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Appeal gets Leia life-changing vest

LOVELY little Leia Corbett from Tovil has enjoyed her first family holiday abroad following an appeal in the Downs Mail. We carried the heart-breaking story of the one-year-

old with cystic fibrosis and an appeal from her family for a special bodice to free Leia from the painful, daily percussion therapy needed to keep her breathing. And our readers responded to Leia’s story, over- whelming mum Kelly, dad Sam and sister Hollie, and raising enough for the vest and more in just four months. Among the contributors was former England international footballer Dennis Wise, who was so touched by Leia’s story that his charity – Dennis Wise in the Community – picked up the tab for the full £6,995 cost of the vest. Kelly (20) said: “Having the vest has completely

changed Leia's life, it nowmeans instead of having to lay still for lengthy therapy twice a day, she uses the

Maidstone Town Edition October 2013 No.198

Deal keeps Kent Life in operation

A CHARITABLE Trust has stepped in to protect a popular Maidstone tourist attraction – and with it, 30 jobs. The Cobtree Manor Estate

Trust has teamed up with Con- tinuum Kent Life Ltd to operate Kent Life for three years. The trust, which was set up

vest for10minutes, twiceaday,andcan sit freely play- ing with her toys and watching her favourite pro- grammes. “She nowenjoys having her physio, whereas before

it was a constant struggle and she would cryP5 £8m Mall plan postponed

A PLANNED £8million refurbishment of The Mall could be scrapped following the success of Next’s application for an out-of-town superstore on the north-eastern edge of Maidstone. In June,Maidstone Council’s planning commit-

tee gave the retailer permission for a 5,748 sq m Next Home outlet at Eclipse Park, near junction 7 of theM20. The council’s retail analyst, DTZ, had forecast

the superstore would reduce trade in the town centre by 2.13%. With the possible introduction of large Debenhams andWaitrose stores at Newn- ham Court (see below) – opposite the impending Next superstore – likely to further dent the town centre’s offering, bosses at The Mall have decided to hold fire on a proposed £8m revamp of the shopping centre. Gareth Holland, retail asset manager for The Mall, toldMaidstone Council’s planning commit-

£100m plan for

retail village AMASSIVE £100m plan has been unveiled to re-develop and extend Newnham Court Shopping Village, near Maidstone. Land Securities, whichhascome

up with the proposals to transform the Harvestore site into a retail “lifestyle and outdoor living” vil- lage – trebling the shopping area – says Waitrose (artist’s impres- sion pictured right) and Deben- hamswill open in2016if the plans are approved. The Nottcutts gar- den centrewould transfer to a pur- pose-buit two-storey development to the north of the site. The company – which operates

18shopping centres across theUK –says the BearstedRoad develop-

tee: “We objected to the Next scheme from the start. It flies in the face of the Government’s ‘town centre first’ policy, which indicates that any avail- able space in town centres should be given plan- ning preference over edge and out-of-town sites. “It will undermine the town centre and indicate

to developers and retailers that potential future out-of-town development in Maidstone can be achieved. “We are all already aware of further significant proposals. This will inevitably seriously jeopar- dise interest in town centre sites. “While uncertainty remains, this will be to the detriment of existing retailers. The Mall currently has the capacity to house a store of this size.We have proposals to invest further in The Mall but these have to be considered in the light of further threats to the town centre from potential future out-of-town retail developments and the

to manage the estate left to Maidstone by twelve-times Mayor Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt- Drake, had leased the land to KCC, which in turn sub-let it to Continuum, whose arrange- ment was due to end this month. Now the trust has stepped in

with a deal whereby Contin- uum will continue to manage the visitor attraction and her- itage centre until March 2016, giving the trust time to con- sider all future options. Trustees believe thiswill give

them time to fully review the operation and plan a “procure- ment strategy” for the future. Cllr JohnWilson, chairman of

the Cobtree Manor Estate Char- ity Committee, which adminis- ters the estate on behalf of the trust, said: “This is an interim measure which will help the trust assess the possibilities.” Ideally, the trustees would

like to see the land north of the Medway linked to the town. Cllr Wilson said: “We do not


make the most of the river in Maidstone. All we see from the town is warehouses “Our vision is to combine

the various parts of the Cob- tree estate – the golf course, the park and the rural museum – with a riverside walk which will connect it to the

Last-minute delay to woods removal

Call for inquiry into home figures

mentwill create800 newjobs and £5mwould be spent improving ac- cess to the site, on roads around the park, and links to the town. Land Securities is looking tosub-

mit plans for the two-phase devel- opment,withparking for900cars, to Maidstone Council by autumn.

For full story, turn to page 10


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