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Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - over 83,000 copies - 4 editions Maidstone South Edition October 2013 No.198 Churches to offer homeless a bed Communion

CHURCHES are to be used to give the homeless in Maidstone a bed during the coldwinter nights. The Maidstone ChurchesWinter Shelter pilot, which will cost £27,430, isbeing supportedby the borough council, which has to pro- vide B&B places for the homeless during the extreme cold. Thechurchproject will offerbeds

for 10 homeless people from De- cember 30 to February 23 in its first year, possibly rising to 12 weeks in subsequent winters. A meal will also be provided. An estimated 20 guests are ex- pected to make use of the church hostels, which will move among participating churches.So far, four churches have offered volunteers

Major Grayson Williams

and venues, including the Salv ation Army in Union Street, St Faith’s, Sta- tionRoad, and Maidstone Baptis t Church in Knightrider Street.Anum-

ber of other churches are support- ive, but have yet to commit. A key driving force has been

MajorGrayson Williams, theleader in Maidstone of The Salvation Army, which has put up £5,800 for the scheme. He is confident that the town’s churches will be able to

mobilise up to 200 volunteers to man the scheme, to complement homeless services in the town. The initiative’s steering group

will start looking for volunteersand a salaried manager and deputy manager to oversee the schemein October. The group’s funding leader,Matt

Clifton, said: “Given the desperate plight of people in Maidstone forced to sleep rough in freezing conditions, there is a determina- tion that another winter must not pass by.” A church shelter for the home-

less that has run in Folkestone for the past four years has helped shape the pilot for Maidstone, where all guests must:

P10 £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 scheme

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


goes teetotal A CHURCH in Yalding that voted to serve non-alcoholic communion wine has found it- self in the spotlight – and under scrutiny by the Bishop. However, other churches in

the vicinitywould like to follow its example – despite claims the decision breaches canon – or ec- clesiastical – law. The Kenward Trust in Yalding operates a rehab centre – Ken- ward House – for men trying to overcome addiction to drink and drugs, some of whom attend the village church as part of their re- covery. Rather than exclude the visi-

tors from Holy Communion – and thereby drinking alcohol – the parochical church council (PCC) at St Peter and St Paul Church has decided the church should go teetotal. Village vicar, the Rev Paul Filmer, who is also chaplain to the Kenward Trust, said he had been thinking of ways to make the service more inclusive since his arrival at the church four years ago. He said: "We had two options:

to have an alternative non-alco- holic communion wine for those who preferred it, or to serve non- alcoholic wine to everyone. After much prayer and thought, we went for the latter as a more inclusive way forward, and one which will not in any way stig- matise any members of the con- gregation." St Peter and St Paul has joined

a number churches to use non- alcoholic wine produced exclu- sively for the purposes of Holy Communion. The Anglican and Methodist church of St An- drews, Paddock Wood, has served alcohol-free wine to all its congregation for many


Village fete dropped after poor turnout

‘Secret’ report adds to housing row

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 12

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Crackdown on pubs MAIDSTONE Council iswork- ing with landlords at pubs to reduce complaints about anti- social noise. For more details, see the Maidstone Council- sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the centre pages.

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