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Kent cyclists most at risk in town


TRAFFIC could be slowed down in more parts of the borough after Maidstone was named the most dangerous place in Kent for cycling. There were more cyclists killed or seri-


ously injured in Maidstone than any other borough in Kent last year. Although there were more pedal cycle ca- sualties in Canterbury – 47 in 2012, as op- posed to 38 in Maidstone – themost serious accidents occurred in the county town, where figures reveal that 10 incidents oc- curred in 2012 – a 233% increase on the av- erage for 2004-2008, which was three. Tonbridge and Malling was next in the


Kent list of serious incidents, with eight oc- curring in 2012 – up from the 2004-08 aver-


TRIBUTESwere paid to Joyce Williams after she stepped down as chairman of the board of trustees at Voluntary Action Maidstone. Speaking at the charity’sAGM,KCCchairman


Cllr Eric Hotson said: “May I, on behalf of every- onepresent, thank yousincerely, Joyce, for mak- ing VAMa family.” When Joyce became a trustee in 1997 the


charity had just three members of staff. “Now there are 36,” she said, choking back the tears, “and I have made lots of real friends among those people – aswell as the volunteers”. Joyce was given a bunch of flowers as a


farewell gift. She will be succeeded as chair by Trevor Jones (73). The meeting also heard that for the first time


in VAM’s history, income for projects exceeded £1m. Therewas a video promoting the Gateway Volunteers, a demonstration by fall prevention


Mayor Clive English, VAMchief executive Charlotte Osborn Forde, JoyceWilliams and KCC chairman Eric Hotson


co-ordinator Amanda Duddle, a presentation by Katy Absonof the Connecting Carers projectand news on the success of the Macmillan Volun- teers by Jane Pantony and volunteer Margaret Conan.


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age of four. As Downs Mail went to press, KCC was considering restricting more town centre streets to 20mph – something the Green Party has been seeking for a number of years.


Stuart Jeffery, from Maidstone Green


Party, said: “Kent is in the dark ages when it comes to road safety andMaidstone suffers with the worst record for road safety in Kent for non-car users. “Reducing speed by 1mph leads to a 6%


fall in accidents. Slowing down traffic is a simple and effective measure to improve road safety. “The council should be encouraging peo- ple to get out of their cars to walk or cycle,


Tributes as VAM chairman retires


not making Maidstone the most dangerous place in Kent.” Speed limits of 20mph for residential streets have recently been introduced or agreed for Brighton, Birmingham and the City of London, whereas Maidstone has a few zones but no blanket limit. KCC says that while the costs involved in installing blanket 20mph schemes remain prohibitive, they can help to tackle public health issues by encouraging walking and cycling. A spokesman added: “They can also help people move around more safely and inde- pendently, improving accessibility for the elderly, vulnerable road users and disabled people.”


Orchestra performs THE Hospice Festival Choir and Or- chestra conducted by Martin Hind- marsh are presenting Haydn’s Creation in aid of the Heart of Kent Hospice on Saturday, November 2 at Mote Hall, Maidstone at 7.30 p.m. The perform- ance is part of Voices forHospices 2013. Tickets are from £10-£16. To book, or


for more details, call 01622 790195, email fundraising@hokh.co.uk or go to www.hokh.org.


Car park extension plan A RETROSPECTIVE planning applica- tion has been submitted to extend the car park by five spaces at the front of the Eastfield Residential Home at 76 Sit- tingbourne Road, Maidstone. Maidstone Council will determine the application.


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7 Yeoman Court, Ashford Road, Bearsted To contact Downs Mail just phone 01622 630330 East 3


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