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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone East Edition June 2011 No.170


Safety threat to events on Green Maidstone to host Olympic flame


A NUMBER of Bearsted’s annual public eventsmay have to be called off after health and safety restrictions forced the can- cellation of this year’s Music on the Green. The parish council, which has organised the event for about


10 years, has shelved this July’s Music on the Green after it was referred to the Safety Advisory Group, which included representatives from Maidstone Council, Kent Police and the relevant highways, fire, health and ambulance agencies. Local residents, represented by Bearsted and Thurnham So-


ciety, had complained of noise, anti-social behaviour and poor crowd management at previous events. SAG chairman Ron Wallis voiced several concerns regard-


ing fire risks, crowd and traffic control. To satisfy them, the council would need to have found around £10,000 on top of its existing £5,000 budget. A parish council statement said: “The administrative tasks involved in running a simple event have increased immensely. In addition, Music on the Green would have required the introduction of stewarding management plans and the provision of some 20-plus SIA-qualified secu- rity operatives, which,with other added expenses,would have increased the costs of running the event. This would there- fore see the cost per person rising to £60, with the entry fees set at £5.” The council is now duty-bound to use the same principles


for all events attracting over 500 people that are held on parish-owned land, which includes Bearsted Green. Therefore, the following eventsmay cost much more to hold, putting them in doubt: Bearsted Carnival and Fayre (June), which has been run-


ning since 1977 and attracts around 2,000 people. Additional expense could be incurred regarding traffic orders and fire-pre- vention measures. Sports and activity day (August),which is organised by po-


lice. Though it may not attract 500 people, SAG warned the council that it has a responsibility to protect the public from the road nearby. Classic Car Show (September), which attracts more than


500 people, could be in doubt because of fire and safety haz- ards. Fireworks display (November), which attracts more than


1,000 people to Church Landway, could lead to further safety measures.


Parked cars ‘could cause fires’ - page four


Eighty new homes for Harrietsham?


ROYALMail has apologised to Maidstone res- idents for a poor service that has left some without any letters for days. Several members of the public have told Downs Mail that they are not receiving their mail six days a week – in breach of Royal Mail’s terms of licence. The organisation isun- dergoing a restructure of its service to cope with the trend away from letters and towards packages, starting firstly in the ME15 area. The changes were due to cover ME14 and ME16but have been delayed, it is thought, be-


PLANS for up to 70 homes on flood-risk land at Cross Keys, Bearsted, are causing deep con- cern. One prominent resident warned that the village was in danger of becoming a small town if such a large scheme was ap- proved.


cause of difficulties adapting to the new sys- tem. Postmen even made deliveries to the Barming area ona Sunday to clear a backlog of letters and parcels clogging up theMaidstone sorting office. Tovil Parish Council is pursuing the matter


after one member – a former employee at RoyalMail – called on thematter to be referred to a regulator if the situation doesnot improve. ARoyal Mail spokesman said: “We are un- dertaking a major change to the way in which we handle mail in parts of Maidstone.We ac-


KIG battle cry over homes plan Jenny Whittle,who lives in The


Street and is a county councillor - albeit for a neighbouring divi- sion - urged residents to fight as vigorously as they did against Kent International Gateway. She said it is "barking mad" to consider building a


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RESIDENTS in Maid- stone will have a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the Olympic Flame when it passes through the bor- ough and stops off at Leeds Castle on Thurs- day, July 19 next year. Maidstone will be one


P10


Ed Harrison (400m Hurdles), Kelsie Gibson (Rowing), Ian Payne (Wheelchair Tennis), Martin Brockman (Decathlon) and Luke Smallwood (400m)


of 66 evening celebra- tion locations across the UK confirmed by the London 2012GamesOr- ganising Committee. On the 19th, there will be an entertainment show at Leeds Castle, where a cauldron will be lit from the Olympic Flame to mark the end of theday’s proceedings. The Olympic Torch


will arrive in the UK from Greece on Friday, May 18 with the 70-day relay beginning at Land's End.Maidstone will be day 62 of the relay,with the flame travelling up from Dover and then heading onto Guildford. The Olympic Flame will arrive at the Olympic Stadium on July 27 for the opening ceremony.


Borough Update


FOR more details on the Olympic flame’s appearance in the county town, see Maidstone Council’s latest twelve-page newsletter in the centre of this edition of DownsMail.


P16


Unrest over Mote Park houses sale


Royal Mail says sorry after postal delays


cept that we have not got everything right.We areworking to resolve the issues as amatter of priority.We apologise to customers for any in- convenience caused.” The spokesman added that it has had to un-


dergo a modernisation programme to deal with the 16 million fewer letters posted every day compared with five years ago: “The changes will also result in a number of other benefits - aswe deliver fewer letters but more packets and parcels than we did in the past. “The switch to vans and trolleyswill


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