Watch out for adders and other July 2019 news in brief – Updated through the month.

Dog walkers on the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust land are advised to keep an eye out for adders particularly around the gateway into the Meadows by Grove Mill Cottage. Materials in preparation for the construction of a bridge over the stream are being stored out in the open including some chippings which have been covered with a blue tarpaulin. It is understood that when the tarpaulin was removed earlier this week a small number of snakes, which were thought to be adders, were found on the chippings which retain heat in this warm weather.

Snakes like to lie on warm services and the recent hot weather makes them more visible. It is understood that the Gurkhas are no longer going to build the bridge over the stream and that the work will be completed by the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust.

Pictured below is an adder but not photographed on Hollingbourne Meadows Trust land.

A common adder.

 

Operation Brock appears to be here indefinitely and local MP Mrs Helen Whately was asked earlier this month to press Conservative Leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt for a specific date when it would be lifted. A spokesperson for Mrs Whately has replied with the following: My understanding is that the barrier remains in place because of ongoing Brexit uncertainty. As you probably know Boris Johnson has said that the UK will leave the EU on 31st October while Jeremy Hunt has said that he would be prepared to stay in the EU beyond the 31st October if it meant getting a better deal through Parliament.

The barrier which runs for 13 miles from Junction 9 in Ashford to Junction 8 in Hollingbourne is in place so the London bound carriageway of the M20 can be used for a contraflow system if it is necessary to use the coastbound side to store 2000 lorries awaiting Customs at Dover and Eurotunnel if the UK leaves the EU Customs Union after Brexit. The barrier is not popular with drivers because of a 50mph speed limit and the fact that there are frequent accidents.

Pictured below is the barrier during a trial run of the system in March 2019.

HGV’s passing each other in the Operation Brock Contraflow System 2019.

 

Walkers have complained about the state of some of the footpaths in the village including those leading from Hollingbourne Meadows Trust land up to Combe Wood and Hospital Road and elsewhere in the village. Public rights of way problems are not the responsibility of Hollingbourne Parish Council and any problems should be reported to Kent County Council at https://www.kent.gov.uk/waste-planning-and-land/public-rights-of-way/report-a-problem-on-a-right-of-way

Pictured below is a section of the local Ordnance Survey Map showing footpaths and other rights of way.

Hollingbourne OS map showing footpaths and other rights of way.

 

Hollingbourne Parish Council will consider the possible implications of Brexit on 31st October 2019 at the September Parish Council Meeting at 7.30pm on Monday 9th September in the Cardwell Pavilion. Since Brexit became a possibility the village has been visited by a number of media organisations with many taking pictures of the Operation Brock M20 barrier from the Eyhorne Street bridge on the B2149. The Kent Resilience Forum has issued planning packs and these were placed on this website earlier this year at https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/new-brexit-emergency-planning-pack-from-the-kent-resilience-forum/

More information is available from the Kent Resilience Forum at http://www.kentprepared.org.uk/page1.aspx?p=15&t=3 According to the Forum website, Brexit could means several months of disruption to daily life and there are a number of suggestions such as taking provisions on journeys in case of major traffic problems and so on.

Already there have been issues with the Operation Brock barrier with several accidents and reports of road rage incidents. After Brexit the coastbound side will be used for storing 2000 lorries awaiting Customs and Highways England have no plans to install services for lorry drivers who are stuck on the M20. After Operation Stack in 2015 which lasted for over 30 days it took some time for the verges to be cleaned although KCC did install portaloos for the drivers.

Pictured below is the Operation Brock barrier from taken from the Eyhorne Street bridge which is popular with TV crews. 

The view towards Junction 8 with the lorry storage area on the right – March 2019.

 

A celebration of the life of former Hollingbourne resident Alan Davison who died in France on 8th June after a long battle with cancer will be held in the Sugar Loaves Public House in Eyhorne Street from 5.30pm on Saturday 14th September. If you would like to attend please contact Derek Davison on Tel 880650. More information is at https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/event/a-celebration-of-the-life-of-former-hollingbourne-resident-alan-davison/?instance_id=2001

 

Kent County Council is seeking compensation from the Army after a Gurkha lorry damaged the bollard at corner of Eyhorne Street and Windmill Lane in June. The Gurkha lorry was attempting to enter Hollingbourne Meadows Trust land by a circuitous route where they were helping to build a bridge over a stream. It is understood that the Gurkhas are now overseas and that the bridge will be built by the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust.

Pictured below is the Army lorry which damaged the bollard which had just been replaced following another incident in May.

The Army lorry backing out of Windmill Lane on a second attempt after damaging the bollard on the left on the first attempt at entry.

 

Reports have been received of dogs being taken unsupervised into the children’s play area on the Lance Memorial Playing Field. The children’s play area is exclusively for children and their parents or guardians and residents are asked not to take their dogs into the area at any time. This includes evenings as well as daytime. Hollingbourne Parish Council and Hollingbourne Meadows Trust continue to urge dog owners to clear up after their dogs throughout the village.

 

In June a Hollingbourne Community Survey about the future of the Village Shop was launched and more details are at www.hollingbournevillageshop.com Although there has been a satisfactory response, not many people have responded to say that they are prepared to help with the project or volunteer to work in the shop when it hopefully opens early in 2020 after the retirement of the present shop proprietor Christopher Rudgard. More information is available from Maria Domican who lives in Eyhorne Street and who can be contacted at hollingbournevillageshop@gmail.com

Pictured below is the present Village Shop In Eyhorne Street.

Christopher’s Village Shop in Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne.

 

Maidstone Borough Council is running a public consultation from 17th July to 30th September pending a review of the Local Plan and more details are at http://consult.maidstone.gov.uk/portal/local_plan_review_-_scoping_themes__issues Representatives of Hollingbourne Parish Council have been invited to attend meeting about the Review on 22nd July in the Great Danes Hotel at 6pm.

 

This month the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner published his Annual Policing Survey. As in previous years, it asks for views on policing in Kent and for initial thoughts on whether people would be willing to pay a little more council tax next year to fund additional police resources. The Kent Association of Local Councils of which Hollingbourne Parish Council is a member has sent the following message:

We would encourage all member councils to respond and to highlight the survey to residents. The survey itself takes only a few minutes and is completely anonymous.

The link is www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/haveyoursay. There is no specified deadline but it is understood from the PCC’s office that the survey will run to December.

 

EI Group PLC ,who are the owners of the Windmill, Sugar Loaves, and Dirty Habit Public Houses are being acquired by the Stonegate Pub Company in a £3 billion deal that was announced during July. The new company will have 5000 Public Houses as well as being the landlords of Hollingbourne Village Hall where the lease expired in August 2016. All of Stonegate’s present Public Houses including Yates’, Slug and Lettuce, and Walkabout are managed and media reports indicate that the presently tenanted EI Public Houses including those in Hollingbourne will continue as at present. Hollingbourne Parish Council and the Village Hall Committee awaits a new lease to replace the twenty year one that expired three years ago. The Hall is accessed by the KH199 Public Footpath which is part owned by EI Group. The website of the Village Hall is https://www.hollingbournevillagehall.org.uk/

 

Fernham Homes have announced the 14th and 15th September as their launch date for the Brickfields Close development of 12 houses on the east side of Eyhorne Street. More information is at https://fernham-homes.co.uk/forthcoming-developments/ellesmere/  No price information is available and the development will not include any affordable homes as Maidstone Borough Council has agreed that the Section 106 payment from Fernham Homes for affordable housing will be spent elsewhere. Harrietsham CP School will receive the Section 106 payment for school places.

 

At Boris Johnson’s first Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on 25th July, Hollingbourne MP Mrs Helen Whately, who said: “As a Kent MP, can I ask him to make sure that those preparations will keep freight moving through Kent’s ports?” The Prime Minister replied that measures were in hand and acknowledged the significance of the county in keeping traffic moving in the event of delays and disruption. Just now serious accidents appear to happen almost daily on the Operation Brock M20 contraflow system between Ashford (J9) and Hollingbourne (J8) with an impact on local traffic. If the contraflow system which has no refuges over the 13 mile stretch is used in both directions there are fears that the M20 could become dangerous despite a 50mph speed limit. On the assumption that the UK leaves the EU Customs Union on 31st October the present coastbound side of the M20 will be used to store 2000 lorries awaiting Customs at Dover and Eurotunnel. No environmental impact assessment has been done relating to the storage of these lorries for hours with no facilities for the drivers. More information is at https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2019-07-25a.1456.8&s=speaker%3A25398#g1478.0

 

Kent Highways have arranged for the cones outside the Fernham Homes development in Eyhorne Street to be moved back by 200mm following complaints from local residents that the carriageway had become too narrow to allow two vehicles to pass. The action follows a formal complaint to KCC by Hollingbourne Parish Council.

 

A new Romanian ID card has been mysteriously found in long grass in the garden of a house in Eyhorne Street. The find has been advised to Kent Police and the Romanian Embassy who requested it be returned to their Consular Section in London.

 

Lenham residents are planning to launch a Lenham Meadows Trust on similar lines to the successful Hollingbourne Meadows Trust and have been given some initial assistance by the Hollingbourne Trust.

 

Fred Lucette, a long term resident of Culpeper, died on 30th July at the age of 79 after a longer illness. The funeral is on 19th August at 2.45pm in Vinters Park Crematorium.

 

The 2019 Hollingbourne Fireworks Display in November is to be held on Hollingbourne Meadows Trust land and not in the grounds of Hollingbourne County Primary School as in previous years. The proposed site is near to the Grove Mill Cottage entrance to the Meadows. The date of the Fireworks Display is Friday 1st November and more details will be announced in due course.

Pictured below is a previous fireworks display in Hollingbourne.

A Hollingbourne Fireworks Show.