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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1

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New park and ride ‘can cut jams’

DRIVERS could be squeezed out ofMaidstone in a plan to raise long-stay parking charges and increase the frequency of park and ride.

As Downs Mail went to press, Maidstone Council’s cabinet was being asked to approve a strategy to prioritise shoppers and visitors and include a review of residents’ park- ing.

Proposals include creating a new 1,000-car park and ride facility at Lin- ton and improving the towpath to make it a usable cycle route. There would be a hike in long-stay parking charges and a reduction in the number of long-stay spaces – but

Charged twice for car permit

improved bus frequency and an im- proved park and ride service. Councillors have been told Maid-

stone is a town like no other – with roads that are “tight, too small, too narrow and cannot be altered”. Aswell as offeringworkers amore cost-effective means of getting into town, it would give residents in out- lying rural areas access to more fre- quent, affordable buses, the transport scrutiny committee was told. Head of planning Rob Jarman said

Maidstone had very limited options. “We need to make smarter use of whatwe already have,” he told mem- bers. “Congestion will only get worse.” The committee heard that rel- atively small reductions in traffic flows could have a major impact on congestion. At present, just 2% of people travelling into Maidstone use park and ride. Even if no more houses were to be

built in the borough, the pop- ulation was still increasing,


Flood-hit vehicles get parking tickets

TRAFFIC wardens placed parking tickets on cars marooned by flooding in Tovil.

A MAIDSTONE resident ended up paying twice to park outside his own home after moving just three streets. Tom Beech, pictured, 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 Maidstone 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,16

Residents moved their vehicles from the riverside to higher ground in Beaconsfield Road, some on double yellow lines, after being warned that a second surge was likely at New Year. But when they returned to collect them the following day, each car had been served with a parking ticket. Furthermore, some cars swimming in water had been ticketed. Pru Coleman said: “How can we be penalised for trying to protect our property at a time of emergency?” South ward Cllr Mike Hogg, who had offered residents affected by the Christmas Eve flood access to fresh water and showers at his home in

Pru Coleman with her parking ticket

Beaconsfield Road, had warned them that another flood could be on its way.

The council claimed parking had been allocated in Mote Road – but mum-of-two Mrs Coleman said: “This was 10 o’clock at 23


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The Big Ye llow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 www.lincolnfur 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. Formore details on the story, see the Maidstone Council-sponsored 12- page Borough Update in the centre pages.

February 2014 No. 202 News New year, new look

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

erage of local news to over 88,000 homes, we have implemented a few new ideas, including different lay- out, updated fonts, easy-to-find sec- tions and two-way letters pages. We hope you will enjoy the new- look Downs Mail and we remain, as ever, keen to hear your feedback.

Earl Street proposal

EARL Street may benefit from a Maidstone Council scheme to im- prove paving and extend the pedes- trian-only area. The project is part of wider town centre improvements earmarked for Gabriels Hill and Week Street.

4 Comment 26-27

IN a new feature, read our responses to reader views on the Christmas floods, local democracy and the proposed retail redevelopment of Newnham Court.

Obituaries 34

Crime Reports 43 Parish Councils 43

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