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Hugh has much more to give MailMarks

IWAS disappointed to see the ministerial career of localMPfor Mid Kent, Hugh Robertson, coming to an end with his resignation aer nine months in his Foreign Office position. But Maidstone and Weald’s Helen Grant has been given a vote of confidence in the big reshuffle and continues as minister for sport, tourism and equalities. Hugh shone in his position as minister

for sport, which he held for three years and seemed to fit him like a glove. Quite rightly Prime Minister David Cameron now praises him for his dedicatedwork with Sebastian Coe to ensure the success of the London Olympic Games and his knighthood is richly deserved. Iwas surprised last October when Hugh

was reshuffled to a very different job as minister of state at the foreign and Commonwealth office. His responsibilities included minister for the Middle East, North Africa and counter terrorism. Hugh is high on charm and diplomacy – how he needed them in that daunting post! Hugh (52)was electedMPfor

Faversham and Mid Kent in 2001 and aer 13 years he has informed the Prime Minister (they entered Parliament together) “it now feels the right time to take stock with my family”. He is a very popular localMPand built

up a huge Conservative majority.He has still to make a decision about standing at next year’s General Election. Many locally

Lights are embarrassing

Dear Sir – Does anybody else feel that the traffic lights at the junction of Madginford Road andWillington Street in Bearsted are an embarrassment? Does KCC honestly believe that they are effi-

cient? They are the opposite; they totally fail to serve us, the public. They cause unbelievable delays and backups

onto theA20 to the north, and to the south well past School Lane – and not only in the rush hour. TheMadginford lights are totally responsible

for very unacceptable delays; let’s not hear ex- cuses about the road in Leeds,which came after their installation. Would it not be beyond the realms of common

sense to quickly remove the lights? I suggest re- shaping the corners on the Mote Park side of the Madginford junction and build a simple offset roundabout, slightly to thewest,with two pedes- trian crossings. Thiswould not only be safer butwould facili-

tate the future increase in traffic and allow free- flowing traffic locally aswell. The subsequent efficient southbound traffic

would create a possible problem at the junction ofWillington Street andDeringwoodDrive, but the answerwould be similar to the above: create space for the roundabout on the Deringwood Drive side of the road, of which there is ample

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will echo David Cameron’s comments: “I know you have much more to give in terms of public service – not least in continuing to represent your constituents.” Helen Grant has not been given an easy

ride by some elements of the press as she gains experience in her wide-reaching ministerial role. But her wisdom and energy have obviously impressed in Government. She has learnt a lot quickly about handling the media aer falling early on for a TV interview that turned into a quiz to test sport buffs. When they tried it on again aer England’s early demise at the footballWorld Cup she gave them very short shri. As an experienced journalist I know there are times you do not feed mischievous reporters. Iworked closely with Helen on the big campaign to try to preservewomen’s and children’s services in Maidstone Hospital. She showed remarkable qualities: devotion, energy and courage – talents that serve herwell now.

Immigration impact IHAVE joined the army of people who

for a roundabout. Both of these remedieswould not only create a smoother flow of traffic but provide a traffic- calming safer environment. This should be paid for by recent mistakes

madeby the original “expert planners” (Iuse the term loosely) who have stuffed up. They have made, recently, a rather large basic mistake andshould have the good grace to admit it. Peter N. Smith, Downswood

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 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’twant a fatality to happen. We really need traffic lights here; the same problem occurs on the other side, coming

are increasinglyworried about the impact of immigration.Aclose friend bent my ear on concerns for Maidstone. He said hewalked up Gabriels Hill on a

busy shopping day and did not once hear English spoken or used in a mobile phone conversation. He had his hair cut by a charming young lady – but for the first time he could not converse in English with his hairdresser. He is awell-travelledworldly person

who has played and followed sport with many nationalities – certainly not a racist. I see myself in the sameway. I know I have chosen to live and stay in

one of the most overcrowded areas of Europe. Iwould never leave – but how muchworse will the problems grow? I see the 19,600 target for new homes in Maidstone between 2011 and 2031 as ridiculous, but it seems this is an evidence- based figure for government needs. Immigration and free movement

dictated by the EU create much of this need. The impact on our lives is enormous in so manyways – andwe are increasingly seeing in Kent what has been evident in many other parts of England. The message to politicians now seems to

be coming over very strongly in Britain – and can no longer be ignored. The Parliamentarians once fought a big

and successful bale on Gabriels Hill. It is strange that my friend’s comments should be centred on that same hill.

fromAylesford, le hand only to M20, which is also ignored, 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 fines,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 road-marking

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

reinforce lane discipline 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


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