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Milestone at new KIMS hospital

A MAJOR construction milestone has been marked at Maidstone’s £85m new hospital. Borough and county councillors, officers

and civic dignitaries gathered for the “top- ping out” ceremony at the Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery (KIMS), being built on land near J7 of theM20 at Bearsted. Consultant cardiologist Dr Phyllis Holt,

wife of Franz Dickmann, acting CEO, and his son James, put the finishing touches to the rooftop of the hospital, before being pre- sented with a ceremonial silver trowel by construction company Vinci. KIMS, the focal point of a seven-acre site,

will provide the only cardiothoracic and neurosurgery tertiary care beds in Kent. It aims to be a centre of excellence for medicine in the UK and will also offer on- cology and diagnostics, gynaecology, or- thopaedics, angiography, advanced MRI and nuclear medicine.

RESIDENTS in North East Maidstone are pressing the council to put the town centre firstwhen considering applications for out- of-town shopping development. Cllr Ian Chittenden (pictured), who rep- resents Maidstone North East on KCC, says he has been inundated with emails and phone calls regarding the Next proposals for land at Eclipse Park. Cllr Chittenden says the suggestion of a

retail store on Eclipse Park not only flouts council policy, which is for office and high- tech use of the site, but also jeopardises the viability of the town centre. He has written to the planning depart-

Construction work is due to finish in Jan-

uary 2014, with the opening scheduled four months later. KIMS chairman Steven Bernstein said:

James Dickmann, Phyllis Holt and Dan Hollis It will have 300 clinicians, plus nursing

staff and a senior management team. Despite the worst spring and summer for a century, construction work was on schedule and Vinci’s regional commercial manager Dan Hollis told the assembled guests: “This is a fantastic team achievement.”

ment outlining residents’ concerns and said: “Ap- proval of retail development here will inevitably lead to further applications for this site and the evolution of a major out-of-town shopping area, resulting in a distur- bance, traffic and local con- gestion. Itmay also damage the viability of our town centre.” Opponents of the scheme say the store would exacerbate traffic congestion, as well as air and noise pollution in the area. Although there are plans to alter the

“The ‘topping out’ marks an important mile- stone. When fully open, KIMS will offer a medical campus and acute specialist health- care treatments that are currently only avail- able in the large London hospitals.” Jayne Cassidy, currently director of Nuffield Health in Guildford, Surrey, has been appointed hospital director from April. Mrs Cassidy has worked in the private health sector for more than 12 years and has an MBA from Henley Management College. She has worked as development director

for HCA International Ltd and as chief ex- ecutive officer of the Guildford Clinic. She spent two years as chief operating officer for The Wellington Hospital, the largest inde- pendent hospital in the UK.

Next home store ‘could jeopardise town centre shops’

roundabout at J7 and to adjust traffic flows, Cllr Chittenden believes the scale and de- sign of the store is unacceptable so close to the roadside and in the foreground of the Kent Downs AONB. The development brief for Eclipse Park re- quired “green roofs” to soften the impact of development but Cllr Chittenden said no green roofs were incorporated in the Next scheme, and there was little space for land- scaping.

Developers acting on behalf of the retail

chain say the store would be a magnet for customers throughout Kent, who would then venture into Maidstone town centre.

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