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MAIDSTONE is on the brink of becoming a worldwide centre formedical excellence. In a ground-breaking arrangement, directors behind KIMS – the Kent Institute ofMedicine and Surgery – are close to firming up a deal with two of the country’s top hospitals to offer satellite services. Under phase two of the development, phase

one of which is now underway at Newnham Court, off M20junction 7 near Bearsted, there are proposals for a Stoke Mandeville (Maid- stone) hospital and also some of the finestpae- diatric services in the country, run in tandem with Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospi- tal, London. Acting chief executive Franz Dickmann and

his wife Dr Phyllis Holt have been in talks with both specialist hospitals, as well as with universities around the world, in a bid to pro- vide a state-of-the-art medical university. The result is a portfolio of buildings that will in- crease the size of the hospital by a further 15,000 sq m. KIMS directors hope to apply for planning permission early in the new year and, if suc- cessful, to commence construction as phase one nears completion. As many as 140 nurses could be employed

The first phase of KIMS is progressing well

in the first phase, with the job total increasing to 3,500 upon completion. The hospital is being privately funded but

will have beds for NHS patients. Mr Dick- mann said: “Future healthcare will be pro- vided by a mixture of existing NHS institutions and the private sector investing in the health care system. These institutions will provide advanced care for those who are pri- vately insured and NHS patients. “The founder members of KIMS recognise

the reality of the situation and are creating an independent holistic care unit, responding to the NHS.” Cllr Malcolm Greer, Maidstone’s cabinet member for economic and commercial devel- opment, said: “It has been estimated that the

Maidstone Town Edition November 2012 No.187 KIMS ‘to link with top UK hospitals’

hospital will put £130m a year into the Maid- stone economy, which has to be good news for the town. The directors, headed by Franz Dickmann, have been through hell to get here and it is very exciting that things are finally coming to fruition. “This is a project whichwill put Maidstone

on themap throughout the world.” As well as a specialist paediatric unit,

which will be run in conjunction with Great Ormond Street, the plans for phase twoincor- porate a women’s health and birthing centre, a neurological rehabilitation centre for suffer- ers of multiple sclerosis, dementia and brain injuries, and assisted care homes for the eld- erly who are incapable of independent living. There are also proposals for a research and development unit, education facilities and ac- commodation, as well as conference facilities. KIMS is the first private hospital to be built

in Kent formore than 20 years. The list of pro- posed services includesmany not available in either the private orNHS sectors. There will be a dental surgery, a pharmacy

and outpatient consulting rooms. Directors say the catering, housekeeping and security will be of a standard “normally found in a high-quality hotel”.

Disputed bus gate plan back on agenda

OBJECTORStoacontroversialplan to re-open St Andrew’s Road for through traffic have called for a new road link between Maidstone Hospitaland Queen’sRoadandthe resurrection of the bus gate scheme in Tarragon Road. The St Andrew’s Road Action

Group was formed to oppose pro- posals in Maidstone Council’sCore Strategy to setupaclockwise one- way system, encompassing Ton- bridgeRoad, Fountain Lane and St Andrew’sRoad–currently a cul de sac – to help deal with expected traffic increases from 880 new homes forecast for the Allington area and off Hermitage Lane. The action group has proposed several alternatives:

 Opening up the Queen’s Road culdesac, parallel toFennelClose, to the ‘other’ Queen’s Road to the

Cobtree trust award winners named


east. Thiswould enableMaidstone Hospital users to avoid Fountain Lane and Tonbridge Road.

Rekindling the idea to create a bus gate for public transport to travel through Tarragon Road and Marigold Way to avoid Tonbridge Road. The proposal has been a longstanding part of the former OakwoodHospital homes develop- ment, but was abandoned earlier this year after more than 350 resi-

Trailer clampdown at Tovil waste tip


Vicar of St Andrew’s Church Brian Reed, with fellow objectors

dents petitioned against it due to parking and safety concerns.

 Creating a filter lane for right turns from Hermitage Lane into HeathRoad. Thiswould be bymov- ing a ragstone wall and relocating a footpath to the rear of thewall.

Creating a filter lane exiting left fromFountain Lane onto Tonbridge Road by trimming a footpath and moving a bus stop. The action group has over

Advice bureau

may face crisis MAIDSTONE Citizens’ Advice Bureau could face a funding crisis when welfare benefit changes take effect next year. Salaried employees – as op-

posed to the dozens of volun- teers who help keep the service running – could find their jobs in jeopardy, as the Government tightens up on grants which have helped keep the charity afloat.


Christmas pause for gas main works


Grants from the Legal Service Commission fell from £266,534 in 2011 to £219,704 in 2012, and are set to be less than half of this in 2013. At the same time, cash from Maidstone Borough Council, which went down from £195,160 in 2011 to £185,000 in 2012, could face further


Top gymnastics club eyes town move P22 BIG IN OAK

Mela anniversary MAIDSTONE Mela celebrated its 10th anniversary with its biggest ever celebration of di- versity through music, food and dance. For a full report on the event, see the council- sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the central pages.

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

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