News Flats opposed

on site of pub PLANS to build a block of flats and four houses on the site of a former pub have drawn opposition from neighbours at Blue Bell Hill. Path Property Group wants de-

velop the land once occupied by the Upper Bell in an Area of Outstand- ing Natural Beauty (AONB) over- looking the North Downs. More than 40 objections have been posted on Tonbridge and Malling Council’s website. although a num- ber of people said the designs were innovative andwell thought-out and the developmentwas needed to up- grade the area. In the past, the derelict site had been taken over by squatters and become an eyesore. Most objectors felt the 10 flats and four-bedroom homes with 30 park- ing spaceswere not in keeping with other properties in the village and raised concerns about parking. TheAONBunit objected to the ap- plication, saying the scale, density, design and use of metal roofing would fail to ensure the local char- acter was conserved, and would re- sult in adevelopment of greater bulk than the old pub. Officerswere also concerned about the loss of a pro- tected chestnut tree. The Upper Bell stood on a now-

closed slip route to Blue Bell Hill. It shut in 2003 andwas demolished.

Church opens doors to visitors with ‘hard hats’

ALL Saints’ Church, Snodland, which is closed while urgent work is carried out on repairing the building, held an open day and welcomed visitors for “hard hat” tours.

Architect Paul Sharrock and site manager, Emma Carr, took parties up the outside of the church and the chancel arch. Mr Sharrock ex- plained the work that had already been completed and what else needed to be done before the church opens, hopefully by De- cember. All Saints’, described as an im- portant historical building and a local treasure, was placed on the English Heritage “at risk” register in 2014. The total cost of the repairs is in

the region of £500,000, but the Her- itage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given a grant of £222,600 for the urgent work. The Rector of Snodland, the Rev

Hugh Broadbent, said: "I would like to thank Paul and Emma for giving the time for our open day. How fortunatewe are to have such an expert team carrying out the

Architect Paul Sharrock (left) shows visitors the work at All Saints’ Church

work to this ancient and beautiful building. "I am very appreciative of the

time they have given showing members of the community around. They came to see the team at close quarters to hear and see what is happening." As in all HLF projects, the scheme has two main parts. The first is to repair or restore the build- ing and an activity plan is also re- quired to enhance the use of the

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building by the wider community. Volunteer welcomers are re- quired, there will be three circular walks incorporating the church in conjunction with the KentWildlife Trust, a primary school education programme entitled the “Journey of Life” and concerts, talks and small art exhibitions. The Rector would be delighted to

hear from musicians, speakers or local artists who might be inter- ested in contributing.

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