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Plans for glamping retreat in Bimbury Lane, Stockbury, rejected by Maidstone Borough Council


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Councillors have unanimously refused plans for a "bijou" glamping retreat in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The would-be holiday spot, in Bimbury Lane, Stockbury, would have included four bell tents, a shepherd’s hut, three sleeping pods, a bar, kitchen area, tearoom, a shower block and parking.

Plans for a glamping site, proposed down Bimbury, Stockbury, have been rejected Lane Picture: Birchmere
Plans for a glamping site, proposed down Bimbury, Stockbury, have been rejected Lane Picture: Birchmere

However members of Maidstone Borough Council's (MBC) planning committee rejected the proposals, arguing the plans were "overdeveloped", there wouldn't be enough parking and also raising concerns about the impact on neighbours and size of the site.

Ahead of the meeting, Stockbury Parish Council said the proposals were intrusive to the countryside and would “commercialise a residential property.”

Bimbury Lane is about 880m north of the A249 junction and the site is near paddocks, farming land and two homes.

During the committee meeting last week, on Thursday, Cllr Tony Harwood said: "Eight holiday units are being proposed basically in a back garden, between two other back gardens."

Cllr Malcolm McKay said: "I am struck by the fact we call this glamping now and it's bell tents and shepherds huts and sleeping pods.

Cllr Malcolm McKay spoke against plans for a glamping retreat in Stockbury Picture: Andy Jones
Cllr Malcolm McKay spoke against plans for a glamping retreat in Stockbury Picture: Andy Jones

"If this was a proposal to put four caravans in a back garden it wouldn't have even got past the starting gates. But what's the difference? Because this is being shielded by conifers? We are being made fools of, we really are.

"I don't even know what a sleeping pod is by the way. Is it a small room, is it just a cool name?"

He added: "This is way over the top and I think we are being hoodwinked."

Cllr Robert Eves said: "It's far too many units being proposed in a small area. I don't think it enhances the countryside."

Before the meeting, MBC officers recommended the plans, proposed by a Mrs L Twitchett, at Bimbury Lodge, be approved, as long as certain conditions were met to safeguard the countryside.

Plans for a glamping site in Stockbury, including a shepherd hut and bell tents, have been rejected Picture: Birchmere
Plans for a glamping site in Stockbury, including a shepherd hut and bell tents, have been rejected Picture: Birchmere

The Kent Downs AONB Unit did not object, but recommended conditions to control lighting on site, in order to protect the dark skies of the area.

Documents explained that the bell tents would be have been used between April and October, with the shepherd’s hut and sleeping pods available all year round.

The bar, which would have be converted from a stable, would not have served alcohol but instead sold coffee and soft drinks.

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