Local News for Larkfield & East Malling and West Malling Bulleting No 33, from Trudy Dean, Michelle Tatton, Roger Roud, and David Thornewell

January 25, 2019 5:18 PM

Dear Neighbour,
The top articles today are about two Planning Applications in West Malling, but they are important for everyone. Both applications are INSIDE the area which the Borough Council has put in its Local Plan as an extension of the Green Belt to keep our local villages separate. If the Borough Council fails to defend these countryside areas now, it weakens their case when later this year they have to persuade the Government Inspector to agree to the extension. So please send in your comments if you can.
David and I will be starting a Councillors' Surgery from Tesco at Leybourne Way next month on Thursday 28th February.. We hope to offer a session on the fourth Thursday of each month, and will publish the times nearer the event. Come along and we'll see if we can help.
Don't forget it's our award winning Farmers' Market this Sunday in West Malling, and join in the Star County 2019 between 2nd February and 23rd February, sponsored by CPRE to create a map showing where light pollution is affecting our view of the night sky. .
Insert pic of me and David
Councillors met on Monday to discuss a planning application for 204 cars on the triangle shaped field opposite More Park RC Primary School, Lucks Hill. The access would be onto Lucks Hill between the railway bridge and the newer station approach to the platform for Maidstone bound trains. The Parish Council objected strongly to the application saying that and it would spoil the rural feel of the entrance into West Malling, especially as trees would have to be felled to create the entrance. The car park access would also be a threat to the safety of the children attending the school and pre-school now open at the rear of the church, as well disrupting church congregations attending services and events such as funerals and weddings..
The vision in both directions for drivers using the car park would be very limited. We are also very concerned that TMBC are shooting themselves in the foot by recommending approval for development of land which lies within the very area they are recommending should be part of the extended Green Belt.
Despite these objections, Planning officers recommended approval of the application. However, , councillors put off their decision until they had an opportunity to view the site as the Parish Council recommended, at school opening time.

I was told this week about a plane that is rumoured to have crashed on this site known as Eden Farm, during WWII, killing the pilot. Does anyone know anything about this crash? Such sites can sometimes get special protection. English Heritage have put in a strong objection about spoiling the setting and privacy of the Abbey.
The Borough Council will probably decide on this application at its meeting on February 27th

You can view all these applications at the Parish or Borough Council offices, and send your comments to Xxxxx@tmbc.gov.uk at Planning Dept TMBC, Gibson Drive, Kings Hill West Malling xxxxxx quoting the reference numbers given .
I have made enquiries into whether the Parish Council can buy the original pub sign, now that the Borough Council has granted consent for demolition of the former Startled Saint pub. We would like to preserve it for the community, and mark the history of the pub which was well used by WWII pilots based on the Airfield, including Dam Buster Guy Gibson.
KCC wants to cut its subsidy to the 58 bus by shortening its journey length. It is the only bus which goes to Maidstone Hospital from Wrotham Heath, Addington, Trottiscliffe, Ryarsh, Birling Leybourne, West Malling, East Malling and Larkfield.
The KCC Consultation Document on the future of the number 58 service was published on Tuesday and you can fill it in on line, or if you want a paper copy you can pick one up at the exhibition ( details below) or let me know and I will drop it off to you.
Two options are offered. The first is the bus terminating at Martin Square where passengers could change onto the 71 or 72 into Maidstone Town Centre. The second option is for the bus to terminate at the Hospital, saving 20 minutes on the current journey time of the bus. As I told KM TV, the 58 was needed because the Government put the hospital in a barmy out of the way place, with no commercial bus services. As I recently discovered, if you need to get to the Hospital as a patient or visitor without a car, a taxi will cost you about £10 each way from West Malling.
Roger Roud told people attending the Community Lunch on Thursday and encouraged everyone to complete the form. You don't have to be a user of the bus now. But one day you might need it.

A public exhibition of the plans for the bus will be held at East Malling Institute, Mill Street on Wednesday 6th Feb 1pm to 4pm the consultation closes on Feb 19th.

On Wednesday Malling Community Choir joined other singers , staff and patients at Heart of Kent Hospice in what it is hoped will be a regular singing session. We had a bash at pieces by Adele, and the Monkeys, Amazing Grace, Stand By Me and an African lullaby. Singing is so good for everybody.

Can we highlight this article in some way? Put it in a Box?
A public meeting concerning public safety in and around Martin Square is being held on Thursday this week, 31st of January. It will start at 7.30pm at Church Farm, New Hythe Lane. If you have suffered any problems, do come along. Local Police and Community Warden will be represented.
A record crowd for Larkfield Litterpick
The litter pick organised by Anita and Tim last Saturday attracted a record number of 34 pickers. Tim did a sterling job picking up the over 40 full bags of rubbish. Anita's home made soup went down a storm, and we had to send out for more ! Most people stayed for chat and lunch, including my rather brick like ginger and date loaf!
Thank you everyone...you did a great job.
(Insert pic of the lunch and one of bags of rubbish with Tim Michelle and Anita..)
Tesco hoping for sunshine.
Tesco on Leybourne Way has applied for solar panels on its roof. The Parish Council has requested that a 'no glare' surface should be used.
New Road jetting to clear drains
KCC have been jetting out the drains at the New Road junction this week. There are apparently 8 soakways serving this area. Fingers crossed that they manage to solve the problem of flooding after heavy rain.
Changes to bus 71 and 71A
Arriva have published changes to their 71 and 71A service from Maidstone to Larkfield and Lunsford Park, Snodland. It shows changes to timings but says " timetables will be revised to improve reliability but there will be no changes to frequencies. It appears that a leaflet has been printed which is incomplete and suggests cuts in the service which are not reflected on the website.
Pathway clearance requested.
We have reported the overgrown trees and shrubbery on the footpath behind Fielding Drive towards Tesco, asking for clearance.
A great big 'Thank you' to everyone who returned our Residents' Survey. We received a record number of replies and Michelle and Roger are working through them. We should finish off East Malling in the next few days
KCC has agreed to Roger's suggestion of a yellow box hatched box at the junction of New Road and A20 to keep traffic flowing more smoothly. It has helped at the New Hythe junction, so it should do so here as well. They hope to install it as part of the current works to the traffic lights.

Michelle has been out delivering a Parish Council leaflet with a detailed description of the Parkside, New Road development. The site is in the Local Plan for 200 houses so the reduction to up to 110 is very welcome indeed. The access will be onto New Road between Beech Road and the King and Queen. Michelle says " This application gives us a real opportunity to get some money from developers to help pay for traffic calming to slow speeds on New Road."
Insert poster for Abbachique.
High St Indian Restaurant closes
The Indian Restaurant by the zebra crossing has closed. An application has been made for a hairdresser at 31-33 High Street. We understand a new shop will open in the premises of the Old Clock Shop shortly.
Village Hall hoping for sun.
The Village Hall Management Committee , under the Chairmanship of Chris Gosby, is installing over 20 solar panels on the roof to take advantage of the feed in tariff before it runs out in March. It is predicted to pay for itself in 8 years which is a good rate of return.
M20 SMART MOTORWAY UPDATE#28 January to 1st Feb. Full closure of westbound M20 junction 5 entry slip roads and lanes 1 and 2 closures on the westbound main carriageway overnight only between 20.00 and 06.00 hours. In addition there will be an overnight lane closure on the merge from M26 to M20 eastbound, and a lane one closure on the M20 junction 5 exit slip eastbound.
Temporary traffic lights continue at New Road/London Rd East Malling junction to allow traffic lights to be upgraded.
Temporary closure of King Street West Malling extended to 11th February. Gritted teeth all round.