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BEARSTED ALLOTMENTS: Parish council denounced in 'withering' protest speech

Wednesday 13th October 2021

AN OPPONENT of the changes to the allotments, Philip Noakes, used a parish council meeting last night to denounce the scheme, known as Project A, as an “embarrassing shambles”.

Mr Noakes claimed it was a clear case of “load, fire…aim” and said the majority of members on Bearsted Parish Council (BPC) have failed to scrutinise the proposals.

Project A involves a donation of land by the Ashness family, which BPC suggested could be used for a bigger Church Lane car park and two more tennis courts. This would have involved moving the allotments to another location.

In a 'withering' address which he delivered to members from the centre of the floor, Mr Noakes added: “It is a sad indictment of the quality of too many councillors that they have allowed project A to go so far.

“All the challenge and scrutiny has had to come from the community. Project A is a dead duck because you fired before you took aim. Abandon it and talk to residents’ groups about better solutions for that donated land.”

BPC claimed the scheme is at an early stage and ”much investigation is required”.

A statement added: “BPC was hopeful that two representatives from the Church Lane allotments would join them to look over the feedback to allow for transparency, to ensure fairness and openness but no members have volunteered. This offer is still available for members of the allotment garden to come, join the project and advice on matters that they feel are important.”

BPC’s chairman said the council will seek advice from Maidstone Borough Council’s planning department.

 A witness to last night's address said: "Mr Noakes did not hold back - it was absolutely withering."