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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone East Edition December 11 No.176 New warehouse scheme near M20

A PROPOSAL has been detailed to set up a £60m warehouse fa- cility off theM20 near Bearsted - but its promoter says it will be much smaller than the refused Kent International Gateway scheme. Local construction company Gallagher has presented a scheme to Maidstone Council for a new retail distribution/lo- gistics park, just south of junc- tion 8, between the Mecure Hotel (formerly Ramada) and OldMill Road. As previously revealed in Downs Mail, Gallagher origi- nally earmarked this site as a business park. Butwith demand for offices now low it has changed course to meet the

Club warned for under age drinking

A MAIDSTONE nightspot has admitted it made a "genuine error" in admitting a 15-year- old girl on three occasions. But Lashings has tightened

up itsproceedings since the in- cidents inJuly, the borough's li- censing sub-committee heard. Members decided not to sus-

pend thepremises licence for a month, as requested by the po- lice. PC Neil Barnes, licensing officer, said he was concerned that no one at the club in Upper Stone Street had thought to challenge the girl about her age. But Toby Burrough, repre- senting Lashings, said no-one had reason to think she was under age and that the club had a good track record in that respect.

However, the sub-committee

did issue a warning to the club and modified some of its li- censing conditions. Members heard that on July 8 the girl, having spent two hours at an- other pub, had arrived at Lash- ings with an older man who was a club regular. On the following night and

on July 12 she was again al- lowed into the club. On each occasion she was served alco- hol in significant amounts and became intoxicated. When her father complained to Lashings he was advised to speak


Helicopter high for the boys! BRENDENWeeks was among dozens of infants who experienced the thrill of an RAF helicopter landing in their village. The five-year-old donned a pilot's headset andwas joined by pals

Ethan Collins (left) and Scott Hoadley aboard theMerlin at Glebe Field, Harrietsham. The surprise visit marked the 95th anniversary of 78 Squadron being formed at StedeCourt, a local country house. Full story, page four

Three police areas for Maidstone Maidstone itself will also be di-

A NEW police structure for the Maidstone area is now in opera- tion.

The Kent force has been split

into three divisions and Maid- stone is part of the newWest Di- vision, along with Tonbridge & Malling, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks. It is under the overall command of Chief Supt Matthew Nix, with Chief Insp Adrian Futers covering the Maidstone area.

Local family buys treasured wood

‘Stump’ gets tree protection order


Rising concerns over bus changes

P20 P31 BIG IN OAK Digital Solutions Ltd

vided into three sectors: West under Insp Jerry Prodger East under Insp GeoffWyatt

Town (covering the High Street ward) under Insps Dave Coleman and Jody Gagan-Cook. Thenewset-upwas introduced

on November 16 following a countywide review, necessitated by Government spending cuts. 'Top notch' policing - page six

strong demand for a distribu- tion centre in the heart of Kent from businesses such as Tesco and M&S. The 17-hectare site is much smaller than Axa’s planned KIG road/rail freight interchange on 112 hectares of land north of Bearsted, which was forcefully rejected by nearby residents and the Government. The council has designated

11 hectares of employment land south of junction 8 in its draft Core Strategy, It needs to identify an extra 10,000 jobs in Maidstone as it fi- nalises its Core Strategy up to

2026 and Gallagher believes this project would produce be- tween 800 and 1,500 well-paid opportunities, especially for young people. Gallagher plans to reduce the elevated area of farmland by up to 40ft so that the development is not visible from the A20 and Bearsted area. “This is well removed from

the KIG proposal,” said Gal- lagher managing director Nick Yandle. “We are not talking of a mas-

sive rail/road interchange cov- ering 200 acres of high profile land of special landscape


400-name petition to save youth centre

YOUNGSTERS have handed in a petition of 400 signatures in a bid to save Lenham Youth Cen- tre, which is threatened with closure.

Presenting the document to County Cllr Jenny Whittle, 13- year-oldGavin Evans said: “I am extremely upset that this sug- gestion has been put forward. We use it, it is safe, and the place and staff are great. We want KCC to rethink this idea.” The centre is based at Swade-

lands School. Lenham Parish Council chairman Cllr Nigel Godfrey said: “It is vital to keep it open. The young people can receive help and guidance in an informal, friendly and safe set- ting. We don’t want the young people on the streetswith noth- ing to do.” The campaign is backed by

Cllr Whittlewho said the centre had played a key role in reduc- ing anti-social behaviour. She wrote to Mike Baker, KCC’s head of youth services, that the staff were motivated and enthusias- tic and superbly led by Nicki Folland Smith, and the tieswith local schools were excellent. “On the basis of value formoney and outcomes delivered for service users, I hope very much that Lenham Youth Centre will be preserved for the good of children and young people over many years to come,” she said. Borough Cllr Tom Sams said

the club may come back in an- other form, but would not be the same. Writing in “Harrietsham Net- work”, he said: “Young people from far and wide attend this club. I am devastated given the hard work of all concerned that this should be even consid- ered.” KCC is reviewing P9


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