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HOPESfor a third primary school at Kings Hill have been raised as a new master plan for the area, in- volving almost 1,000 homes, is being drawn up. Liberty Property Trust is revising its plan for the development of vacant land between Kings HillAv- enue and the most recent Hillreed build, Cathcart Gate. The land was initially earmarked for commer- cial use, but latest proposals include up to 950 new homes. Thedeveloper says it is considering feedback from


public consultation in September before unveiling the blueprint. After ruling out a third primary school at Kings


Hill a few weeks ago, KCC has admitted one may now be operational by 2015, assuming planning consent goes ahead. KCC education chief Mike Whiting said without


this change to the master plan, provision would need to continue at Kings Hill Primary and the Dis- covery School and surrounding villages.


Malling Edition October 2012 No. 186 Homes boost school hope Andrew Blevins, Liberty’s managingdirector, said;


“The original master plan was set out in 1989 and one of the major reasons for the development’s suc- cess is that those plans have been revisited and adapted. “We are reviewing those plans again to see how


we can better respond to current market demands, and, in particular, to the need for more housing in the South East.With its established hard and social infrastructure,webelieve Kings Hill is wellplaced to accommodate further, carefully designed, residen- tial-led development. Topics raised by visitors during public consulta-


tion included school provision, parking, traffic and employment. Mr Blevins said he was aware school provision


was at the forefront of many residents’ minds and KCCeducation officialshad been invited to the con- sultation.He added: “Residents had the opportunity to speak to education specialists face to face, to


School puts Robbie on road to Olympics


THE FAMILY of a rising young athletics star have praised TheMalling School for helping himmove a step closer to hisOlympic dream. Former pupil Robbie Farnham-Rose (18) is well on his


way to becoming a world class athlete. An international 1500-metre runner and already a veteran of theUnder20 Commonwealth Games and the Youth Olympics, he has also represented his countryaspart of the TeamGBcross country team. Nowhis career has taken him to the USA, courtesy of a


Track and Field scholarship at the University of Alabama. The NationalCollegiateAthleticAssociationawardedRob- bie the scholarship, worth $45,000 per year, for a three- year graduate programme in sports science leading to a BSc degree. Whilst studying,Robbie will enjoy unrivalled sporting facilities andwork alongside future Olympians. Until July, Robbie was in the sixth form at The Malling


School,EastMalling, studyingBTECsports studies, fitting his education in around athletics fixtures. After applying to British universities,hewasofferedanelitesports schol- arship at St Mary’s College in Twickenham. He was also talent-spotted by the Kenyan national long distance run- ning team.


P4


A TOP job share by two coun- cils is coming to an end, after one of them opted to go it alone. Under a two-year contract which began last August, Ton- bridge andMalling chief execu- tive David Hughes also took charge of Gravesham Council after his opposite number there, Glyn Thomson, retired. The two councils agreed to


split Mr Hughes’s time and salary, meaning that each au- thority would save more than £50,000 a year. The savings for the two-year trial would be set aside so that, if the arrangement was dissolved, sufficient fund- ing would be in place for each


Robbie Farnham-Rose with double Olympic champion Mo Farah at St Mary’s College, Twickenham


Council ends chief exec job share


council to appoint its own boss. However, Gravesham, which transferred from Tory to Labour control in the 2011 elections, now wants to appoint a full- time chief executive by Febru- ary, facing an estimated extra payment of £40,000. Gravesham leader JohnBurden


saidMr Hughes had done an ex- cellent job for both councils and helped to find many savings for his authority. “But there are hor- rendous changes in the pipeline, with the Government’s changes to council tax and benefits, and we feel we need a full-time chief executive of our own.” Before the job share, the com-


bined salaries of the two bosses, including allowances, was £226,000. In his new role, Mr Hughes took a package of £119,924 a year. MrHughes,whohas been chief executive at Tonbridge and Malling for nine years, took £108,000 as its head in 2010-11. Both councils had been work-


ing on shared management of services for some time and Mr Hughes’s brief was to look for more joint working possibilities. Tonbridge and Malling Coun-


cil is due to make a decision on what to do later this year, and said it did not yet know if there would be any extra costs.


BIG IN OAK P4


Maidstone’s debt burden


ALMOST 1,000 people with debts totalling more than £11.24 million sought advice from Maidstone CAB in the past year. Just under a quarter of all en-


quires during the 12 months re- lated to debt, and the bureau’s money advice team helped 953 clients, of whom 84 were helped to obtain debt relief or- ders totalling £666,500. Nonetheless, the average debt


of clients in Maidstone remains around £11,793. In seven months, from Sep- tember 2011 to March 2012, the Maidstone bureau helped 13,558 clients with almost 44,500 issues. The most common problems


were benefits and tax credits (33%), debt (23%), employment (10%), housing (9%), relation- ship/family (7%) and legal (7%). Clients ranged from teenagers


to one person aged over 95. CAB has found an increasing number of clients in need of food parcels – “a sign of the recession, when they have no money to buy food for their families” – aswell as an increase in the number of people threatened with losing their homes.


Housing adviser Keith Burchett said: “The reductions to public sector services and in- creased hardship caused by the austerity cuts mean that the need for charities which sup- port vulnerable people P6


Town Talk


AN intruder sparked an alert at Holmesdale Technology College, but the school’s security system wasuptothe joband thein- truderwas swiftly escorted from the premises. For more details see Town Talk in the central pages of this month’s Downs Mail. The bi-monthly independ- ent magazine is written by and dedicated to Snodland and Halling residents.


Town Talk


West Malling is best rural community P4


‘Britain’s fattest dog’ is in Leybourne P6


‘Ugly’ car park set to be demolished P12


Hospital staff given redundancy offerP23


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


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