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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - over 83,000 copies - 4 editions by Peter Rimmer


THE fight for SAMAYS, the youth centre at Holmesdale Technology College, Snodland is almost over. Chatham and Aylesford MP,


Tracey Crouch, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Snodland Town Council and the Snodland Partnership had rejected Kent County Council’s proposal to close SAMAYS and replace it with a “youth hub” in Tonbridge. The county council carried


out a consultation in 2011 to consider ways of delivering youth services, including SAMAYS, across the county. Robert Styles, the borough council’s chief leisure officer, said at the time: “The loss of SAMAYS would remove a facil-


itythatishighlyvaluedby young people from Snodland and the surrounding area.” Mike Hill, KCC cabinet mem-


ber for customer and communi- ties, said: “We have been workingwith the school regard- ing the lease of the youth centre, and we hope the arrangements will be finalised shortly. “The plan is that the school


THE Beat Project in Snodland has a newcoordinator following theappointment of LauraBailey. For more details see Town Talk in the central pages of this month’s Downs Mail. The bi- monthly independent magazine is written by and dedicated to Snodland and Halling residents.


Town Talk


Graduate twins making mark on science world


A PAIR of identical twins with a passion for atom- smashing are going their separateways after gaining their PhDs in physics. Leigh and Mark Whitehead have followed the same


path since they started school in Larkfield. Nowaged 26, they are working on separate research projects, having graduated lastmonth fromWarwickUniversity. The brothers, whose family home is in Barleycorn,


Leybourne, went to Brookfield infants and junior schools, followedbyOakwoodGrammarinMaidstone. They went on to study at Warwick University, where both graduated with a first classMPhys in July 2008, followed by PhDs. But now they are pursuing separate projects. Mark


is a post-doctoral researcher atWarwick, working on anexperimentat the LargeHadronCollider inGeneva, and Leigh is atUniversity College, London,working on


TAXI drivers in Maidstone could be told to smarten up their act. Councillors are contemplating introducing a dress code for drivers and are going to consult representatives of the industry. A report to the licensing com-


mittee says taxi drivers are often the first point of contact for visi- tors to the town and inappropri- ately-dressed drivers could set a bad impression. A draft “driver’s dress code”


puts a ban on flipflops and san- dals without backs, sportswear, short shorts, clothing with offen- sive language or logos and any- thing dirty or ripped. Acceptable clothing includes shirts, sweaters and tops cover-


a study of subatomic particles at Fermilab in the US. Marksaid theywere both fascinatedby science from


a young age. “Wewere both came top of the class for physics, and it seemed natural for us both to spe- cialise in particle physics.” Leigh said: “We’re not that competitive–we always


helped each other out in our studies and revision.” Although they areworkingonseparateexperiments, they remain in daily contact by phone or email.


Cabbies ‘must clean up their act’


ing the shoulders and long enough to be tucked into trousers, knee-length skirts or shorts and footwear which fits around the heel. The report to councillors


states: “The purpose of a driver’s dresscodeistoseekaminimum standard of dress that provides a positive image of the hackney carriage and private hire trade in Maidstone, enhances a profes- sional image of licensed drivers and ensures that public and driver safety is not compro- mised.” The council’s head of demo-


cratic services Neil Harris is to consultwith the town’sHackney Carriage Association and repre-


sentatives of private hire opera- tors about the introduction of the voluntary code. Mr Harris says the council has


not received any specific com- plaints about drivers’ standards of dress, but several members of the council have raised con- cerns.


Dennis Conyon, from Maid-


stone Licenced Taxi Operators, said he had spoken to a number of drivers who were generally happy with the proposals. But he said: “The council has no legal powers to enforce this; it would be a voluntary code. As with all things, it is the few that spoil it for themany. Most of our drivers are very smart.”


BIG IN OAK The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 0800 652 0102 www.lincolnfurniture.co.uk


Youth centre victory near


Malling Edition February 2013 No. 190 Next decides


will take on the running costs for the building, maximising its use during the day and keeping it open for evening activities led by the community youth tutor and his team of youth workers. “We have appointed a jointly- funded community youth tutor, Anthony Lee-Peat, who took up his post on January 10.” Mr Hill said the council was grateful to the school head,Julia Campbell, for her support throughout the process. He added that there were fur-


ther opportunities to build links between Holmesdale Technol- ogy College and the Malling Academy, which had a commu- nity youth tutor. There is also a strong commitment to having co-ordinated youth services across the area.


to close store A NEXT store in the centre of Maidstone is due to close at the end of the year – at around the same time the company hopes to open an out-of-town offering. The retailer had already dealt


a potential blow to town centre businesses by lodging a plan- ning application to open a Next Home store near junction 7 of the M20. Directors at Town Centre Managementwere “hos- tile” to the scheme. And now the company has revealed that the Next store in The Mall shopping centre is due to close when its lease runs out later this year. A spokesman said that its FremlinWalk store will remain and, if possible, expanded. Next argues that the closure of The Mall shop, which sells fashion for men, women and children, as well as shoes and accessories, will have a negligi- ble impact on town centre trade of just 1.2%. However, the news that the Next store is to close comes hard on the P6


Morrisons plan RETAIL giant Morrisons looks set to move into the ground floor of the former Army and Navy store inWeek Street. The company has applied for


a liquor licence for the prem- ises, which has been empty for a number of years. With just 8,000 sq ft of trad-


ing space, the site is smaller than most Morrisons stores, but it will be in competition with the Tesco Express store on the opposite side of the street. An announcement is also ex- pected shortly on the retail com- pany that has been successful in securing the Maidstone East site for development. Town centre manager Bill


Moss said: “It looks like at long last some life is being breathed back into that end of the town. There are interesting times ahead.”


Historic homes lost in town centre fire


Powerhub plan to ‘revive riverside


P3 P9


Disabled parking charges begin P12


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