News Fury at work to extend homes

RESIDENTS are incensed the large-scale redevelopment of two semi-detached properties is al- legedly progressing without planning consent.

The properties, former family

homes at Bower Place, are owned by Tunji Salami, a property in- vestor and director of The Homevalley Group, based in Bex- leyheath. Plans submitted last month to Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) proposes they become homes of multiple occupancy (HMO), but they have not yet been passed.

Residents are angry that work appears to be taking place in ad- vance of planning consent. Kelly Wissenden (pictured), whose property is one of many overlooked by the large-scale de- velopment in Bower Place, said: “The developer started work weeks before applying for plan- ning permission and is continuing with work rather than waiting for

permission to be granted.” Objections lodged with MBC argue the size of the development is out of character with the Victo- rian cottages of the area and it will create an invasion of privacy and deprivation of daylight.

They also highlight the impact on health services and the inade- quacy of local infrastructure to cope with the purpose of an HMO.

Mr Salami, who has confirmed there will be 14 bedrooms in the new development, said: “Every- thing we have done is under per- mitted development. There are residents who are happy we are adding value to the street in terms of improvement. People who aren’t happy are people who are resistant to change.” Mrs Wissenden, who has two

teenage daughters, added: “The developer has submitted numer- ous applications, none of which detail the full extent of the work being undertaken, and we believe this is a deliberate strategy to con- fuse and mislead.”

Fant Labour councillor Paul Harper said: “This development is completely unacceptable and to- tally inappropriate in an area al- ready over-developed. These plans need to be thrown out.” An MBC spokesman said: “The

Planning Act caters for individuals wishing to submit retrospective planning applications. However, if they should proceed to continue with any aspect of works/develop- ment, they do it at their own risk.” The application is being consid-

ered by the MBC planning officer with a possible decision on June 18.

Bank van back SECAmb’s new director Cash for track

THE Marden NatWest Bank van is back at the library car park every Tuesday between 2pm and 3pm. Marden Parish Council an- nounced on its Facebook page: “We are pleased to let you know that the NatWest Bank van will be returning to the library car park from May 17.”

Volunteer plea

HEADCORN Cubs and Beavers are looking for volunteers. The club will support and wel- come any young person who is doing their Duke of Edinburgh award or Young Leaders’ Scheme. Call Ray Burr on 01622 880256 or 07583881913.

SOUTH East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has appointed a new independent non-executive director. Paul Brocklehurst took up his position

on the trust’s board of directors on May 1 and will serve a three-year term of office. Mr Brocklehurst (pictured) from Bexhill,

has more than 25 years’ board-level ex- perience and has spent more than a decade working in local authorities. SECAmb chair David Astley said: “Paul

is an experienced indivdual with an in- depth understanding of delivery, gover- nance, risk management and internal controls. “He brings extensive knowledge includ-

ing in technology to the Trust. I look for- ward to working closely with him over the coming years.”

A £43,500 grant has been awarded to fund the Snodland Pump Track. This, in addition to the £45,000

raised by Snodland Town Council, means the project can go ahead. The track, which will be in the grounds of the community centre in Paddlesworth Road, will en- courage riders to practice their skills and stay away from roads. Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham

and Aylesford, said: “This is a much-needed project that is being done in conjunction with younger members of the bike community.” Karen Sowten, chief executive of the town council, said: “We look forward to seeing the track up and running.”

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