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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


have amajor rubbish problem over summer weekends, with accumulations of rubbish left for others to clear up. People from out- side the village now have no appreciation that cricket is being played as it has been for hundreds of years as, where they sit with their children having picnics (some even now having barbecues), they certainly do not take their own safety seriously. Can you please reassure me that the basic amenities are safe from closure or from falling into such a state of disrepair that they are forced to be closed – especially the children’s play area and themaintenance of the village pond. Can you confirm that the children’s play area will reopen upon re- pair, and that if there are to be even more “commercial/money-raising” events on The Green that the monies raised are used for maintaining and keeping these important amenities. Guy Pollak, CavendishWay, Bearsted


See Bearsted Parish Council, page 28


Littering an awful habit Dear Sir – I am writing to inform you that the area where I live is covered in litter. Fizzy drinks cans lie in the grass and pack- ets of crisps are stuck in bushes and trees. The litter makes the environment look


awful and I don’t understand why people litter the very place where they live. Sometimes, my dad and I go out with plastic bags and tidy up our neighbourhood. When we have finished, we are shocked to see so much rubbish in our bags. Most of the rubbish consists of cans. However, some of it is plastic bags, sweetwrappers, cardboard boxes and plastic bottles. It is a shame when Kent is such a beauti-


ful county that people litter it in the way they do. I feel the council should start to place more bins around, or at least try to clean up more often. My family have in-


You can write to us at: Downs Mail, 2 Forge House, Bearsted Green Business Park, Bearsted, Maidstone, ME14 4DT or e-mail: info@downsmail.co.uk


formed the council many times, but they often don’t reply. My house is right next to Cuckoo Wood,


nearWoodcut, and in the forest, dogs leave their mess everywhere, and people some- times dump their litter in there. It is not so bad if this is purely organic waste, but we are often pulling out plastic containers and plastic sheeting, as well as dumped house- hold items. Hopefully, by writing to you, some of the people who read this will understand that littering is an awful habit and because they litter, their own environment gets dirtier and dirtier. Maria Bragin (year 6, Sandling Primary School),Woodcut, Maidstone


Children sign welcome Dear Sir – I am writing regarding your arti- cle about the schoolchildren sign in Bearsted in last month’s edition of the Downsmail. As a local parent, Iwelcome any sign that


warns drivers to slow down and be aware of children crossing. There may no longer be a school on The Green, but there are many children visiting the local shops and library after school, not to mention playing on The Green. If the sign encourages drivers to take more


care when approaching the area, it can only be of benefit and is far from being unneces- sary clutter. I amvery surprised that the local council-


lors have asked for it to be removed, unless of course they are prepared to put speed re- striction ramps in its place. The article is also historically incorrect.


There was a school on The Green until much more recently than you say. Eyelsden Court School closed in July 1997, some 27 years later, and the sign was intended to refer to this.


Richard Sawyer, by email Attempt to save pub for community fails


RESIDENTS hoping to save a neighbour- hood pub from closure have failed. Supporters of the Old Plantation in Plan-


tation Lane, Bearsted, had hoped to get the Grade II listed building listed as being an “asset of community value”, thus saving it from the axe. But their application to Maidstone Coun-


cil failed, leaving the new owners free to press ahead with alternative plans. The pub was bought by Swift Roofing Contracts. Director Steve Swift told Downs Mail he would like to retain the property as a pub, if it could be made viable. However, as it had suffered increasing losses in recent


years, his fallback plan was to seek plan- ning permission to convert the 16th century pubintoahouse with oneormorenew properties on the adjoining land. He said: “It is a beautiful building and


will remain so.” Formerly owned by Enterprise Inns, the


Old Plantation had suffered from a decline in business following the introduction of legislation governing drink-driving and smoking in public places. Pubs across the country are said to be closing at the rate of 26 a week. The Old Plantation had been on the mar- ket with an asking price of £500,000.


Driver banned again A MOTORIST from Lenham has been barred from the roads for another two years after being stopped by police in Maidstone while on a driving ban. Matthew Hazelby (42), from Robins Close, admitted driving a Vauxhall Astra on the A20 on August 27 while disqualified and without insurance. Mid Kent Magistrates’ sentenced him to 84 days in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work over the next 12 months, pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.


Pamper day in aid of cervical cancer


A PAMPER day in aid of Becky Hepworth, who has a rare form of cervical cancer, is taking place at 1pm-6pm on Saturday November 2 at Bearsted’s WI Hall. Tickets are available for £5.50 via the Kent Community Events Face- book page and www.wegottickets.com.


The Maidstone and Mid Kent Branch of CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale – has succeeded in getting The Walnut Tree in Loose Road listed as an ACV and was back- ing Bearsted residents campaigning to save the Old Plantation. Neighbour Neil Robinson said: “We moved here 25 years ago knowing there was a pub next door. We used it occasionally and there was never any trouble. Unfortu- nately, successive landlords have tried dif- ferent things to bring in customers, generally involving loud music. This affects not only us, but people behind, in Claren- don Close.”


Politician talks to school students


SIXTH formers in Maidstone are being urged to become politically active for the benefit of their country and thewelfare of future genera- tions.


Jasper Gerard, Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner, is visiting schools in the borough and speaking to sixth-for- mers, primarily politics students. He kicked off the tour by speaking to politics students


at Invicta Grammar School for Girls in Huntsman Lane. He told them: “Whatever party you support, politicsmat- ters.” He faced a barrage of questions from students andMr Gerard, pictured at the school, said: “They asked all the difficult questions I was expecting, plus several difficult questions Iwasn’t expecting! “Thestudentswere incredibly brightandareal credit to


the school.” Visit Downs Mail’s website — downsmail.co.uk East 51


Mall victim of council plan Dear Sir – The front cover of your October issue says that the £8 million plan proposed for the Mall development will probably be scrapped . They (the council) blame the Next Home development at Eclipse Park. But I thought the council approved that plan? I despair! I enjoy your paper though, and find it very informative. Thank you. Barbara Gilbert, Poplar Grove, Maidstone


Editor’s note: Our story stated that The Mall shopping centre was opposed to the Next store, not Maidstone Council


Enquiry report misleading Dear Sir – I refer to the article on page three of your October edition, entitled “High Cost of Parish Enquiries” which is quite mis- leading as you have taken the comments of Don Wright, the chairman of the standards committee, out of context. Yes, I agree that the cost of the inquiry


was high, but if the clerk, Helen Elstone, and Chris Dyke, the chairman at the time, had acted on the advice that the monitoring officer had given the council, the whole episode would never have happened. Your report omits to inform readers that


Don Wright concluded the hearing by say- ing: “I would stress that although the costs of investigating complaints is high, this should not put people off making com- plaints, especially in cases such as these, where the complaints have been upheld.” Since this time, Bearsted Parish Council


has appointed a new chairman and will soon have a new clerk. I am continuing to work hard with my fellow councillors to make Bearsted a better place in which to live.


Geoff Licence, Bearsted Parish Council


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