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HOPES for a third school at Kings Hill have been dashed after res- idents were told that cutbacks had forced education chiefs to aban- don the idea. Both primary schools in the affluent area are oversubscribed and hundreds more homes are in the pipeline. With one of the highest birth rates in Kent, calls for a third school


in the burgeoning new village had been gathering momentum and families were told last year that this was being researched and planned. But a county council official admitted that there were now no


plans for another school. Instead, the Discovery School would be expanded with mobile classrooms to cope with the extra numbers. Answering questions at the annual parish meeting, Matthew Hy-


land said: “With all the cutbacks in KCC and the public sector, the council has not got the money any more.” He added that there had been lengthy consideration of a build-


ing, at Kings Hill, formerly allocated to the University of Green- wich. “It’s an education building, but there is not the money to do it.” As for the possibility of a new “free” school run by parents, Mr Hyland said there were limited opportunities for allocating another school site. Parish Cllr Sue Woodcock, a former primary school head, said:


PREPARATIONS are under way at Kings Hill School for a giant street party the day before the royal wedding. More than 500 children and adults will


be taking part in the celebrations. The school and groundswill be festooned


in bunting, Union Jack flags and streamers all made by the children, and everyone will be wearing red, white and blue clothes. After eating a street party lunch, including wedding cake, the children will enjoy bouncy castles, ice creams, face painting, dancing and magic. The youngsters will parade in their homemade crowns for judging by the Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling Cllr Sue Murray. Residents from local nursing homes are being invited to join in the fun. Throwing a right royal party – page 16


Malling Edition April 2011 No.168 ‘No’ to third school for Kings Hill


“The difficulty is that the birth rate fluctuates. Although it is very frustrating for parents, putting in mobile classrooms does go some way to alleviate the problem which may be only temporary.” But a Discovery School governor feared that the school’s high standards might be affected. “I think it’s very sad that we are cram- ming in these extra classrooms,” he said. Both the 418-pupil Kings Hill School and the Discovery School -


which has 388 on its roll - are oversubscribed by a total of 36 for this September’s intake. A KCC spokesman said there would be no mobile classrooms at


the Discovery School this year as the school could accommodate the additional pupils. He said: “There are plans for new modular buildings from Sep- tember 2012. A planning application will be submitted nearer the time. KCCwill continue to monitor population trends and will plan accordingly.” County Cllr Richard Long said there had never been a definite


plan for a third school. “What I have identified in the past is the existing capacity in the two schools was not enough and a third school was going to be a sensible way of providing that capacity. But there is no money at themoment and no need for a third school now.”


Youngsters ready to party for William and Kate


On track with rail repairs IMPROVEMENTS at West Malling sta- tion should be completed by the end of May. A Network Rail spokesperson said:


"We are carrying out some repair works to the platform and the roof. As scaf- folding was required, we decided to renew the windows at the same time. We thank passengers for their pa- tience.”


High-speed snub - page 6 Town Talk inside Yr-2 Kings Hill School pupils prepare for the event


Going undercover to combat crime POLICE officers have begun patrolling Maidstone town centre stores in plain clothes to deter an increase in theft and handling offences. These rose by 6.4% in the previous financial year, and local po-


lice are going undercover to tackle the issue. Chief Inspector Robbie Graham, borough commander for Maid-


stone said: “Officers will blend with the public and be alert to any shoplifting, purse, mobile phone and cycle thefts.”


Gas-from-waste plan under scutiny


P15


Celebrity duo fly in at East Malling P3


INSIDE this month’s Downs Mail is the latest edition of the new-look Town Talk. The bi-monthly eight-page inde- pendent magazine, written by and dedicated to Snodland residents, is in the central pages of the paper.


Newclassrooms ‘too noisy’ PLANS to build a speech and language centre at West Malling CE Primary school have suffered a setback after Tonbridge and Malling Council raised an objection. The scheme, which has been submitted by Kent County Council


for consultation, includes an extension to the main school with three classrooms, office and support accommodation and a new en- trance lobby to replace an existing building across the playground. KCC says the current unit has reached the end of its useful life


and the proposals are for “a modest new building” to ensure “a con- tinuing vibrant and modern speech and language facility on the site”. But the borough council believes the development would have a detrimental impact because of its closeness to nearby homes, par- ticularly No 7 County Grove. Other concerns were the potential noise level close to a residen-


tial property and that additional traffic would add even further pressure to the already congested roads in the area. The existing unit caters for 20 children, between reception age


and 11, needing special support with speech and language. KCC has the final say on the scheme. If it goes ahead, it is hoped that a community use could be found for the existing building.


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