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downsmail.co.uk Fines ‘destroying town’


Dear Sir – I noted in your latest edition the story about the number of parking tickets being distributed in Maidstone. I can’t work out how this has helped the


town. Is it to ensure traffic flows freely? Ahuge number of shops are struggling – some are closing down – because traffic wardens are puing people off coming into town, as they know Maidstone is crawling with them. So in a way Maidstone Council is destroying its own lovely town for the profit it has been making. As a small business owner I havemy


clients worrying about this all the time, as well as my therapists and other members of staff. It is almost causing a depression. I wonder how the £255m local authorities received last year in parking fines is being spent? Nicola Ellio, owner, ProHealth Therapy Rooms, 80 King Street, Maidstone


Night out too expensive


Dear Sir – Regarding your story “Pre- loaders hiing the pub trade”, people clearly drink at home because a night in the town is so expensive. You cannot go out for a decent night and


come home with change out of £100 – it is impossible. You will have the likes of MuMu, who will leave you waiting outside in a queue until just aer the 10pm inflated price you have to pay to get in. If you don't like it there, you will have to


leave and part with another sum of money to get in elsewhere. I bought a round of five drinks in MuMu about a month ago and it cost me £35 (plus £8 just to get through the door), so yes, people will drink at home. It is a no-brainer. Being out for two hours easily equals an outlay of £100. And that is all before any taxi rides. Mostly, I would say the cafe culture


works, but probably it is more beneficial for families and the slightly older generation as opposed to trying to prevent youngsters from binge drinking. What the answer is, I don't know. If they


close their doors earlier, I am sure it would help, but it might just push them to venture to a different destination, where the drinking hours are more to their liking. Miss VWalker, by email


Your first sentence hits the nail on the head, MissWalker. It appears that it is not the total number of people who socialise at night in Maidstone that is reducing, but that they are out for a reduced length of time. The obvious explanation would be that the


cost of having a night out in recent years has escalated – at a time when disposable income for many has gone the other way. Once upon a time a group of young adults


would enter a pub at 7pm and routinely stay out, aided by a nightclub, until beyond 2am. While this has not been completely eradicated, the trend now is for people to do one or the other: go to the pub at 7pm and go home some


Contact our team ...


Stephen Eighteen Editor stephen@downsmail.co.uk 01622 734735 ext 231


Diane Nicholls


Assistant editor diane@downsmail.co.uk 01622 734735 ext 232


Jane Shotliff Journalist


jane@downsmail.co.uk 01622 734735 ext 233


Dawn Kingsford


Journalist dawn@downsmail.co.uk 01622 734735 ext 233


Malling July 2014 27


time before midnight, or begin their evening out at a nightclub or late bar from about midnight. There is now less of an overlap, which is


where the headache stems from among pub and club owners, who are in a sticky situation because happy hours and large price reductions for alcoholic drinks are looked on unfavourably by the authorities. Government taxation on alcohol also has an impact. Unless something gives somewhere, Maidstone’s night economy will continue to suffer.


Response by Stephen


Immigration farce Dear Sir – Richard Maryan raised a number of issues over immigration in the June Downs Mail, but the main issue, as people struggle to get housing, doctors appointments, school places and even get towork, must be the sheer scale of the problem. Dileante Dave’s promise to limit immigration to the “tens of thousands”, has disappeared like water on a hotplate andwe're still looking at more than 220,000 per annum flooding into our tiny country with only 0.16% of the world’s land mass. Despite there being plenty of room elsewhere, obviously the Government’s lax aitude, its bias against the indigenous population and renowned largesse with its money is the talk of all the poorer countries. By cramming more and more people on


to this crowded island, the great pretenders inWestminster are storing up major problems for the future, which will be further exacerbated and made manifest whenwe have the next economic downturn and not only dowe have the current 2.5 million unemployed, but also large numbers of immigrants. The farce is compounded by the fact the


two parties in power, the Conservatives and Lib Dems, are locally and nationally opposing the construction of essential housing while still leaving our borders wide open to cram in even more people with nowhere to go. Stop this madness and vote UKIP. Phil Granger, Alma Road,West Malling


Phil, while your assessment of the national immigration policy may have merit, ruling politicians both locally and nationally are doing all they can to address the perceived housing shortage. The Government has relaxed planning laws


to force local authorities without an adopted local plan to provide a five-year land supply for new housing. Maidstone Council falls into this bracket, and as a result several large new housing developments have been given planning permission contrary to the desire of local objectors. The Government’s Help to Buy scheme has also resulted in 35,000 mortgages since it began more than a year ago. Tonbridge and Malling Council, which is run


by the Conservatives, has begun working on a housing target of 13,000 homes between 2011


and 2031. In Maidstone, which was until the May elections controlled by a majority Conservative administration, this target is 19,600. Even though the opposition Lib Dems have been disputing this figure, they accept that tens of thousands of new homes will have to be built.


Sadly for those of us who want to protect the countryside, all these numbers add up to a situation where, through political will, new homes are being built on a grand scale on local greenfield sites. As for UKIP, the group now has four seats on Maidstone Council and one of its policies is not to build on greenfield land, but this is a depressing inevitability if the essential housing you are calling for is to be built. Response by Stephen


Roundabout is dangerous


Dear Sir –My concern is about the new road markings on the Running Horse roundabout at M20 Junction 6. Thesewere altered in the firstweek of


April. This roundaboutwas already quite dodgy before, but is now even more dangerous. Now the inside lane is signed le only to Maidstone, leaving the right hand lane for all other routes. Most people completely ignore this sign, cuing across the road, usually at speed, and causing the drivers in the correct lane to brake. There have been some knocks already


and I don’t want a fatality to happen before something is done. We really need traffic lights here; also the


same problem occurs on the other side, coming fromAylesford, le hand only to the M20, which is also ignored and people use it to go further round, causing great confusion. In addition, this right hand lane is restricted by a “keep le” bollard, just outside the Village Hotel, so this then causes a tailback here. If not traffic lights I’msure a couple of cameras, and a few hundred pounds fine, would help considerably. Shirley Miller, by email


The work was aimed at improving safety because the Running Horse roundabout had been identified as the highest rated in Kent in terms of its crash record, with 27 injury accidents over a three-year period. This work included creating a new


road-marking scheme on the roundabout and its approaches; replacing and improving the approach road signs; and resurfacing the roundabout and immediate approaches, to completely remove the existing lines and extend the life of the roundabout. The work was to reduce circulating speeds


and reinforce lane discipline on the roundabout and its approaches, to make the roundabout safer and reduce the number of crashes. We will be regularly reviewing the


roundabout with our police colleagues to see whether further changes are necessary. Response by a KCC spokesperson


Comment


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