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Morrisons hinders Tesco’s station plan

A PROPOSAL for a Morrisons supermarket in Springfield Park could

scupper a plan for a Tesco store next to Maidstone East railway station. The decision by Maidstone Council’s planning committee to support planning permission for a 5,503sqm Morrisons supermarket, three retail units, a doctors’ surgery and 315 parking spaces on the site, off Royal Engineers Road, may also increase pressure to build housing in open countryside as the land is part of an allocation for 950 homes in the draft local plan. With the council under pressure to meet a 19,600 homes target be- tween 2011-2031, the housing shortfall caused by the loss of a large brownfield town centre site

would have to be met elsewhere. Councillors went against the ad- vice of officers, who wanted the scheme to be refused because it could jeopardise Tesco’s intention to create a supermarket in Sandling Road, on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office north of the railway station.

The draft local plan earmarks Maidstone East, King Street, Len House and The Mall as “sequen- tially preferable” sites for super- markets. However, it was mentioned at the planning meeting that a scheme

Harley cycles for hospice

YOUNG fundraiser Harley French pedalled 30 miles around Leybourne lakes to raise funds for chYps Children’s Hospice at Home. Spurred on by his parents Chris and Lynn and six-year-old brother Sam, Harley (11), from Acorn Grove, Ditton, completed his challenge in just over four hours, despite a painful tumble into a patch of nettles. Harley insisted on finishing his trip but later went to A&E for a check-up, where he was given anti-histamine cream and a clean bill of health. His dad said: “He was shattered and in a lot of discomfort from the nettles, but he soldiered on. He was very focused and did really well.” The youngster hopes to

have raised £250 from his cycle challenge and has already handed over £155 to the charity after organising a car wash in his road. He decided to raise money for the hospice after hearing about its

work from his dad’s cousin, Helen Jordan, who is a palliative care nurse specialist with the chYps team. Anyone wishing to make a donation to Harley’s fund can do so at

Bid to keep

festival afloat AT LEAST 150 sailors have vowed to hold their own unofficial river festival on the Medway in Maid- stone this July.

After the organisers pulled the plug on the annual boating jam- boree and firework spectacular in 2014 in the hope of reviving the age-old carnival format, boat own- ers have rallied to organise their own waterborne event.

Three local boat owners pooled their brains to set up a Facebook page in support of the impromptu river festival and a large turnout is expected for the one-day gathering of boats at the end of July. Mark Smurthwaite (55), from Boughton Monchelsea, who moors his 25ft cabin cruiser at Yalding, said: “I have nothing against the idea of a carnival. I’ve lived in Maidstone all my life and remem- ber them well, but the river festival has become a tradition too.” Mark contacted the festival’s pre- vious organiser, Martin Cox, to ad- vise him of their plans. Instead of receiving a 4

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to regenerate the Maidstone East area has been promised for about 15 years and no progress has been made. Solum Regeneration said it was about to lodge a planning ap- plication, in conjunction with Net- work Rail and Kier, for a Tesco supermarket, retail units and rail- way station improvements. David Maddox, of agent Maddox

and Associates, which represented Solum, said: “If Springfield is al- lowed to go ahead it could put into doubt the Maidstone East proposal. “We are now ready to

deliver a supermarket at 10 April 2014 No. 204 News Kings Hill homes cut

PHASE three reduced by a third to deliver 975 homes.4

Hospital is open

A MEMBER of the Royal family has unveiled KIMS. 8

Council’s call for sites LAND needed for homes.13

Crime Reports 30 Comment Obituaries

Downs Mail goes digital

DOWNS Mail’s unrivalled local cov- erage can now be found online – along with many more features. Now in our 18th year, and with a circulation of more than 88,000, Downs Mail is reaching out to yet more readers on our enhanced website - Users can go online to read our four editions, as well as our other publication Mid Kent Living, to- tally free of charge. There is also an archive section, enabling you to look back at all of our papers. Our website contains news and sections on community events and business. You can advertise your local community events and place items for sale, all free of charge. Claire Procter, chairman of Mail Publications, said: “We are pleased to extend our offer to readers and advertisers through an enhanced free online service.”

Town Talk

TWO new classrooms have been opened at the C of E pri- mary school in Snodland. For details see Town Talk in this month’s Downs Mail. The bi- monthly independent magazine is written by and dedicated to Snodland and Halling residents.

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Parish Councils 40-41

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