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Town Centre Management update: Maidstone Business Forum


Match-day boost GAMES at Maidstone United Football Club have given the town a match-day boost, mem- bers of the Town Centre Man- agement business forum heard. While the club had antici-


pated an average attendance of 750-1,000, numbers were be- tween 1,600 and 2,000 – spreading awealth of black and amber strips around the town on Saturdays. Town Centre manager Bill


Moss said: “This shows how important the football club is to the town. There have been no reports of anti-social behaviour so far this season, which is en- tirely in keeping with the club’s past reputation. It is terrific that theclubisatthe heartofthe town and another indication of how successful our town is.”


Lights chaos LESSONS have been learned from the Christmas lights switch on in Jubilee Square, the Town Centre Management busi- ness forum was told. Failure to have a road closure


order meant taxis and buses were still trying to drive through the throng waiting for the switch-on, causing organis- ers to call for a last-minute stoppage. This meant traffic pil- ing up on the approaches to Ju- bilee Square until the crowds dispersed. However, members conceded


this was the first year of the new square and more lights would be purchased to provide an enhanced effect in 2013. The councilwould also apply for a road closure notice.


A&N site scheme A SPRING planning applica- tion could be on the cards for the old Army and Navy store in Week Street. The building has lain empty


since the store moved to Frem- lin Walk under the House of Fraser brand many years ago. However, the town’s business


forum heard that plans were well advanced for a supermar- ket at ground floor level, with affordable housing on the upper floors.


Town Centre manager Bill Moss and Andrew Simms, Maidstone Business Forum chairman, with the purple flag


Making town safer place


SHOPPERS in Maidstone were “MaidSafe” over the festive sales season thanks to an initia- tive launched by Maidstone Town Centre Management and its Urban Blue bus. Police officers and members


of the TCM were on hand at the bus to make shoppers aware of the high risk of purse and bag thefts at peak times – and to give them tips and practical ad- vice on how to prevent it. The big blue bus was parked


inaprominentpositioninJu- bilee Square – where it nor- mally stands on Friday and Saturday nights to assist late


night revellers – with officers handing out purse chains and leaflets to the public. The MaidSafe Purse andHand-


bag Theft Awareness Campaign ran throughout December. A number of anti-theft aids were given out, including a registra- tion system that will block your mobile if it is stolen, a notice you can display in your car inform- ing potential thieves that all your valuables have been removed from the vehicle and a sat nav windscreen cloth that can be used to remove tell-tale marks that may reveal there is a sat nav device in your car.


Town Centre Manager Bill


Moss said: “Purse thieveswork in twos – one will speak to you while the other takes your purse.” Leaflets handed out during


the campaign offered safety tips such as always place your purse in the bottom of your bag and always close the zip of your bag. Free purse clips are available


from the police station in Palace Avenue. “Elderly people are particu-


larly vulnerable, so tell your friends and relatives about the ongoing dangers, and make sure you don’t become the next vic- tim,” said Mr Moss.


Where to fly town’s


prized purple flag? TOWNcentre management is all set to fly the flag. But the question is …where? The purple flag, awarded to Maidstone for


the quality of its night time economy,was pre- sented to towncentre managerBillMoss at a ceremony in Sheffield and is now ready to go on show as a proud reminder of many years’ hard work. The town failed at its previous attempt to


win the coveted award, but initiatives like MaidSafe and the Urban Blue bus, along with CCTV and street pastors, have putMaidstone at the forefront of innovation when it comes to keeping the streets free of trouble. Mr Moss told members: “This took a lot of getting and is a huge reflection on what goes on in the town centre and everyone who works there.” Maidstoneisthe 31st town in theUKtore-


ceive the flag andMrMoss said: “Thismakes us part of quite an elite group.”


Future of ‘strip club’ less saucy


WORK has recommenced on the Loder & Payne store in Bank Street. Owner Century Buildings (Rochester) Ltd had hoped to get a licence to operate a strip and lap-dancing club on the upper floor, but this has been refused by Maidstone’s licens- ing committee. The company immediately downed tools, but has now recommenced internal works, with a view to opening the


premises as a nightclub and bar.


They are still considering whether or not to appeal against the licensing committee decision, the town centre busi- ness forum heard. More than 120 business in the


town objected to the applica- tion. As a result, the council de- cided it did not wish to see any clubs of this nature operating in the area between Mill Street and the Chequers Mall.


Boxing clever THE annual charity boxing event staged by Maidstone TCM in aid of the 36 Engi- neers Welfare Fund was a body-ripping success – yet again. The tournament, which


took place at the Village Hotel, raised more than £10,000 for the Gurkha regi- ment and was enjoyed by all who came along, town centre manager BillMoss toldmem- bers of the forum.


Supermarket plan at station revealed


A LARGE new supermarket could form the centrepiece of a scheme to regenerate Maidstone East railway station. The proposal would also see the intro- duction of eight retail units totalling 1,000 sq m, a bar, café and an increase in parking spaces to 1,100. The schemewould see the removal of the


RoyalMail sorting office and four buildings north of the railway station. The supermarket, which would be built


on the current car parking area, would measure 9,000 sq m – about the size of House of Fraser’s two floors in Fremlin Walk.


26 East


Town Centre Manager Bill Moss had a “hunch” that the supermarket would be a Tesco, as the company – along with Wait- rose, John Lewis and Asda – had previously shown an interest in the site. “I understand it will not be a Sainsbury’s,” he said. The majority of the replacement parking spaces would be underground. A round- about encompassing new open space would be created opposite County Hall, on the junction of Station Road and Week Street.


Improvements to the train station are also


part of the proposal unveiled by Solum Re- generation – a partnership between Kier


Properties and Network Rail. Maidstone Council has told the applicant


that an environmental impact assessment will be necessary prior to the submission of a formal planning application. The ap- plicant refused to confirm the identity of the prospective supermarket. Mr Moss added: “I am thrilled to bits that


it looks like something is rumbling in the background at the town centre’s biggest de- velopment site. “But I have to be cautious because we


have been here before and nothing has hap- pened. I hope there is something more sub- stantial this time.”


Have you got news for us? Phone our News Desk on 01622 734735


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