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 [email protected] or by emailing Michelle at [email protected].


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 [email protected] or by emailing Michelle at [email protected].

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 [email protected] or ring 01732 521889

Bus Services

Kent County Council is considering the issue of the support they give to some bus services in Kent as part of its efforts to reduce the county council budget. One of the services that might be affected is Service 58 that serves East Malling and goes via Maidstone Hospital. The Parish Council continues to press for the return of service 71 along the northern section of Lunsford Lane. A consultation is promised if KCC makes a budget reduction.

The Liberal Democrats, the official opposition on Kent County Council, are fighting these cuts but we need your help - sign our petition to save Kent's bus services.

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Winterfield Farm, East Malling

Plans have been submitted for the conversion of the barn at this site to a house. This follows the planning rules being relaxed to allow in some cases barns to be converted without the need for planning permission. The parish council felt the conversion met the rules but it will be for borough planning officers to legally decide.

Local Plan Review

East Malling Larkfield parish council has lobbied the area’s two MPs about Government plans to change the way the number of houses each district must provide which borough officers say would mean finding land for another 2,000 homes on top of the 6,500 that has already been estimated. This would mean pressure to release even more greenfield sites in the eastern end of the borough including East Malling and Larkfield as the rest of the district is in the Green Belt.

The Government’s decision is awaited.....

Leybourne Lakes Country Park

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, as part of its efforts to reduce overall spending, has been looking at the future management arrangements for the country park which despite its name is mostly in Larkfield with the rest in Snodland parish.

The park currently costs about £120,000 net to run. The borough also holds around £700,000 from the funds deposited by the former developers Berkley Homes towards a possible visitor centre, education room and cafe. These funds have been held since the park opened in 2003.

TMBC has obtained reports on the possible provision of a visitor centre and also on the possible business potential of the park, including the income potential of such a centre. Ideally, the Borough would like to eliminate the cost of running the site but recognises its status as a country park.

Just before Christmas parish councillors Pam Ayrton and David Thornewell met borough representatives to discuss the position. They have stressed they would like to see a well-designed cafe and visitor centre to replace the current cabins by the Ocean Lake and mobile snack bar. Such a facility if well run could reduce the overall costs. But they also stressed they would not wish to see the commercialisation of the site and that its wildlife and quiet recreational use should be kept. This includes the fishing lakes. They would oppose for example power boats on the lake. The borough promised further consultations with the parish.


FOUR local volunteer groups received Environmental Awards from the Borough Council!

Environmental Champion “Love Where You Live” awards, sponsored by Veolia, were awarded by the Mayor at a Tonbridge Castle ceremony.

Anita Oakley’s work organising (and feeding) Larkfield Litter Pickers, and East Malling volunteer Linda Bailey’s work in East Malling litter clearing group were recognised with awards.

Michelle Tatton also received an award for her work organising Clare Lake volunteers.

Michelle made a short presentation to the audience of photographs illustrating the transformation of the lake over the last few years.

Councillor Trudy Dean increases her allowance to aid advertising for community events

COUNTY Councillor Trudy Dean has decided to use her increased allowance to pay for advertising in Downs Mail.

Mrs Dean has been given a 15% increase in her allowance, which she opposed, and she has decided to use that money to advertise community events in her county division of East and West Malling and Larkfield.

She said: “I opposed the increase in Councillors allowances but do not want to see residents I represent disadvantaged. So I have decided to use it instead of advertising of main local community events.

“Social events like East Malling ‘Picnic in the Park’, West Malling [email protected] Festival and Larkfield Martin Square lighting up event bring people together, enrich our lives and often provide an opportunity for local voluntary groups to fundraise for their activities.

“I have chosen Downs Mail as it circulates my entire area free of charge, making sure everyone is able to get involved in supporting local community life.”

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