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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone East Edition April 2011 No.168 PCs ‘to own their patch’


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DOWNS Mail is delighted to announce that all of our newspapers are now avail- able online. Our four editions will con-


tinue to be delivered by Royal Mail to over 88,000 homes in the Maidstone and Mallings area, but you can now catch up with all of their contents on our web- site: www.downsmail.co.uk. You can choose from any


one of our four newspaper editions, each focusing on truly local news giving you the full picture across our coverage area. A key feature of the online editions is our live links fa- cility, enabling users to click on an advert to instantly con- nect to the advertiser’s web- site and email contact. Chairman Claire Procter


said “Everyone is used to re- ceiving the Downs Mail from the postman but now you can also read the newspapers on your computer. “This is a superb initiative


to enable all members of the public to access the entire content of our newspapers. We have had excellent feed- back from advertisers who say that it provides un- doubted added value. “The new online facility is


quick, simple and free to use, with no registration re- quired. Downs Mail wants to hear


your comments, so connect today and email your feed- back to:


digital@downsmail.co.uk.


Excitement over Museum work P3


Motorbike cicruits upset villagers


P12


COMMUNITY ‘bobbies’ will figure more prominently in the new- look policing structure for Maidstone borough. This was stressed by the new area commander, Chief Supt Matthew Nix. He also said the County Town will be the operations centre on his patch, which will cover a third of Kent. He was talking to Maidstone councillors about the significant changes, brought about by the need to cut the force’s budget by 20% over four years, mostly in the first two years. This means 1,500 posts (500 officers and 1,000 civilian staff) being axed from the 7,000-strong force. That includes a recruitment freeze. Chief Constable Ian Learmonth has given a clear steer, he said. "Neighbourhood policing is absolutely the bedrock of everything we will be doing." A reconfiguration of what neighbourhood offi- cers will be doing means the public-facing rolewill be “maintained if not enhanced”.


P16 Round the M25 - playing golf!


golf at 31 different courses, oneateachofthe infamous motorway's 31 junctions. It will take him the whole


of August, which just hap- pens to be 31 days long. Trevor, an education ad-


Trevor on a buggy at the local Tudor Park course


BEARSTED man Trevor Sandford is driving round the M25 for a month - not in a car, but with a golf club! Big-hearted Trevor aims to


raise money for Cancer Re- search by playing a round of


viser who lives in Tower Lane, is looking for other golfers to join him for a day on the marathon fundraiser. Allheasksisthattheydo- nate at least £50 - equivalent of a green fee - to the charity. If you would like to spon-


sor him, go to: www.justgiv- ing.com/monthofgolf2011 and if youwanttojoinhim in August, email Trevor at sand- fordenterprises@tiscali.co.uk


Big maternity blow


CAMPAIGNERS have had to ac- cept defeat over securing a ju- dicial review of the decision on Maidstone’smaternity services. But they say the battle goes on. MASH-Maidstone Action for Services in Hospital - launched a public fighting fund and worked with MP Helen Grant, doctors, councillors and news- papers for a review of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s de- cision to allow full, consultant- led maternity services to be switched to the new Pembury


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Hospital - leaving Maidstone with only amidwife-led service. The legal advice was that the challenge would be too risky. With the high level of proof re- quired, there was less than a 50% chance a judgewould find against Mr Lansley. MASH chairman Dennis Fowle said: “We may not beat him on legal grounds but morally he should be ashamed.” The case would have cost


about £30,000 – and more than double that if it were lost. Over £10,000 had already been pledged or given to the fund, which has now closed. MASH and local politicians


are now pressing for 24-hour consultant-led obstetrics and 24-hour consultant-led inpa- tient children’s services at Maidstone Hospital.


A huge new range that’ll have you ‘thinking Lincoln’


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Lesson in democracy by


Anthony, 16 MAIDSTONE schoolboy An- thony Hill made council ‘head- master’ Chris Garland sit up and pay attention. He demanded to know why nothing had been done about a promised change to the coun- cil’s constitution. Anthony held the Tory leader


to account during a public questions session and later ac- cused the council of making a “schoolboy error”. Last year, Anthony, a pupil at


St Simon Stock School, handed over a petition protesting about plans to axe the tree outside the Town Hall as part of the coun- cil’s High Street regeneration project. The tree is a favourite meet-


ing place for youngsters. P6


Cash for Japan GENEROUS folk responded to an appeal by the mayor by giv- ing £334 towards the Japan earthquake relief fund - on the day disaster struck. Cllr Eric Hotson’s quiz night


raffle had already raised £810 for his chosen charities but, after his personal plea, a cash bucket for Japan was soon filled as people left the event and headed for home.


Borough Update MAIDSTONE Council’s latest eight-page newsletter can be found in the centre of this edition of Downs Mail.


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