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News Hostel agreed


PLANNING permission has been granted to convert a hotel into emergency accommodation in Lon- don Road, Maidstone. Maidstone Council has been


given the go-ahead by the planning committee to convert Aylesbury House into a 12-bedroom hostel for people it has a duty to accommo- date when they become homeless, such as families with children. The authority bought the hotel for £600,000.


Tree at risk


A PROTECTED sycamore tree could be removed at 9 Oakwood Court, Maidstone. A planning application, which


will be determined by Maidstone Council, says large branches were lost from the tree during storms and caused damage. “Concerns have been raised regarding further potential branch failures,” it added.


Advert errors


DUE to a technical problem the advert for St Augustine Academy in the March Downs Mail had to be reset. Unfortunately during this process two typesetting errors were made.We would like tomake it clear that the errors were our fault and not the academy’s.


downsmail.co.uk


Fears for heathland as footpath is blocked off


RESIDENTS are rallying to pre- vent a much-loved part of Penen- den Heath from being built on. Part of the heath – known locally


as “the Fuzzies” – has been grubbed-up and flattened and the public footpath and right ofway to the heath blocked. Maidstone Council's draft local


plan contains a development allo- cation for 35 houses on the green- field


site between Old


Sittingbourne Road and the ancient HeathWood, and it is believed that Persimmon Homes, the UK’s biggest housebuilder, has an option to buy the land. Acampaign has been launched to protect the Fuzzies, now that the draft local plan consultation is underway. Campaigner Tommy Long said:


“If housing is permitted on this last remaining open countryside at Pe- nenden Heath the resultant distur- bance and damage to HeathWood will inevitably lead to deteriora- tion.” The campaign is backed by the Lib Dem group, whose deputy


Services we offer: Maidstone


• A vibrant Day Care Service in seven locations throughout the Borough in partnership with Golding Homes and the PCT


• If required, transport can be provided to the Day Care facilities on our fleet of mini-buses


• Community Foot Care Services in the home or at our nearest clinic.


• Community Bathing Service in the home for Maidstone & Malling


• Independent Living Support for those that need help with their housework, garden or shopping


• Volunteering opportunities • Advocacy Service for Maidstone & Malling • Disability Travel Vouchers on behalf of Maidstone Borough Council


• Computer Classes for the over 60’s • A list of local traders that have been recommended to us by older people


• Wheelchair Hire from our office in the town centre • The Goodman Centre for clients with Dementia • Information & advice for over 50’s in our office in Mill Street.


For more information on all our services, please feel free to contact us at: 7, Mill Street, Maidstone, Kent. ME15 6XW Between the hours of 10am-4pm Monday – Thursday, 10am-2pm Friday Or telephone us on 01622 753618 Or email: info@ageconcernmaidstone.org.uk Or visit our website: www.ageconcernmaidstone.org.uk


8 Maidstone Town April 2014


leader Cllr Tony Harwood said: “This is an interesting site because of the underlying alkaline sands, with lots of bugloss, common cud- weed and orchids. It’s not bad for invertebrates and reptiles and it provides a good complementary habitat for HeathWood. “For such a relatively small num-


ber of houses (35), it would be a real shame to lose this site, espe- cially when virtually sterile inten- sively-farmed sites have been rejected by Maidstone Council as unsuitable for development.”


Cllr Tony Harwood (left) and Tommy Long with the pile of earth that was dumped across the public footpath


Maidstone Council had long de- fended the site to protect local land- scape and wildlife, so the change in established policy has come as a shock to residents. Cllr Harwood said: “It would be


a tragedy if this landwas lost to yet another housing estate.” The Fuzzies is a corruption of


“the furzes”, after the gorse which characterises the sandy landscape. Councillors reported the blocked footpath to the KCC public rights of way team and were pleased by its swift action to get it re-opened.


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