
The list of Hollingbourne sites is at https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/mbc-call-for-development-sites-identifies-10-possible-locations-in-hollingbourne-including-junction-8/
The Society is concerned that MBC has ignored local concerns and is ploughing on with massive developments around Junction 8, at Lenham Heath, and elsewhere without the necessary infrastructure such as roads, jobs, schools, and hospitals. This is as well as the possible effect on local traffic if Operation Brock on the M20 was to become an ongoing feature of daily life. Once the UK has left the EU Customs Union, it may take several years for the UK to negotiate a Customs Treaty with the EU which would mean that Operation Brock, where thousands of lorries awaiting Customs at Dover and Eurotunnel are parked on the M20 from Junction 8 to Junction 9, would no longer be necessary. Assuming the UK leaves the EU in January 2020 as part of Brexit, it may take most of a decade to resolve the local traffic problem based on the time it takes to agree most trade deals such as the recent EU one with Canada. If this actually happened then the effect of local traffic and life in general could be significant.
Mr Sinclair has provided Mr Cornall with specific examples of where Local Plan consultation has not been done properly including at Saint Helen’s and at Sevenoaks. A full response from MBC is awaited.
It will be recalled that the previous Call for Sites exercise in 2014 resulted in planning permission for developments on Godfrey Meadow where the lack of sewer capacity in the village means that foul water is stored and then pumped out overnight. There is also the Brickfields Close development, that is currently marketed as Ellesmere, which opens on to a narrow stretch of Eyhorne Street where vehicles often have to mount the pavement in order to pass while the unbuilt Windmill Lane scheme can only be accessed by a narrow Public Footpath. The Parish Council’s reservations on all of these schemes were totally ignored by MBC.
The Bearsted and Thurnham Society has today circulated the following newsletter to their members:
Local Plan First Review – Call for Sites 2019
You may have read in the press or on social media about Maidstone Borough Council’s “Call for Sites” exercise as part of the Local Plan First Review process.
For details, including a map and numbers of dwellings, particularly those affecting Bearsted, Thurnham and adjoining parishes please visit the Society’s website
Although the Regulation 18 consultation for this First Review closed on 30th September, the results of the “Call for Sites” was only published on 4th November.
MBC’s next consultation, which will include preferred sites, is due to take place in February 2020. That will be the time for us to study the proposals closely and decide on which to comment.
Maidstone Borough Council:-
“The Call for Sites was an important early step in the Review of the MBC Local Plan which was open between March and May 2019. The purpose of the Call for Sites is to establish what land is potentially available in the Borough. The land that was submitted will form an important part of the evidence base that underpins the spatial pattern of development included in the Local Plan.
These sites have been put forward by landowners and/or prospective developers to the council as part of its local plan review process. At the point of release (4 November 2019) no decisions have been taken on these sites. Not all sites will be needed for the local plan review and many will be deemed unsuitable.
The Council is currently assessing all of the sites received for their suitability for inclusion in the Local Plan Review.”
Hollingbourne Parish Council will consider the 10 sites in the Parish at the November Parish Council Meeting in the Cardwell Pavilion at 7.30pm on Monday 11th November. All are welcome.
Pictured below is the MBC Call for Sites Map 2019 with possible development sites marked in red.