Published: 09:07, 24 August 2019
| Updated: 09:08, 24 August 2019
The Mote Cricket Club has applied for retrospective planning permission to use a spillover match car park for the storage of cars and vans associated with Thrifty Car and Van Rental, based in Padsole Lane, Maidstone.
The car park is accessed via the club's main entrance in Willow Way, but is situated several hundred yards down the road, behind a Maidstone Rugby Club pitch and adjacent to Upper Street.
Despite being largely screened from view from the road by scrub running along the boundary fence, the proposal has upset neighbours.
In written objections to Maidstone council, Tracy Laing from Upper Road, said: "I live opposite. Cars and vans come and go at all times of the day creating noise and disturbance.
"Also, when vehicles are parking either early morning or late at night the headlights shine directly into the windows of the houses opposite."
Dr Edward Finch of Lower Road said: "My objection is the conflicting land use that is at odds with the 450 hectare site. Mote Park is a treasured green space that has withstood pressures on development.
"This retrospective application seems entirely at odds with the recreational mandate.
"It seems opportunistic and sets an unhealthy precedent for ad-hoc land use within a coveted green space."
James Medhurst of Upper Road said he has already been woken up by the bright lights and loud music from a car being collected at 11.30pm.
He said: "This land was gifted to the cricket club for the purpose of sports and recreation for the people of Maidstone. This application does nothing for either of those two points."
Mark Bristow, secretary of the cricket club, said: "First, we would say that some of these written objections make inaccurate assumptions. We have contacted Thrifty and they have assured us that there would have been no vehicle hire activity at 11.30 at night as had been stated by one resident. They close for business each day between 4pm and 5pm.
"Secondly, the suggestion that the site is part of the 450 hectares of Mote Park is also misguided. The 23-acre cricket club, which also incorporates Maidstone Rugby Club, was bequeathed to us by Lord Bearsted in the early part of the last century and is owned by the trustees of the club and managed by the club committee."
Mr Bristow said: "With dwindling numbers of people playing sport at recreational level we need small, low key, unobtrusive income streams to safeguard the financial well-being of the club until such time as our flourishing youth section yields our adult players of the future.
"We are not a wealthy club and are faced with the constant costs of maintaining the site. As a for instance we are currently confronted with two bills totalling £6,800 just to carry out basic repairs on a pavilion that is showing increasing signs of age.
"The alternative would be to sell pockets and portions of land off for development that would be far more intrusive than a few vans."
Stephen Edwards, the property manager with Thrifty Can and Van Rental, said his firm had an arrangement with the Mote, but all details of the application were down to the cricket club. He was unable to give operational details about the firm's use of the car park, but said he would not expect it to involve movements at 11.30 at night.
The application states that the car park will be used by a maximum of 20 vehicles.
KCC highways officer Terry Drury said he was unable to comment on the application because there had been no information supplied by the cricket club about the operation or turnover of the vehicles, whether the storage was short or long term, or how many vehicle movements it might generate.
Application number 19/501895 refers.