Last month Maidstone Borough Council launched their Local Plan Review Public Consultation which has a closing date of 30th September 2019. Copies of the Review documents are in libraries but it is expected that responses are sent in online as there appears to be no current provision for those who do not have internet access.
At a meeting on 23rd July in the Great Danes Hotel with MBC Planners and other local Councils a request was made for printed documents about the Review to be made available in villages including Hollingbourne where there are no public libraries and where internet connections can be poor or non-available. As a general guide around one third of the general population have poor or no access to the internet and this can be a real problem on the North Downs. In the case of Hollingbourne, about 300 people probably do not have any or good internet access.
The Parish Clerk has now received six copies of the Local Plan Review Summary Document of which five copies have been placed in Christopher’s Village Shop.
A report of the meeting on 23rd July is at https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/mbc-to-consider-making-local-plan-review-documents-more-widely-available-in-print-form/ and the formal notice of the Consultation is at https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/mbc-launch-public-consultation-on-the-local-plan/ . This has been reproduced in the August issue of the Parish Magazine.
Although five copies of the Review summary are now in the Village Shop, it is still necessary to have access to the internet ion order to comment on the Plan which seems to exclude residents who are not able to access the internet. A further copy has been retained by the Parish Clerk (Tel 880526.
Hollingbourne Parish Council has had reservations about the housing sites allocated by Maidstone Borough Council in the last few years because of traffic and access problems, issues with infrastructure including sewerage capacity, and the fact that most of the Section 106 payments for infrastructure, affordable housing, and school places have been allocated elsewhere in Maidstone. It is understood that under the terms of the Review, more housing sites can be added but undeveloped existing ones cannot be removed.
Pictured below is Vicki Smith, Parish Clerk (right) handing over the 5 printed copies of the Consultation Summary to Tania Shillingford (left) in Christopher’s Village Shop.