Parish Council response to Draft Local Plan Consultation – no development.

Parish Council response to Draft Local Plan Consultation – no development.

Hollingbourne Parish Council’s response to the Maidstone Borough Council Draft Local Plan is to oppose development of a warehouse and distribution complex at Junction 8 of the M20 and all new housing in the village until at least such time as the existing sewer and other infrastructure problems are solved. The closing date for the Public Consultation is 5pm on 18th March comments can be sent to LDF@maidstone.gov.uk

Fomore information please go to http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/council/have-your-say/current-consultations The Joint Parishes Group who represent 23,000 local residents in communities on the Hollingbourne side of Maidstone is at /hollingbournepc/UserFiles/file/JPG%20submission%20regulation%2019%20consultation%20march%202016.pdf

The response from Hollingbourne Parish Council is as follows:-

Hollingbourne Parish Council would like to make the following comments:-

1.       The Draft Plan is accompanied by a questionnaire that requires specialist technical and legal knowledge to answer and is intimidating and may induce some potential respondents to decline to comment.

2.       The Draft Local Plan assumes 18560 new homes but only 14400 new jobs are envisaged which in normal circumstances would only require 9,000 to 10,000 new homes. The local infrastructure in insufficient for the present population with frequent traffic issues and a general lack of good and affordable public transport.

3.       The Draft Plan includes a major warehousing and distribution complex at Woodcut Farm at Junction 8 of the M20. Three previous developments in the area have been successfully opposed over the last thirty years at great public expense by Maidstone Borough Council, Kent County Council, Leeds Castle, Natural England, CPRE, the Joint Parishes Group representing 23,000 local residents, Hollingbourne Parish Council and hundreds of individuals. The successful arguments have not changed and Hollingbourne Parish Council strongly opposes this development.

4.       The Draft Plan proposes 39 new houses for Hollingbourne including 14 that are presently under construction opposite Godfrey House. Despite strong opposition from Hollingbourne Parish Council, Kent County Council, and local residents on several grounds Maidstone Borough Council granted planning permission in May 2014. The principal reasons for opposing the development at H1- 64 included the following:-

a.       It is outside of the Village Envelope which previously limited development around the Eyhorne Street Conservation Area.

b.      The additional traffic problems caused by the development especially as Eyhorne Street is narrow and there is often only room for traffic in one direction. This site and the proposed site on the opposite side of Eyhorne Street H1-63 access the B2163/C603 at points where many traffic accidents have occurred.

c.       Hollingbourne Village School is oversubscribed and cannot be easily enlarged because of a restrictive covenant on the adjoining land which is owned by a charity.

d.      This particular site is a water meadow and provides ground water drainage which prevents the bourne from overflowing in Eyhorne Street at the bridge.

e.      The village sewer system has to be pumped out by an emergency tanker at any time of the day or night via a manhole in the front garden of a house in Hasteds. Maidstone Borough Council were informed about this in May 2014 and ignored a recommendation from Southern Water  that a sewerage capacity check be undertaken. As Southern Water have no plans to remedy the situation the Parish Council is opposing all future development until such time as the matter is rectified and is minded asking the new owners of the 14 houses to only flush their loos and use their washing machines after midnight in order to reduce the pressure on the village system. At some point when the sewer system is brought up to standard the Parish Council may consider a small development of affordable homes possibly on land that was formerly used as the goods yard for the railway station. A Housing Needs survey has identified a small requirement for affordable housing.

5.       The reasons for opposing the development of 10 houses by Fernham Homes opposite the Wealden Homes scheme in Eyhorne Street are as stated in note 4 with the exception of 4d. The site H1-63 is between Godfrey House, a Grade 1 listed property and Claygate.

Hollingbourne Parish Council also has reservations about a possible scheme to build 15 houses at the rear of the Windmill PH for the same reasons as stated in 5. In addition there is no public vehicular access to the site as the site is reached by a privately owned and maintained 3 metre wide public footpath which runs between listed properties. The Draft Plan access map shows the access crossing the private forecourts and garden areas of adjoining properties and no permission has been sought or obtained for the inclusion of this land. Even if the footpath could be used by vehicles on an unrestricted basis it is not wide enough to meet generally recognised planning guidelines at    http://www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/12096/design-guide-movement.pdf or be wide enough for a fire engine as specified at http://www.hertsdirect.org/infobase/docs/pdfstore/fireaccess.pdf

Pictured below (left)of the sign at the end of the footpath leading to the site at the rear of the Windmill PH and the side of the Windmill PH  (right) that is most frequently hit by passing traffic. In the picture the gutter is yet to be repaired following the most recent incident.

The public footpath signpost pointing to the proposed housing site.THe side of the Windmill PH that is often hit by vehicles.