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£9m payout for

disabled girl A SIX-year-old girl has won a £9m payout after being left dis- abled at birth by hospital staff’s gaffes. Born in January 2005 atMaid-

stone Hospital, the young girl, referred to only as “K”,was left suffering from an intense form of cerebral palsy after being suf- focated in the womb. Maidstone and Tunbridge

Wells NHS Trust admitted lia- bility for her injuries and agreed a financial package of £9m that will help pay towards the considerable care and sup- port she needs.

Flood risk to

town homes NEARLY 5,000 homes inMaid- stone are at risk of flooding, ac- cording to a report drawn up by KCC on the possible conse- quences of serious storms. Environment chiefs reckon

that Kent has the highest num- ber of homes at risk in the UK and that Maidstone would be worst affected in the county with 4,988. The calculations are based on

the likelihood of a major storm flood occurring once in 200 years. In surrounding villages, a fur-

ther 1,101 homes are consid- ered vulnerable. The draft Preliminary Flood

Risk Assessment Report says 23km of roads and railways, 488 business premises and 62 critical services such as schools and hospitals in Maidstone could also be affected.

Extension refusal PLANS for a two-storey rear/ side extension in Egerton have been blocked. Charles Hope’s application

for a home in Coldbrige Cot- tages, Coldbridge Lane, would have created two additional bedrooms to enable children to have separate rooms. But Maidstone Council felt

the proposal’s size would “overwhelm and destroy the form of the original house and would cause visual harm to the character, appearance and openness of the countryside”. It would also overshadow a neighbouring property, it said.

‘Time Team’ treasures to find town museum home

LIKE a lot of people, Albert Daniels takes his work home with him. But most people’s is on a laptop nowadays. Not Albert, though, whose workload is a bit heavier – like the large Roman quern, or stone handmill, which lies broken in three pieces at his house in Boxley Road. Albert is chairman of the 118-member Maid-

stone Area Archaeological Group (MAAG), which has been working on an excavation of Roman buildings at East Farleigh for the past five years.

Not that motorists or other passers-by on nearby Lower Road would be aware. The dig is out of sight, about 50m towards the River Med- way, behind a tree plantation. But Albert and his team hoped the site – and

what they have unearthed there – would attract a lot of visitors to MAAG’s recent open day. They were be able to see some of the 500 ob-

jects, including 200 coins, found at the various buildings. Among some of the more interesting are: a bronze strigil, used by the Romans to scrape dirt from their skin during bathing remains of a mortarium, the “Roman version of a Kenwood mixer”, says Albert part of a cheese press antler-bone knife handles dozens of bone pins metal decorations for furniture and

belts and, of course, Albert’s quern was back on site. The finds will be handed over to Maid-

MAAG members – and canine companion – excavate in front of the ragstone wall of a large Roman barn

stone Museum once the dig and the docu- mentation are completed. The East Farleigh excavation ends this summer as landowner Bryan Baughan is selling up. The open day was part of the annual Festival of British Archaeology.

Council gets stung for £5,000 A PARISH council has been sued for £5,000 after a girl’s skin was blistered by a river plant. The incident happened in Yalding five years ago when some children entered theMedway from The Lees car park. The girl came into contact with a young giant hogweed,which caused blistering. Her parents decided to sue the parish council, whose insur-

ance company made a settlement offer of £5,000. It is understood the family

had accepted but, as a minor is involved, it is up to the court to decide on the level of compen- sation.

Council chairman Geraldine Brown said the payment went “very much against the grain”. She felt the parents were

partly to blame as the children had waded through nettles down the embankment, where there was a sign saying ‘Do not enter the river’. Cllr Brown said: “The par-

Giant hogweed contains toxic sap that can cause a reddening of the skin, often followed by severe burns and blistering. Up to 20ft tall with huge leaves, it is highly inva- sive and has spread throughout the UK, pri- marily favouring river banks but also other areas such as parks, cementries and wasteland.

ents should have been equally responsible.” At the time, in August 2006, no one even knew giant hogweed

was at the site, she added, but now it is sprayed every year. The parish council has been assured by the insurance com-

pany that it is covered for any similar claims for statutory negli- gence.

Academy makes good progress

STAFF and pupils at New Line Learning are delighted the school is on track tomeet its Of- sted targets. After a one-day monitoring

visitOfsted concluded that NLL is making the recommended improvements and working to- wards the goals identified in its previous “satisfactory” inspec- tion.

The latest report said atten-

New Line Learning pupils with head of academy Guy Hewett

dance was now much closer to the national average and the number of pupils persistently absent had reduced consider-

ably through intense support. According to Ofsted, the good progress was attributed to a focus on developing literacy and numeracy skills, improved teaching and behaviour man- agement, teachers actively in- volving students in their learning and enhanced tracking of pupils’ performance. Head of academy Guy Hewett

said: “We are really pleased with the outcome of the visit. Short notice visits like this en- sure inspectors see the academy as it really is.”

Boost for women

abuse victims THEWomen’s Support Service, which covers the Maidstone area, has received £27,752 from the Government’s Big Society Transition Fund. WSS chairman Suzanne Hol-

loway said: “Raising funds for services for victims of domestic abuse is challenging in this dif- ficult economy. This grant will enable us to work better to de- velop support for victims of do- mestic abuse in Kent.” WSS’s helpline, 01622 761146, is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or email An out-of-office-hours service operates fromMaidstone police station on Saturdays and Sun- days, 9am to 3pm, on 07961 021929.

Downs Mail

works for us “SINCE advertising with Downs Mail, we have seen a 50% increase of calls from the advertised areas of Maid- stone and Malling.

“We have also had an in- crease in sales by some 40% from the calls we obtained.

“The feedback we had

from our customers is that they find the editions easy to read and full of detailed in- formation. We will continue to use Downs Mail as an ad- vertising platform on a regu- lar basis.”

Joni Cooper, AHM Instal- lations

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