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Villages ‘pay for’ town success in crime battle


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 been made


in Shepway North, Shepway South and ParkWood wards. The overall detection rate is


45% - the best in Kent - and par- ticularly good on burglaries and vehicle crime. But borough com- mander, Chief Insp Steve Grif-


Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone East Edition October 2011 No.174 Summer date


fiths, told councillors: "We are suffering with some rural crime. "We have made great gains in


town, with 30 fewer crimes in the High Street ward than this time last year - about an 11% reduc- tion. However, we may have moved some of the crime from


town to other areas." ChInsp Griffiths said the North Downs area had been hit by an additional 50 crimes this year. The rocketing price of lead and


scrap metal as well as heating oil was behind a spate of rural thefts. He saidNorth Downs is a huge


‘My dogs are going nowhere’ Perfect partnership


SHARON Farrington faces a battle with Maidstone Council to keep all of her rescue dogs at the centre she runs in Holling- bourne. Full story - page 33.


Costly museum delays


THE cost of Maidstone's trou- bled museum extension may rocket again after further delays to the contract. Council leader Chris Garland


spoke of his frustration about the East Wing project that was originally supposed to finish in April. Completion is now un- likely until later this month - a total of six months behind schedule. The Downs Mail understands the total additional cost of the


over-run could run into thou- sands of pounds. Cllr Garland told the Downs


Mail: "It is very frustrating but we are determined to get the museum completed." He said the contractor had submitted a claim for a further extension. As the Downs Mail went to press, Cllr Garland said: "That time extension has not yet been approved by the contrac- tor administrator. It could result in an overspend and


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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 executiveGlenn Douglas and severalKentMPs. “Formany, 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


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Park scheme begins WORK has now begun on the £2.5m project to improve Mote Park. For more details, seeMaid- stone Council’s latest 12-page newsletter in the centre of this edition of DownsMail.


OAK AND PINE The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102 www.lincolnfurniture.co.uk


DIRECTORS Hair and Beauty in Ashford Road,Bearsted,has celebrated its 30th year inbusi- ness.


Owner Vicki Luckhurst says


she has had great success in advertising with Downs Mail, having been in every East edi- tion since we began in 1997. DownsMail chairman Claire Procter (right) marked the oc- casion by giving Vicki a bou- quet of flowers. She said: “It is lovely to see one of our most loyal customers go from strength to strength.”


area with lots of side roads and small country lanes, making policing difficult. Ch Insp Grif- fiths sent out a team to target the area recently but he added: “It is a threat I have to deal with - we are 50 crimes over what we should be.” The good news is that under a new policing


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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 20


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 20


Investment bucks economic trend


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Council backtracks on dog bin plan


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Politicians denounce J8 development


Housing target may be 20% higher


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Maidstone’s only IN-HOUSE LAPTOP REPAIR CENTRE


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