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Maidstone East Edition March 2013 No.191 Firm offers to remove footpaths

A LEADING Maidstone plan- ning consultancy is promoting the recruitment of a former KCC planning expert to help appli- cants move – or remove – pub- lic rights of way. Matthew Garvey, who worked

as a public rights of way officer with the county council, joined the team atDHAPlanning, based at Eclipse House in Sitting- bourne Road, in June last year. The company has issued a pro- motional flyer saying: “There are timeswhen the precise route of a public right ofway can cause dif-

A POPULAR postman has been re- moved from his Hollingbourne round,eventhough aboutathirdof the adult population of the village signed a petition pleading with RoyalMailtolet himstay. Troy Cooper (pictured) impressed residents somuch in the fewyears he delivered their post that resi- dents gathered about 250 signa- tures when they heard he was being replaced. They believe Mr Cooper was

moved to a round inMaidstone be- cause a senior postman had asked for the Hollingbourne route, but RoyalMaildid notcommentonthis. The petition was organised by

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-

ficulties for landowners and other interested parties. Public rights of way can, however, in certain circumstances, be legally diverted or extinguished through a number of processes. “Our experience shows that clients want to divert or extin- guish routes for a multitude of reasons, from better land man- agement to proposals for devel- opment.” DHA is sponsoringMr Garvey

on a degree in town planning at the University of Brighton. The company is capitalising

Christopher Rudgard of Christo- pher’s Village Shop in Eyhorne Street,who said villagersweredis- appointed with the outcome. MrRudgard said: “There has not

been a happy ending. I shall write to Royal Mail again and we have not given up hope that Troy will come back to Hollingbourne.” Mr Cooper’s last day as Holling- bourne’s postman was Saturday, February 9, and he is nowworking in another part of Maidstone. Mr Rudgard stressed villagers had nothing against their new post- man, who had also been removed from his previous round during a RoyalMail reshuffle.

P6 Cabbies ‘must clean up their act’

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

on his background and expert- ise by advertising “a unique service for the complete man- agement of diversions and ex- tinguishments of public rights of way”. The advertisement has caused

a flurry of concern from coun- tryside supporters and environ- mental groups. Jamie Weir, from the Council

for the Protection of Rural Eng- land (CPRE) Protect Kent, said: “The countryside is something that everyone should be able to enjoy.

P8 Villagers lose battle to save postman Troy

Viagra case nurse allowed

to keep job A NURSE at Maidstone Hospi- tal has been declared still fit to practise after facing charges of inappropriately obtaining a prescription for Viagra and using it to buy the drug from a pharmacy in 2009. Rajesh Gobin, whoworked on

the neuro-rehabilitation unit, was also charged with forging a hospital parking permit in 2007.

During a hearing at the Old Bailey in February, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found Mr Gobin guilty by ad- mission of photocopying a col- league’s parking permit as she was about to go on maternity leave, with the intention of using it himself. However, when it came to the charges relating to the Viagra prescription, the panel could not be certain Mr Gobin under- stood hospital policy suffi- ciently to know he was

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 Bearsted will 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.

Agreement reached over Town Hall

Row over High Street flagpoles

P16 P21

Milestone at new KIMS hospital P24

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