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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.


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


MORE than 80 Yalding residents enjoyed a Sun- day afternoon of apple picking and picnicking. The parish picnic pro-


vided a chance to explore The Fen under the guid- ance of Medway Valley Countryside Partnership andmeet the Sussex cattle which are kept there. The children had a fun


time in fantastic weather and everyone managed to pick enough fruit for 250 bottles of Yalding Apple


Sainsbury’s shows its hand


SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s has unveiled a proposal to build a large store in Staplehurst. The chain wants to set up a 19,000 sq ft store opposite the train station. A public exhibition outlined plans for 161 supermarket parking spaces and a new 28,000 sq ft factory for diamond manu- facturer DK Holdings. Though the scheme involves the introduction of a new round-


about on the main A229, residents fear it is impractical due to in- evitable traffic congestion. Tesco withdrew its interest in a similar proposal a few years ago, after these concerns were raised. Sainsbury’s said itmight lodge a planning application by the end of October, depending on public feedback.


Full story - page 8


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 Downs Mail.


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


Costly museum delays


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 contractor administrator. It could result in an overspend and


P15


Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South 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


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 anewpolicing


P3 An apple picking day keeps autumn away


Juice. The juice is sold at the Vil-


lage Tea rooms and other out- lets and proceeds are ploughed back into The Fen and orchards. Thanks went to Mark Pritchard fromMVCP for over- seeing the picking, leading the walk and for collecting and taking the apples for process- ing next day. The parish also thanked Robert Body for lending aman and a machine to lift the large bags of apples onto a trailer.


Murder charge A TEENAGER was charged fol- lowing the stabbing of Tom Crittenden (21), who died fol- lowing an incident in Notting- ham Avenue, off Sutton Road,, Shepway. CalebWhite (19), of Cornwall


Close, Shepway, was due to ap- pear before Maidstone Crown Court.


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 22


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 22


Clerk takes on fifth parish position


Investment bucks economic trend


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Council backtracks on dog bin plan


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Housing target may be 20% higher


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Maidstone’s only IN-HOUSE LAPTOP REPAIR CENTRE


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