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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - over 83,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South Edition April 2012 No.192 ‘Ridiculous’ bus lane wins approval


ANGRY residents in Loose claim they are being “steamrollered” into having a bus lane – which they claim nobody but council offi- cers want. Plans to extend the Sutton Road bus lane, creating a restricted car area between the Wheatsheaf pub and Armstrong Road, have now been included in Maidstone Council’s draft integrated transport strategy and may form part of the overall Core Strategy, de- spite fierce opposition from councillors and residents. The controversial proposal was nodded through by the council’s cabinet last month and will now go out to public consultation. But the North Loose Residents’ Associa-


tion, which has more than 1,100 members, is vehemently opposed to the idea, having


carried out its own traffic surveys. It says its opinions have already been ignored. Aspokesman forNLRAsaid:“We find it in- credible – nomatter what the “experts” say – that we are seeing ever increasing traffic vol- umes, and yet the proposal is to reduce road space by 50% to allow a bus every seven minutes to have a faster journey.” Officers claim the plan will save buses


two minutes, while adding just 25 seconds to each car journey. LibDem councillor for Loose, Sue Grigg, said: “This is the most ridiculous proposal we have ever seen. A bus lane was suggested and rejected 15 years ago when the volume of traffic was much less than today.” KCC says the new primary and post-16 school buildings at New Line Learning Academy in Boughton


Stephen’s marathon bid to help big cats


DOWNSMail editor Stephen Eighteen is preparing to run this year’s London Marathon forWildlife Heritage Foundation – and needs your help.


WHF, located between Headcorn and Smarden, works to ensure the big cat species of the world are pro- tected from extinction. There are more than 45


big cats, including African lions, Sumatran tigers, jaguars, North Chinese leop- ards and Amur leopards. It costs £1,750 per day to


run the charity, which relies on donations, fundraising and revenue from the occa- sional Big Cat Experiences it hosts.


Sponsoring Stephen (33)


to run his first marathon on April 21 could make a world of difference to these endangered animals. Stephen said: “Running the London Marathon has been a burn-


Downs Mail editor Stephen Eighteen with Mia, a three-year- old cheetah


ing ambition of mine for as long as I can remember so it was about time that I finally bit the bullet, instead of enviously watching thou- sands of others complete it every year. “For a few years I have been going on hour-long runs every day


before work so the main test has been increasing the mileage. For making this possible Imust thank the earlier, and dreaded, 5.10am alarm call! “This charity is undoubtedly one of the best-kept secrets of the


Kent countryside. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreci- ated and would go directly towards a great cause based locally.”


You can sponsor Stephen’s marathon run online by logging on to


uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StephenEighteen. If you are a taxpayer WHF can claim an additional 25% in Gift Aid. If you would prefer to donate by cheque or cash, then please


make cheques payable to WHF and send them to the following: Stephen Eighteen, Mail Publications Ltd, Forge House, Bearsted Green Business Park, Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent ME14 4DT.


Lane, which have now been given planning permission (see page 18), will increase peak time traffic by 11%, much of which will need to use the Boughton Lane/Loose Road junction, which is already at capacity. KCC initially expressed concerns about


this junction, but dropped them after the academy offered to put £45,000 towards the bus lane. A traffic survey conducted by the NLRA in October 2012 showed that over 1,100 vehicles per hour (18 per minute) were travelling towards Maidstone at the Wheatsheaf junction. Cllr Grigg said: “Add to this the extra school traffic, traffic from the proposed 300 houses in Boughton Lane and new housing proposed at Marden and Staplehurst, as well as the police HQ on the Sutton


Hospice boss in hospital


KATE Bosley, chief executive of Heart of Kent Hospice, was seri- ously injured while cycle training in Tenerife. The


50-year-old


mother-of-four, who has led the Aylesford-based charity since 2007, spent two weeks in intensive care in a hospital on the holiday island but, as Downs Mail went to press, her condition had improved and she was able to be transferred by air ambulance to Maidstone Hospital. A spokeswoman for HOKH


told Downs Mail: “Kate’s family are delighted she is now near home and they are en- joying seeing her being able to do a little more each day.Her focus is on rehabilitation.” The accident hap- pened on February 18. Kate, who lives near Maidstone, has raised more than £10,000 for the hospice in a number


of long-distance cycling events. RogerMcCorriston, chairman of the board of trustees at HOKH, said: “We were devastated to


Parade for troops RESIDENTS are invited to support Maidstone’s troops at this year’s civic and freedom parade on Sunday, May 19. The parade will mark the start of the new mayor’s year. For more details, see the Maidstone Council-sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the centre pages.


hear of Kate’s accident and we are trying to provide whatever support we can to Kate’s family at this exceptionally difficult time. Kate is a very gifted CEO with enormous experience, not only with the Heart of Kent Hospice, but also with Demelza and Ellenor Lions Hospice. “Not only does she lead the hospice with great skill, but her fundraising activities,


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Junction crash site to undergo changes


Outrage as police let ‘burglar’ free


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Vicar will have you spellbound! THE new vicar of five rural parishes will be looking to pull a rab- bit out of the hat to boost attendance at services from June. Rev Peter Callway, who moves from St Andrew’s Church, Pad- dock Wood to south Maidstone, spends his spare time dabbling in conjuring magic tricks. Now, in the wake of controversy over civil partnerships and women bishops, he’s hoping to cast his own spell on his new flock in the Farleighs, Hunton, Linton and Coxheath.


Full story - page 3 BIG IN OAK The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102 www.lincolnfurniture.co.uk


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