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Countryside idea to curb homes target


KCC believes Maidstone Council’s housing target is too high – yet has earmarked previously unallocated greenfield land near Detling Aero- drome, Leeds and Kingswood for large new housing developments.


The county council has formally objected to the borough council’s assessment that 19,600 new homes are needed in the borough between 2011 and 2031, believing only 14,500 are needed, of which 6,000 have already been built. A40-page report says the town’s infrastructure is already “at or above” capacity and that urban sprawl must stop. KCC leader Paul Carter has endorsed the response, which objects to several key pro- posed locations in the draft local


plan, including a touted 930-home scheme south of Sutton Road, di- rectly next to his home in Langley. He has instead called for Detling Aerodrome and surrounding greenfield land to become a “mini Kings Hill”, with 1,000 homes, re- tail and employment, despite being located in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which has the same plan- ning protection as a national park. There would be road improve- ments and a new junction off the


A249, costing £4m. The report also earmarks the de-


velopment of 550 homes on a site north-west of Kingswood that was rejected by Maidstone Council, and 200 homes east of Upper Street, Leeds. This would include a £20m by-


pass of Leeds village and a £5m spur road from Leeds Road to serv- ice the Kingswood extension. Land east of Church Road, Otham, would also take 450 homes, the report said. 31


Pub celebrates ale award Active awards


GLASSES are being raised at the Stile Bridge pub, Marden, which has been voted Maidstone CAMRA’s Pub of the Year for the second time in three years.


The pub/restaurant, at the foot of Linton Hill, gained the top slot in 2012 soon after Marc Hoffman (right) took over as manager. It narrowly lost out to the Flower Pot in Maidstone in 2013, but is back in the No 1 slot this year, putting the Flower Pot into second place.


Judges concluded: “The


standard was very high, with both pubs scoring well and maintaining a good selection of beers in excellent condition. Facilities in the two pubs have been improved and both charge very reasonable prices.”


The Stile Bridge will now compete with branch winners from West and


East Kent – including the former owner of the Stile Bridge Matthew Rudd, who now runs the Weald Windmill near Sevenoaks. In CAMRA’s Club of the Year competition, Marden Village Club


defeated the previous winner, Teston Club, and will face branch winners from West Kent in the next round. CAMRA judges base their scores on a number of factors over several visits. At least five real ales are usually available at the Stile Bridge, plus proper ciders, lovingly cared for by Marc. Food is served in the bar and the beamed restaurant.


victim of cuts THE axe has fallen on the Active Maidstone Awards, as Maidstone Council cuts costs. The awards were introduced 23


years ago as the Youth Sport Achievement Awards to celebrate the achievement of local people who had shown talent and dedica- tion to their sport, or to clubs be- lieved to have made a difference to the health of the community. Re-branded this year as the Ac-


May 2014 No. 205 News


Health services risk


THERE is concern for the future of Maidstone Hospital after the Gov- ernment says it could close “failing” hospitals.


3 Shopping centre fear


A CAMPAIGN aims to save the for- mer Granada cinema, which could be demolished in a scheme to improve The Mall. 4


Supermarket support


A NEW Morrisons at Springfield Park could scupper Tesco’s scheme for Maidstone East.


34 New memorial plan


MAIDSTONE’s key role in a 17th- century civil war is set to be marked at St Faith’s Churchyard in Maidstone. 16


Tree warning issued


CALL for vigilance after developer fells oak. 20


Election special SEE all candidates. 22-23


Comment Obituaries


36-37 32-33


tive Maidstone Awards, the scheme is no longer has “a clear place in the remit and priorities of the com- munity development team”, according to officers. 4 POLICE were appealing for infor-


Village shop row


RESIDENTS are at loggerheads with their parish council, which ap- pears to be backing closure of the village shop. Locals in Sutton Va- lence don’t want the shop and Post Office to be replaced by a house. But the owner and parish council claim the business is no longer viable. Full story 10


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PLEAS are made for more bunga- lows in the borough and improve- ments to roundabouts, while the ownership of The Mall shopping centre is investigated.


Crime Reports 37


mation after the cultivator for a combine harvester was stolen from a farm.


Parish Councils 46-47


A 20MPH speed limit in Broom- field and Kingswood was being considered; parking signs in Chart Sutton were to be erected; crimes linked to gypsy sites in Headcorn were very low, claimed police; dog signs were debated in Loose; a solar park was criticised in Marden.


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