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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Malling Edition February 2010 No.166


PLANS for an off-road motor bike track have crashed after residents united to fight off the project on the edge of their village. The proposed track at Birling was devised


by police in a bid to prevent illegal off-road bikers destroying a nearby beauty spot at Holly Hill in Snodland. The project for a regulated track won the backing of several local organisations in- cluding Snodland Town Council but no suitable site could be found in the town. News that a two-week trial was being planned for two fields on the Birling estate, close to the M20, prompted a campaign by villagers, including a petition signed by vir- tually every resident. About 50 people packed into a meeting of


Council tax is frozen – but services and jobs are safe


TONBRIDGE and Malling Council has promised that therewill be no service cuts nor redundancies, despite being forced to freeze council tax. The council will receive £212,000 in compensation for pegging its tax demand. The Government move is forcing councils everywhere to cut costs. But council leader Cllr Mark


Worrall has declared that jobs are safe and services will be re- tained to the same standard as at present. The cabinet agreed to raid the reserves and freeze councillor and staff pay for the next year. In the next two years, Ton- bridge and Malling will suffer a 28% cut in Government grants.


Tyre slashing arrest ANOTHERarrest has been made in connection with a tyre- slashing incident at West Malling. Two local men aged 21 and


16 had been arrested in con- nection with the incident in De- cember when 15 cars were damaged in Offham Road. Athird man has been arrested


on suspicion of causing crimi- nal damage and police believe another may have been in- volved.


Sanctuary animals are under threat


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Three years’ jail for £500,000 frauds


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Villagers put skids under bike track Reportby Diane Nicholls


Birling Parish Council to voice their objec- tions, winning a pledge from the chairman Cllr Matthew Balfour that the main landowners, to whom he is related – would bow to village opinion. Retired lawyer Tony Beadle, of Bull Road,


who organised the petition with fellow res- idents Diane Pawley and Phillip Clarke, thanked everyone for their backing and said he applauded the site owners for listening to the village. He said the bike track proposal was a good


one, if it was put in the right place. “I just don’t think it was in the right place in a small country village.”


Objections included potential noise, pol-


lution and dangerous access to the track. Residents also felt that the proposed track would not stop off-road bikers and 4x4s continuing to use Holly Hill because illegal riders would not want to comply with a reg- ulated site. Borough Cllr Balfour told the meeting:


“My half-nephew Guy Nevill and his father own and control the land. They would not grant permission if the community were not prepared for it to go ahead.” He said the Nevill estate had never in- tended to make money out of it. “Their idea was that it would be socially beneficial.” Snodland Town and borough Cllr Anne Moloney: said: “It’s a huge shame.” She said


Homing in on the future


THESE houses of the future are only made from Lego and a shoebox but youngsters in Eccles believe they could be the shape of things to come. Full story, p6


RESIDENTS of East Malling have been urged to defy developers and keep The Heath name alive and kicking. Liberty has established a country park for the


use of Kings Hill residents on part of land that used to be called Heath Farm. The area itself has been known locally as The Heath for centuries, yet Liberty has decided to call the facilityWarren Wood, a separate area that is situated near the site. East Malling and Larkfield parish councillor


and local borough member Christine Woodger is campaigning under the slogan “Don’t say ‘Warren Wood’ when you mean The Heath!” Parish council chairman Cllr David Thornewell said: “We are pleased with the way it has been


the landowners had agreed to a two-week trial, once the design and planning application were complete. “At any point, if Bir- ling had objected, they would have withdrawn permission. “I am sorry if they have pre- empted it before they have given it their best shot.” Kent Police had offered £5,000 towards design costs for the scheme which was driven forward by Sgt Kevin Brigden. Backers included Snodland Town Partnership and the Friends and Bikers Motor Cycle Club. Cllr Moloney said: “The youngsters say they have nowhere else to go and it


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Top job-share will save thousands P3


Campaign to keep The Heath name alive


laid out; paths have been reconnected so you can now do a circular walk. It is just the name that is the problem. “The only reason I can think for the developer changing the name is to disassociate it from East Malling. The village itself is very nice, but per- haps they don’t want to be associated with the es- tates in East Malling. “It is part of a pattern where developers keep


choosing marketing names that have no signifi- cance to the location.” Similar examples include developers Taylor


Latest Town Talk inside


Wimpey, who marketed part of Leybourne Grange as Birling Grange; and Barratt Homes’ Leybourne Park development, despite it being in New Hythe. He added: “The Government


INSIDE this month’s Downs Mail is the latest edition of the new-look Town Talk. Snodland’s popular magazine recently ceased independent production, but the team of local residents who ran it have agreed that it should continue as a bi-monthly, 8-page supplement in the Downs Mail. Town Talk, with news devoted just to Snodland, is in the centre pages of this edition of the paper..


goes on about localism, but here you have examples of de- velopers imposing other names on areas with a proud heritage.” The Heath Farm land has had permissive public access for a number of years, but Liberty has now formalised it for recre- ation use.


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