Project A – Announcement


Bearsted Parish Council are delighted to announce they have received the donation of a parcel of land to the east of the Church Landway formerly part of Mote Hall.  The land was kindly donated by Richard and Dena Ashness with the request that it is used to improve facilities to the local allotments, tennis club and parking facilities. An extremely generous offer for which we are profoundly grateful. 

The donated land sits off the Church Landway opposite the tennis club. The way initial designs have been drawn up offers the Bearsted and Thurnham Tennis Club some land next to the existing club which currently houses our allotments. This will enable them to extend to two further tennis courts and two paddle courts.

The land that has been donated will be used for rehoming our current allotments but will essentially double in size therefore allowing us to offer plots to the 23 people currently on our waiting list.

Within the allotments we aim to build a Dementia Garden and Children’s Garden which will be used by schools and clubs for teaching and growing vegetables and flowers.

The remaining land that is currently used for allotments will be used as an extension to double the size of our car park which is constantly full during peak times. Bearsted Parish Council intend to improve security around the car park area to prevent anti-social behaviour.

In association with the Bearsted and Thurnham Tennis Club, this proposal is now as follows:

  • Richard and Dena Ashness have donated the land directly opposite the tennis club to Bearsted Parish Council.
  • The donated land will then be used to create greater capacity for allotments that are currently catered for next door to the tennis club. The aim is to create a total of 48 plots of Parishioners to use.
  • The land will also be home to a Dementia garden, bringing an even greater level of serenity that the Bearsted Woodland Trust already presents for all of us but particularly those that are living with a conditions that challenge everyday life.
  • The land will also host a Children’s garden for use by schools and clubs teaching how to nurture, grow and cultivate vegetables and plants.
  • This will also enable additional space to be provided, alleviating the current pressures on the well-used car park.

This is an extremely exciting time but we are also mindful of the position that this puts current allotment holders in.  To that end, the expectation is that a comfortable transition period is needed.  The land donated by Richard and Dena needs to be prepared correctly in order for the allotment owners to transition their allotments with as little impact to their crops as possible.  This is expected to take place over the next year or two.

We are looking forward to working with our allotment holders and consulting with them on their requirements to finalise the design of this project.  We are sure that with their expertise they will be able to participate in designing the layout of both our Dementia and Children’s gardens making them a success for our community.


Initial thoughts are that there will be a joint submission of the project to Maidstone Borough Council by the Parish Council and Bearsted and Thurnham Tennis Club.  The proposal to encapsulate additional allotment capacity, a Dementia garden, a Children’s garden and additional tennis courts is a fantastic opportunity to bring the community even closer together than it already is. 

This entire process is conditional on permissions being granted for the building of additional tennis and paddle courts and for the allotment being moved.

Bearsted Parish Council and the Bearsted and Thurnham Tennis Club are extremely grateful for this opportunity and wish to publicly thank Richard and Dena Ashness for their unbelievable generosity, as well as all the allotment holders for making this possible.  We have a long way to go but this is a significant step. Bearsted Parish Council will be putting up £100,000 as well as seeking funding on the Dementia and Children’s projects. An overly exciting journey that we know will make an amazing difference to our already fantastic community.


Michael Bollom


Bearsted Parish Council