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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1


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Council bales to stem housing tide


MAIDSTONE Council is aiming to go against professional advice stating


that 19,600 new homes need to be built in the borough by 2031. Independent consultant G L Hearn


says the figure is based on population trends, the need to support economic growth and to provide amix of hous- ing for all ages, tastes and incomes. YetMaidstoneCouncil,which com- missioned the study, says the reality of land availability, road networks and environmental issues will ulti- mately determine what can be achieved. Cllr Chris Garland, the council leader, said: “Whilst the consultants


have identified a 19,600 need, that is not necessarily our target. Our target will be what we think we can fulfil, based on sound evidence.” The council had been basing its


local plan, due to be adopted in 2015, on a 14,800 target, which was well above the 11,080 – until 2026 – previ- ously earmarked by the Govern- ment’s South East Plan. But Downs Mail revealed in De- cember that the target might have to rise to about 18,000 after the Govern-


ment rejected other councils’ local plans for being too low. KCC leader Paul Carter criticised


the borough, arguing: “The borough council’s methodology to determine housing is totally flawed. I will not ac- cept any argument from Maidstone Council that the Government is in- sisting on numbers above the SE Plan, a regional policy.” He argued Maidstone could set its


own figure and had no need to inflict such a large amount of


Fury over parking permit charges


A MAIDSTONE resident ended up paying twice to park outside his own home after moving just three streets. Tom Beech paid £100 for three parking permits in September last year when he lived in Albany Street. Before moving to nearby Knowle Road in December, he called Maid- stone Council and was told he could simply swap them. But Maidstone Gateway said he still had to pay for new permits, de- spite holding three for his former home in Albany Street, so he spent £50 on two new ones.


He emailed the council, saying: “I now possess five permits, having


New year, new look


WELCOME to our redesigned Downs Mail, fresh for 2014. While still providing an unrivalled


coverage of local news to over 88,000 homes, we have imple- mented a few new ideas, including different layout, updated fonts, easy-to-find sections and two-way letters pages. We hope you will enjoy the new- look Downs Mail and are, as ever, keen to hear your feedback.


only been able to afford another two . I had to buy these on the spot, or I


could not have parked outside my own home. “I am sure there has been a mistake as surely it cannot be justi- fied that I have had to purchase more passes.” But the council told him: “In regards to your recent change of ad- dress from within the N3 permit zone to the N2 permit zone in Maidstone, I have reviewed your correspondence and whilst I appreciate your com- ments, I regret that the telephone ad- vice you refer to in your email was incorrect. “I have, however, since reiterated the correct instructions to the cus- tomer services department. “Parking services records 4


KIMS threat to delay opening


KIMS has threatened to delay the opening of the private medical clinic near M20 Junction 7 over a demand for highway improvements. KIMS (Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery) says a planning condi- tion requiring the introduction of traf- fic lights on the M20 junction with the A249 towards Sittingbourne would affect the viability of the develop- ment, due to open in April. The company says the condition, imposed when planning permission


was granted in August 2008, needs to be removed “to avoid any unneces- sary and unreasonable delay in the opening of the facility to patients”. A supporting statement said: “Maintaining the imposition of con- dition two ... would constrain the de- livery of sustainable economic and social development and important medical facilities for the borough.” The company believes a cheaper – and safer – alternative is the introduction of pinch points.


30


Constantly checking UK SALE prices to get you the lowest price. Bargains in-store now


The Big Yellow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 www.lincolnfur niture.co.uk Mote wins bronze


MAIDSTONE’s Mote Park picked up a bronze award in a public vote on the highest rated parks in the coun- try. It came third out of the 1,448 parks and green spaces in the UK that have received a coveted Green Flag award in the past 12 months. For more details on the story, see the Maidstone Council sponsored 12- page Borough Update in the centre pages.


6 January 2014 No. 201 News


Village schools join THE Ulcombe village school is


joining forces with neighbouring Kingswood Primary School after the resignation of head Vincent Hampton.


3


Threat to town centre THE developer who wants to build


aWaitrose and Debenhams at Newnham Court Shopping Village admits the plan would hit town centre sales.


19


Green charges plan BEARSTED Parish Council may start


charging businesses to use the village green to deter increasing numbers of people from outside the area using it to avoid paying for a hall. 30


Comment 24-25


READ our responses to reader views on town centre cycling, traffic calming, local democracy, parking problems, Maidstone Studios and the proposed Co-op in Lenham.


Obituaries 28


Crime Reports 43 Parish Councils 42-43


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