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News Green light for Powerhub

THE stage is set for Powerhub, an important Maidstone landmark, to be turned into a supermarket and housing.

A planning inspector has given

the go-ahead for the Powerhub, a Grade II listed building in St Peter Street, to become a retail store – despite vociferous local opposition. West Farleigh based Baltic Wharf (Maidstone) Ltd had been refused permission to convert the former business estate into a mix of busi- ness, retail and leisure, including a big-name foodstore at ground level, with offices for professional and financial services above, a restaurant and parking for almost 400 vehicles. Maidstone Council’s planning committee said the scheme was contrary to its policy on town cen- tre improvements. It was felt other sites, such as Maidstone East,were “sequentially preferable” for a new supermarket. Council leader Annabelle Black-

more said the inspector’s landmark decision could adversely affect in- terest in Maidstone East, although as itwas only a speculative scheme, the timeframe for delivery would need to be assessed. She said: “Maidstone East and

the sorting office is a regeneration scheme but this appeal decision has the potential to affect the delivery of a supermarket at that particular location. If the decision stands then

Traffic concerns

ONE resident who will be affected by the new supermarket is Green party member Stuart Jeffery, who lives in Buckland Road. He said: “I cannot understand

Maidstone’s Powerhub building is to be redeveloped

we would have to revisit our retail policy.”

Planning inspector John Gray reported: “There is agreement be- tween the appellants and the bor- ough council that there is no viable use for the listed Powerhub building on its own. “The council also agrees that,

were there a foodstore operator in place, the proposed development would be viable.” He also autho- rised the demolition of neighbour- ing Raglan House and certain parts of the Powerhub itself. One of the borough’s few re- maining examples of art deco architecture, the Powerhub has been likened to Battersea power station – coincidentally also under-

going a rebirth – and was home to the Tilling Stevens motor manufac- turer for many years. Designed by Wallis, Gilbert and

Partners, the foremost factory ar- chitects of the inter-war period, the Powerhub is one of the few build- ings of its kind to have survived unaltered. DuringWorldWar Two, itwas a munitions factory. More re- cently, it has housed a business cen- tre, kitchen company, dance studio – and was the one-time base of fashion designer Karen Millen. The inspector’s decision has caused its supporters to call for an early meeting between the would- be developers, Maidstone Council and Kent Highway Services. Aprotected horse chestnut tree at

how KCC did not object to a plan which will increase traffic by 54% in a known area of congestion, which would see the removal of the only cycle lane across the river and that would see the pavement which is used by thousands of chil- dren to access schools, cut in half.”

the junction of London Road and Buckland Hill will be grounded as part of associated highway works. A letter from a resident in sup-

port of the TPO, issued in October last year, says the tree is a “beauti- ful mature specimen that is a local landmark and enhances the street scene. Its loss would be very detri- mental to the character of the area”. Cllr Tony Harwood said: “The proposed widening of the junction of Buckland Hill with London Road and the widening of the car- riageway on the ‘new’ down- stream bridge, will be at the expense of pedestrians and cy- clists.”

Festival gets Brand aid Over 200 make village run

THE promoter of this year’s Hop Farm Music Festival in Paddock Wood says the show will return next year. Despite a disappointing turn-out

for the three-day event and the last-minute cancellation of two headline acts, a spokesman for or- ganiserUKEvents said: “Although the odds were stacked up against us, we delivered exactly what we set out to do.We are very proud to have a successful festival that is here to stay and we are already talking about next year – sowatch this space.” The festival, which began six

years ago with promoter Vince Power at the helm, has previously pulled in Prince, Bob Dylan and the Eagles. But after making huge financial

losses and with poor ticket sales for aweakened line-up, last year’s eventwas cancelled. This year, under the new promoter, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and Al Jardine had the audience rocking to the sounds of the 1960s, while Ray Davies, Billy Ocean and 10cc brought the crowds through the 1970s and 1980s, while modern acts included James Blunt and Sophie

8 Malling July 2014

Ellis-Bextor. Stand-up comedy came from Jo Brand (pcitured), Rich Hall, Russell Kane and Rob Beckett. Aspokesman

said: “In the

past, itwas one massive crowd- puller and a lot of lesser named acts.We have gone for more big names, right across the board.” Deacon Blue pulled out of performing on the Sunday due to illness, and the Rising Talent stage, whichwas to host local band Coco and the Butterfields and others fresh from Glastonbury, was axed when the festivalwas let down by the company providing the structure. The festival drew parents, children – and grandparents – with camping gear and picnics. On stage, Al Jardine’s son Matt featuring alongside his father; The Beat’s Ranking Roger accompanying his son Ranking Junior; the drummer with Chas ’n’Davewas Chas’s son (and Dave’s godson); and Billy Ocean’s daughterwas a backing singer.

THE World Cup was thought to have been responsible for 40 run- ners missing out on the popular Staplehurst race on June 15. While the number of entrants

was the same as last year, just 255 runners (299 in 2013) made it to the start line on Surrenden Road play- ing field for the 10k run towards Marden and back, passing Hush HeathWinery and the formerWild Duck pub. Crossing the line first for the

men was Anthony Bradley, and Maria Heslop (Tonbridge and Malling Council’s cabinet member for leisure, youth and arts) and Alice Heather-Hayes, together, for the women. Staplehurst Parish Council clerk MickWestwood was 98th. According to resident Bob Ham, the weather was perfect for running, being cool and dry. He said: “I think the numbers

Winning womenMaria Heslop (right) and Alice Heather-Hayes

were down on the day because of the England football match ending at 1am. But everyone who did run seemed to have had a great time.” Amongthem was a husband and

wife, with their baby, who com- mented on the Runner’s World website: “My husband and I did this as a sort of comeback run, after a variety of recent hurdles – one of which is a 13-month-old baby.”

Flower power for the village

ASUMMERfayre and flower festival on the theme of “Our Village” is being held by the Friends of St James the Great Church, East Malling, on Satur- day and Sunday, July 26 and 27. The event will be held in the church and East Malling Insitute and will include a variety of stalls and refreshments. Each floral display will depict an aspect of life in the village.

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