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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - over 83,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South Edition January 2013 No.189 Call to identify gypsy sites Decisions on

MAIDSTONE Council is to ear- mark land across the borough for possible gypsy sites, follow- ing a warning that parts of the open countryside are reaching “saturation point”. That was the warning from

the council’s planning commit- tee chairman Cllr Richard Lusty, who joined local ward members in calling for the bor- ough to encourage dispersed gypsy sites around the borough. This has been heeded by Stephen Paine, Maidstone Council’s cabinet member for planning, who has announced that the public will now be asked for their views on where they would accept gypsy sites.

Council officers are working

on a new Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) document to earmark land that can be used to take extra housing after the borough delayed its Core Strategy due to notmeeting Government targets on new homes. This same template will also identify land for the 140 gypsy pitches that the council says need to be provided over the next 14 years. Landowners will be asked if their land is avail- able andmapswill be drawn up

Homes target set to soar by 5,000 - page 6

Girls chosen to sing with national choir

TWOmembers of Yalding ChurchChoir have had their praises sung after being selected to join the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain. RebeccaCheeseman(12), ofMountAvenue,apupil

at Maidstone Girls’ Grammar School, and Laura Wil- son (12), from Oast Court, who attends Tonbridge Girls’ Grammar School, beat off stiff opposition to be selected for the choir at the London auditions. For the girls (pictured), it will mean the chance to

train with some of the country’s top young choral singers during the Easter and summer holidays, as well as performing around the country. The girls are members of the church’s junior and

senior choirs, which joined forces at the end of last year to recordasell-outCD. Called “Everby your side,” it features traditional and modern choral pieces, and was recorded in the church during choir rehearsals. The 17-track disc was a huge success and more

THE killer C-diff infection, which tore the local hospital trust board to pieces seven years ago with around 100 deaths, is causing serious new concerns. Areport beforeMaidstone and

Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust board says nine new cases inOc- tobermean there can only be 10 more by the end of the financial year (March 31) before it incurs heavy NHS fines. It was 10

than 250CDswere sold to raise funds for the church, netting almost £1,000. Choirmaster and organist Daniel Sharman said:

“More than 150 of the CDswere pre-ordered and the rest were soon snapped up. It has already been sug- gested we record another one, of Christmas music, for next year.”

Feared C-diff bug back on the wards

above trajectory 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% target reduction. The fine is tough – £500,000 for every patient above trajectory

01622 747475

(includes Tenant Find) To all new landords

Maidstone Office 01580 720055

Cranbrook Office

– for a trust under serious finan- cial pressures due to heavy costs of financing the new PFI


with potential sites.Members of the public will be consulted on these maps prior to the produc- tion of the Core Strategy, which will set out where new sites should be located. Cllr Paine said: “The only

way we will solve this issue, once and for all, is to allocate land for gypsy sites. Just as we are now allocating land for new housing, and asking the public what they think, we will need to do the same for gypsy sites. Communities will have cer- tainty about where gypsy and traveller families are going. “It is difficult to do because

many residents will say “we don’t want any gypsy

P6 Rebecca and Laura

stores delayed MAIDSTONE Council’s deci- sions on the supermarket battle in Staplehurst were delayed, after new evidence was sub- mitted on the eve of a planning committee meeting. Downs Mail reported before Christmas that planning offi- cers had recommended that the Sainsbury’s plan for Station Approach be accepted, but the neighbouring Tesco scheme be refused. However, both items were removed from the agenda of the scheduledmeeting on No- vember 22. Principal planning officer Peter Hockney said: “We received representation which raised a number of issues about both applications, and felt it bet- ter towithdraw to a later date.” Mr Hockney would not re-

veal the nature of the issues, or who made the submission, say- ing only that it was a “substan- tial representation”. As Downs Mail went to

press, the council anticipated the schemes would be deter- mined on January 10.

County town is

‘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

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.


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P3

Weight restriction to stop large lorries

72-space car park plan for village

P4 P14

Concern over village health centre P20

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

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