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Local plan based on target of 13,000 homes

TONBRIDGE and Malling Council has begun work on its local plan, which could include a target of 13,000 homes to be built by 2031.

If approved, the plan will be a blueprint for shaping residential and retail development, commerce and the environment in the area over the next 15 years.

The housing figure equates to 650 new homes a year between 2011 and 2031 – a growth of 1.4%. The figure was reached in a report by planning consultant GL Hearn, who used a “robust methodology”, reflecting the latest Government guidance and taking account of the housing market and population trends, councillors were told. Steve Humphrey, the borough’s director of planning, housing and

environmental health, said Ton- bridge and Malling had a healthy housing supply of about 5,800 units, leaving a further 7,200 dwellings or about 400 units a year to plan for up to 2031.

“The challenge for the new local plan will be to identify a continu- ing supply of deliverable housing sites to maintain this momentum,” he said.

He said that between 2001-02 and 2011-12, an average of 615 new homes per annum were delivered in the borough, peaking in 2004-05 at 977 units, and the total housing stock grew by an average 1.3% a

year. However, the last decade had seen a number of large housing sites, including Holborough, Ley- bourne Chase and Kings Hill, com- ing forward at the same time, which had contributed to these higher delivery rates. The economic recession had also resulted in a slow down since 2008, dropping to 394 units in 2012-13.

Consideration is likely to be

given to Bushey Wood, a large area of “damaged land” near Bull Lane, Eccles, which was previously ear- marked by borough plan- ners as a possible housing site should the need arise.

4 Fraudster spared jail term Pharmacy

A RUSSET Homes manager who was named employee of the year for his work with vulnerable families has admitted stealing £9,000 from the housing organisation. Lee Spring (36) was spared being sent to jail after a Maidstone Crown Court judge was told he had a spinal condition, which could soon confine him to a wheelchair. Spring received an award in

2010 from Tonbridge and Malling housing provider Russet, part of the Circle Housing Group, for his impact in helping families to manage their money and get the benefits they were entitled to. But, while working as a manager for the group’s sustainable communities team, he fiddled £3,845 in travel expenses and claimed for £5,2254 worth of electrical items, including Ipads and cameras, which were bought with company money. After being suspended in August last year after five years with the group, he sent a confession and apology to his supervisor and colleagues, and

turned down ANGRY parish councillors have vowed they will not drop their fight for a pharmacy in Leybourne after two big chemist chains joined forces to oppose a small one. The parish council is writing to

Fraudster Lee Spring

reached an agreement to pay back the money at £20 a month. Spring, of Herne Bay, admitted

fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for two years, with a curfew from 7pm to 7am for three months. The court heard he had

undergone surgery on his back and had been told he was losing the use of his legs and would be in a wheelchair within a year.

Tonbridge and Malling MP Sir John Stanley, requesting that he raises the matter in Parliament. Chairman Bob Ulph said: “Why should Leybourne be denied an in- dependent pharmacy because of the greed of the big national com- panies? Leybourne demands a fair hearing for a pharmacy in the vil- lage.”

Hopes for a community phar-

macywere dashed after Paydens in Martin Square, Larkfield, and Boots in High Street,West Malling, both objected to an application to establish the store near the medical centre in Oxley Shaw Lane. Leybourne Parish Council launched a campaign and petition backing the proposal and Cllr Bob Ulph spoke in favour of it at a four- hour NHS hearing. But businessman Sunil Chandarana’s second 14

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The Big Ye llow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 www.lincolnfur Inside this edition:

LEYBOURNE Riding School has a new horse. For more de- tails see the four-page supple- ment by Malling


Partnership, which supports people, businesses and events in the 11 parishes in the Malling area.

March 2014 No. 203 News Shoe shop honour

A WOMAN who opened a shoe shop in West Malling after being diagnosed with cancer has won an industry award.

3 Dog gets Crufts fame

A BEAGLE from Leybourne was recognised at Crufts for tracking down missing dogs for desperate owners. 4

Council tax increase TONBRIDGE and Malling is rais-

ing council tax by 1.99% – about £28 a year.

10 Ofsted chides centres

OFSTED has given a black mark to children’s centres in Lark- field and Snodland. 14

Comment Obituaries

27 26

Crime Reports 40 Parish Councils 41-43

The Birling war memorial is being refurbished, but not in time for the flower festival; East Peckham is arranging an open forum to drum up some interest in the parish plan; a retirement gi is given to village hall care- takers in Hadlow.

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