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Parishes join to Staycation trend ‘has peaked’

oppose J8 plan FOURTEEN parish councils have joined to publicly oppose the Waterside Park proposals close to the M20. Maidstone’s Joint Parish Group – representing some 23,000 voters to the south and east of Maidstone – has written to the borough council’s head of planning, Rob Jarman, to object to all the proposals for the land off J8 near Hollingbourne. In a lengthy statement, the consortium states: “The propos- als, by virtue of their size and scale together with the nature of their operations, will introduce an alien form of development to a rural setting, destroying its character and social function.” The Gallagher Group has ap-

plied for a 56,000 sq m light in- dustrial

estate with

warehousing, a crèche and café on farmland south of the A20 near junction 8 – next to the A20/M20 roundabout between the Great Danes Hotel and Old Mill Road.

Entrance gates plan A PLANNING application has been submitted to install re- placement timber entrance gates at Hill Place, Linton Hill, Linton. The scheme, which will be de- termined by Maidstone Council, also involves adjustment to the existing access.

A MAIDSTONE Council officer believes the “staycation” effect has peaked in the borough. Laura Dickson, the council’s visitor economy business unit leader, says that small holiday conversions or new-build holi- day lets are unlikely to be prof- itable, as the trend to spurn foreign holidays shows no signs of becoming more widespread. Quoting a 40% occupancy fig-

ure for self-catering holiday units in Kent in 2012, she wrote: “Although the stayca- tion effect has increased de- mand for value holidays, it

probably has now peaked. We have found from the enquiries that there are too many single units or small units and but perhaps not enough multiple units or large units to meet de- mand, requested by large fam- ily groups, groups of friends. “There are also poor facilities

on site to entice all-year-round use.” Ms Dickson was writing to a representative for Alan Swift, who has applied to replace re- dundant outbuildings, which were part of a poultry farm, with a three-bed holiday let at

Koban Farm in Gravelly Bot- tom Road, Kingswood. A supporting statement said:

“The design provides three- bedroom accommodation, ca- pable of sleeping 10 people. “The site is located adjacent

to a public right of way which, if followed leads tomanywalk- ing and biking routes across the countryside. The holiday lets will therefore also appeal to hikers, bikers, bird waters etc. A secure bike storage facility has also been proposed.” Maidstone Council will deter- mine the planning application.

Cobbles here to stay, says vicar

RUMOURSthat an historic church path is to be pulled up are a ‘load of old cob- bles’ according to its parish priest. The Parochial Church Council at St

Peter and St Paul Church, Yalding, is looking atways ofmaking the pathway to the church safer. But speculation that the centuries-old cobbles are to be removed is pure fic- tion, says Rev Paul Filmer, the vicar. “The path can be treacherous in win-

ter,” he explained, “but there is ab- solutely no intention of removing it.” RevFilmer said therehadbeen talk of

lifting some of the cobbles and replac- ing them more evenly, as well as the possibility of running a more modern, even, pathway alongside butheassured

therewere no plans to remove the cob- bles, whichwere an integral part of the church and the village character. He said: “Another option would be to

close the north access in bad weather to ensure everyone used the lych gate andwestern approach. The cobbles can be very slippery when wet and even worsewhen there is ice and snow.” The church has erected a handrail

along one length of the path but the cobblesareonasteep inclineandwalk- ing on them can prove tricky. Rev Filmer said: “We would not want

an accident to occur to anyone using the path soare simplyexploringwaysof making the approach safer.” No deci- sion had yet been made, he said.


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