Superfast Broadband Bid runs into problems – UPDATED

Hollingbourne Parish Council’s joint bid with Leeds and Broomfield and Kingswood Parish Councils for a grant from DEFRA for Superfast Broadband for the communities east of Maidstone has run into problems. Since DEFRA accepted the initial Expression Interest, a more comprehensive application form which runs to over thirty pages has been received.

Many of the questions for the grant which requires an investment of just over £500,000 require information that is beyond the resources of Hollingbourne Parish Council and the other local Parish Councils involved.

In other parts of Kent local Parish Councils have been supported with their bids with resources from their local Borough Councils such as Tunbridge Wells.

It has been decided to ask the local Borough and County Councillors for Hollingbourne (and Leeds and Broomfield and Kingswood) for assistance and major resource from Maidstone Borough Council and Kent County Council so that the DEFRA grant application can procveed with a view to obtaining Superfast broadband by the end of 2013.

UPDATE FROM JENNY WHITTLE – LOCAL COUNTY COUNCILLOR ON 16th MAY 2012 – THE ABOVE NEWS ITEM WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN APRIL.

I had a discussion with Peter Corfield (the Kingswood resident who is the project manager coordinating the bid from Broomfield and Kingswood, Hollingbourne and Leeds parishes) on Monday night and met today with Alison Broom and Zena Cooke from MBC.  It has been confirmed to me that the bid will now be coordinated by MBC’s Economic Development Officer, Keith Grimley, so that the onerous work that is attached to the next stage of the process (imposed by Defra) will now not be borne entirely by the volunteers involved.  I hope this provides some reassurance and fingers crossed we will get high speed broadband available to the parishes involved by next year.