This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Maidstone & Malling’s No 1 - over 83,000 copies - 4 editions

Maidstone East Edition December 2013 No.200 ‘Iconic’ campus approved

A HUGE new medical campus near M20 Junction 7, that in- cludes a university and new hospital has been given the go- ahead – and could become a “national treasure”. The comment was made by

Cllr Stephen Paine, one of the seven members – all Conserva- tive – of Maidstone Council’s planning committee who voted to ensure the 98,000 sqmMaid- stone Medical Campus was granted outline permission. The project will be located to

the south and east of the £90m Kent Institute of Medical Sci- ence (KIMS), which is due to open in April. It is set to become the largest single development in Maidstone for many years, with the creation of 4,000 jobs and 766 residential units. On greenfield land north of Bearsted Road, covering an area larger than 26 football pitches and more than 12 times the size of KIMS, the following has been approved:  New women’s and children’s hospital  University campus  Halls of residence for 300 stu- dents  116 care-assisted units and a day centre in a dedicated

Housing targets may have to rise

DOWNS Mail has learned that the number of new homes the Government will demand to be built inMaidstone in the period 2011 to 2031 is set to rise again. A year ago, Maidstone Coun-

“neuro-rehabilitation village”  Research and development unit Pathology labs, offices and ac- commodation for doctors  Business uses  Ancillary retail services  Minimum of 25% NHS refer- rals

Although environmental mit- igation measures include the creation of woodland near Ash Tree Gardens, Cllr Tony Har- wood and three other Lib Dem members of the committee voted against the scheme as it was contrary to the local plan, which has yet to earmark the land for medical use. Cllr Paine said: “We are not talking about a local hospital but specialist care and a research centre that would be a national

treasure. The salaries from these jobs are going to be double the average for people in Maidstone at the moment. “This is a very good design, particularly with the green space. It is a fantastic offer - 4,000 jobs with those sort of salaries will help regenerate the town centre. “If other boroughs were here

they would not have this argu- ment. They would snap their hands off.” Cllr Chris Garland, council

leader and substitute member on the committee, said: “This can be something iconic. Maid- stone should be proud to be the location for this. It could have gone to Kings Hill or Ashford butMaidstone will benefit.”

Local plan warning – page 6 George still in the driving seat at 100

AFTER 79 years on the road, Maidstone motorist George Nissen has just had his driving licence re- newed for two years – at the age of 100. The chipper centenarian, from Sandling, says keep-

ing the keys to his two-litre Mazda – which he has had for 23 years – is goodnews for himand wifeAnn(90), who doesn’t drive. “I’m so lucky I’m still able to do it,”

says George, who turned 100 on No- vember21. “People saywe could get help, butwelook afterourselves. The car means we can make local trips, like to the shops, which gives us our independence.” Cars have been in his blood since George was 14, when he worked for Crows Ltd in Maidstone – a whole- sale supplier of car spares and engi- neering parts. He started driving at 18, when he

was promoted to branch manager in Canterbury. George recalls: “One of the lads was asked to take

meoutontheDownstoteachmeto drive. Half-an-hour later, the jobwas done.At that time you didn’t have to take a test – theyweren’t introduced until 1935.” His first car – given to the company in lieu of a debt

–was French,with a handbrake on the running board. George would catch the old East Kent bus home to

Maidstone atweekends, until he started playing foot- ball forHerne Bay. He also played forKent Messenger and Maidstone United. When thewar started he signed up and rose to the rank of captain, driving a motor launch in the D-Day Landings. After the war, George remembers:

“Iwalked backin tomy old job as if I’d been away a couple of weeks. It was quite strange after somuchhad gone on. I married Ann and moved to the housewe bought in 1945 while Iwas in Hamburg, and herewe’ve stayed.” George continued with the com-

pany, retiring as a director at the age of 75. He is nowan activemember of Probus, a group for retired profes- sional businessman,and enjoys noth- ing more than being with his wife of 68 years. Sadly, both their sons died in their 50s.

Ann,whomoved from the Isle of Bute inScotland to

be with her husband, said: “It’s very important for us that George keeps his licence. I don’t know how we would manage otherwise. The bus used to pass our front door, but nowthere is no service at all.”

Constantly checking UK prices to get you the lowest price

The Big Ye llow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 www.lincolnfur

cil raised its working target for the local plan from 10,800 to 14,800 over fears that the Gov- ernment would reject the lower figure. Now the Government is re- assessing needs throughout the UK based on the housing mar- ket and it is possible that the Maidstone figure will jump to about 18,000. Anumber of councils have re-

cently had their housing targets rejected for being too low. The local plan by Gravesham Coun- cil, in north Kent, is one that has been sent back to the draw- ing board after a planning in- spector raised “serious concerns” over its target of 4,800 homes. Maidstone Council’s new fig-

ure will be based on sub na- tional population projections as well as the housing market and will involve working with neighbouring Ashford and Ton- bridge &Malling councils as the market differs from one end of the borough to the other. The council’s cabinet will

agree its revised figure in Janu- ary and land allocations in Feb- ruary,whentheywillgoout for consultation. Should more homes be added

to the target, some of the hous- ing will be on brownfield sites, mostly in urbanMaidstone. But the amount of this land still available is reducing and it will accommodate only a small per- centage of new housing in the future. This would leave Maidstone Council no option but to locate new housing on greenfield sites around the borough.

Lib Dem leader Fran backed by party P12

Parent charity faces fight for survival

Probe after riot at town’s prison

P16 P32

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56