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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1

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Waterside Park plan turned down at J8

MAIDSTONE Council has acted to protect land off M20 Junction 8 from becoming an industrial estate.

The council’s cabinet has agreed with officers and insisted that no greenfield land off the junction should be used for warehousing in the draft local plan, which goes out for consultation this month. Three days later the planning committee refused an application by the Gallagher Group to build Waterside Park, a 17-hectare indus- trial estate on land south of the A20 near Hollingbourne, close to M20 J8. Scarab Sweepers and ADL, both based at the Wheelbarrow Park Es- tate in Marden, had pledged to move into the proposed 109,702sqm industrial park and threatened to leave the borough if the scheme was not given planning consent.

But eight of the 13 members of the committee voted against it due to its overall scale and design caus- ing harm to Leeds Castle and the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with only Mike Hogg, Rodd Nelson-Gracie and Dennis Collins in favour. Of particular concern was the ex- traction of 1.06 million tonnes of soil from the land to make it flat. Some of this would have been transferred elsewhere on the site, but the remaining 740,581 tonnes would have been surplus to re- quirements, so requiring more than 80,000 lorry movements over the first two years – even before con- struction had begun. Cllr Tony Harwood, a committee

Award for keen athlete

JUST looking at the activities of East Farleigh sportswoman Emma Tuck is enough to wear you out. The 17-year-old from Invicta Grammar School plays netball on Mondays, is on the trampoline three nights a week, dances tap, modern, contemporary and hip-hop three times a week and has just completed her UKCC Level 1 coaching courses in trampoline and netball.

What’s even more remarkable is that the seemingly-inexhaustible teenager is only just coming back into form after anterior cruciate ligament reconstructive surgery. She said: “After two years out of

full time national training, I started again on the trampoline and am now back full time. I’m nearly back to the level I was before my injury.” Emma (left) now trains three to

five nights a week at Jumpers Rebound Centre. It came as no surprise to classmates when she was given the Outstanding Personal Achievement award at the town’s Active Maidstone awards ceremony. Emma said: “When my name was read out as the winner, I was overwhelmed.”

member, was incredulous as to why the application had even been brought forward. He said: “This was clearly doomed from the off and you have to wonder about the motives of it.”

The Gallagher Group had an op- tion to take on the land from own- ers Rochester Bridge Trust. Another planning application for an industrial estate on land off M20 J8 will be determined by the com- mittee. Roxhill Developments has submitted a plan for a 52,000sqm scheme on land at Woodcut Farm, north of the A20 – on land included in the 112-hectare KIG proposal turned down in August 2010.

 More on J8 refusal 14

Long wait for flood defence

RESIDENTS in the flood-hit vil- lages of south Maidstone face years living in anxiety – even if new flood defence measures get the go-ahead.


It will be May 2015 before the outcome of a £100,000 feasibility study into improved flood defence measures on the River Beult is known – and even longer before construction could be completed. It is expected to cost around £11m to raise the level of the Leigh flood barrier by a metre and a fur- ther £25m to create a similar, smaller floodwater storage area on the Beult near Stile Bridge. Both the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, on their visits to Yalding pledged to make funding available – although central government normally only contributes 50% of any funding. However, KCC leader Paul Carter has said that if central government will confirm its3

Constantly checking UK prices to get you the lowest price

The Big Ye llow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 www.lincolnfur March 2014 No. 203 News Calls to save prison

A PETITION of more than 1,000 names requests thay the Govern- ment reverses its decision to close East Sutton Prison.

6 Police units under fire

THE crime commissioner has de- fended mobile police units after criticism from the likes of Yalding Parish Council. 10

Solar scheme backed

STAPLEHURST Parish Council has risked the wrath of local people by giving its blessing to a proposed solar farm.

11 Local plan revealed

MAIDSTONE Council has ear- marked potential housing sites to help meet a need for 19,600 homes. 26-27

Second Tesco refusal

PLANNERS still not happy with Staplehurst plan. 29

War centenary appeal SOLICITOR firm wants help to mark World War I.30

Comment 32-33

A PROPOSAL to make councillors pay for their errors is scrutinised.

Parish Councils 38-47

A RECRUITMENT drive to find members in the north of the parish is agreed by Boughton Monchelsea; dissatisfaction with bus service 59 is raised by Broom- field and Kingswood; the Cox- heath traffic calming scheme isdue to be removed in the sum- mer; East Farleigh agrees to bor- row more than £32,000 to surface the village hall car park; Egerton is flagged up for superfast broad- band; the Loose precept is raised by 5% to cover losses from the closure of the Sure Start centre; a request is made to improve public toilets in Marden.

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