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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone East Edition January 2012 No.177 Netting to save cricket on Green?

AMAIDSTONE cricket club has commissioned an independent report into safety netting to pre- serve the centuries-old tradition of cricket on Bearsted village green.

Bearsted Cricket Club has

asked specialist contractors Jacksons Fencing of Ashford to draw up a report on effective netting which would protect householders and their homes from flying cricket balls on the perimeter of the pitch. The survey – the results of

which should be known early in the new year – is the latest in a line of measures designed to draw a truce between the club, local residents and the parish council and put an end to the insults and allegations which have been batted back and forth over many months. However, whowill pay for the netting – the cost of which could run to tens of thousands of pounds – and who will erect and dismantle it on a weekly basis, are yet more thorny issue

The laugh of Brian… IT was a moment that lightened a hard day’s work at BearstedWoodland Trust. The mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Brian Mor- timer, shared a joke with Hannah and Gemma Bealey as he joined a small army of 195 volunteers who planted 2,000 tree whips. Two days later, another 1,000 were planted to complete a 600m boundary around land that is being bequeathed to BWT by PaulineMoore, of Sutton Street. Pauline (88), who was with the work parties on both days, had expressed a wish for the job to be done before rather than after her death, so she could see it well established. PeterWillson, BWT life president, said Pauline was “ecstatic” that the task

A MAIDSTONE councillor has called for a “Robin Hood” solution to funding parishes, by taking from the rich to help the poor. The suggestion was made

to be thrashed out. Cricket has been played on Bearsted Green since 1749, but made national headlines last August when mother of two Maria Chiappini was arrested and taken to Maidstone Police Station after allegedly disrupt- ing a charity game. Matters were exacerbated in December when the 1st XI cap- tain, Andrew Dampier, set up a Facebook page ‘Save Bearsted Cricket Club’ claiming the club was under threat of potential

closure. He wrote: “After no serious

injury andminimal damage, for which the club has insurance, a campaign as been started by a few….householders that border the green. They are putting pressure on the borough and parish council to stop cricket being played.” The campaign has since at- tracted the backing of numerous high-profile cricketers and fans, including the owner of Maid- stone-based Lashings


Tesco bid for station site SUPERMARKET giant Tesco is believed to be leading the field in the bid to be anchor tenant at the long-awaited Maidstone East station redevelopment. Asda,Waitrose and Sainsburys have

all had their names in the frame to open a superstore on the large site, fringed by Brenchley Gardens and San- dling Road, when the Post Office sort- ing office relocates within the next year. The extensive site has been under the spotlight formore than a decade and is seen as one of the remaining “hotspots” in the regeneration ofMaidstone town centre.

However, after two aborted plans in P3

Funding parishes the ‘Robin Hood’ way He knew of parishes that

have “hundreds of thou- sands” of pounds in reserves, while others have just hun- dreds. “If parishes have hundreds

after claims that some parish councils hold “hefty” amounts of money in bank accounts. It happened during a de-

bate about a proposed new way for Maidstone Council to finance certain services in parishes. The Parish Services Scheme (PSS) would replace an annual grant system that has existed for 20 years. But Cllr Stephen Beerling

said: “I’m a little concerned that reserves have not been taken into consideration.”

of thousands in the bank what are they doing with it? Why can’t the funds be re- distributed to help the poorer parishes?” Boxley and Bearsted are

the borough’s two biggest parishes by population. Box- ley’s general fund balance as of March 31 was £123,000 with earmarked reserves of £236,000. Bearsted’s bal- ances were about £84,000. Geraldine Brown, who

chairs the Maidstone branch of the Kent Association of

Local Councils, said there might be a reason for having reserves, such as to buy something. But she added: “If we [Yalding] have too much money we can have our wrists slapped by the Audit Commission. You have to substantiate every penny you spend, every penny you take in income and every penny you have in the bank account. I can only assume that parishes with lots of money have good rea- son for having it.” Zena Cooke, Maidstone’s di-

rector of finance, said that when they had asked parish councils for information about how they spent their concur- rent functions grant it


A new deal on CCTV MAIDSTONE Council insists its new CCTV contract with Med- way will help catch criminals and look after visitors. For more details, see the council-spon- sored 12-page Borough Update in the central pages.

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recent years, confidence is oncemore rising that the site – along with six oth- ers in the South East – could soon be redeveloped by Network Rail in con- junction with the property regeneration company, Solum. Maidstone Town CentreManagement claims that Tesco is now out in front as the favoured “anchor partner” which could underpin the scheme’s finances. Ideasmooted for themixed use of the Maidstone East site have included a hotel, car parking and additional hous- ing.

But shoppers could still face a long

wait to push their trolleys down the aisles of whichever superstore suc- ceeds. The site is so vast, Town Centre Manager Bill Moss estimates redevelop- ment could take at least five years.

Volunteers in Town Hall

Parish council turmoil Prettiest child winner

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