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MAIDSTONE Council leader Chris Garland has made a U-turn on his own group’s pro- posal to relieve congestion through the cre- ation of a bus lane in Loose. The cabinet, chaired by Cllr Garland, pre- viously nodded through the controversial proposal as part of its draft integrated trans- port strategy – which could become part of the overall Core Strategy – despite fierce op- position from residents. The North Loose Residents’ Association, which has more than 1,100 members, says its own traffic surveys have been ignored, and the bus lane proposals for south Maid- stone are being “steamrollered” through. Cllr Garland, an ardent supporter of park

and ride and anything which gets people back onto public transport, had said it was

Classrooms in car parks

MAIDSTONE children could be taught in temporary class- rooms in car parks and even empty shops and office blocks, as pupil numbers continue to soar. A third of councils across England are preparing emer- gencymeasures to cope with an unprecedented surge in pupils.

Maidstone, where the birth

rate is rising and house build- ing growing, could be one of the hardest hit, according to Jasper Gerard, the LibDem par- liamentary spokesman for Maidstone and theWeald. Cllr Mike Whiting, KCC cabi-

net member for education, said councils did need to start look- ing at “alternative models” for school buildings if the provi- sion wastobemet andsaid: “The days of single-storey premises with lots of green fields and playing space are no longer the norm.” In the week that Kent parents

found out if their children had been offered the primary school place of their choice, it was re- vealed by the Department for Education (DfE) that primary schools in England will have to find space formore than 450,000 children of primary age by 2015 and 800,000 by 2020.


Maidstone Town Edition May 2013 No.193 Council leader’s ‘U-turn’ on bus lane

crucial for the council to be pro-active in tackling the town’s congestion problems. But, in a surprising new manoeuvre, Cllr Garland has called for the brakes to be put on part of the bus lane along Loose Road, from the Wheatsheaf pub to Armstrong Road. A short bus lane already exists south of

the Wheatsheaf, along part of Sutton Road. But the council is proposing to extend this as far asWallisAvenue to the south then be- yond to the north as far as the junction of Loose Road with Armstrong Road. Cllr Garland had originally said therewas

an argument for allowing cars into a bus lane on the Loose Road if they could prove they were carrying more than one passen- ger – effectively “car sharing”. But now he has said: “I do have concerns

about the proposed bus lane from the Wheatsheaf to Armstrong Road. It would take up 50% of the carriageway and, if cars wanted to turn right into Plains Avenue, it would cause a terrific backlog.” He said he remained in favour of an ex- tension of the Sutton Road bus lane, but re- vealed: “While the officers at KCC are very much in favour of a bus lane, there is a lot of opposition from the politicians. Ultimately, the decision will come down to whether or not KCC grants the relevant traffic orders.” It has been estimated that a bus lane, which

could cost £5-6m, would save buses 2.6 min- utes from Wallis Avenue to the Wheatsheaf and just 1.2 minutes from the Wheatsheaf to Armstrong Road, while car journeys would increase by 35 seconds.

A better life for Leia Why Paul uses

A YOUNG family from Tovil is rais- ingmoney foraphysiotherapy vest to help a one-year-old with a life- threatening condition. Little Leia Corbettwas born with

cystic fibrosis, an illness that af- fects the organs, clogging the lungswith thickstickymucus. The vestwould help her breathing and allow her to have a more active lifestyle. MumKelly (20),afreelance pho- tographer who lives in Morton Way, said: “Leia is on a lot of med- ication,andhas tohavetwice daily chestphysiotherapy.However, she isnowatanagewhereshedoesn’t liketolay still forher physio, which is becoming very difficult.Aphysio vest would change her life. It vi- brates to loosen and thin mucus on the lungs, which will help with Leia’s breathing.Shecanalso con- tinue with pretty much whatever she is doing while wearing the vest.” Recalling the moment the par-

entswere told theirbabywas likely to have the condition, Kellly con- tinued: “This was the first time I had heard of CF. So many ques- tions were running through my head but I just couldn't speak, it was too much of a shock. I spent that evening reading through the leaflets andwebsiteswehad been given by the health visitor.When I read the words ‘life-threatening’

Downs Mail

PAULMill Television, Maidstone, is a confident regular advertiser in the Downs Mail. “TheRoyalMail distribution to

every house throughout Maid- stone and Malling and its deep readership means we get very good responses,” Paul said. “It’s the best way for local businesses to keep their serv- ices in front of the local public.”


my heart just sank.” Unfortunately, thephysiotherapy

vests are not available on theNHS andcost from£4,000, soKellyand engineer husband Sam (22) have started a campaign to raise the cash. Almost £500 had been raised as the Downs Mail went to press. A raffle was held during Fab

Spray Tanning’s second anniver- sary celebrations in Tonbridge Road, Maidstone, and a disco night isbeing organisedbyMrCor- bett’s father. You can find Leia’s Story on

Facebook to follow the family’s progress. Donations can be sent online via the Paypal facility to: or a cheque canbesent to9MortonWay, Tovil, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 6ZG.

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.

Squatters find new home in ex bank

Parish council loses home at auction

01622 750733 10 St Faiths Street Maidstone

LIVES, TOGETHER Visit: CHANGING BIG IN OAK The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102



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