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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1

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Mall site proposed for 350 new homes

REDEVELOPMENT plans for The Mall – formerly the Chequers Centre – could see another site for new housing in the centre of Maidstone.

Aproposal unveiled to Maidstone Council planners show there could be at least 350 new homes built as part of a mixed-use scheme. An 11th-hour update to the coun-

cil’s draft local plan – designating sites to meet the perceived need for 19,600 new homes between 2011 and 2031 – revealed a potential in- crease in town centre housing from 200 to 550 as a result of the propos- als for The Mall. A council spokesman said: “The fabric of the Mall is ageing and there

is a good prospect of its redevelop- ment over the timescale of the plan. It’s possible development will come forward in phases.” Capital & Regional, co-owner of

The Mall, unveiled its £100m project to modernise” the shopping centre on February 28 and March 1. Proposals include the creation of

a new entrance and department store on Gabriel’s Hill, a new bus in- terchange and car parking. Town centre manager Bill Moss

town centre, the better. Let’s get peo- ple back into Maidstone. “Everyone knows that The Mall

needs new flooring, ceilings and lighting – but Capital has gone much further and said it is prepared to invest £100m in this masterplan for the future of Maidstone. “However, it is my belief that if

the [out of town] Newnham Court scheme gets the go-ahead, it will want to take that investment away.”

said: “The more housing in the Local plan 4-5, 30-31 Neighbours lend a hand Waving flag

GOOD neighbours from a new voluntary group in Loose have been helping a pensioner mop up her flooded basement. Volunteers from the Loose Neighbours Group have been removing up

to three buckets of water a day from the below-stairs kitchen in Church Street, which began filling with water more than a week ago. Chris Lack, from the group, which was set up by kind-hearted neighbours to offer the elderly and unwell in the area with a friend in need, said: “This is one request for help that we weren’t expecting. “The water is coming up

through the floor and we’re cleaning it up on a rota. We started a week ago and will be continuing for at least the next week, because her insurance company is trying to deny any responsibility.”

The neighbours’ group has also been helping others with trips to the supermarket, picking up prescriptions and lifts to the doctors. All volunteers are DBS (previously CRB) checked and have the support of the parish council, community warden and other voluntary organisations.

A volunteer mops up in the kitchen

The scheme’s basic running costs are being met with grants from the Loose Amenities Association and KCC, through the area’s county councillor. Loose residents needing occasional or emergency help should call 07909812139.

for St George PATRIOTISM will abound in Ju- bilee Square as the town marks St George’s Day.

Although there have been pa- rades in the past, this year is the first time the heart of the shopping centre will be used for festivities to celebrate England’s national saint. Folk music will accompany a range of Morris dancing troupes who will perform on Saturday, April 26, and there will be mar- quees and a stage with stalls and sideshows throughout the day. Maidstone Museum and the Ha- zlitt Theatre are also working to- gether to look how they can make it a “traditional English day”. Maidstone town centre manager Bill Moss said: “Let’s wave the red, white and blue flag!”

March 2014 No. 203 News Police hero honoured

A PCSO almost missed picking up a safety award because she was detaining a suspect on her way to the ceremony.

3 Lizzy cheer at school

PUPILS at Maidstone Girls Gram- mar School celebrated after ex student Lizzy Yarnold won gold in the Winter Olympics.7

War centenary help

A FIRM of solicitors has made a public appeal for help to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.

8 Business idea backed

LOCAL MP Helen Grant has given her backing to the relocation of two businesses from Mar- den to M20 Junction 8. 12

Council tax to rise

TAXPAYERS will be asked to help cover shortfalls. 13

Hazlitt work begins THEATRE to get facelift. 16

Comment 32-33

A PROPOSAL to make councillors pay for their errors, a decision to evict tenants on benefits and the impact of ivy on our trees are all scrutinised.

Obituaries 37

A TRIBUTE is paid to Loose stal- wart Roy Hood, who served on the parish council from 1972 till his death, aged 83.

Crime Reports 47


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