Project A – Post consultation announcement

Over the past 12-weeks, Bearsted Parish Council has run an informal consultation to gain feedback from residents about Project A.

Project A is the name given to a community project with aims to benefit our current residents but safeguard facilities for generations to come.

In September 2020 Mr and Mrs Richard Ashness offered to donate to Bearsted Parish Council a parcel of land to home a new allotment garden with the caveat that the Bearsted and Thurnham Tennis Club would be given the opportunity to extend their facilities.

This opportunity was considered by members of the council, and they took the chance to address a number of issues residents had bought to the council‘s attention. These included: the security of the Church Lane car park, the condition of the Church Landway, overcrowding of the car park at specific times during the week and parking concerns on the Ashford Road and in Crosskeys.

The Parish council also wanted to address the growing waiting list for allotment plots. Bearsted Parish Council is committed to the health and well-being of residents and see the benefits an allotment plot can have for people of all ages. Project A would give at least 20 more residents the chance to benefit from an allotment.

Councillors have worked hard to put forward an idea that would have overall advantages for the many and not just the few. They empathise with allotment plot holders that this project may be inconvenient in the short term but have suggested ways to assist with a move to a new allotment. However, the plan is not finalised, and members of the allotment garden have been invited to join the Working Group so that they can stipulate what it is they would need from a new allotment garden. This offer is still available to them.

The proposal of Project A was announced in what was believed to be the best means possible while the COVID-19 restrictions were in place. This meant that Bearsted Parish Council was prevented from calling a public meeting. At the first opportunity, three open days were scheduled for residents to meet with Councillors to discuss the idea.

Bearsted Parish Councillors dedicate their time to serve their community and always aim to work on behalf of residents to keep Bearsted a safe place to live with a great community with facilities for all ages and interests.

However, over the past few weeks a number of leaflets have been distributed, without any consultation with the parish council. The parish council does not condone and has had no involvement in either leaflet, both of which contain inaccuracies.

All feedback about Project A that has been received by the closing date of the consultation period (3rd August 2021) will be considered by the Working Group in September and Bearsted Parish Council will communicate a summary of the outcome in due course.