Welcome to the website of the Bearsted and Thurnham Society

General Data Protection Regulation.

If you are a member of the Bearsted and Thurnham Society you will soon be receiving an email or letter telling you about your rights under the new General Data Protection Regulation.

This Regulation is being introduced so that you are informed about how your data is securely maintained and to give you the option of telling the Society to keep or delete your information.

Although its main purpose was to control how large organisations look after your personal data it is a “Catch-All” Regulation and the Bearsted and Thurnham Society has a duty to comply with it.

Please take a few minutes to read the contents below so that you know what to expect and what your rights are.

Please ensure that you do respond quickly to the Society’s email or letter because if you do not respond the Society is obliged to assume that you no longer wish to remain a member and your records will be deleted.

Membership is very important to the Society as it enables the Committee to keep you informed about local issues and to fight battles on your behalf. Although things are relatively quiet at the moment we can all be sure that there will be unwelcome proposals for inappropriate developments within Bearsted and Thurnham in the future.

Without your support we will not be in a position to resist them.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

This regulation was passed by the European Parliament in 2016

and becomes enforceable on 25th May 2018.

What does it mean?

Any organisation holding personal data in written or digital format has to comply with the Regulation and ensure :

1. The data is stored securely.

2. That consent must be given by an individual for their data to be retained.

3. That an individual can ask to have their data removed entirely at any time.

What information does the Society hold?

1. The Society maintains a single membership database.

2. This contains some or all of the following for each member –

a. Name

b. Address

c. Telephone numbers

d. Email address

e. Membership status

What information do you hold about me?

1. You have the right to request what information the Society holds about you.

2. The Secretary must respond to your request within thirty days.

Is my information safe?

1. Any paper records held by the Society are kept securely locked away.

2. Most information supplied to the Society in writing is transferred to our computer system and the original paperwork is destroyed.

3. Data held on our password protected computer system is securely encrypted.

4. Bulk email sent to Society members does not list the recipients.

a. When you receive an email from the Society you cannot see details of other members who have been sent the same email.

b. If a member were to suffer a security breach on their own computer a third party cannot extract details of any other Society member from the compromised data.

Do you ever share my data?

1. We share your information from time to time with the Society’s own Road Stewards.

2. The Society will never share your information with any other party.

3. Information that we hold is used solely to maintain our membership list and to enable us to contact our members.

What do I need to do?

1. It is important that you exercise your rights under the Regulation by selecting either “Opt In” or “Opt Out” at the bottom of the email or letter.

What happens if I opt-in?

1. If you choose to opt-in you give your consent to the Society to retain your information.

2. This consent is not permanent and you can withdraw it at any time.

3. Opting in will enable the Society to –

a. Maintain the membership database.

b. Send you emails or letters to keep you updated on local issues.

What happens if I opt-out?

1. The Society will delete all of your information which it holds.

2. We will not be able to retain you as a Society member as your details will have been deleted.

a. You will no longer receive emails or letters from the Society as this service is only available to Society members.

b. You could still contribute to the Society although we would not be allowed to keep personal information without your express consent.

c. You will still be able to access the Bearsted and Thurnham Society website.

Can I opt back in?

1. If you choose to opt-out you can opt back in at a later date but you will need to consent to the Society retaining your information when you do this.

What happens if I don’t respond?

1. If you do not select either the “Opt-in” or “Opt-out” option the Society has to assume that you have opted out, your details will be removed from our list and you will no longer be a member of the Society.

When should I respond?

1. You need to respond as soon as possible because the Regulation comes into force on May 25th 2018.

2. If you receive this information by email –

a. There will be an “Opt-In” and an “Opt-Out” button at the bottom of the email.

b. When you click on your option of choice the relevant response email will appear on your screen.

c. Please do not alter the original text in any way but feel free to add any additional comments or information at the end.

d. When you send this email it will be received by the Society’s Membership Secretary who will amend or delete your record accordingly.

3. If you receive this information by letter –

a. There will be an “Opt-In” and an “Opt-Out” box at the bottom of the letter.

b. Please tick the box of your choice, sign the letter and return it to the Membership Secretary who will amend or delete your record accordingly.

Can I respond on behalf of somebody else?

1. Some Society members share an email address with a partner.

a. Where this is the case the Society will send two emails, one to each member.

b. It is important that both partners respond as one partner cannot respond on behalf of the other one.

2. Partners at the same postal address but with no email facility will receive two letters, one for each member.

a. As with email one partner cannot respond on behalf of the other one.

3. Partners should exercise their rights under the Regulation by selecting their own option of choice.

a. Both partners can choose the same option if they wish.

b. Partners are free to select different options with one choosing to “Opt-in” whilst the other chooses to “Opt-out”.


Virgin Media – 2017

You will no doubt have seen the extensive works being carried out in the area recently by Virgin Media. We have been made aware of a large number of complaints regarding such issues (in no particular order):-

  • Broken pipes
  • Broken telephone and internet connections
  • High cost of using a mobile to try to submit a complaint
  • Lack of, or no response to telephone complaints
  • Lack of safety equipment
  • Scorched hedges
  • Lack of, and chaotic signage
  • Lack of safe walkways
  • Bumpy and messy resurfacing
  • Uncovered holes in pavements
  • People being marooned in their properties
  • Barriers left in an unlinked position, therefore vulnerable to the wind
  • Barriers stacked against garden shrubs
  • Lack of clearance of debris produced by works from roadside gutters
  • Blockages caused by construction of new boxes

The Society has been assisting individual local residents, not least by acting as a conduit between residents left with no ‘phone/internet connection, and attended a meeting recently between Thurnham Parish Councillor John Horne, another local resident and representatives from both Virgin Media and KCC  to discuss the issues.

A formal complaint, including a number of photographs, has been submitted by one local resident to KCC Highways. These are really serious issues. KCC has now placed Virgin Media on stop pending discussions on future working practices. This is not the only area in the country where Virgin Media has had its excavation licence stopped. In some areas large fines have been imposed on the company.

Following that meeting, Kate North, the Regional Affairs Manager (South) – ‘phone no.  07773 936891 – commented as follows:

“ I have passed the photographs kindly provided on to our Head of Compliance and the Head of Health and Safety. Both have come back to me with assurances that these will be considered seriously and quickly”.

As requested, she has also supplied contact details for a Community Liaison Officer, Stephanie Foulis, who can be approached for all comments and complaints, and has offered to visit the area.

Stephanie.Foulis@virginmedia.co.uk   Tel. 07815 660138

We strongly suggest that you contact Stephanie if you have issues requiring resolution. Do copy us in.


22nd August 2017


 Action required please

As you may have heard, yet another planning application has been submitted to develop Woodcut Farm. The application reference is 17/502331/OUT and details can be accessed from the Maidstone Borough Council website http://pa.midkent.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OPBJ6MTY0XJ00

This latest application, like those before it, is for the erection of over 45,000 sq m of mixed commercial development. This time the number of units is greater, 19 increased from 15, though their individual size is smaller. The closing date for comments is:-

9 June 2017

It is very important to sustain the level of objection seen thus far to this development which MBC’s Planning Committee has twice refused. Those decisions are now the subject of appeal by Roxhill to be heard at a Public Inquiry lasting ten days commencing 10th October. This date was chosen by the developers in the clear hope that by that time MBC’s Local Plan, which designates Woodcut Farm for development, would be signed off by the Inspector; thereby increasing their chances of success.

Your Society, along with other groups, including the Kent Association of Local Councils, the Joint Parishes Group and CPRE, has been working hard to counter this by arguing that Woodcut Farm should be excluded from the Plan and that the claimed need for extra commercial space should be the subject of further investigation as part of the plan review process due to be completed by April 2021.

If at all possible, please find the time before 9 June to object to these latest proposals. Comments should be sent by email to RichardTimms@maidstone.gov.uk and planningcomments@midkent.gov.uk or by post to

Richard Timms, Planning Officer, Planning Department, Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ

Set out on the next page are some of arguments you may wish to highlight.

  1. Development of this site would be very damaging to the local environment and the setting of the North Downs AONB.
  2. It would also have a damaging effect on the setting of Leeds Castle, Maidstone’s most important tourist attraction and the only building of national importance within the borough.
  3. Access and egress from the site (between two large privately owned residential properties) would be dangerous.
  4. Development would lead to a large increase in traffic, not only on the A20 but on the narrow roads to the south which are already congested during peak times.
  5. The proposed development is on an isolated site separated from urban Maidstone to the west.
  6. The site is not served by public transport meaning that the overwhelming majority of workers would have to rely on cars to get there.
  7. The case for additional development at motorway junctions is not proven. The prime example here is Eclipse Park which was once the great white hope for high quality well paid jobs in headquarters office blocks. This aim has never been realised. No evidence has been brought forward to suggest that development at Woodcut Farm would be any more successful.
  8. The proposal is entirely speculative. There can be no knowing how development of the site will progress since market forces will prevail and this is a time of great economic uncertainty.
  9. At the inquiry into the Maidstone Local Plan the Inspector called for a review of the need for additional employment provision and sites. Most importantly he asked that this review should be made across the wider economic area (i.e. including Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Ashford, Swale and Medway). This is exactly the kind of assessment your Society and other groups have been calling for. The review MBC commissioned demonstrates that, when looked at on this wider basis, there is no immediate need for additional job creation. All are agreed that there is no immediate demand for additional office space.
  10. The above review failed, in our view, to adequately take account of commuter flows from Maidstone to other locations, especially to London where commuting numbers doubled between 2001 and 2011 and to Tonbridge and Malling and the thriving commercial corridor that exists between Aylesford and Larkfield where many people from Maidstone already work.
  11. The need for the Plan to be reviewed by April 2021 (which means that the process needs to get under way later this year) provides the opportunity for further and better thought to be given to these issues and to take account of all the additional sites that exist, or could come on stream, within the wider economic area. This would result in a balanced, strategic assessment of need.
  12. We hope these points will be of help, but if there are points you would like to discuss do get in touch. Thank you as ever for your support.                          

Maidstone Borough Council Local Plan

Examination in Public

This will commence at 10.00 a.m. on Tuesday 4th October 2016 at Maidstone Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone, ME14 1TF, over a period of five weeks, with the first two weeks starting on 4th October 2016, and a further three weeks of hearing sessions starting on 8th November 2016. The Inspector has issued a Procedural Guidance Note Procedural Guidance Note from Inspector and a draft programme  Programme Draft 2 130816

If you plan to attend any of the sessions we would suggest that you check here first as the programme is always subject to change.

Tuesday 4th October 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. – participants Session 01A Legal Procedural Needs Participants 20160806 pages

Agenda Session 01A Agenda Session MIQ 20160805

2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. – participants Session 01B Legal Procedural Needs Participants 20160806 pages

Agenda Session 01B Agenda 20160805

Wednesday 5th October 10 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. – participants Session 02A (2) Housing Needs Housing policies participants 20160806

Agenda Session 02A Agenda MIQ 20160805

2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. – participants Session 02B Housing Needs (2) Housing Policies Participants 20160805 copy

Agenda Session 02B Agenda MIQ 20160808

Thursday 6th October 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. – participants Session 03 Transport Seminar + Alternative Strategy Participants 20160805

Agenda Session 03A Agenda Transport Seminar 20160805

2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.- participants Session 03 Transport Seminar + Alternative Strategy Participants 20160805

Agenda Session 03B Agenda MIQ 20160805

Tuesday 11th October 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. – participants Session 04 Environmental Constraints 20160806

Agenda Session 04 Agenda MIQ 20160805

Wednesday 12th October 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. – participants Session 05A Housing Supply overview Participants 20160805

Agenda Session 05A Agenda MIQ 20160805

2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. – participants Session 05B Housing Supply SE Maidstone Participants 20160805

Agenda Session 05B Agenda MIQ 20160805

Thursday 13th October 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. – participants Session 06A Maidstone Larger Villages Participants 20160805  Agenda Session 06A Agenda 06A MIQ 20160805    

2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. – participants Session 06B Maidstone Larger Villages Participants 20160805

Agenda Session 06B Agenda MIQ 20160505


2016 Annual General Meeting

The Bearsted & Thurnham Society’s AGM will take place at Madginford Hall, Egremont Road, Bearsted ME15 8LH on Friday 1st July at 7.30 p.m., doors open at 7.15 p.m.

Local resident Martin Potts from Highways England will speak about the Lower Thames Crossing following the conclusion of the AGM business.

Light refreshments will be available as usual.

Please take this opportunity to join both the committee and fellow members for a convivial and interesting evening.

The committee members look forward to thanking members personally for their support throughout the past busy year.

Planning application for 100 houses at Barty Farm

With all commonsense cast aside this application has been approved!!!

Yesterday saw both good and bad decisions being made for Bearsted & Thurnham residents.

On the positive side we are delighted to let you know that the application to build 10 houses on land north of Apple Tree House, Ware Street, was rejected by Maidstone Borough Council. The development, if built, would have blighted the lives of residents living in the southern part of Hockers Lane and added significantly to traffic problems along Ware Street. Extra strain would also be put on local services in terms of education provision.

On the other side of the coin about twenty local residents, including Bearsted Parish Councillor John Hughes, sat through an hour and a half’s debate about the proposal for 100 houses at Barty Farm, including the demolition and partial rebuilding of a listed wall at Barty House to provide access, by MBC councillors in the Town Hall.

The running order for speakers was as follows:- Denis Spooner, spoke as an objector (he is currently a committee member of the Society) against the applications, followed by Michael Stark, Thurnham Parish Council,  then someone for the applicant, and finally Cllr Mike Cuming as a Bearsted ward member. Cllr Val Springett was not allowed to speak (or even to be present) due to her home being in Roundwell.

Bearsted ward member and member of the Planning Committee, Richard Ash, gave a spirited defence of Bearsted, emphasising all the countryside, highways and education issues possible, but to no avail. He was strongly supported by members who are part of the Rural Alliance, but others seemed determined to push the application through on the grounds that they had voted to approve the Local Plan.

Bizarrely, the application regarding the wall (Bearsted parish) was refused whilst that for the housing development (Thurnham parish) was approved. It will be interesting to see, therefore, what the developer does next. Most likely an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate will appear on the grounds that the houses cannot be built without appropriate access. We will keep you posted.

Planning application for 100 houses at Barty Farm

This application will be determined by Maidstone Borough Council’s Planning Committee at the Town Hall on Thursday 28th April. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and the application is agenda item 16/17 (the first few items will be dealt with very quickly).

A representative of the Society has requested a slot to speak against this item.

If you have the time do please consider attending this meeting to show your disapproval of the officer’s recommendation to permit this application.

To lobby the planning committee the file Information re Barty Farm application 280416 suggests points to mention and gives contact details of the Planning Committee.

This development, if allowed, would cause untold damage to all residents of the villages of Bearsted and Thurnham in terms of the environment, traffic volume and hazard, school places and other services.


As members will know, the Local Plan for development up until 2031 has reached the final consultation stage. Comments sent to Maidstone Borough Council (MBC), will form the basis on which the Planning Inspector appointed to review the Plan will reach his/her assessment. Effectively therefore all the comments submitted are being made to the Planning Inspectorate rather than MBC.

The Society submitted a detailed response

including two annexes

BTS response to MBC Reg 19
BTS response – Annex 1
BTS response – Annex 2


Welcome to the website of The Residents Association for the civil parishes of Bearsted & Thurnham

Why Not Join Us?

Aims and objectives of the Society

The aims and objectives shall be:

(a) To encourage civic pride and a sense of responsibility for the future of the Bearsted and Thurnham civil parishes.

(b) To promote schemes for the benefit of either or both of the two civil parishes.

(c) To respond to policies and plans, affecting Bearsted and Thurnham civil parishes, promulgated by the County, Borough or Parish councils, or by central government, or by other organisations, with a view to providing an effective channel for local opinion.

(d) To put before the appropriate authorities the views of the residents on any matters relating to the general well-being of persons residing in either of the two civil parishes.

(e) To oppose inappropriate development and in particular on planning matters, for example, development applications, to consider such matters and to put forward the Society's views including, for example, the appointment of representatives to attend public meetings.

To further these aims and objectives, but not otherwise, the Society, through its Committee shall have the powers to take all such lawful action as may be necessary or expedient.

The Society is non-political and non-sectarian.

(The 2007 AGM voted to agree that in its view fielding candidates in elections was not incompatible with this clause - i.e. not incompatible with the Society's non-political and non-sectarian status as set out in clause 2.)

Copies of the Constitution are available by application to the Secretary as approved 23rd April 1999 and amended 11th Nov 2005, 30th May 2006 and 1st July 2011.