News Anger at plan for more homes

OPPOSITION is growing to plans by developer Croudace Homes to build another 330 properties on land east of Hermitage Lane. The outline application submit-

ted in December has already re- ceived over 130 letters of objection and a protest group has created a Facebook page called No To Her- mitage Park Expansion. Croudace already owns the neighbouring Hermitage Park de- velopment of 500 homes, which lies within the borough of Maid- stone. This latest site, south of Barming Station, falls in the bor- ough of Tonbridge and Malling. Many objections express con-

cern that the extra housing will exacerbate existing traffic prob- lems along Hermitage Lane, which serves as the main access road to Maidstone Hospital. Josh Clark, one of the founders

of No To Hermitage Park Expan- sion, said: “This site is about the only bit of open green space left, There are footpaths across it and it's an important area for people in Hermitage Lane and Allington.”

Winter help

with pipes A WATER company has ad- vised its customers to carry out a “winter MOT” on their homes to prevent burst pipes. South East Water, which provides drinking water for Kent, warns of problems in at- tics and outbuildings caused by freezing temperatures. Steve Andrews, head of central operations, said: “Burst pipes are a very un- pleasant and inconvenient problem, and when they hap- pen inside the home or in the boundary of a property they are usually the responsibility of the householder to repair.” The utility company says its customers can take “easy” steps to protect exposed taps by accessing free insulation kits which it provides. An online directory Water-

Safe is the plumbing indus- try’s national accreditation body and has a list of ap- proved plumbers. For the winter kit, addi-

tional advice and a video on how to protect water pipes go to ter.

28 Another wrote: “Traffic prob-

lems cause risks to emergency ac- cess to the hospital. Housing is not the solution. Traffic improve- ments are.” If plans proceed, new homes

will occupy the last remaining area of open green space along Hermitage Lane. One objector wrote: “The infras- tructure isn’t coping and the ground clearly isn’t, with all the

sinkholes.” Two estates would adjoin but

lie in different boroughs, each of which faces its own Government housing targets. The of last month’s planning

application led to accusations of Croudace trying to camouflage its intentions. Cllr Colin Williams said: “Councillors are required to make decisions in line with planning law, and guidance, and unfortu- nately that often limits the choices that can be made. “Even though I don’t want it to

go through, I’ve no choice as my hands are tied.” A spokesman for Tonbridge

and Malling Borough Council said: “Neighbours’ comments, the impact on surrounding roads, the natural environment and local fa- cilities are all taken into account when deciding an application of this type.”

Houses agreed

TWO houses can be built to re- place the Courtyard Studios next to grade II-listed Hollingbourne House, on Hollingbourne Hill, say planners. Maidstone Council officers said

the proposal would remove the photographic studio and provide two family homes and improve- ments to neighbouring amenity. Historic walls would be re-

Neighbours clear path

A GROUP of community-spirited residents from Wheatfields and Har- vesters Way spent their New Year break clearing fallen leaves and branches from a pathway in Grovewood Drive South. The pathway near the bus stop and Harvesters Way had not been

cleared by Maidstone Borough Council since recent heavy rain and gales had made it slippery and dangerous. When an elderly person using walking aids almost fell due to the condi-

tions, the group took to the street and filled several garden waste bins with mud and fallen debris, to make the path safe again. The clear-up was organised by Vanessa Hayday, Chris Smith and Josephine Rodgers and Barry Rodgers.

stored and gardens brought back in to use. The committee was concerned

about design and said build ma- terials must reflect the area.

Flats at park

A PLANNING application has now been submitted for two buildings with 172 residential apartments and 1,169sqm of com- mercial space at Mote Road car park, Maidstone. It includes demolition of Shan-

Bubble run for hospice is back Retirement plan

THIS year’s Bubble Rush, which was postponed last year due to COVID-19 guidelines, is now scehduled to take place at Mote Park on Sunday, June 13. The fun run in aid of Demelza Hospice features four stations along

a route where cannons pump put coloured foam. Every course is fam- ily friendly and suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

don House. There would be a new access to the site and 47 parking places.

PLANNING permission has now been given for 24 extra-care re- tirement homes and a club house on land west of 70 Church Road, Boughton Monchelsea.

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