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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - 88,000 copies - 4 editions


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


Car parking


fees reviewed INCREASED charges are among the ideas put forward in the first stage of a review of car parking inWest Malling. A steering group of parish, borough, county and chamber of commerce representatives has been formed and a consul- tation leaflet has been distrib- uted to more than 1,000 properties in the town. Users of the main car park be-


hind Tesco, in the High Street, are currently allowed up to four hours on a free ticket system. But the leaflet says traders and


P3


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


Malling Edition April 2012 No. 180 Getting tough on bus lane drivers


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”


Chef Rachel Green cooks muffins with Jake Stuart (8) and Jonathan Mallard (10), helped by Jim Grogan of the Co-op and Beat Project organiser Nicky Delacey


Fears over concrete crusher plan Families cook up healthy treats


CELEBRITY chef Rachel Green cooked up some tasty treats with fami- lies at a healthy living event at the Snodland Coffee and Chat group. The Co-op Community Kitchen sessions were among several activi-


the parish council report that the car park is misused by com- muters, to the exclusion of


RESIDENTS have joined forces to fight a major planning appli- cation which they claim will have an impact on a part of Snodland, regarding noise, pol- lution and increased traffic. Tarmac Ltd has applied to


Kent County Council for an ag- gregate recycling facility and a concrete batching plant, to- gether with amendments to the quarry restoration plans at Ham Hill Quarry. The land is on the town side


of Sandy Lane, off Birling Road. David Hehir, of Busbridge


Road, who is co-ordinating the objections, said: “We need to apply for an extension to the 21- day response time in order to re- spond to this properly and to


ties including wellbeing checks and a skipping contest. Organised by the Beat Project, the coffee and chat group runs from 11.30am to2pm eachWednesday during school terms at SnodlandWMclub.


ask that Tarmac engage with the local community, as they should have done from the start. “It will help our case if people


who have a genuine complaint as a result of works carried out at the quarry inform the council as soon as possible. This might include dust, noise, light pollu- tion or traffic issues.” Barbara Muir, also of Bus- bridge Road, said residents only


FOR more Snodland news, see TownTalk in the central pages of this month’sDownsMail. The bi- monthly independent magazine is written by and dedicated to Snodland and Halling residents.


Town Talk


found out about the application when they received a letter from Kent County Council. Tarmac would be working all day Mon- day to Friday, until early after- noon on Saturday and occasionally on Sunday. She said: “We know concrete recycling is dirty and noisy – and they are also talking about re-cycling asphalt.” Barbara said lorries would be


going on to the A228 at the Ham Hill roundabout, which is “al- ready overloaded”. Derek Chiddenton, of Sandy


Lane, said: “The type of crusher Tarmac are proposing is noisy and produces a lot of dust, which could contain harmful particles and is always unpleasant.”


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.”


Animal magic if


zoo proceeds A ZOO-themed play area, visi- tor centre, nature trails and out- door “trim trail” are among more than £1m-worth of pro- posals that could breathe new life into Cobtree Manor Park, near Aylesford. The park, once home to Sir GarrardTyrwhitt-Drake’s private zoo, is one of the town’s more under-utilised attractions. Now, Maidstone Council, which leases the park from the Cobtree Charity Trust, has applied to the Charity Commission to release £1,065,000 of its permanent en- dowment to finance a three- phase major improvement scheme. The council agreed a similar project two years ago but was disappointed when the Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People scheme declined an application for £500,000 grant funding. Cllr JohnWilson, chairman of


the Cobtree Manor Estate Char- ity Committee, said: “The key emphasis from the start has been to attract visitors to explore and enjoy the full extent of the park at all times of the year.” The park houses an impressive collection of trees and shrubs and the new design will incor- porate these existing elements while introducing new P16


New-look museum officially re-opensP4


MP to retire after over 40 years P14


The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102 www.lincolnfurniture.co.uk


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