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News Protests bring hope for play area

LOCAL dissent has caused Maid- stone Council to re-think the fu- ture of the Harbour play area in Sutton Valence.

Under its new play area strategy, the Harbour had been deemed non-strategic, but the council has now reconsidered after protests from residents. The objective of the strategy, drawn up in consultation with councillors, parish councils and residents, was to ensure the major- ity of households would be within a 12-minute walking distance of a good play area.

Because the village has a newer, Extension agreed

A TWO-STOREY rear extension for 5 Charlton Lane, West Farleigh was given the go-ahead. Applicant Mr Parker said he needed to add a fourth bedroom to cater for his four children. West Farleigh Parish Council felt it would cause over-intensification of the area, but Maidstone Council’s planning committee granted plan- ning permission.

Formore local news

more modern play area by the Me- morial Hall, Maidstone initially deemed the Harbour site non strategic.

But the parish council heard that

“young, fit residents have walked the route (from one to the other) and it took over 20 minutes, with- out a baby buggy or children”. A spokesman for Maidstone Council said: “On consultation with residents and a further onsite meeting with the parish council, we have agreed that The Harbour play area will be added to the network of strategically-important play areas, due to the distance between

play areas, the gradient of the hill and the possible further develop- ment of the village.”

Maidstone is spending £1.75mil- lion improving its play areas in the next 18 months. The Harbour play area, in South Lane, was deemed to be one of the worst in the borough four years ago – and nothing has been spent on it since.

But this latest decision means Sutton Valence will now be able to apply for match funding of up to £10,000 to refurbish the play area. The council spokesman said: “Both the Harbour and the Memo- rial Fields play areas are owned by

Holiday homes scheme rejected A PLAN for seven holiday cabins in open countryside near Staplehurst to become permanent homes has been refused. Maidstone Council’s plan- ning committee said a policy preventing development in the open countryside meant it had to refuse Richard Stannard’s application for Cradducks Farm in Goudhurst Road. Cllr Malcolm Greer, a mem- ber of the planning committee, said: “If we allow this application we would create a lot of problems in the future.”

and have always been maintained by Sutton Valence Parish Council. The borough council is now offer- ing to share the costs of repairs to the Harbour play area.” Until now, the development of new play areas has been “hit and miss”, he said, with there being no structure for where play areas should be sited.

“This strategy will allow MBC to insist on more specific arrange- ments for play areas.”

The play area at the top of Sutton

Valence was identified as strategi- cally important due to its proximity to schools, amenities and homes.

Office refused

A FARM in East Sutton has failed in its bid to extend an office building.

W M Skinner & Son lodged a planning application to build out onto a parking area at Friday Street Farm, Friday Street.

Maidstone Council felt that the scheme “would have some adverse impact on the setting of the listed farmhouse”.


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