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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - over 83,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South Edition June 2013 No.194 Wait for supermarket continues

THERE is still no indication of when Sta- plehurstmay have a new supermarket – de- spite the refusal of the Tesco application giving Sainsbury’s a clear run. Maidstone Council’s planning committee recently voted to refuse the Tesco proposal for Station Approach by a single vote after Conservative councillors Stephen Paine and Rodd Nelson-Gracie went against other members of their party who were in favour of the scheme. In January, the committee had given Sainsbury’s planning permission to build a supermarket served by 171 car parking spaces on the site of diamond manufacturer DK Holdings – on the other side of Station Approach – which was previously given consent to move into larger premises else- where on the site. Downs Mail understands that had

both supermarkets gained planning permis- sion they would have negotiated to ensure that only one was built, which means that

Sainsbury’s now has the opportunity to crack onwith building the 2,975sqm super- market. But construction can only begin when DK Holdings has moved into its new factory – and building work is still to begin on this scheme because some of the planning con- ditions have not yet been met. Only when Maidstone Council is happy

with DK Holdings’ mitigation measures on boundary treatments, lighting, archaeology and landscaping can work start. “That will be the first phase of the devel- opment and the building of the supermar- ket will then follow. We have no timetable on this,” a Sainsbury’s spokesman said. Tesco was refused planning permission

for a 2,817sqm supermarket on the site of the rail commuter car park because of concerns about the associated 660-space car park proposed in open countryside off George Street, north of the railway station. Some Conservative members felt

the economic benefits would outweigh the harm caused to the open countryside, but the abstentions from councillors Paine and Nelson-Gracie ensured the six Lib Dems op- posing the scheme outnumbered the five Tories in favour. A Tesco spokesman said: “We will wait

until we receive formal notification of the decision and explore all the options avail- able to us, whether that would be an appeal, a new application or walking away alto- gether.”

Staplehurst Forum, which had been busy

with differing views after the committee de- ferred the Tesco application in January,was quieter after the proposal was refused dur- ing the latest hearing. John Reardon, a local resident, posted: “I

think the majority wanted it to go theway it did. That explains the lack of comments. If it had gone the other waywewould be hav- ing a very lively debate.”

Tesco turned down: Further reportsP16 ‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello ... what have we here?

PRE-school children at Little Learners Nursery, in Boughton Lane, Maidstone felt the longarm of the law when they had a visit from Sgt Tim Price ofKentPolice.

The childrenhavebeen learning

about the emergency services and Sgt Price explained to the children, aged between three and four, what support and services the police provide.

He showed the children exam-

ples of different types of uniform the police wear, including riot gear,andthechildrengot to tryon some items of uniform, including headgear and gloves.

They also got to go inside his

police car, hear the siren and talk through the car’s loud speakers.

Gardens could be sold

HADLOW College and East Malling Research are believed to be among potential buyers looking at taking over Yalding Gardens. The trustees of the gardens, in Benover Road, say the gardens

could be put up for sale – either leasehold or freehold – following a series of unsuccessful attempts to make it pay. They have spoken to several prospective purchasers, understood

to include Hadlow College and EMR, as well as individuals, about the future running of the gardens and are now considering a num- ber of options. The Congelow Organic Educational Charitable Trustwas formed

in July 1991, after land for the gardens was donated by the late Donald Cooper. Trustees, who include Tonbridge lawyer Bill Wass, recently

added ‘sustainable farming’ to their objectives, giving rise to fears the gardens could be sold off for farming and the land ploughed up. Paul Smith, from Loddington Farm Ltd, was the third in a series of tenants to try to turn the organic garden, café and farm P18

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

Joy as Stones gain league promotion


Celebrate Maidstone honours heroes P4

Mote Park a ‘victim of own success’ P8

River festival

appeal pays off MAIDSTONE’s popular river festival will go ahead this year, after an appeal for funding paid dividends. The future of the festival

hung in the balance when sponsorship and financial backing failed to materialise, but organiser Martin Cox has decreed: “The show must go on”. He emphasised the value of

the event – the largest annual leisure gathering in the county town – after a survey showed the town centre economy bene- fited by more than £1m over the festival weekend. Mr Cox said: “Maidstone Council carried out market re- search among some 600 people, asking how much they spent and what parts they enjoyed the most. They reckoned there was more than £1m-worth of business brought into the town on the festival weekend.” Although most of the activity

on July 27 will take place along the River Medway,Mr Cox said he would have liked to




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