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Maidstone East Edition February 2013 No.190 New fight over J8 scheme Next decides

LOCAL people are bracing themselves for another battle after Gallagher Properties un- derlined its aim for M20 Junc- tion 8 by lodging a planning application for 60,000sqm of commercial development. As previously reported in Downs Mail, the company wants to create an industrial, of- fice and warehousing scheme on 17 hectares of land south of the A20 near Hollingbourne, between the Ramada Jarvis Hotel and the headquarters of BiffaWaste Services. Residents and politicians

who saw off the 112-hectare Kent International Gateway

CELEBRATE Maidstone this year turns its attention to education and has announced that Trevor Phipps, head teacher of Bower GroveSchool, haswon the lifetime achievement award 2013. The event, which rewards Maid-

stone’s unsung heroes, is back for a second year after successfully launching in 2012. Trevor joined Bower Grove

School in 1984 as deputy head, andwasappointed head in January 1990.Overtheyearshehasguided the school through a transition from a school for pupils with mod-

PARENTS in Thurnham fear their children may not be able to attend their village school following proposed changes to admissions criteria. The suggested new “priority

area” is centred on Bearsted, where the school is situated, and does not extend as far north as Thurnham village. In a letter to parents, chair of governors John Wale said the school was seeking to “improve the situa- tion for families within the local community” following an “unprecedented demand for

proposal on nearby land north of the A20 have said they plan to fight the latest scheme. Cllr Mike Bedwell, chairman

of Hollingbourne Parish Coun- cil, said members were totally opposed to development on the site, when there were other brownfield sites available. He said: “Although it is a smaller site, the arguments against KIG still apply. If this is allowed to go ahead, some £3m of taxpayers money, spent in fighting KIG, will have been money down the drain.” The proposal is calledWater-

side Park, and an application has been lodged askingwhether

Teacher’s dedication rewarded

erate learning difficulties, to a school for pupils with behaviour and learning needs and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Trevor has supervised several

new extensions to provide addi- tional classrooms and specialist teaching areas, as well as provid- ing specialist sports facilities with a sports hall and changing rooms. BowerGroveSchool is renownedin the area for serving children with special needs and their families. For many years, Trevor has

played a key role in the Tunbridge Wells Operatic&Dramatic

 Trevor Phipps with his award P4 Fury at village school’s ‘priority area’

places at Thurnham School in 2012”. Mr Ware and head teacher

Chris James attended the Janu- ary meeting of Thurnham Parish Council. Mr James urged parents living outside the prior- ity area to still put Thurnham Infant School as their first choice, and claimed the intro- duction of a priority would “not make that much difference”. He said: “If you live in Bearsted Park or the south side of the Ashford Road please apply to Thurnham. We need

you. I won’t be able to fill my school if I only take children from the priority area.” The school was advised by

KCC’s area education officer to have a priority area and Mr James said it had made it as small as possible to lessen the impact on the admissions pro- cedure. The school had been advised to select a “logical” pri- ority area, he added, which is why the Bearsted parish bound- ary was chosen. Mr Ware said: “The priority

area doesn’t exclude pupils, it simply says if the school is over- subscribed these children will get priority. This was one of the most difficult decisions the gov- ernors have ever had to take.” Cllr Ted Denham said resi-

dents had asked him why the school didn’t rename itself “Bearsted Infant School” since it was no longer catering


an environmental impact as- sessment will be required. The application requires the “regrading of the site to create a level development platform (with the creation of new bunds and batters as required)” as well as internal drainage, road lay- outs, structural landscaping and the diversion of an existing public right of way. The proposal has the support

of the landowners, the Rochester Bridge Trust, with whom Gallagher has a long- term option agreement. The site is one of three being considered for industrial use by Maidstone Council in its

to close store A NEXT store in the centre of Maidstone is due to close at the end of the year – at around the same time the company hopes to open an out-of-town offering. The retailer had already dealt


a potential blow to town centre businesses by lodging a plan- ning application to open a Next Home store near junction 7 of the M20. Directors at Town Centre Managementwere “hos- tile” to the scheme. And now the company has revealed that the Next store in The Mall shopping centre is due to close when its lease runs out later this year. A spokesman said that its FremlinWalk store will remain and, if possible, expanded. Next argues that the closure of The Mall shop, which sells fashion for men, women and children, as well as shoes and accessories, will have a negligi- ble impact on town centre trade of just 1.2%. However, the news that the Next store is to close comes hard on the P8

Morrisons plan RETAIL giant Morrisons looks set to move into the ground floor of the former Army and Navy store inWeek Street. The company has applied for

a liquor licence for the prem- ises, which has been empty for a number of years. With just 8,000 sq ft of trad-

ing space, the site is smaller than most Morrisons stores, but it will be in competition with the Tesco Express store on the opposite side of the street. An announcement is also ex- pected shortly on the retail com- pany that has been successful in securing the Maidstone East site for development. Town centre manager Bill

Moss said: “It looks like at long last some life is being breathed back into that end of the town. There are interesting times ahead.”

Youth club future is still uncertain

Tabernacle set for April reopening

P3 P4

Powerhub plan to ‘revive riverside’P15

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

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