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TONBRIDGE and Malling has a shortage of gypsy sites because it is “putting all its eggs in one bas- ket”, according to a government planning inspector. The borough council was dealt

a double blow as two of its deci- sions to refuse permission for per- manent gypsy sites at Rochester Road, Aylesford andWest Street, East Malling, were overturned in onemonth followingplanning in- quiries. The decisions could prevent

the council from controlling the locations of other gypsy sites. Both inspectors said the bor-

ough had underestimated the need for pitches andwas over-re- liant on additional accommoda- tion nearing completion on the KCC site in Coldharbour Lane, Aylesford. The results of these appeals

have been cited by another gypsy family,Paul and JanetteGower, in

support of their battle to stay in their caravan home in Birling Road, Leybourne, Government inspector Clive Kirkbride upheld the appeal by Mr Stephen Dunn to remain on the land he had owned at Ayles- ford for 16 years. He wrote: “The council’s approach to meeting unmet need and some of the identified future demand for sites within the borough is that in rely- ing on the additional pitches at Coldharbour Lane, not all of which are likely to be allocated to local families, it is putting all its ‘eggs in one basket’ and relying upon a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to pitch provision.” He added the council was un-

able to show a five-year supply of pitches as required by the frame- work and traveller policy. A requirement to vacate an unauthorised site in the absence of any suitable place would

STAFF and pupils at West Malling CE Primary have plenty to cheer about after receiving a glowing report from Ofsted. The school, which includes the McGinty Language Centre, was rated good overall, with some outstand- ing features, following the inspectors’ visit inMay. The report said the head teacher, staff and gover-

nors work well together as a team and are united in their ambition to ensure that pupils develop as well- rounded individuals. Achievement is good and all groups of pupilsmake

good progress. Teachingwas good, with many lessons having out-

standing elements. Lessons are fun and interesting and relationships between staff and pupils are good. Pupils’ good attitudes and behaviour help them to

work hard and learn well. Ofsted said the school is a calm and happy place where pupils say they feel very safe and that they are looked afterwell. Leadership and management are good and regular

checks are made on the quality of teaching and the progress pupilsmake.Governorshaveclose links with the school and knowitwell. The school which became an academy last year,

has grown in recent years to its current 204 pupils. It is regularly over-subscribed. Head teacher Darren Webb, pictured above with some of his pupils, has been at the school for four

years. He said: “Itwas pleasing that the report recog- nised the hardwork the school hasput inover the last few years. We are trying to provide a really exciting curriculum for the children and tomake the school a place that children, parents, staff and governors can be proud of.We believe this school is special, but it’s good to have someone external to confirm it.” He said the school had become increasingly popu-

lar with parents, with improving academic results, a risingprofile in the local community,and strong links, as a church school, with St Mary’s Church.



A HIGH-FLYING optometrist has designed glasses for hypnotist PaulMcKenna. For more details see Town Talk in the centre of this month’s DownsMail. The bi- monthly independent magazine is written by and dedicated to Snodland and Halling residents.

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Malling Edition June 2013 No. 194 Council’s gypsy problem

amount to an interference of human rights, he said. He said the council had ac- cepted a need for 12 additional pitches that would be met through 18 new pitches being built at Coldharbour Lane. “Some familieswill depend on public pitches but there will be others wanting and able to de- velop their own land, as is the case with the appellant and his family,” said Mr Kirkbride. In the second case, Government inspectorPaulDignan upheld the appeal by John Fuller to remain at his previously unauthorised Or- chard Farm site. Mr Dignan cast doubt that gypsies from the bor- ough would be given preference in the allocation of pitches at Coldharbour Lane. The Gower family have applied to the coun- cil for permanent use of the land they have owned for 28 years in Birling Road, Leybourne.

P8 School’s delight at Ofsted praise

Primary head teacher is suspended

PARENTSofpupilsatSt Katherine’s School, Snodland, have been stunned by the sud- den departure of the head teacher “for personal reasons”. Sharon Alexander has been suspended from her post, a year after she took over leadership of the primary school from long-serving head Allan Adams. It is understood a number of

staff have left since Mrs Alexander’s arrival in April 2012, although the 550-pupil school was judged as good in its latest Ofsted report. Deputy head Gerry Cadwal-

lader has taken over day-to-day running of the school. He said inalettertoparents:“Mrs Alexander is away from school at the present time, for personal reasons. “It has become apparent that

she will need to be away from school for longer than initially thought.

Additional support

“The local authority will be providing additional support and Mrs Barbara Scott, a school adviserwillwork alongside the senior leadership team for some of the week. “I would like to assure you of

the continued commitment to the education and well-being of all pupils at the school.” The school was judged to be

good in all categories including teaching, achievement, behav- iour and management after its Ofsted inspection in March. The report said: “The school

has been going through a pe- riod of change since the ap- pointment of the new head teacher, who has clear vision and ambition to provide the best possible learning experi- ences for pupils.” Children had good attitudes

to learning and enjoyed coming to school, resulting in above av- erage attendance. Relationships with most par- ents were considered good, but

Success in doctor phone calls battle

Mote Park a ‘victim of own success’

P10 P6

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