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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South Edition April 2011 No.168 More ‘Royal’ than TunbridgeWells!


MAIDSTONE is Britain's most patriotic borough. It is organising more street parties for the royal wed- ding than anywhere else. Kent County Council has received requests for 10 road closures in the Maidstone area on April 29, compared to just six in the royal borough of TunbridgeWells. Yalding's High Street will be shut for a party to mark the wedding of PrinceWilliam and Kate Mid- dleton. It will include a sit-down tea for children and hog roast for adults. That day, there will also be road closures in East Farleigh, Staplehurst, Downswood and Allington


plus three inWeavering and two in urban Maidstone. And there will be community parties (not requiring road closures) in Chart Sutton village hall car


park; on Bearsted Woodland Trust land; and near the village green at Sutton Valence, where parish council chairman Eileen Riden said: "Whether you're a royalist or not, it's a great excuse for a party!" In other parts of Kent the road closure figures,when Downs Mailwent to press,were: Ashford 1, Can- terbury 2, Dartford 4, Dover 7, Gravesham 4, Swale 1, Thanet 4, Tonbridge and Malling 7, Sevenoaks 3 and Shepway 5. The deadline to apply is this Friday (April 15). AKCC spokesman said research showed more roads were being closed in Kent than in any other local authority. Second highest is Cambridgeshire. KCC agreed to waive charges for street parties on quiet residen-


PCs ‘to own theirpatch’


COMMUNITY ‘bobbies’ will figure more prominently in the new-look policing struc- ture for Maidstone borough. This was stressed by the


new area commander, Chief Supt Matthew Nix. He be- lieves that “frontline owner- ship” is crucial. 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 signifi- cant 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 civil- ian staff) being axed from the 7,000-strong force. That in- cludes a recruitment freeze. Chief Constable Ian Lear- month has given a clear steer, he said. "Neighbourhood policing is absolutely the bedrock of everything we will be doing."Areconfiguration of what neighbourhood officers will be doing means the


tial road and cul de sacs. Road closure signs are being provided free.


Bryan Sweetland, KCC cabinet member for highways, said they


had taken the common sense approach. “We set out to make sure this process was as simple as possible,


so that if residents wanted to enjoy the event with their neighbours, then they wouldn’t have to plough through piles of application forms. “This just goes to prove what cutting through bureaucratic red


tape can do. More and more, I would like to see our highways pol- icy governed by three basic key tests: ‘Is it safe, is it legal, and is it affordable?’” The wedding will be broadcast live on a big screen at Leeds Cas-


tle. The royal palace has been home to six medieval queens during its 900-year history. Grounds open at 9.30am.


Young voices unite in harmony


THE combined voices of more than 150 visiting primary school children raised the roof at Sutton Valence Prep School during a day’s singing tuition and concert. Proud parents packed into


P12


Excitement over Museum work P3


Full borough council election preview


P4


Team work: (back row, l to r) Bethan Power (6), Roseacre; Molly Kennard(9), Holling- bourne; Charlotte Mangold (8), Headcorn; Poppy Lauder (9), Boughton Monchelsea. Front row, l to r, DavidLong (8), Sutton Valence; Francesca MacDonald(8), Loose; and CharlieWilliams (8), Sutton Valence School Prep.


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the school’s Bates Hall to hear the results of an afternoon’s coaching from the school’s head of musicWendy Heaton. Year 3 and 4 pupils from six schools in the Maidstone area joined the prep school’s junior choir to learn some tips and at- tempt sight-reading of several three-part songs, before giving a concert at close of play. Visiting schools taking part: Roseacre junior (Bearsted), Loose, Boughton Monchelsea, Headcorn, Sutton Valence and Hollingbourne primary schools. The children put on a concert which included the Carpenters’ 70s hit, Sing, plus The Hedge- hog, Java and Merry-go-Round. Mrs Heaton said: “It’s a great


challenge to bring so many chil- dren together and teach them something from scratch, but they rose to the occasion won- derfully and did themselves proud.”


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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 forJapan 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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