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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone Town Edition October 2011 No.173 Town winning crime fight Summer date By Peter Erlam

NEW statistics show that Maid- stone police are winning the fight against crime. But it appears that successes

in the town are at the expense of rural areas. Big advances have beenmade

in Shepway North, Shepway South and ParkWood wards.

The overall detection rate is

45% - the best in Kent - and par- ticularly good for burglaries and vehicle crime. But borough commander,

Chief Insp Steve Griffiths, told councillors: "We are suffering with some rural crime. "We have made great gains in town, with 30 fewer crimes in

Children fromWest Borough Primary School parade through town holding Buddhist golden deers

the High Street ward than this time last year - about an 11% re- duction. However, we may have moved some of the crime from town to other areas." Ch Insp Griffiths said the

North Downs area had been hit by 50 more crimes this year. But the good news is that under a new policing model, to

start from mid-November, Maidstone will get more offi- cers - and more of them will be seen on the streets. Ch Insp Griffiths said he would have five inspectors (currently two); 15 sergeants (five now); 80 constables (21 now); and probably 30 PCSOs (22.5 now) at his disposal. He said Kent Chief Constable

Ian Learmonth vowed to put neighbourhoods at the core of policing in a recent staffing re- view. He added: "This shows that sort of commitment in spe- cific numbers at Maidstone." The boroughwill be split into

A mega Mela! We report on the biggest Mela ever held in Maidstone - page 10

MAIDSTONE United FC have set a target of next summer for the opening of a new ground in James WhatmanWay. The Stones say that building work will begin by

the end of the month and have targeted a pre season friendly against former Maidstone manager Barry Fry’s Peterborough United in August 2012 to mark the club’s home- coming, having last played in the County Town in 2001.

Early this year,

TheStones began a campaign to raise £1.6m for the new 3,000- capacity sta- dium, which will become one of the first to have a 3G synthetic surface. Club chairman Oliver Ash and his right handman

three sectors - East and West, each with five sergeants, 25 PCs and 14 PCSOs; and the

P3 Stones target 2012 ground opening

Gallagher and the Football Foundation. Further funds are available from the FA’s Football Stadium Improvement Fund. Vice-chairman Mr Casey would not reveal where

Former Stone Chris Smalling (pic- tured), who now plays for Manchester United and England, said: “I have ful- filled many dreams by playing for one of the best teams in the world but will never forget where I started out and knowing that the club will soon have a venue where players of all ages can enjoy the sport they love is superb.”

the rest of the money will come from, but said: “We have got all of the money we need; we would not start the project unlesswewere sure thatwewould finish it. That would be foolhardy.We have a number of different fallback positions.” When the campaign

was launched in Janu- ary, the club hoped to raise a significant bulk of the required money through investors buy- ing separate stakes in

Terry Casey put £250,000 towards the project, with £150,000 each pledged by local businessman Pat

the ground. But this idea was shelved as it was a “legal minefield and incredibly complicated,” ac- cording toMr Casey. He added: “Now it becomes a race against time.We want the ground to be ready by the end of April, so the FAcan sign it off inMay.”

Hospital volunteer car service to go VULNERABLE patients are to lose the volunteer car service as a result of cuts being made by Maidstone and TunbridgeWells hospital trust. “Thiswill bedisastrous formanyold, infirm and poorpatients,” said

a driver for more than 10 years, KevinWalters, who has protested to trust chief executive GlennDouglas and several Kent MPs. “For many public transport is impossible and help from family and friendswill be very difficult.” Drivers are paid 41p amile to help cover car and fuel costs–afigure unchanged for more than 10 years. But the trust says this

for first triathlon A TRIATHLON will be held in Maidstone next summer and it is hoped it will become an an- nual event. The event, scheduled for June

24, is being organised with the backing of the borough council. Money raised will benefit a leukaemia research charity, said Cllr JohnWilson. There are several variations

of the triathlon but the most popular form involves swim- ming, cycling and running in immediate succession over var- ious distances. The River Medway might

host Maidstone's swimming section. Keen runner CllrWilson,who

has just done the Great North Run again, said the triathlon is a "growing sport, bigger than the marathon". Maidstone Business Forum

- page 18 Hospice hopes for

Somerfield site THE Heart of Kent Hospice hopes to raise its town-centre profile with a retail operation in council-owned premises in King Street, occupied by Somerfield supermarket until it closed last month. Hospice chief executive Kate Bosley confirmed negotiations were taking place, but added: "Nothing is definite or signed." Empty shops - page 18

Threat of train ticket office closures

Investment bucks economic trend

Housing target may be 20% higher

Council backtracks on dog bin plan

P4 P20 P26 P27


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