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Campus views ignored Dear Sir – I recently atteneded the planning committee meeting of Maidstone Council, where outline permissionwas granted for the vast development proposed on the remainder of the land surrounding KIMS. If any of your readers harbour any linger-

ing hope that the views of residents are ever taken into consideration when developers approach the council with offers of huge amounts of money, they need to let them go. The borough council went through themo-

tions. The member who outlined the appli- cation paid lip service to the fact that the land is designated as “countryside” and part of the strategic gap and as such no development is permitted, but went on to say how much money the development would bring. At no point, however, did any of the speakers in favour of this development demonstrate a clear need for it. The likes of Mr Dickman, who proposed

both theKIMS development and this vast ex- tension, want the development because they stand to make huge amounts of money from it. So the planning committee didn’t even stick to the rules they had laid down in their plan! Cllr Tony Harwood and Cllr Ian Chittenden

did their best to represent the views of those of us who will mourn the loss of a huge part of the strategic gap and the impact this will have on local wildlife. The fear of the massive impact of up to

3,000 vehicles accessing the site daily, the pollution impact on an already highly-pol- luted motorway junction, hundreds of new residents who will need infrastructure – schools, dentists, dare I say doctors etc – which will not be available as local services are already stretched to screaming point. Cllrs Harwood and Chittenden didn’t call for the application to be refused, they merely proposed that a decision should be delayed for a proper environmental impact inspec- tion, so they would have advice from a qual- ified expert. After all, what professional qualifications do the borough councillors hold that enable them to make a decision to

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

destroy a green field site and judge that the benefits will outweigh the costs? Remember, this is only a part of the proposed develop- ment around the M20 junction 7 site. Cllr Harwood feared residents could have

no confidence in their borough councillors who took no notice of their views. How true! He also feared that, if this application was granted, it would open the flood gates for fur- ther developments. After all, how could the council refuse future applications if they chose to disregard their own planning re- strictions in this case. The final insult was when the chairman en- thused about the possibility of having such a facility on his doorstep as many of his friends and family could benefit – unbiased, impar- tial? I don’t think so. So, fellow residents look well on the beau-

tiful countryside to the north of Bearsted Road andWare Street, it won’t be there much longer.We can all look forward to 10 years of disruption whilst this facility is built. It may be prestigious for Maidstone, but it’s still a private profit-making facility and, unless you have private health care, youwill only stand a one in four chance, at best, of ever being treated there.

Jane Rabbatts,Weavering

Shopping village welcome I couldn’t agree more with every word of Stephen Williams’ letter in the Downs Mail in November, regarding plans for the new shopping village at J7 of the M20. Why would I want to sit in traffic, driving

round Maidstone town centre trying to find somewhere to park? When I do, I often find a traffic warden stalking me to the ticket ma- chine.

Parking is expensive, and the town is scruffy and dirty. I avoid Maidstone centre and go to Hempstead Valley, where parking is ample and free. Shopping there is a pleas- ant experience, unlike shopping in Maid- stonewhere I feel stressed and cannot wait to get out and get home.

Gloria Johnson, by email

County town a disgrace Dear Sir – I think it’s about time Maidstone wasmade to look like a county town, not the way it looks now. Stephen Williams’ letter in last month’s Downs Mail is right – the town is a disgrace. I’m ashamed when my relations visit Maid- stone. They come from Nottingham and Grimsby, and both places are much nicer than Maidstone. Myfriend from Canada visited amonth ago

and she thought the Granadawas an absolute disgrace to the town.

P Jones, Vinters Park

Sporting excellence aim Dear Sir – It is a shame more inner city green space is to be given to housing at The Mote. Why does the cricket club not develop a

centre of excellence for sport instead of just thinking how cricket can benefit? There should be a development inclusive of all the clubs and people it may affect and also in- clude the people of Maidstone. They could also look to other sports. The

aim could be a wonderful legacy for future generations of sports people of our area. Phillip Crane, Boughton Monchelsea

Comment by Dennis Fowle, chairman of Mote CC development committee: The pub- lished aim of The Mote CC is to create a cen- tre of sporting excellence by replacing the faded facilities to benefit all existing sports. Table tennis, keep-fit, running and petanque are among sports showing desire to join in. Kent Cricket Club says it wants to return.

And the club also says the Maidstone com- munity will be encouraged to use the site and especially excellent social facilities planned for the new pavilion first floor.

We need a new theatre Dear Sir – Dennis Fowle says in Mail Marks (October) that the main obstacle to a big new theatre for Maidstone is financial. To many residents of Maidstone this does not always ring true. The Hazlitt Theatre is not big enough to take any larger shows or more famous

DownsMail In touch with your parish It was noted that the hedge

Continued from page 38

at the library surgery had been the planning application for the solar farm at Great Page- hurst.

Councillors agreed to a pro-

posal from KCC Highways and Transportation to mark the gateway at Marden Road for an extended 30mph limit with one wooden post and one white painted gate with signs. The proposed borough coun-

cil order relating to prohibition of parking on the footway or verge at Poyntell Road was noted without comment. Members were advised that Sainsbury’s was pressing DK Holdings for progress with the proposed new factory. Maid- ston Council’s consultation let- ter on Tesco’s planning application had been received. Cllr Burnham had attended

the rail stakeholders’ forum from which it was clear that Network Rail would proceed with its own plans for the sta- tion if the Tesco application

46 South

was unsuccessful this time. The Staplehurst Society was thanked for its offer towards the cost of maintaining the planters.

Flooding risks

West Farleigh Council

THERE had been flooding around Hunt Street, resulting in mud and rubble which made the road dangerous. Cllr Martin had cleared Hunt Street and cut strips along the road to help the water run away. Following concerns from a resident about the junction of Teston Lane and Lower Road, the parish council had asked Kent Highways for a sign to be installed warning of pedestri- ans in the road. KCC had re- sponded that nothing could be done as there was no record of accidents in the area. The cost of the signs and the possibility of grant funding would be investigated.

from Paynes’ field was over- grown into the road. Concern was raised regarding thewall at Court Lodge as the area was ex- tremely hazardous for people walking along Lower Road. The clerk was asked to write to the resident of Court Lodge to en- quire when the repairs were likely to be completed. There had been a large amount of fly-tipping, espe- cially at the bottom of Charlton Lane and in the layby on Lower Road. It was noted that George Grey from Maidstone Council did a fantastic job of quickly clearing litter away. Fly posting was also becom-

ing a problem in the village, with organisers not clearing away signs after their events. People were also putting

items on the parish notice board and removing the parish council information. This was unacceptable. Concern was raised over the people who had been selling

To contact Downs Mail just phone 01622 630330

cherries from Paynes Farm.It was noted that if they had bought the fruit, they were en- titled to remain on the land while the crop was still on the trees. There were now no cher- ries on the trees but the cara- vans had not been removed. The clerk was asked to report this.

The village green grass had

been cut for the last 42 years, but one section was now being missed as KCC and MBC both stated the area was not theirs. This would be investigated fur- ther.

The Kent Men of Trees judge

had been impressed with the way the trees in the village were being maintained. Over the summer there had

been problems with regards to grass cutting, particularly around the Lower Road/Kettle Lane area. The parish council contractor had quoted £200 for four cuts a year and this was agreed.

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