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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - over 83,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South Edition September 2013 No.197 Playscheme with the X factor


UPto36childrenaday turned out for the annual Yalding Summer Playscheme, held for threeweeks of the holidays in St Peter and St Paul Primary School, Yalding.


Children aged from four to 12


tucked into a range of fun activi- ties, making the most of the fine weather.


There were games in abun-


dance andaraft ofartsand crafts activities under thestewardshipof organiser Linda Gilbert and her team of helpers; one day they


even enjoyed awater fight! Theplayschemeconcluded with


a talent show where everyone, however young, was encouraged to take part.


Hula-hooping seemed to be a


particular favourite – although therewas also plenty of song and dance potentialamongtheyoung- sters taking part.


Linda said: “They were a great


bunchofchildren toworkwithand even the adults had fun. Most dayswere fully booked.”


Children had fun at Yalding Playscheme QC backs call for housing probe


A TOP QC has added weight to calls for an investigation into the supposed lack of land for new homes in the Maidstone borough. Across-party group of six bor-


ough councillors, backed by QC Christopher Lockhart-Mum- mery, believe officers may have given the planning committee inaccurate advice that has led to large housing developments in the open countryside.


TELEVISION presenter and naturalist Chris Packham has become embroiled in a village fight against the urban fox. Cllr Geraldine Brown, chair


of Yalding Parish Council, had urged residents not to feed the foxes, after several alleged re- ports of foxes going into homes and gardens. But her comments incensed school secretary Victoria Phelps, who contacted fellow wildlife enthusiast Mr Pack- ham to air her defence of the species. Ms Phelps said: “This is just another attack on our already- shrinking natural wildlife. I have vast experience with urban and country foxes and have never ever experienced them coming anywhere near houses. Foxes, both urban and country, are by nature very timid creatures.” She contacted Chris Packham


with a copy of the story which appeared in last month’s Downs Mail and her own com- ments, to which he replied: “Thank you for your spirited, sensible and robust defence of


A shortfall in the borough’s five-year land supply was the main reason given by the coun- cil for allowing the green light to be given to a Redrow Homes application for 130 homes at the Map Depot, Goudhurst Road, Marden and a Wealden Homes scheme to build up to 25 homes in Grigg Lane, Headcorn (see page six) – despite both being in areas where housing was not permitted in the local plan.


The decisions were made


after a recent appeal when plan- ning inspector John Papworth gave approval for a house to be built in East Farleigh, based on the council’s ‘failure to identify a five-year supply of housing land’ as required in the Govern- ment’s national planning policy frame- work, which was intro- duced last year. Shortly after the decision, council officers estimated the


Packham defends the urban fox


could attack children and pets is ridiculous. Foxes are fright- ened of their own shadows and do not attack pets such as dogs or cats.” Ms Phelps agreed there was a


risk of toxocariasis from fox faeces, but said it was equally true of cats and dogs. She urged parents – and pet owners – to ‘poop scoop’ when children were around. She added: “Cllr Brown’s


Chris Packham


the wonderful urban fox. Ani- mals need all the friends they can get these days. Keep up the fight against ignorance and scaremongery.” Ms Phelps, who has been feeding a fox family with four cubs near her home in Staple- hurst, said: “They have given us much joy to watch. But even en masse, they have never ven- tured anywhere near the house. In fact, they are so timid that they are afraid of the birds.” She said: “Cllr Geraldine Brown’s concern that the foxes


most laughable statement comes near the end of the arti- cle where she asks people to help her return the foxes to the fields and woodland where they belong. “Has she not seen all the de- velopments and buildingworks that are destroying the wood- lands? The foxes are in their home. It just happens to be that humans have built a great big housing estate on it. “We need to be following the guidelines of the likes of Chris Packham and Sir David Atten- borough not Cllr Geraldine Brown,” she added. Cllr Brown declined to comment.


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council had a 14.8% (370 homes) shortfall in its five-year land supply. This meant it could not refuse applications in open countryside on principle alone.


Council leader Chris Garland insisted speculative applica- tions could not be refused until a new core strategy is adopted, which would be summer 2014 at the earliest. But the QC, whowas


Lorry ban order


to be changed MODIFICATIONS are to be made to a controversial lorry- banning scheme that has set residents in Yalding and Mar- den at loggerheads. An experimental 7.5-ton weight restriction order im- posed on roads through the vil- lage of Yalding outraged dozens of businesses in Marden, who claimed they were not con- sulted about the order until after it was put in place. They claim many of their ve- hicles, suppliers and customers must now travel additional miles, in a circuitous route, to avoid the exclusion zone, cost- ing more money in fuel and staffing costs – and taking extra time.


Following a heated public meeting (Downs Mail, August) KCC is consulting with the public over whether to scrap the order completely.


P3


Home recognised for eco credentials


Joy for pupils after exam results


P22,23 P3


P4


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