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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South Edition November 2011 No.175 Pub ‘saved’ for village shop

A GROUP of creative women have joined forces to trans- form an old pub into a fash- ionable community hub. Coffee and paninis have re- placed beer and crisps at the former Buffalo's Head in Chart Sutton. And the mums behind the venture are also offering courses in painting furniture and making Roman blinds, footstools, candles or bed headboards. It is a complete new lease of

life for the dilapidated pub that closed 18 months ago. Indeed, Carol Filby and Janine Lolliot, who are leading the proj- ect, have adopted the philoso- phy of TV's Changing Rooms

Janine Lolliot and Carol Filby inside the new community hub duetoopensoon

this month. A kiddies’ cor- ner will complete the fam- ily-friendlymakeover. Upstairs, there are spa-

cious rooms in theGeorgian property for the three-hour morning courses being run by Carol, Janine and their friends. Carol, who lives nearby,

programme, with an emphasis on the shabby chic look. The bar area will re-open as a coffee shop with light bites later

Getting to the bottom of Gravelly’s potholes

THE quaintly named Gravelly Bottom Road has a new, if unwanted, claim to fame - it is the pothole capital of Maidstone. During the four summer months - May 1 to August 31 - more than 100 roads were repaired throughout the borough at a cost of £217,000. But the road with the highest individual number of potholes filled was Grav- elly Bottom in the parish of Broomfield and Kingswood, with 36. Parish clerk SueWotton said shewas not surprised. “Gravelly Bot- tom Road is an ongoing problem, with drainage and flooding issues

leading to surface-layingwater.

“After it’s been icywedo get a lot of potholes. But when I’ve con- tacted Kent Highway Services they have been good, coming out and filling them. Credit where it’s due, they are good on pot- holes.” In all, there were fixes to 538 potholes -mainly a legacy of the harsh winter - aswell as


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.

THE fight is on to bring faster broadband to village businesses suffering with slow internet speeds. The Downs Mail has learned

said: "In the current eco- nomic climate, people are improving, not moving, and we can show them how to better their homes with simple skills that don't cost a lot."

The new venture is called Lilypie Paints Etc.

CHARTSutton's volunteer-run community shop, opposite the ex-pub, has hit a snag. But Carol Filby, who was heavily involved in setting it up, be- lieves she has a solution. The timber shop stands on

land belonging to LeachMotors but the garage owner has just sold it to a man whose lawyer is insisting on vacant posses- sion, which means the shop has to move. Carol has suggested two op-

tions - the shop could bemoved across the road to the forecourt of her new business or tem- porarily occupy space within a coffee shop - inwhich shehas a share - at Pleasant View Gar- den Centre.

‘Stifled’ firms need faster broadband

plans to put in a bid to Kent County Council for funds to tackle the issue. Parish councillor Martin Round, who chairs the forum's steering group, said the problem


Coxheath company celebrates growth

Council protection for Ulcombe pub


Distribution company looks to expand

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that potential tenants of rural business units are backing out whenthey are told about the poor connections. Headcorn Business Forum

BThas just announced it will up- grade its exchange for fibre-optic infrastructure. Mr Round said there is little chance of fibre optics in their area. But there is an option for busi-

affects Headcorn andmany parts of the LowWeald. In the Maidstone urban area,

nesses to "hook into" an antenna on nearby Ulcombe Hill, to get super fast broadband with no need for phone lines - but the client has to be in clear sight of the hilltop. Mr Round said:


Council sends out Dale Farm gypsy warning

RESIDENTS were put on high alert for fresh gypsy arrivals after a council officer advised them that evicted travellers from the Dale Farm site in Essex were ap- proaching the borough. Steve Goulette, Maidstone Council’s assistant director of en- vironment, wrote in an email: “We have been told that some of the gypsies evicted from the site in Basildon are on the M20. Ob- viously at this stage we don’t know where they will go to but we need to be alert.” Themessage was circulated on

the first day of evictions to sen- ior council officers, including chief executive Alison Broom, and forwarded to parish council clerks by head of democratic services Neil Harris, under the instruction ofMr Goulette. As Downs Mail went to press,

there had been no reports of gyp- sies from Dale Farm, which had been Europe’s largest traveller site, surfacing inMaidstone. Headcorn Parish Council chairman Tim Thomas said: “I am not aware of anyone from Dale Farm coming down here. As a parish council we have to keep an eye out and notifyMaid- stoneCouncil of anymovements. “I fail to see what Maidstone Council could do if any of them did arrive in the borough as they are hardly going to block en- trances with their vehicles. You can keep an eye on it but that will not stop them moving in and, once they’re there, you have the usual problems of


Sundial tribute to ex parish chairman


Concrete plan given crushing defeat


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