Local Plan Update

On Monday, the Borough Council launched the final six weeks of consultation on the Local Plan.  Our fate is now in the hands of the Government Inspector.  All comments should be sent to the Borough at localplan@tmbc.gov.uk by 4pm on Monday 12 November.  They will send them to the Inspector along with comments on them from Borough officers.

On 14th October, from 12 noon until 4pm at WM Primary School, the West Malling Parish Council is holding an exhibition of all the sites likely to be submitted again by developers because TMBC has not included them in their Draft Local Plan as building sites.  There will be presentations at 1pm and 3pm.  Residents will be asked to leave their comments and information about the site which would enable the Parish Council to fight off any building proposal. 

On Monday 15 October, Borough Council Officers are holding a Drop In advice centre from 9am to 8pm at the Borough Council Kings Hill Offices, to help residents who want to put in a response to the Local Plan.  ANY RESIDENT CAN ATTEND.  No need to book.

A further meeting is being held in Tonbridge Castle on the Wednesday 17th October over the same hours. 

A public meeting is also being arranged in East Malling by the Conservation Group and the Parish Council (date to be arranged).


Borough Council Building Plans to 2031 explained

The Borough Council has published its revised Local Plan with house building plans for up to 2031.

The good news is that the Borough Council proposes to extend the Green Belt to Wateringbury Road. This was the single most popular policy with the public for the whole Plan. The bad news is that it includes 205 new houses on New Road between Bradbourne House and The King and Queen, and around 1,000 houses extending Kings Hill northward onto Broadwater Farm as far as Pikey Lane.

The document can be read on the TMBC website but it is long and in places complicated. We have three chances to hear the Plan explained:

Sunday 1st July, 12 till 3pm. West Malling Primary School, Norman Road. West Malling Parish Council Public exhibition and meeting on the Local Plan. Presentations at 12.30 and 1.30pm. Plans on display.
 
Friday 20th July 7.30 pm East Malling Institute.
 
The East Malling Conservation Group are holding their AGM on 20th July at the East Malling Institute from 7.30pm. Following a very quick AGM open only to members of the Group, the rest of the meeting will be a presentation of the Local Plan by David Thornewell, Chairman of the Parish Council, open to members of the public, followed by questions.

 


BUS PASSES FOR 11-16 year olds

The Young Persons Travel Pass for 11-16 year olds will go up by £10 to £290 per year in September.  Applications open June 4th and payment can be made half yearly.  The cost for parents on a low income is £100.  The pass is subsidised by KCC council tax payers by £300 per year and is the only such service in the country outside London.

 


Bazaar is back at the Pilsdon Community

Bazaar is back at the Pilsdon Community, Water Lane from 25th May to 5th June from 10.30 to 5pm each day except Tuesday when the hall is closed.  Bazaar sells Nepalese and Asian fabrics, clothing, jewellery, ornaments, rugs, ornaments, cards and handmade papers.  A feast of colour!  Refreshments available. 


Travellers, Update

A Court Order was served on travellers on the West Malling Village Hall Playing Fields yesterday at around 11.40 am.  It gives them 24 hours to leave the site.  If they do not do so, a bailiff service is on hand to carry out the eviction.  The Order prohibits the travellers from returning within three months.  The hall will hopefully reopen on Saturday, but the field will remain unfit for use until the Parish Council can appoint a company to clean the ground.  Currently, no firm is available until Tuesday

The Parish Council is creating a small working party to include residents to explore options for improved security.  The suppliers of retractable heavy duty security bollards have been asked to carry out a site survey for the Village Hall, Maceys Meadow and Cricket Meadow entrances. 

Draft Local Plan for 6,500 new houses

The Borough Council has published its draft Local Plan this morning.  It proposes 6,500 new houses in the Borough.  The Plan is bittersweet for our area.

The Borough is proposing to extend the Green Belt to cover all land between West and East Malling right up to Wateringbury Road.  This is great news for the hundreds of people who supported this change. 

However, large new building sites are confirmed for Kings Hill, extending northward right up to Pikey Lane.  900 houses are proposed here with a new secondary school and access onto the bypass opposite the West Malling station access. 

205 houses are proposed off New Road, East Malling running north from the existing entrance to EMRS. 

110 houses are proposed for the field behind properties on London Road between Brickfields to Town Hill, West Malling. 

12 houses are proposed for the frontage of Offham Road south of Churchfields. 

9 houses are suggested on land adjacent to Larkfield Library. 

The land between Hermitage Lane and Poppyfields roundabout in Aylesford, and in Borough Green sandpits has been allocated for housing in either the short or long term. 

This draft is open to public consultation in September.

The report can be found on the TMBC website  https://democracy.tmbc.gov.uk//ieListDocuments.aspx?Cld=159&Mid=3112&Ver=4


Four Acres Litter Pick

We are arranging a litter pick and path clearance at Four Acres for Saturday 16th June - meeting at Four Acres Village Green at 10.30am. Litter picking equipment will be provided but please bring hand tools such as rakes, brooms, secateurs and shears.

Strictly no power tools.

 


Clare Lake Volunteers Get Busy

After being thwarted by the snow at the beginning of March, volunteers were finally able to come together at Clare Lake on 7th April for the first groundwork and litter picking event of the year.  Seventeen volunteers helped to clear rubbish and vegetation, and one of the volunteers subsequently returned to mow along the edge of the Blacklands path and to create some walkways through the meadow.  The vegetation will be growing quickly soon and in order to keep on top of the situation, volunteer mornings have been arranged for the first Saturday of every month - 10.30am to 12.30pm, meeting in the school turning circle at the bottom of Clare Lane.  Litter picking equipment will be provided, but volunteers are asked to bring hand tools such as rakes, brooms, secateurs, and shears - but strictly no power tools, please.  

If you’d like more information about the project or how you can get involved, please contact Roger by emailing him at Rouds@talktalk.net or by emailing Michelle at Michelle.tatton@aol.com.

 


HGVs in High Street and Chapel Street

The problems caused by HGVs using High Street and Chapel Street have come to the fore again.  It’s always very difficult to know whether lorries are in the area for access (which is permitted) or whether they are contravening the width restriction. So long as a lorry can get under the railway bridge, however close it looks, it is not breaching the height restriction. However, as two articulated lorries have been observed going under the railway bridge in the last week - both of them foreign - with further articulated lorries seen in Mill Street, Roger and Michelle are reviewing the signage on the approaches to consider whether any repeater signage is needed. They have also arranged to carry out a Lorry Watch session and will report their findings in the next Hotline.

If residents would be interested in helping with a regular Lorry Watch Scheme, please contact Roger by emailing him at Rouds@talktalk.net or by emailing Michelle at Michelle.tatton@aol.com.


New Village Green Status for Cottenham Orchard

Local East Malling councillors have launched a call for ‘witness statements’ to help create a new Village Green at Cottenham Orchard near the heart of the village. 

Michelle Tatton local Parish Councillor said “ To get the new Village Green we need to hear from anyone who has enjoyed activities like rambling, dog walking, picnics and games in the orchard for last 20 years. We are happy to help any residents needing assistance in completing the forms which will be sent to KCC who are responsible for creating new Village Greens.We need lots of forms and the faster we get them the sooner we can protect this special place. “ 

Local County Councillor Trudy Dean explained “Creating a new Village Green would give us the fastest and one of the best protection against the development of the orchard forever.”  

Trudy is also giving £2,000 of her KCC Councillors Fund to pay for an ecological study of the site. The study will be completed over the next six months into birds, reptiles, insects and plant life. Trudy explained “ The survey will start this month managed by the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership who are experienced in protecting old orchard sites like this for wildlife. If it proves a good enough site, they will be applying for Local Nature Reserve status for the orchard which will give it even more protection.”

Roger Roud, Borough Councillor and local resident said  “This site has fantastic bird life including doves, cuckoos, fieldfares and we think nightingales. Occasional deer have also been seen in the orchard. My kids played here and my family will be completing some of these forms to make sure other kids can enjoy it in future.” 

The East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council Chairman David Thornewell said “ The Parish Council has been very successful in East Malling in creating new village greens at the King and Queen corner, Rocks Close, and most recently supporting residents in Four Acres in getting their new green. Two other greens have been created at Whimbrel Green and Willow Road in Larkfield.  Getting the orchard designated as a Village Green will also strengthen our fight to get the Green Belt extended in the new Local Plan, to protect land between East and West Malling, of which the orchard is part.

If you can help by providing a witness statement contact Michelle Tatton for the necessary form,  at michelle.tatton@aol.com or ring 01732 521889

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