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Maidstone Town Edition March 2013 No.191 5,000-home village plan

A PURPOSE-built new village could be on the cards, as Maid- stone Council works out where to build an extra 10,000 homes over the next 15 years. The self-contained village, which would include its own shops, community centre and doctor’s surgery, is among sev- eral options being considered by the council as it tries to firm up its core strategy to meet fu- ture housing expectations. A mini “King’s Hill” is one of

three choices facing the council, which is looking at providing

up to 16,000 new homes by 2026. Some 6,000 of these have already been built. The council pulled its core strategy at the 11th hour when it realised the Government was rejecting a number of local au- thority plans in the South be- cause of their shortage of housing provision. Maidstone’s original estimate

of 10,080was based on 2006 fig- ures, but the growth in popula- tion failed to take into account a number of factors, including the influx of Eastern Europeans.

MAIDSTONE’S Westree Boxing Club has won a top award for helping to keep kids off the streets. The club receivedtheAmateurBoxingAssociation’s Community Project of the Year Award 2012, beating 157 other clubs around the country for the accolade. WestreeBoxingClub runsbeginners classes atPark

Wood’s HeatherHouse from5-6pmonTuesdays. Those whoshowpotential canmoveup to thenext level from the age of 11, training from 6-7.30pm. Seniors,agedfrom17to40, get their time inthering

from 7.30pm. The club also meets on Mondays and Thursdays but

coach Eddie Henderson said growing demandmeans the clubmay have to consider adding another night. Westree Boxing Club was founded in 1960 by the

late Jerry McCarthy, one of the most highly respected boxers of his time. Eddie joined the club as a 19-year old in 1961 and

boxed until 1967.He returned as a coach in 1977 and nowhas the support of five other coaches. He said: “This award recognises all the good work

we do here atWestree, in providing a real community facility.”

Cabbies ‘must clean up their act’

TAXI drivers inMaidstone could be told to smarten up their act. Councillors are contemplating introducing a dress code for drivers and are going to consult representatives of the industry. A report to the licensing com-

mittee says taxi drivers are often the first point of contact for visi- tors to the town and inappropri- ately-dressed drivers could set a bad impression. A draft “driver’s dress code”

puts a ban on flipflops and san- dals without backs, sportswear, short shorts, clothing with of-

fensive language or logos and anything dirty or ripped. Acceptable clothing includes

shirts, sweaters and tops cover- ing the shoulders and long enough to be tucked into trousers, knee-length skirts or shorts and footwear which fits around the heel. The report to councillors

states: “The purpose of a driver’s dress code is to seek a minimum standard of dress that provides a positive image of the hackney carriage and private hire trade in Maidstone, enhances a profes-

sional image of licensed drivers and ensures that public and driver safety is not compro- mised.” The council’s head of demo-

cratic services Neil Harris is to consult with the town’s Hack- ney Carriage Association and representatives of private hire operators about the introduction of the voluntary code. Mr Harris says the council has

not received any specific com- plaints about drivers’ standards of dress, but several members of the council have raised con- cerns.

Dennis Conyon, from Maid- 01622 750733 10 St Faiths Street Maidstone

stone Licenced Taxi Operators, said he had spoken to a number of drivers who were generally happy with the proposals. But he said: “As with all things, it is the few that spoil it for the many. Most of our drivers are very smart.”

BIG IN OAK The 2008 figures put estimates

of housing need closer to 16,000 units, with a further 4,500 re- quired by 2030, council leader Chris Garland told members of the regeneration and economic development overview and scrutiny committee. The council has been consult-

ing landowners and developers as part of its strategic housing land available assessment (SHLAA) and the cabinet will as- sess the results at its meeting in March, along with the need for future employment land.

P4 Boxing club wins national community award Next decides

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. Nowthe company has said the

Next store in The Mall shopping centre will close when its lease runs out this year. A spokesman said that its FremlinWalk store will remain and, if possible, be 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 P6

Road work set

to cause chaos TWO major road schemes are set to cause chaos for motorists at J7 of the M20 during the Easter holidays. The road between New Cut

Road and Vinters Park Cremato- rium will be closed for three weeks from April 2 to allow util- ities to be laid to the new KIMS hospital. Access to the cremato- rium and Newnham Court will remain open, via the A249. Traffic to Bearstedwill be di- verted around Sittingbourne Road, Ashford Road and New Cut Road.Tall vehicles will need to go through the town centre and alongWillington Street . Work has also begun at nearby Eclipse Park, where retail giant Next wants to build a home store.There will be lane closures between 9.30am and 3.30pm and the work will be put on hold during the KIMSwork.

Treasurer stole from after-school club

Milestone at new KIMS hospital

P3 P8

Partnership marks 10th anniversaryP10

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

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