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DownsMail In touch with your parish

Severe congestion had been caused by the closure of M20 junction 8 slip road for two weeks with a lack of effective planning to manage the dis- placed traffic, particularly at peak times. The Highways Agency would be contacted. It was agreed the ownership

of derelict land on Rock Hill should be investigated.

Headcorn Council Status quo

THE council has retained its quality status for the next four years.

Residents had raised the issue

of yellow lines in Ulcombe Road. Requests for parking per- mits to be issued in this area and for disabled bays in the High Street would be consid- ered. A resident had requested a

safe crossing point in Station Road/Wheeler Street following her son being hit by a car while crossing the road. Notification had been re- ceived of the withdrawal of the 12RL bus from December 31. It was agreed to write to Kent County Council and copy to Biddenden, Tenterden and County Cllr Jenny Whittle, ex- pressing concern at the with- drawal of the service and its impact through additional com- muter cars being driven through the village. A quote was accepted for the reversal of the ladies’ public toilet door to stop it being kicked in. It was resolved to fund and distribute an additional newsletter to all residents to ad- vertise the re-launch of Neigh- bourhood Watch.The sumof £150 was allocated to help pro- mote the scheme and for addi- tional signage.

Langley Council High-tech share

A REQUEST was received for the parish council to share the Computer Club’s new laptops with Smarden, who had set up a similar club. Both centres have a lack of equipment and it would help if they could work together. The request was agreed in principle subject to insurance details. A £100 donation was agreed

for the flower festival at St Mary’s, Langley, following a re- quest from Beryl Charlton. The event, which is being held on August 12,13 and 14, is to raise urgently needed funds to reno- vate and replace many of the church furnishings. Cllr S Knowles was thanked

for the replanting of the village planters. PC Marc Pennicott had been appointed as the new neigh- bourhood officer. But, because of stretched resources, there would be times when he had to

Former firemen help Marden research EX-members of Marden’s Retained Fire Service helped to identify former colleagues from photographs as part of a history project. The Kent Fire Brigade central workshops were amajor employer

in the village during the 1950s and ’60s, when all of the county’s fire appliances were sent to the village for maintenance. The retired firemen, pictured at theMarden Heritage Centre, are helping volunteers from Marden History Group in their research. One attendee was Albert Bridger who, in 1977, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee medal for 30 years’ service to the brigade and the central workshops. All are welcome to visit the library-based heritage centre any

Tuesday or Thursday afternoon or Friday and Saturday morning. Pictured standing, from left: Glen Hatfield, John Duke, Bill Bishop, JohnWright, Jack Field and Bernard Brett and, seated from left: Len Newton, John Edmonds, Albert Bridger and Peter Preston

be redeployed. The parish would notify the police that members were disappointed that PC Pennicott would not be dedicated to rural work and wondered to what extent he would be called away. Community warden cover would be provided by Chris Lomax, a support warden. The play area monthly in- spection had highlighted that the red igloo was rusting.A quote would be obtained for re- painting. A quote of £891.45 plus in- stallation of £200 had been re- ceived for a new pedestrian entry gate into the play area.

Marden Council In focus

FOLLOWING a request from Marden History Group, it was agreed to allow it to film the work of the parish council A resident had complained

that his grandson had been un- able to open the train door on arrival at Marden station from Ashford. He had to travel on to Paddock Wood and was col- lected from there. The resident was advised on how to log a complaint on the Southeastern website.

Overgrown vegetation and brambles have encroached the pavement at the entrance to the station so that pedestrians walk in the road in the path of exiting vehicles. Also speed bump signs had been turned round. The clerk would contact South- eastern. There would be a cut in the Saturday bus service, numbers 28 and 29, after Christmas. There would still be a Saturday service to Maidstone on another route. It was reported that a resident

who tripped in the village had his claim for compensation dis- missed.

Staplehurst Council New start

RURAL warden Mira Martin introduced herself at the start of the meeting and took note of local issues. It was hoped to use the Com- munity Payback scheme to weed and sweep the Parade. Thanks were given to Cllr

Paul Kelly for the summer plantings. The maintenance and siting of more planters would be considered. The CCTV at Jubilee Field would be reviewed with the possible installation of a Polecat camera. It was agreed that the care-

taker should check the public toilets twice a week. The clerk would ask neighbouring parishes if they were content with the cleaning service. The village enhancement

group would review signage in the parish. Cllr Peter Spearink had priced

salt and grit bins and recom- mended two sites for new ones at the end of Bell Lane and the junction of Pinnock Lane with Hanmer Way. Other sites were suggested including Pope Drive /Oliver Road. A full report was required before reaching a deci- sion. It was reported that a photo- graphic competition had been set up on the website and would run until December 1. A public meeting would be

set up to consider the 2012 Dia- mond Jubilee celebrations.It was suggested they could be combinedwith the carnival and fete on June 5, with a focus on events for four to 10-year-olds,

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but a co-ordinating committee would be needed. Regarding the Staplehurst Emergency Help team,alive test of the volunteers’ tele- phone contact tree would be carried out soon. Questions had arisen during

the winter on who was respon- sible for clearing snow to give access to the Health Centre car park. Ownership discussions were ongoingwith Kent County Council. The new kitchen and flooring

had been installed at the youth club. The club had been adopted by Paddock Wood Lions for funding. Councillors recommended refusal to a planning applica- tion for alterations to an exist- ing store and workshop at 59 Bell Lane to create annexe ac- commodation. The proposal was considered backland and residential development in open countryside. It was rec- ommended that, if approved, the development be tied to uses related to the main dwelling. An application was noted for

a certificate of lawful develop- ment for existing use at Udene Farm, Marden Road, being the keeping of horses for more than 10 years.

Yalding Council Action on crime

THE chairman was happy that PC TomMepstead wasworking well to combat crime in the parish. The Windmill Path street

signs were installed, only for oneofthemtoberemoved overnight. Maidstone Council would reinstall them, using quick drying cement. The footbridge at The Lees

had been strengthened and a bollard would be installed to prevent misuse. It was proposed that a sign be placed on the bin at Kintons play area, requesting dog waste be placed in the dedicated bin opposite. Regarding dog fouling along Kintons Path, suitable sites had been identified to erect “Pick up poo” signs. It was agreed that the black

waste bin currently stored in the lock-up be erected adjacent to the back gate to the church with a “Poo fairy” sign at- tached, the bin to be emptied by Maidstone Council along with the wheelie bins from Elveys Cottages. The manhole cover outside

Tatt Cottage had been damaged twice. SouthernWater repaired it the first time, but would not do so again. The council would inform the owner that, while it was on land owned by the council, it is the responsibility of the owner of the properties it serves.

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