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Campus ‘will affect local plan’

TONY Harwood, deputy Lib Dem leader and the group’s planning spokesman, vig- orously opposed the Maid- stone Medical Campus application. Cllr Harwood (left) was

one of four members of his group who unsuccessfully voted against KIMS’ pro- posal to create a 98,000 sq mMaidstoneMedical Cam- pus on land near M20 Junc-

tion 7. Although the sitewas designated formed-

ical use in the borough’s emerging local plan, planning officers admitted that it was too early in the process of formulating this document for it to have any material con- sideration. So it meant that the proposal, through

being in the open counytryside, was con- trary to Maidstone Council’s land use poli- cies. Cllr Harwood said: “This will remove the ability of existing plans to determine the type of employment that should be pro- vided and where it should take place. “It will have a significant impact on the

level and location of employment and con- sequently the scale of housing to be pro-

The scheme will see the loss of this green- field land in front of KIMS

vided in the draft local plan.” Planning officers cited government guid-

ance in the National Planning Policy Framework, released last year, as a reason to recommend the go-ahead. The NPPF rec- ommends sustainable development, and of- ficers felt that the MMC fitted into this, given the precedent set by the KIMS devel- opment next door. But Cllr Harwood countered: “I don’t be-

lieve we should bypass the local planning system, especially for something so specu- lative. “This application is 10 years work so we should refuse it and wait a few months for our local plan to be implemented before de- ciding.” There are seven different land uses in-

Road changes ahead

KCC Highways forecasted the scheme would lead to a 30-59% change in traffic, but the applicant – KIMS – has proposed the fol- lowing measures to prevent congestion:  traffic management of three arms of J7 and road widening;  traffic management of the M20 link road, Bearsted Road round- about and widening of approaches;  enlarging New Cut roundabout and widening of approaches;  provision of a new signal pedestrian crossing just west of New Cut roundabout and also the A249 north/south route;  provision of an extension to the Sittingbourne Road Park and Ride bus service to serve the site;  widening of footways on Bearsted Road to form a combined foot/cycle way;  implementation of a new bus link to the town centre;  car park charging for certain site users;  a section 106 contribution for highway capacity enhancements to M2 Junction 5 near Stockbury. Cllr Ian Chittenden predicted the sitewould lead to an additional 3,000 car movements every day.

Home again A HOMELESS family has moved into a renovated home, thanks to Maidstone Council’s lease and repair scheme. The scheme, part-funded by

the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), provides a grant to owners to renovate and re- pair long-term empty proper- ties to bring them up to a decent standard. In return, the owner agrees to lease the prop- erty for five years through the council’s chosen partner, Av- enue Lettings, to a family from the council’s housing register.

Felling refused MAIDSTONE Council has turned down a planning appli- cation to fell two protected trees in Headcorn. Vicky Ironside had claimed

that the oak and horse chestnut had been damaging the founda- tions of 21 Station Road. But the decision notice said the ap- plicant had not provided enough evidence to justify the fellings.

PLEDGES of promises raised more than £2,700 for Yalding Scout Troop – 10% more than their target. Offers of cooking, cleaning, gardening and DIY were among 79 lots on offer, as well as holi- day homes in France and Ma- jorca, a boat trip on the Medway, hair and beauty treatments and dog walking. Therewas even a chance to bid to get your tax return completed!

volved in the proposal, meaning there is po- tential for a totally different development to the one proposed. “All these different uses are giving the ap- plicant a blank cheque,” added Cllr Har- wood. “Eclipse Park was initially given planning permission for a campus-style de- velopment but what do we have now? Of- fice blocks. “We would never get permission for this amount of housing (766 units) ordinarily, but these are being tagged on. “This scheme will completely change

some of the most desirable parts of Maid- stone in Bearsted, Weavering and parts of Detling. They are going to turn into some- where more like Snodland.” Cllr Harwood’s aspiration to refuse the scheme was supported by three other mem- bers, who were all Lib Dems. Seven Con- servatives voted in favour and there were two abstentions. Overall there were eight objections by members of the public and no affected parish councils objected. Mike Parkinson, Maidstone Council's conservation officer, objected to the scheme for causing "considerable harm" to the set- ting and significance of the listed Newnham Court Inn.

Scheme still a long way off

THERE is no indication of when work will begin on building the Maidstone Medical Campus because, so far, no service provider has signed up to the scheme. Now outline permission has been granted, KIMS can seek fund-

ing and lobby interested parties prior to the submission of a full planning application. James Dickmann, a director at KIMS, gave the committee a heartfelt plea to accept the proposal. He said: “At KIMS we care for people who are vulnerable and

need help. KIMS will open in April 2014, and we are excited that this project is coming to fruition. “The next quest for all of us at KIMS is to have a medical uni- versity at Maidstone. There is not a single place for patients who need rehabilitation or specialist care. There is a tsunami of pa- tients who suffer neurological conditions and we need to care for them to alleviate their suffering and, God willing, in some cases find a cure. “My colleagues and I are borrowing £300million to make this extension of KIMS possible.”

Auctioned promises boost Scout funds Bidders leapt into action on-

line through a facebook page, which notched up more than £1,000 in bids in the first week. At the end of the month-long auction, bids raised £2,740. Organiser Sue Rowe said: “Bidding went totally mad in the final 30 minutes, but people have been extremely generous.” A photo shoot with celebrity photographerDave King went for £160 and a flight over Kent in a

A SUTTON Valence headmaster has been export- ing the virtues of British education to students in the Far East. Bruce Grindlay (pictured), head of Sutton Valence School, was invited to be part of the first UK delegation to China to promote the benefits of a UK boarding school education. While in China’s Guangzhou re-

gion, Mr Grindlay spoke to the media, visited schools, took part in panel discussions with key education influencers in the region and spoke to

light aircraft raised £152. One of the top earners was a dinner party for eight – to be cooked and served in your own home – which raised £200 and, the most extravagant, possibly the £40 bid for two loaves of beer bread! The funds will go to buy ca-

noes, kayaks and safety equip- ment for the village Scouts, Cubs, Beavers and Explorers, as well as subsidising expeditions.

Boarding school head part of China delegation

parents about a British boarding school education. As a music specialist, he also gave a lesson to

13- to 15-year-old children. Mr Grindlay was one of only 20 heads to be in-

vited to join delegations in China. The group vis- ited two cities and the trip culminated in attending the ceremonial signing of the ‘Memo- randum of Understanding’ between Britain and China.

Delegations are visiting four regions of China: Peking, Shanghai and Chongqing, as well as Guangzhou.

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