HAM LANE ALLOTMENTS
Due to an issue with the measurements of the actual allotment area, the Land Agent acting for St John Ambulance has revisited the site twice more, he now agrees to submit the measurements, as suggested by the Allotment Association members and the parish council. Providing the client agrees the measurements the next step will be to discuss heads of terms to be drawn up for discussion. It is hoped that the Parish Council will be able to purchase the allotment section of the plot as a community asset, which will safe guard the land from future development.
The large diseased beech tree in the south-east corner has been felled and the site cleared; this will allow for the completion of the last section of the installation of rabbit-proof fencing around the entire boundary hopefully in early spring, subject to funding. The contractor will be asked to quote for mole removal measures and a site meeting will be organised to determine where a new double compost bin will be placed, subject to agreement at full council. The project to improve the site will be ongoing and budget recommendations will be decided at the finance and general purposes committee, for consideration at full council. The parish wards are north and south of the railway line. Full details are available from the Clerk.
MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL LOCAL PLAN
As reported last month the independent examination of the Maidstone Local development plan took place during November, thank you to all those who attended the examination at the Town Hall. The results have not yet been formally published but we could hear the Inspectors summary via the web-cam. Thus, it appears the Maidstone Local Plan and the Lenham Neighbourhood Plan will require extensive modification.
The Lenham Neighbourhood Plan group will start meeting again regularly from January to align the Lenham Neighbourhood Plan with the Inspectors findings, following which a consultation will be undertaken to inform residents of the changes made to the plan. The parish council have agreed in principal to continue funding this initiative and will agree a 2017 -2018 budget allocation for submission to full council.
Please continue your support of the plan group who will make the finding of the examination available in the new year as soon as received from MBC.
CHURCH YARD LIGHTING
The new fuse control panel and timer switch have been installed to operate the churchyard flood lighting and has resolved the problematic timing issues, the light at the Lych gate was also replaced.
The Len Bus facility has now been formally withdrawn and the company wound up. Proceeds from the insurance claim of approximately £5,500 will be transferred to the James Hatch Charity who work with the Lenham Lift Group to provide transportation throughout the parish.
If you need help with transport, please contact the LIFT group directly.
The initial assessment from the approved KCC Highways Consultant in respect of the junction at Ham Lane and the High Street has been received and will be considered in full by the council. The aim of the survey is to identify possible safety improvements for both pedestrians and motorists in a bid to slow traffic and improve sight lines. The parish council are aware of the ever-increasing demand for parking facilities throughout the village. A project to specifically look at the issue of the lack of suitable parking places will be undertaken this year. Please report any parking issues to MBC or KCC who are the bodies responsible for highway issues.
MOTOR CROSS TRACK
The planning inspector dismissed the appeal APP/U2235/W/16/3143679 for the use of a motocross track for motorcycle riding on 28days per annum. The site is on land south east of Runham Lane Sandway ME17 1HT. The refusal to allow the activity identified three main issues, the effect on protected species, the effect on living conditions of surrounding occupiers and the effect on the character and appearance of the countryside. The full details are available on the MBC web-site planning portal.
The full application details for a proposed housing development on land west of Loder Close is available on the MBC planning portal 16/508039. The consultation period closes mid-January.
Maidstone Borough Council are no longer supplying dog bins to the parish and are removing the seven bins in situ and replacing with one commingled bin opposite the post box in Ham Lane. The parish council will be discussing the options and taking advice as to the best way to ensure there is enough provision on the well-used dog walking routes. As most dog owners responsibly pick up after their animals the bins are an important facility.
OPEN SPACES MAINTENANCE
The High-Street beds on the bank have been cut back and weeded and the loose stones on the pavement on the west side of the road have been reinstalled and made safe. The Limes in the Square have had all the shooting branches cut off and the path swept clear of leaves; leaves were also swept along the south side of Old Ashford Road. The parish council intends to continue renovating, maintaining and improving the open spaces throughout the village.
There is now one vacancy for the south ward and we would welcome parishioners who might be interested in joining the Council, and who live in the hamlets of Sandway, Platts Heath or Lenham Heath, to consider co-option. The Council has thirteen members in total, nine representing the north ward and four from the south
The parish council recognises and thanks the many individuals and groups who help foster community cohesion and provide much-needed social inclusion events and meetings.
The assorted clubs offer a variety of active past times from Badminton, Keep Fit, Line Dancing, Short Mat Bowls, Pilates classes, Bowling Club, Walking Groups, Swimming Club alongside the forever popular football and cricket clubs and of course Bell Ringing helps you keep fit too. For a real work out help erect the wonderful Christmas lights and join in the switching on event, a busy day for all those involved in the hugely successful annual get together.
The younger generation are well catered for with Parent and Toddlers Group, Music Mayhem, Beavers, Cubs,
Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides, Messy Church and Sunday School, Youth Club, Ballet and Dance Schools, working in harmony with all the facilities offered by the Nursery School, Primary Schools and Swadelands, means there is never a reason to say I’m bored!
If you prefer a gentler pace, you can join the reading group at the well-used Lenham Library or play Bridge every Thursday. For those interested in history and archaeology join the Lenham Heritage group, keeping digging in mind, you could meet with like-minded gardeners, who enjoy an occasional day trip and social evening.
The perennial Women’s Institute and Royal British Legion groups always have interesting activities and offer a warm welcome to new members. New members are also welcome to join the Young at Heart 60+ and Len Valley Community Hub, where you have an opportunity to meet up with friends in an informal setting.
The Lenham Family Festival are always keen to encourage parishioners to join and help organise the popular annual gathering.
For those of you with an artistic preference, Lenham boasts a thriving Art Group, Sewing and Craft Clubs and if you prefer to perform, why not join the Lenham Players?
The Focus magazine keeps us all informed and always welcomes articles. Now, no doubt, I have forgotten a group or club, if so, why not write an article and let us know your news!
Margo McFarlane 01622 859682 (Mon – Friday 9am to 1pm) firstname.lastname@example.org