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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone Town Edition May 2011 No.169 Alcohol stains Gurkhas’ image

DRUNKEN Gurkhas have caused early morn- ing disturbances in Maidstone - twice this year. Onthe first occasion, in January, soldiers be-

came "abusive and obstructive" when police tried to calm 100 partygoers who had had "far too much to drink" at Babylon Live Lounge in King Street (pictured). The second time, at the same venue, police arrived to find "tensions very high" after re- ports of a fight at 3.15am. Details of the two incidents emerged when Babylon owner Kirit Velani applied to the li- censing committee for a “Nepalese cultural evening" to go on until 10am the following morning, early next month.

The police objected: "We cannot have the situation that a group of very drunk people are let loose in Maid- stone at 10 on a Friday morn- ing." A report due

to go before the committee said Mr Velani wanted to stay open till10amso he could keep "people on the premises until the trains are running as the event attracts a number of peo-

KCC fuels town economy

ATOTALof£610mof public-sectormoneyis spent in Maidstone -more than a third of it by Kent County Council, whoseHQis in the town. Atable of big spenders - the top three are KCC (£210m), the NHS Pri-

mary CareTrust (£150m) and Maidstone Borough Council (£96m) - was revealed by a resource-mapping exercise done by the Local Strategic Partnership. The LSP is a representative group of public, private, vol- untary and community sector organisations chaired by borough council leader, Cllr Chris Garland. Hetold a council scrutiny committee: "It's quite clear that ifyoubelieve

you can improve things where you have money to do so, then the part- ners we need to be working with are KCC, PCT and police, who are the next largest spenders, £15m." But scrutiny committee chairman CllrTony Harwood warned this re-

vealed "some vulnerability". "A few public sector players are overwhelmingly the main

BIG-hearted friends of a young Maidstone man dying of cancer organised a music event to raise money to pay for his funeral. After Darren Burley (28, pic-

tured) was recently diagnosed with cancer, his pal Nathan Jarrett approached KiritVelani, owner of Babylon Lounge in King Street, about using the venue for a fund- raising drum 'n' bass night. Mr Velani said: "He told me Darren didn't want his mother to be burdened with the funeral costs. The idea had come up on a Tuesday and we did the event on the Friday. It raised about £1,500." He added: "Darren is a gen-

uinely nice guy. He does not de- serve such bad luck. He's the father of an eight-year-old." Darren's mum, Sharon, who

P3 Pals’ boost for cancer victim Darren

lives with him offWillington Street, and his sister Louise were with him at the night- club. Mr Velani,

who fought

cancer himself seven years ago, said Darren had remained posi- tive despite having cancer in his lower back, liver and lungs. He said the 180 who turned up

for the night had donated £1,000 in buckets on the bar, in addition to the £4 entry charge. "It's a fantastic amount and just

shows the boy is loved." Darren is an ex-pupil of Brunswick House primary and Maplesden Noakes secondary.

Going undercover POLICE officers have begun patrolling Maidstone town centre stores in plain clothes to thwart a 6.4% year-on-year rise in theft and handling of- fences.

ple from London and Folkestone". But the police said trains start to run from Maidstone to London at 0515 and Folkestone at 05.55, and that the customers should be en- couraged to leave the premises as soon as the ‘cool down period’ is over (5am) so as not to miss their train. The police said Babylon had already held

two Nepalese cultural evenings this year, both resulting in disorder. January 7/8 - Officers, who were called at

04:44 to help two distressed females, were ob- structed by a "large group of soldiers from the barracks. The problem was “Gurkha sol- diers who have drunk too much". Public order arrests could have been made,

P6 ‘Disaster for the community’

ARRIVA’s decision to reduce bus services at short notice has been la- belled a “disaster”. Bus users were taken by surprise, with some complaining to their councillors about the lack of detailed information ahead of the changes, which took effect on Sunday, April 10. “I despair,” said Cllr FranWilson, leader of Maidstone Council’s Lib

Dem group after being told about the timetable changes. She was particularly concerned

about the loss of some evening buses serving Park Wood. “When you think about the size of the community it just seems disastrous,” she added. Service 82 (pictured) will no longer

run from ParkWood to town (Mon-Fri) at 18.35, 21.25 or 22.25 and, from town to ParkWood, at 18.44, 21.12 or 22.12. On Saturdays, the 18.19, 21.25 and 22.25 from ParkWood have been with- drawn, as have the 21.12 and 22.42 from town. In addition, Service 85 from SenacreWood to the town will no longer

run (Mon-Fri) at 18.55, 21.49 or 22.49 and, from town to SenacreWood, at 18.43, 21.32 or 22.32.OnSaturdays, the 85 will no run from Senacre Wood at 18.43, 21.49 or 22.49 and from Maidstone at 21.32 or 22.32. Several other services have been affected. Anger over lack of notice – page four

PCs ‘to own

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

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


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

The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102

area commander, Chief Supt Matthew Nix. He believes that “frontline ownership” is cru- cial. 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


Patriotic Maidstone up for Royal day


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