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Renewed hope for former shop Poppy Day appeal


THE prospect of Chart Sutton’s boarded-up former village store andpostofficecomingback into use has been boosted after the building’s owner made it available. For more than three years the one-time shop and neighbour- ing Old Forge have been left derelict at thewhim of property owner FergusWilson, who lives in Boughton Monchelsea. Mr Wilson previously told DownsMail that the buildings, which sit in a prime spot at the centre of the village, would re- main closed until Cllr Mike FitzGerald left his position on the borough council. Mr Wil- son was unhappy that the ward member contacted enforcement officers over a security wall erected when work to convert the top floor of the shop into a flat began almost four years ago. Work immediately stopped


and the buildings have been left empty ever since. But Mr Wilson recently claimed he offered the property


Big tidy-up RESIDENTS are invited to help make Yalding a parish to be proud of by joining in the village’s big tidy-up on Sunday, September 25, from 9.30am to 3.30pm.


to two parties: Mr and Mrs He- witt, who lived next door to the buildings, and Boughton Monchelsea Parish Council as part of a deal involving the cre- ation of 50 luxury houses south of Heath Road. But the parish council voted against the idea and the Hewitts are apparently no longer inter- ested. “I believe it would have been a good idea to reunite the


building with the house next door, which is how it once used to be ,” said MrWilson. MrWilsonwas unable to clar-


ify whether this meant the building was available to all parties, such as Chart Sutton Parish Council, which re- sponded to the closure of the former shop by setting up its own volunteer-run shop and post office on the village green.


Housing scheme turned down FERGUSWilson’s proposal to Boughton Monchelsea Parish Coun- cil included a large sum to buy out the group of gypsies who now live, both legally and illegally, next to the primary school at the vil- lage end of Church Hill. The proposal included: The parish council lobbyingMaidstone Council to allow wood-


land south of Heath Lane and north-west of the gypsy sites to be designated for housing Once Mr Wilson had then gained planning permission for 50 luxury homes he would sell off the land to a developer, with the condition that the parish council would receive 2.5% or £5,000 (whichever is greater) for every house the developer sells. Thismoney would be used to buy off the neighbouring gypsies.


The parish council would return the land to its original rural state. All remaining woodland on the housing site (about 50%) would


be given to the parish council The parish councilwould be given the former shop and post of-


fice in Chart Sutton. Parish council chairman Stephen Munford said: “A proposal for development to the west of the primary school was put forward by FergusWilson but, by majority decision, we turned it down.” Cllr Munford went on to thank Mr Wilson for donating a 0.25-


acre piece of track off Church Hill, adjacent to the travellers’ sites, to Boughton Monchelsea Amenity Trust. This will prevent gypsy expansion into the woodland. “I would like to expressmy gratitude for this gesture by MrWilson,” he said.


THE ROYAL British Legion in Maidstone hopes to raise about £10,000 this year, as part of its 90th anniversary celebration. The major event is a din-


ner dance at Maidstone’s Vil- lage Hotel on Remembrance Day, November 11. The evening will include a Michael Buble tribute act, a silent auction and a raffle. Primary and secondary schools in the area may also contribute, by holding non- uniform days, with proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal, Maidstone has less than


100 RBL members and with no treasurer, the charity is desperate for more people to join.


Secretary Helen Colling-


wood, of Farleigh Lane, said: “Welcoming new members and continuing with fundraising is vital for keep- ing the charity alive.” The RBL aims to raise


£90m across the UK, of which more than half is ear- marked for the Battle Back charity, an organisation which supports injured sol- diers and helps to re-inte- grate them into society. The dinner-dance tickets


cost £32.95, of which £6 will be donated to the Poppy Ap- peal. Tickets can be booked via the Village Hotel.


18 South


To contact Downs Mail just phone 01622 630330


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