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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South Edition April 2012 No.180 Getting tough on bus lane drivers

MOTORISTS could soon be handed on-the-spot fines for driving in “bus and taxi only” lanes in Maidstone. A three-pronged push by Maidstone Council, KCC and Town Centre Management to get a change in the law has been taken up by Government trans- port minister Norman Baker. At present, only police officers

have the authority to fine mov- ing vehicles, while parking at- tendants take action against those that are illegally parked. If the changes go ahead, parking at- tendants would be able to issue tickets themselves. This would bring Maidstone

in line with London boroughs, where parking attendants are

renowned for their hard line stance and wider powers – and the minister is looking at whether or not to extend the scheme.

Maidstone Town Centre Man- agement is particularly con- cerned at unauthorised vehicles using the pedestrianised part of the High Street, where only buses and taxis are allowed. If the scheme was introduced, it would apply to all the town’s bus lanes, including those in Sutton Road, London Road and Ashford Road. Cllr Malcolm Robertson (Lib-

Dem) said: “Some motorists find themselves in the restricted sec- tion of the High Street by acci- dent, but there are some repeat

MARDEN sparkling wine producer Her- bert Hall has been selected to represent the “Best of British” wines at theHouseof Commons in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. Just three years after producing its first

vintage, the company’s traditional method brut will sit alongside the range of English still wines in the House ofCom- mons bars and restaurants – the only English sparkling wine available. Herbert Hall vineyard in Plain Road,

owned by Nick Hall, produces between 15,000 and 20,000 bottles of sparkling wine every year.

EIGHT out of 10 people are happy to be living in Maidstone bor- ough, but there is still room for improvement, according to a new survey. Thirty per cent of respondents were very satisfied with the local

area as a place to live, with 55% fairly satisfied. This was 1% down on a similar survey in 2008/09. Lake Market Research was commissioned to carry out the survey on behalf of the Maidstone

Museum extension THE new-look EastWing on Maid- stone Museum has been officially opened. For more information on the project, as well as other mu- seum news, see the council-spon- sored 12-page Borough Update in the central pages.

offenders who blatantly flout the rules.” Cllr Robertson and Cllr Bryan Sweetland, KCC cabinet member for highways, contacted Mr Baker, who said he had received similar complaints from other local authorities around Britain. Mr Baker is now gathering ev- idence from Transport for Lon- don to see if there is a case for implementing the relevant sec- tion of the 2004 Traffic Manage- ment Act. Cllr Robertson stressed the

move was not a money-spinner for Maidstone, but to ensure traf- fic regulations were adhered to. He said: “There is no question of the councils using these powers to go out and wage a vigilante

Winemaker wins House of Commons contract

Roberts Gibbs, House of Commons operations manager for catering, withMP Helen Grant andNick Hall, of Herbert Hall vineyard

Happiness is... clean streets and nice parks

Council, to provide a public as- sessment on five of the key council services - doorstep re- cycling, refuse collection, Maid- stone Leisure Centre, parks & open spaces and street cleanli- ness. Less than six in 10 resi- dents are happy with street cleansing – a worse picture than the last survey – although the majority of residents speak favourably of their refuse col- lection. Some 1,700 people completed

the survey across the borough – the majority being between the ages of 25 and 65. Street cleansing, road mainte-

nance and tackling crime are still top of most residents’ ‘wish’ lists for action, followed by more refuse collections, better public transport and measures to reduce traffic congestion. Dog fouling, improved park-

ing and more employment op- portunities also feature.

OAK BEDSIDE CHEST £89! What a tiddly widdly insy winsy price

war against the motorist across our towns. “Parking attendants would

have the power to stop and ques- tion motorists and to use their discretion in imposing fines.” The Department of Transport

has been contacted by several local authorities, including Kent, as well as various other trans- port-related bodies. Mr Baker said: “As a result, I

am reflecting on the case for im- plementation and will be re- viewing available evidence from Transport for London and the London boroughs, who already carry out civil enforcement of these contraventions. The views of road users themselves will also be a key consideration.”

Fears over 300

village homes CONTROVERSIAL plans for up to 300 houses in Staplehurst were outlined at a packed public meeting. Fears of traffic chaos and over- loaded drains were among con- cerns aired after two schemes were outlined by developers at Staplehurst Village Centre. TaylorWimpey wants to build

50 houses on land south of Oliver Road and expects to put in a planning application before the end of the year. Meanwhile, Gleeson Strategic

Land and Miller Homes are pressing Maidstone Borough Council to include 25 acres of land at Hen and Duckhurst Farm, off Marden Road, in its core strategy as a site suitable for the development of up to 250 new homes. Although the Taylor Wimpey

land has been owned by the de- veloper since the 1970s and was allocated for residential develop- ment in Maidstone’s local plan 12 years ago, the council has had an embargo on the development of greenfield sites like this. However, Crest Homes has successfully challenged this rul- ing in Harrietsham. Resident Malcolm Buller said Staplehurst needed more bunga- lows while the developer


Council tax frozen for another year P4

Village gets cold call control zone


The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102

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