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GOVERNMENT policy could mean Maidstone has to take thousands more homes than originally earmarked in the bor- ough’s Core Strategy proposals. Maidstone Council’s current

draft strategy includes the 10,080 new houses originally required between 2006 and 2026, and proposed sites have been earmarked. But the Gov- ernment is currently rejecting proposed allocations for local authorities across the country, insisting on more housing. Council leader Chris Garland anticipates as many as 5,000 more homes may be required and has put on hold the current Core Strategy, which has been

Battle of Britain hero Jimmy dies

produced in draft form and been the subject of public con- sultation, and told planners to go back to the drawing board. Officers are now working on a

new Strategic Housing Land Availability


(SHLAA) document to earmark land that can be used to take the extra housing. This could delay finalising the Core Strategy by up to a year. Salford and Bath are among

cities that have had their core strategies “bounced back” by the Government, insisting on

Residents to choose gypsy sites – page 6

Homes target set to soar

Maidstone East Edition January 2013 No.189 Plans for Next

greater housing provision. Rather than find themselves

in a similar position, Maidstone Council is now evaluating likely new requirements. The council, together with KCC, is looking at population trends andtryingtoworkout what would be an acceptable level of housing for the borough. Current estimates could see

an increase in Maidstone’s allo- cation by between 2,500 and 5,000 homes – possibly to a total of around 15,000 for the 20-year period. “Government sees a need for

a substantial growth in building new houses,” said council leader Cllr Chris Garland.


‘concept store’ SHOPPERS have welcomed plans for a new out-of-town home and style superstore on the outskirts of Maidstone. Even traders and town centre management have given a re- luctant thumbs up to a proposal fromretailerNextfora£9m home and fashion outlet on land next to the Hilton Hotel, on Bearsted Road. Some 68 people visited a pub-

lic exhibition at the hotel in earlyDecember, following an an- nouncement from Next that the retailer hoped to submit a plan- ning application for a “concept store” at Junction 7 of the M20 within amatter of weeks. Almost all of the visitorswere

JIMMY Corbin, Maidstone’s last re- maining Battle of Britain pilot, has died at the age of 95. Jimmy,who spent the last14years of

his life in Weavering, was given the Freedom of Maidstone two years ago, shortly after the published success of his book “Last of the Ten Fighter Boys”. Borough Cllr Dan Daley said: “The passing of Jimmy Corbin closes the Maidstone connection with those per- ilous days of 1940 when the Battle of Britainwas fought in Kentish skies. “I am proud to have been counted among his friends and will cherish his memory. Iwasparticularlypleased tobe able to promote his election to the hon- orary Freedom of Maidstone in 2010, the 70th anniversary of the battle. His namenowwill stay emblazoned on that honour roll to ensure remembrance as beingoneof that specialbreed of young menwho saved our freedom.” Obituary – page 28

Feared C-diff bug returns

THEkiller C-diff infection, which tore the local hospital trust board to pieces seven years ago with around 100 deaths, is causing se- rious new concerns. A report before Maidstone and

TunbridgeWellsNHSTrust board says nine new cases in October mean there can only be 10 more by the end of the financial year (March 31) before it incurs heavy NHSfines. It was 10 above trajec- tory by the start of November and has been above the target of four for every month of the year except September.

The trust says it has had 40

cases this year (18 at Maidstone and 22 at Pembury) but no direct deaths. This is less than last year – but does not meet the 20% tar- get reduction. The fine is tough – £500,000 for

every patient above trajectory – for a trust under serious financial pressures due to heavy costs of fi- nancing the new PFI hospital in Pembury.Following thehigh-pro- file outbreak which led to the sudden departure of the former chief executive Rose Gibb and a complete change in board


Waste changes MAIDSTONE Council is join- ing forces with Ashford and Swale councils in a joint waste and street cleansing contract that begins in August 2013. For more details, see the council-sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the central pages.


in favour, according to Martin Hughes, representing Next. And the Town Centre Man- agement was warned: “If this doesn’t come to Maidstone, it will go to Ashford or Tunbridge Wells and take trade with it.” The store, which is expected

to create 180 jobs, would be only the third of its kind

P4 County town

‘crash capital’ A NEW report that confirms Maidstone as the “crash capital of Kent” has led to calls for the town to become a 20mph go- slow zone. KCC’s Crash Analysis in Kent reveals that while Kent as a whole recorded a reduction in both fatalities and severe crashes, in Maidstone there were 499 accidents in 2011, re- sulting in 651 casualties. Canterbury and Dartford – the

next most serious – lag some way behind, with 403 and 406 accidents respectively. Between 2010 and 2011, Maidstone recorded the highest increase of car crashes in the county, with 37 more crashes and a total of 412. Seventy per cent of casualties in the district were car occupants. Maidstone also recorded


Villagers have their say on store

Supermarket plan for railway station

Rotary celebrates 90th anniversaryP43

P16 P26

The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102 www.lincolnfur

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