Update on the future of the Hollingbourne bus service and other October 2019 news in brief – Updated through the month.

Hollingbourne Village is presently serviced by the number 13 bus service which runs around every two hours except on Sundays when there is no service from All Saints’ Church through Eyhorne Street and on via Leeds to Otham and then on to the Sutton Road into Maidstone. Last year it was proposed to amend the service so that it only went as far as Morrisons on the Sutton Road where passengers would join the number 12 bus coming in from Tenterden and Headcorn. This new feeder arrangement, which would mean that the 5 mile journey into Maidstone would take almost an hour, was supposed to start in June but this has not happened.

It appears that the delay in starting the new service is connected with problems in creating a service interchange point near Morrisons that is related to electric cables in the area. Hollingbourne Parish Council has received the following information from Kent County Council who financially support the service and who clearly want to make cost savings on public transport. All this comes at a time when Kent is under pressure to build thousands of more homes without any obvious investment in infrastructure including roads and public transport.  Please Read More for further information:

Further to the previous update, I can confirm that following discussions with UKPN’s engineers, a number of options have been explored to ensure that the necessary infrastructure improvements to facilitate the feeder pilot are delivered at the earliest date possible.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the works required to update the cables within the vicinity, a road closure adjacent to Sutton Road will be required. All road closures within the highway require a permit, and due to the nature of the works not being an emergency, a standard 12-week notice period applies. Currently the works are scheduled for December. We are continuing to work with both UKPN and the Streetworks team to seek opportunities to bring this forward, however you may appreciate that there is currently a lot of works scheduled around the Maidstone Borough which may limit this.

We are seeking alternative locations where the feeder bus can wait for the commercial service within the area. This will be dependent on Health and Safety assessments being completed to ensure local traffic is not impeded by a waiting bus. We anticipate confirming this by the end of October, prior to the next meeting.

We will still run the service for a 12-month period to test the feeder bus concept within the local area. It is unfortunate that UKPN did not inform us of the scale of the works until they submitted permit.

Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Robert Clark MCIPS | Contracts and Commissioning Support Manager | Commercial Team – Highways, Transportation & Waste | Kent County Council | Invicta House, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1XX | www.kent.gov.uk |

Pictured below is a  bus as operated by Nu Venture on the 13 route from Monday o Friday. The Saturday service is run by Arriva.

A Nu Venture bus of the type that comes to Hollingbourne.

 

Maidstone Borough Council has launched a consultation on Affordable and Local Needs Housing. Hollingbourne Parish council has pressed MBC unsuccessfully for “affordable Housing” to be built in Hollingbourne but the Section 106 funds paid by the developers of Godfrey Meadow and Brickfields Close for affordable housing will be spent elsewhere in the Borough. The section 106 money to be paid by the Windmill Lane developers will also be spent somewhere else. In fact with the exception of monies for playground equipment all of the monies paid by Hollingbourne developers for housing, school places, and libraries will not benefit Hollingbourne. It is understood that Maidstone Borough Council will publish a new list of possible housing development sites on 4th November and that some may be in Hollingbourne. 

Affordable housing is deemed to be houses at 70% of market prices and the cheapest Brickfields Close houses are £360,000 for a two bedroomed demi detached property. Social or Local Needs housing are properties for rent at 50% of market rates and none have been built in Maidstone for several years. Despite the lack of  reasonably priced housing Maidstone Borough Council has been pressed by the Government to allow the construction of thousands of new houses although many have concerns that the infrastructure is inadequate. In Hollingbourne the sewerage from the Godfrey Meadow development is stored and then pumped out overnight because of established constraints with the village sewers. The latest Maidstone Pan is to build a 5000 home garden village on Lenham Heath which will be served by the already busy A20.

Please Read More for details of the consultation from Maidstone Borough Council.

Maidstone Borough Affordable and Local Needs Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)
The Affordable and Local Needs Housing Supplementary Planning Document has been prepared for public consultation. The consultation document provides further advice on how relevant housing policies considered within the adopted Local Plan are to be implemented.
We are asking for your views on these matters and any others you feel the Affordable and Local Needs Housing SPD should cover.
The Affordable and Local Housing Needs SPD can be viewed and downloaded from the council’s website and is available for inspection at:
• Maidstone Link, King Street, Maidstone, ME15 6JQ
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 9.00 to 16.30; Wednesday 10.00 to 16.30
All libraries in Maidstone Borough during normal opening hours
Please send us your comments using the consultation portal https://maidstone-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/
Alternatively comments can be sent:
• By email to ldf@maidstone.gov.uk
• By post to Strategic Planning, Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, ME15 6JQ

Consultation opens on Monday 7th October and we need to receive your comments no later than 5pm on Monday 18th November.
All consultation comments will be made publicly available on the consultation portal (https://maidstone-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/ ) in due course. This is so that interested parties can view all the responses that have been received. Published information will include the comment and responder name. All demographic and contact data will be removed. All data is processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Pictured below is an image of the lowest price houses in the Brickfields Close development which stat at £360,000. Others cost up £400,000 more.

Computer image of some of the homes in Brickfields Close on the east side of Eyhorne Street.

 

The Maidstone Borough Council Conservation Officer has reportedly made adverse comments on long installed UPVC drainpipes and gutters on listed houses in the Eyhorne Street Conservation Area. The matter came to light when the MBC Planning Department last month refused a retrospective planning application for an extension to a listed house in Eyhorne Street for a number of reasons  including the fact that UPVC drainpipes and gutters had been installed instead of metal ones. Neighbouring properties with installed UPVC pipes and gutters were also visited and concern was expressed by the MBC representative. Most houses in the Conservation Area have UPVC pipes and gutters and Hollingbourne Parish Council is monitoring the situation although it is believed that the issue only affects certain properties and is not a general matter of concern for other residents. Local MBC Councillor Patrik Garten has been advised and he can be contacted at PatrikGarten@Maidstone.gov.uk

 

The date of the 2020 Summer Fete and Exemption Dog Show has been fixed for 13th June on the Lance Memorial Playing Field and the first Planning Meeting will be on Monday 4th November at 8pm in the Sugar Loaves PH in Eyhorne Street. All are welcome.

Pictured below is the opening of the 2019 event in the pouring rain!

Jim Findlay MBE and Andrew Snowdon, Compere, in the pouring rain (2019).

 

The Leeds and Hollingbourne Branch of the Royal British Legion is under threat after 85 years and needs a new Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Secretary at the AGM in the Village Hall at 8pm on Tuesday 5th November. More details are available from Derek Davison (Tel 880650). The Annual Remembrance Service will be held at 10.45am on Sunday 10th November in Leeds Church.  There will also  be Acts of Remembrance at Hollingbourne War Memorial at 9.30am and at Broomfield Church at 12.15pm. There will also be a short Act of Remembrance with the children of Hollingbourne CP School at 10.45am on Monday 11th November. All are welcome.

The red poppy which is the emblem of the Royal British Legion.

 

The All Saints’ Harvest Supper on 4th October in the Village Hall was cancelled due to a lack of ticket sales. On the 3rd October children from Hollingbourne CP School distributed harvest boxes to local seniors. The Annual Harvest Festival Service was held in All Saints’ Church on 6th October.

 

Local PCSO Daniel Genn is leaving Kent Police at the end of October. A replacement is yet to be appointed. The Kent police are recruiting at a Blue Light Jobs Fair at the Orchard Academy on 14th November at the Orchards Academy, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7TE between 6pm and 9pm.

 

The Annual General Meeting of the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust has been fixed for 26th November at 7pm in Hollingbourne Village Hall. All are welcome. The website of the Trust is http://www.hollingbournemeadowstrust.co.uk/

 

A decision about the future of the Hollingbourne Book Group will be made early in 2020. The last meeting was held in the summer and no further meetings are planned for this year. Unless there is more interest, the Group may join the list of Hollingbourne societies that have fallen by the wayside in recent years including both the Cricket and Football Clubs, the Hollingbourne Society, the Darby and Joan Club, among others. The Royal British Legion may close in November (please see above) if there are no new members. Over the last few decades Hollingbourne has also lost  a number of shops, the Post Office, a garden centre, a doctor’s surgery, frequent bus services to Maidstone and Sittingbourne, a mobile fish and chip shop, a tea rooms, and a full time police officer with a police house and a small police sub-station.  These losses have changed the character of the village and the lack of affordable housing has possibly meant that it seems to have become less of a community and more of a dormitory and a traffic route. The loss of services and shops has also meant that some residents, particularly those who are elderly and live on their own, have become isolated. However during the same period the number of pupils at Hollingbourne CP School has doubled with many coming from outside of Hollingbourne.

 

A Hollingbourne Village Litter Pick Up Day is planned for Saturday 16th November from 10.30am to midday which will start from Tanyard Green. Bags etc will be provided and all are welcome.

 

The Hollingbourne Meadows Trust has published their 2020 calendar and will be on sale at the Hollingbourne Fireworks on 1st November at £6.50 per copy. Stiff envelopes for posting are available for 30p. Copies are also available from the Trust and the website is http://www.hollingbournemeadowstrust.co.uk/

 

Mystery solved! – If anybody has ever wondered about the purpose of the small white box half way up the Hollingbourne Parish Council lamp post on Eyhorne Street near to Hasteds, it is a KCC device which transmits details of the road surface temperature back to KCC so they know when to grit Hollingbourne roads.

 

The M20 from Junction 9 in Ashford to Junction 8 in Hollingbourne was closed for 4 hours on 23rd October while police attended an incident involving 9 suspected illegal immigrants. A 7 mile traffic jam on the London bound Operation Brock two lane contraflow system held up drivers for several hours.

 

The opening of Woods of Hollingbourne may be delayed from the planned end of October or beginning of November because the property needs additional refurbishment because of damp in the walls and floor. Until the opening Christopher Rudgard, formerly of the Village Shop which closed on 29th September,will continue to sell morning papers from his home at 65 Eyhorne Street. Until the new shop opens in the old premises, there will be no weekly Post Office on Wednesdays in Hollingbourne. The proposes opening hours are from 7am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday and from 8am to 6.30pm on Sundays. UPDATE – The proposed opening date is Monday 11th November.

Pictured below is Julie Wood of Woods of Hollingbourne.

Julie Wood outside the shop which will shortly be redecorated and branded as Woods of Hollingbourne. A website is being created.