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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone East Edition November 2011 No.175 Is airfield scheme the answer?


DETLING aerodrome has emerged as the po- tential key to unlock two major problems. No 1 Maidstone needs a site for warehous-


ing but there is huge opposition to land being earmarked for employment near junction 8 of the M20. The airfield industrial estate could be the answer. No 2 A roundabout is desperately needed


on the A249 to resolve traffic issues for the County Showground and local residents. De- veloping the airfieldmight offer a solution. Consent for such a scheme could be made dependent on a roundabout being funded by the developer. Local authority funding alone is highly unlikely in the current economic climate. There are no firm plans yet but the pro-


Bearsted councillor is


cricket peace broker A LOCAL councillor is helping to heal a rift between Bearsted Cricket Club and resi- dents who overlook its pitch. Val Springett aims to find a solution to the 'balls-in-gardens' row that made national headlines this summer. Temporary, high netting on the boundary may be the answer. The issue, which had previously sim- mered, reached boiling point in August when Maria Chiappini was arrested after running onto the pitch to complain during the annual charity match against the nearby social club. Mrs Chiappini, who was handcuffed and


taken to Maidstone police station, has since paid her fine for a public order offence. She and husband John have been in dis-


pute with the cricket club since they bought BearstedHouse five years ago. They fear they, their children and friends are in danger


of being injured by stray balls. They are not the only locals


with worries. Cllr Springett said several families have “suf- fered in silence”. But she stressed that none of


those she has spoken to wants cricket banned on The Green. Cllr Springett, who was elected to Maidstone


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100-bed hotel touted A 100-BEDROOM Whitbread Premier Inn hotel is planned for London Road, Maidstone. Applicant Reef Estates has applied to convert London House, an empty four-storey of- fice building on the one-way system, into the hotel, which would also have 92 parking spaces.


Maidstone already has a host


of large out of town hotels and town centre guesthouses, but the applicant’s planning state- ment claimed: “There is high demand” for another hotel.


posal has the support of neighbouring parish councils as well as the showgroundmanage- ment, but only if tough conditions are at- tached to any development scheme. Thurnham Parish Council has been at the forefront of opposition to 11 hectares close to J8 being identified for warehousing and other industrial use in Maidstone Council's draft Core Strategy. Senior member John Horne said Thurn-


ham and Detling councils had put forward the airfield as an alternative. The agent for the airfield’s industrial estate landowner, EJ Mackeldon & Sons, has rein- forced that view bymaking a "very strong ar- gument" that it would be a more appropriate location, midway between the M20 and the


Louise is No 1 in her


M2. Cllr Horne stressed the aerodrome must


not be seen as the "dustbin" for Maidstone's unwanted developments. Stringent condi- tions would be needed, including a round- about serving the airfield, the County Showground as well as White HorseWoods. The level of buildings would have to be lowered to blend in and the site properly landscaped, particularly as it is in themiddle of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). RogerMoore, the showground’s ex- ecutive manager, said a priority was im- proving access and safety onto the A249.He said: “A roundabout there would be a big asset for the showground and for residents. The right turns onto the A249 are


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Alarm over A&E By Dennis Fowle


Fiesta MAIDSTONE- based Louise Cook (24), has triumphed in her first attempt in the British Rally Ladies Championship. Read about


the amazing twists and turns of her route to success on page 6.


‘We saw it in the Downs Mail’


THE Downs Mail has been praised in a Boxley Parish Coun- cil report. Following a review of the


paper’s popularity, councillors were told that only positive feed- back had been received from res- idents. Boxley is one of the parishes that invests in a spon- sored DownsMail page. The report continued: “When


thenewspaperwas firstdelivered to theNorthWard, and for quite a period of time after, residents ex- pressed their thanks for the parish


Call for funds to save wood in Sandling


M20 noise campaign up and running


Council protection for Ulcombe pub


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council’s decision to supply it. “At no point has the office re- ceived any negative feedback about the financial cost to the parish.” It was reported that in general conversation, residents still regu- larly mention that they “saw it in the Downs Mail” or refer to infor- mation from the Maidstone Council quarterly pages. For councils considering setting up a sponsored partnership with Downs Mail, call 01622 630330 or email info@downsmail.co.uk


ACCIDENT and emergency pa- tients expecting to go to Maid- stone Hospital are angry and mystified because ambulances are taking them instead to A&Es at Pembury and Medway hospi- tals they find seriously over- stretched. They tell stories of confused ambulance crews, long journeys and serious delays for treatments for minor injuries such as sprained ankles and broken fin- gers, which should be treated much more conveniently and quickly at an under-employed Maidstone A&E - as projected in original NHS proposals. The hospital trust, during the consultation period, said only ‘blue-light serious trauma cases requiring specialist surgery’ would be taken to Pembury – es- timating 30 or so a week. A trust spokesman categori-


cally denied claims that Maid- stone A&E is being run down, stating: “Maidstone A&E contin- ues to see the vast majority of pa- tients it did before.” Yet it


Wind turbine plan for North Downs


Elderly ‘stranded’ by bus route change


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