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Warden sees red over dogs’ mess

CARELESS dog owners who allow their pets to foul a local nature reserve are causing the warden – and other walkers – to see red. Steve Songhurst, warden of

Vinters Valley Nature Reserve, has become so incensed with dog owners who fail to scoop theirpoopthathenow regu- larly goes around the area spraying the offending matter red.

Steve, who has been warden

at Vinters Valley for the past eight years, said: “We have a lot of dog walkers in the nature re- serve and most of them are great supporters and want to keep it pleasant for the pleasure of themselves and others. “I know it is only a handful of people who don’t take the trou- ble to clear up after their dogs, but they spoil it for everyone else.”

Steve hit on the idea of high- lighting the problem in a promi- nent way a while ago. He said: “PeopleknowIhavehad enough and am angry when the red paint comes out. “The psychology behind this is that, in the same way people

come to the nature reserve to see the bluebells and the snow- drops, they want to see some- thing which stands out from the landscape. Normally, dog poo blends into the colour of the earth – but by highlighting it in red, they can see just how of- fensive it is.” Steve went on the offensive

again earlier this month and got a pleasant surprise when he turned up to find someone else had removed all the offending piles.

Steve, who uses red line marker to highlight the poo problem, said: “Generally, after a purge, the problem goes away for a couple of months, then it starts to creep back. You can tell it’s the same dogs who are fed on the same diet.” Vinters ValleyNature Reserve,

off New Cut Road, relies heav- ily on donations from support- ers.

Steve said: “It’s always the

same. A few people spoil things for the many. Fortunately, we have many excellent supporters and I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to whoever cleared up all the mess the other week.”

Recycling? There’s an app for that INFORMATION on rubbish and recy- cling collections is now available on mobile phones thanks to a new “Re- cycle for Maidstone” app. The app, which is free for iPhone

and Android devices, allows resi- dents to find out their collection dates, set collection reminders and find outwhat can be recycled where. Users can also report problems,

from abandoned vehicles and flytip- ping to dog fouling and graffiti. Maidstone council’s cabinetmem-

ber for the environment, Cllr Marion Ring (pictured), said: “This app meansresidents haveeasy access to allof theinformation theyneedabout our waste and recycling services, and they can let us know if there’s a problem at the touch of a button to help us keep our borough clean and attractive for everyone.”

Security plan at business park AN OFFICE storage loft area in a listed building at Turkey Mill has been earmarked for a caretaker’s flat. Turkey Mill Investments Ltd has asked Maidstone Council to ap-

prove the scheme, which it says “will provide a 24-hour on-site presence to ensure the safety and security of the business park”. Minor internal and external alterations are proposed for the third

floor accommodation at 24-26 Hollingworth Court, which the ap- plicants say “will not significantly affect the heritage asset at Turkey Mill”. The design and access statement says: “The proposed change of use

of the upper floor of the building from office storage to a caretaker’s flat to ensure 24-hour surveillance and security for the business park will enable a viable and beneficial use of this part of the building. “The height of the building is significant, in uniquely providing

views across much of the estate, to the east and west, from the ex- isting windows. The proposed alterations, comprising the provi- sion of a conservation roof window in each of the north and south elevations, will complete the field of vision across the estate.” The two new windows would match the roofline and historic

style of the building and the internal partitioning would have min- imal impact on the existing roof structures within the loft.

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