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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone Town Edition Sept 2011 No.173 ‘Housing could cripple our roads’

THERE are fears that the north-western edge of Maidstone could come under strain from housing developments in the two bordering boroughs. Former mayor Cllr Dan Daley has crit-

icised Tonbridge and Malling Council for allowing a planning application by Kingsway Properties for 43 new homes in Bunyards Farm, off London Road, Allington. As consultees,Maidstone Council ob- jected, claiming it would cause "signif- icant erosion" of the strategic gap between built-up areas. Cllr Daley, who represents Allington

greenfield locations for housing development…to the northwest and south east of the existing urban area to maximise the use of existing infrastructure and to minimise the impact on landscape and habi- tats”.

While the council has long earmarked theOtham

ward on Maidstone Council, fears things could get worse after the NHS and Royal British Legion Industries unveiled plans for 318 houses on the old hospital site at Preston Hall, Aylesford. He told theDowns Mail thatTonbridge and Malling Council “could

Preston Hall is set to be restored, and there is a proposal for 318 homes nearby

not care less”.He added: “They have stuffed houses as far east as they can. I really worry about the impingement from the outside over whichwe have no control whatsoever.Now you can seewhy I'm get- ting tickly about the road infrastructure.” This sentiment has been substantiated byMaidstone Council’sCore Strategy consultation document, which has identified “strategic

A SCHEME that supports elderly people in the borough has been saved from clo- sure by a £470,510 lottery handout. Voluntary Action Maidstone received

the funding boost for its ‘Brighter Fu- tures for Older People’ project from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Com- munities pro- gramme - one of four projects in the South East to share a total of £1.46m. The scheme, based at Maidstone Com- munity Support Centre in Marsham Street, has been running since 2005 and offers a range of services and activities for those aged 70-plus, including a door-to- door escorted transport service for shop- ping and social trips, and a befriending scheme. The project also advises older people

on how to deal with falls and postural ex- ercise classes, which may reduce admis- sions to hospitals and care homes.

and Langley area south east of town for new homes, it is the first time that parts of Allington – the open countryside east of Barming station and north ofMaidstone Hospital – has been considered a strategic housing location. Developers are already waiting in the wings for a change of land use. Croudace Homes is keen to build 950 properties on land between Howard Drive and Maidstone Hospital, while Wimpey Homes has aspirations for 80-90 homes off London Road, behind BlackmanstoneWay.

“You can see why in north-west Maidstone we are feeling slightly

shot at,” added Cllr Daley. He supports the argument that land east ofMaidstone could easily accommodate 1,000-1,500 new homes, especially as it is served by the A20 and a railway line. Building in already crowded, central areas would only add to the

threat of gridlock as every new house comes with two cars, he argued. Homes plan for historic hospital site – page 18 Councilmakes Junction 8 u-turn – page 22

Lottery grant secures Brighter Futures

It was due to close as KCC had with- drawn its funding, but VAM's chief exec- utive officer Charlotte Osborn-Forde said: “Our Brighter Futures service has been saved by this grant. This really popular scheme already helps 700 people in Maid- stone and will be able to continue and grow for another five years.” The grant will en-

Brighter Futures exercise class members celebrate the lottery ‘win’

able the service to ex- pand to Staplehurst, Marden and Head-

corn. Two buses will be leased and addi- tional staff and volunteers recruited. Project manager Peter Way said: “It meansmany older people who live alone, who have come to rely on us, can con- tinue to live independently in their own homes. ”The grantwill also allow the project to develop outreach work to older people living in villages which it has previously not been able to reach.” Brighter Futures won the Queen’s award for volunteers in June.

Comic faces ban over luxury car drive

COMEDIAN Jim Davidson was facing a six-month driving ban for failing to name the driver of his luxury lease car when itwas caught by a speed camera in Loose Road, Maidstone. Maidstone Magistrates Court heard how the convertible Aston Martin DB9 Volante was clocked at 39mph in a 30mph zone by a speed camera on September 6 last year. Davidson (57) was given six penalty points on his licence that accumulatively amounted to a ban. But this was suspended after he announced he would ap- peal. He was also ordered to pay a £1,000 fine and costs of £750.

OAK AND PINE The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102 High Street makeover begins

THE political arguments are being replaced by temporary traffic lights, road closures and diversions Yes, the contractors are moving in to the

High Street. In the coming days, the sound of pneumatic drills and mechanical diggers will herald the long-anticipated revamp of what used to be the vibrant heart of the town but is now a poor relation to the shopping axis of Fremlin Walk, Week Street and The Mall. Work on Phase 1 of the project - from Mill

Street to The Mall - begins onMonday, Sep- tember 5, and will be complete by next sum- mer. Inevitably, some temporary traffic changes will be needed. From Monday, Sep- tember 19 access to Lower High Street


Call for a new town ring road A NEW ring road should be built in Maid- stone. That is the view of Cllr Springett,who said: “I would love to come out of Bearsted, turn left and whiz on a bypass and go round the outside. “We have to say, 'we need it, how can we achieve it'.” Full story – page four

Crowds enjoy festival P14

20mph school trials


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