Published: 15:00, 21 June 2021
| Updated: 16:47, 21 June 2021
Opinion is split over whether to turn a grand 18th century building into a wedding venue.
A total 129 letters from locals say yes to the scheme at Great Mongeham and 105 say no.
Mongeham Parish Council is against it but Dover District Council officers are recommending approval.
It will be voted on by planning councillors on Thursday.
Even two different departments at Kent County Council can't agree.
KCC Highways is for it but the council's public rights of way (PROW) section is against it.
The present occupants of The Old Rectory, at Mongeham Church Close, want planning permission to use it as a wedding and events venue, with a marquee.
This would be for up to for up to 30 weddings a year and up to 50 guests for each.
This scheme would be in addition to the building's current use as a family home and bed and breakfast hotel.
The development would also require creating an outbuilding for toilets.
The proposal is also for 17 parking spaces and guests not staying the night at The Old Rectory would be transported to and from it by minibus.
Residents against it say it would lead to an increase in traffic problems and the noise from weddings, with music and revellers, would disturb neighbours.
They say there is unsuitable access and would lead to dangerous parking.
They add that Mongeham Church Close is too narrow to take the amount of cars that would be expected at a wedding.
Mongeham Parish Council also fears noise, disturbance and access problems.
KCC PROW predicts that daily vehicle movements at peak times would go up from 18 to 40, causing problems for pedestrians.
Residents supporting the scheme say it would benefit the local economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
They add that the venue seems ideal and extra fees from weddings would help pay to maintain the neighbouring 14th century St Martin's Church.
KCC Highways accepted the plan because of the limit on the number of weddings and guests.
District planning officers say the proposal would not harm the rural character of the area, wildlife or the living conditions of neighbouring occupants.
They said it would push up spending in the local economy and while periodic, short-term increases in traffic were expected the overall benefits of the scheme outweighed this.
The Old Rectory, believed to have been built in the second half of the 18th century, is a Grade II listed property in a conservation area.
During the Second World War it was used as living accommodation for soldiers manning a gun battery that was within the grounds.
After the war, the property was returned to the church and the current owners bought it in 1985.
The application will be heard at Dover District Council's planning committee from 6pm on Thursday at the authority's headquarters at the White Cliffs Business Park in Whitfield.
Debates have returned to the council chamber as coronavirus restrictions ease but there are still limits to the number of members of the public that can attend.