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Water on tap SOUTH East Water’s new £360,000 water main is now supplying fresh tap water to Maidstone. This follows an upgrade pro- gramme lasting three and a half months, which saw a section of water main installed along the A20 London Road at Ditton. James Smith, delivery man-

ager for South EastWater, said: “I would like to thank the local community and motorists for their patience and co-operation while this important project was completed.” The work forms part of the company’s five-year £390 mil- lion investment programme which will ensure that clean, safe water continues to be de- livered to its customers.

Solar consent CHRISTOPHER Clarke has been given planning permis- sion for a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic array con- taining 40 panels at Peppercorn House, Leeds Road, Langley.

Conviction hits drug supplies

FOUR men who headed up a drugs supply ring stretching across Kent worth almost £5mil- lion have been sentenced to a total of 24 years in prison. Brothers Danny and Michael Malone, Martin Merritt and Hugh Webb all appeared at Maidstone Crown Court. The Malones and Merritt had admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis at an earlier hearing but during the trial of Webb, in which he was found guilty of the same charge, the court heard the four were caught by officers red- handed in two separate strike. Officers from the Kent and

Essex Serious Crime Directorate swooped on vans on a driveway just off Queen Street, Paddock Wood, and found Danny Malone (43), of Collier Street, handing over approximately 200kg of packaged cannabis resin. Detectives soon gathered evi-

dence to suggest a second, larger exchange was to take place else- where in Kent. Officers went to

A FLEDGLING rural business has ‘bagged’ a new cus- tomer – in the shape of Samantha Cameron, wife of the prime minister. JessicaBall (31), from Laddingford, setupYours Sus-

tainably,aneco-friendly online shop, together with her mother Lynnin August2011.Selling ethically-sourced products and giving 10% of all profits to charity, the business has attracted customers from all over the world and now ships goods to places as far flung as Australia, Italy, Finland and the USA. When Jessica was invited to No 10 to meet Mr Cameron, she took the opportunity of handing him a ‘Baggu’ for Samantha – a reusable folding shopping bag and one of the company’s top sellers. Thenylon bags fold flat and fit easily into a handbag

or pocket yet can carry a 22kg load. The gift was particularly timely as it coincided with

theGovernment’sannouncement itwas to introducea charge for using plastic carrier bags. Jessica was one of around 40 representatives of

start-up companies inreceipt of a loan to be invited to Downing Street. She said: “We got to speak to the


home clause MAIDSTONE Council has de- cided that only a worker em- ployed in agriculture should live in a property in Crumps Lane, Ulcombe. Mr and Mrs M. Andrews ap-

plied to remove a condition stat- ing that the residents of Forstal Lane Bungalow in Crumps Lane need to be working in agricul- ture or forestry. They claimed they would be unable to sell the home as its £525,000 valuationwould be too expensive for farmers. But the council said the appli-

cants had failed to prove the property could not meet a local need for agricultural accommo- dation. The decision notice added: “Removal of this condi- tion could lead to an increased pressure for new dwellings in the countryside for the purposes of agriculture/forestry.”

Sandy Lane in Great Chart, near Ashford, where they found a Re- nault lorry haul- ing a 40ft refrigerated con- tainer. It was driven by Hugh Webb (52), from Essex.

Inside the con-

tainer, officers discovered more than a tonne of cannabis resin packaged in a similar way to the drugs found in Paddock Wood just a few days earlier. In a nearby storage unit, offi-

Danny Malone

cers foundMichael Malone (46), from East Sussex, and Merritt (39), from Essex, sitting in a sil- ver Mercedes. The storage unit had been rented in Danny Mal- one’s name. In total, the Kent and Essex Se-

rious Crime Directorate seized just over 1.9 tonnes of cannabis resin, with an estimated street value of £4.9 million.

Danny Malone was sentenced

to eight years in prison, his brother Michael to six years, Merritt was ordered to serve five years in jail andWebb five years. Judge Charles Byers praised

the investigation team for their diligence throughout the painstaking investigation. Detective Sergeant Andy

Nicoll said: ‘This was one of the biggest drug seizures of its kind in Kent and the sheer quantities of cannabis resin and their mon- etary value show how serious this operation was. “We don’t yet know if these

drugs were destined for the streets of Kent or further afield, but this investigation and seizure of a large quantity of drugs has hit the drugs network of Kent hard. “Today’s sentencing sends a

clear message – drugs will not be tolerated in Kent and we will do everything in our power to catch those responsible for supplying drugs and bring them to justice.”

Jessica has celebrity customer in the bag Housing plan

for nursery site LANDin Headcorn that was ear- marked for a nursery could in- stead become housing. Cascade Partnership, the ap- plicant, says a nursery operator is no longer interested in taking up an option on land at The Hardwicks, Grigg Lane, which has extant planning permission for a nursery. The housing scheme would

prime minister and a number of otherMPs who were there to listen to our ideas.” Prior to that, Jessica was invited to a women’s net-

working event at Millbank Tower, where she got to meet business entrepreneur and Dragon’sDen panel- list James Caan and business secretary Vince Cable MP.

School ‘making changes’

ANOfsted report has said Sutton Valence School needs to improve in three out of four areas. The inspection report said the primary school in North Street requires improvement and noted that the achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leader- ship were areas of concern. However, the inspector’s report

noted that the behaviour and safety of pupils were good. At- tainment also rose among Year 6 pupils’ to above average in the last academic year. Ofsted also noted that gover-

nors provided a good challenge for school leaders and held them to account for the school’s per- formance. The report said: “While the

two new interim acting heads since July understood what im- provements were needed, they still have not had time to have an impact on teaching or pupils’

progress and the role of middle leaders is not sufficiently devel- oped.” Acting head Steven Owen said changes, including the appoint- ment of a head, were under way. He said: “Under the new Of-

sted framework the judgment ‘re- quires improvement’ replaces the ‘satisfactory’ grading. “Whilst the goalposts have changed, we accept the findings of the report, and we are keen to stress that we are determined to take the action needed.” He added: “We can look for-

ward to the appointment of a new head teacher, who will un- doubtedly, lead a dedicated and hardworking staff, alongside a strong, supportive and proactive governing body to bring about the necessary changes to ensure Sutton Valence Primary School becomes synonymous with ex- cellence.”

see five three-bedroom homes built next to a doctor’s surgery that is under construction. The applicant believes Maid-

stone Council’s decision in Au- gust to grant planning consent to Wealden Homes for the erection of up to 25 homes nearby is “a material consideration in the de- termination of this application as it justifies the need for devel- opment outside the existing boundary in this location”. The council, which agreed to

the Wealden Homes develop- ment because it did not have the required five-year land supply, will also determine the latest ap- plication.

Surgery to open A NEW doctors’ surgery is to open in Headcorn in January. The surgery is moving from its current location in Clerks Field to Grigg Lane,where it has been created as part of Golding Homes’ development of 25 af- fordable homes at Hardwicks. A planning application has

now been lodged to convert the old medical centre in Clerks Field into five one-bed flats. The applicants, Dr TimWinch

and Clive Thorpe, also want to demolish flat roof extensions to provide amenity space. Maidstone Council will deter- mine the planning application.

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