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£12,000 debt fails to end dining on river


FLOATING restaurant The Barge closed owing Maidstone Council more


than £12,000 – only to be reopened by the same directors under anewname. The River Medway landmark,


which first began trading in central Maidstone in 2010, shut in 2013 but returned later that year with a simi- lar layout and offering under the new name Embankments. The council is now set to write off


the previous company’s debts of £12,059.31, incurred during three fi- nancial years, because “the company has gone into liquidation. There are no funds to pay creditors”. Aliquidatorwas appointed to vol-


untary wind up The Barge Ltd in October 2013. Associated documents state that the company had debts of £455,313. The same three directors of The Barge Ltd – James Bailey, KeithWar-


ren and Lisa Voice – are directors of Chasecroft Ltd, which trades as Em- bankments Restaurant. This companywas set up in Octo-


ber 2013 and received payments of £1,466 from Maidstone Council con- nected to the Kentish Deli Café at Maidstone Museum. This is oper- ated by Crofthold Ltd, whose direc-


tors includeMrBailey andMsVoice. “Most of the payments are for the


hire of the café at the museum and the purchase of food for externally hosted events. The council re- charges these costs to the event or- ganisers,” a council spokesman said. MrBailey correctly points out that


he has acted lawfully regarding The Barge, which had a debt of £129,349 toNatwest.Hetold theDownsMail: “The company had major problems and had to bewoundupon the basis thatwe owed the bank a hell of a lot of money. “We have done everything prop-


erly and within the law. We went through proper insolvency practitioners, who told us 14


Painting goes under hammer Town top of


INTERNATIONAL interest in a painting of a former pub in Hollingbourne left the current owner of the ale house, now a home, unable to buy the picture at auction. We reported last month that The Six Bells, by Helen Allingham, was to go under the hammer in Surrey with a guide price of £15,000. The painting has caused huge


local interest, not just from the owners of the property itself, but also from art collectors from as far afield as America. Greg and Jane Sharpington considered buying the picture when it went to


39


Greg Sharpington with the auction catalogue featuring the painting


accident list DRIVERS in Maidstone are being pulled up sharp by figures that show the town is the most danger- ous place in Kent for road users. The figures show 470 road acci- dents were reported in the borough last year – 68 more than its nearest rival of Dartford – with 643 people injured as a result, seven fatally. The data has been released to co- incide with a Kent-wide Urban Speed campaign, launched by the county council and backed by the police, to make motorists think twice about their speed. Steve Horton, KCC road safety team leader, said: “Maidstone is one of the heaviest populated dis- tricts and has one of the largest throughputs of vehicles. This cam- paign seeks to highlight that crashes happen where most people and vehicles are: in urban/residen- tial areas. “We are saying to drivers ‘don’t take the roads for granted, antici- pate hazards and be in a


4 THE BIG DEAL Free delivery and collection. Subject to terms and conditions.


Part exchange your old furniture for new!


The Big Ye llow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 www.lincolnfur niture.co.uk October 2014 No. 210 News Borough reform


DRASTIC changes are planned forMaidstone Council, after a vote to adopt the commit- tee system was backed.


6 East and west divide


LIB Dem Cllr Fran Wilson has likened the River Medway to the Berlin Wall, and wants to bridge the town divide. 12


Working for future


THE Downs Mail has teamed up with Maidstone Council to pro- mote work options for young people.


Spotlight on reserve


FIND out about the range of de- lights at the Vinters Valley Na- ture Reserve in our special feature.


28-29 Comment 34-3546-47


THE virtues of Downswood and Otham, where people live longer than anywhere else in Maid- stone, are highlighted by a local councillor.


Obituaries 38 Parish Councils 50-51


ABOUT 30 copies of a World War One booklet were left in Bred- hurst; there was confusion about affordable housing in Broom- field and Kingswood.


Crime Reports 51 22-23


We will remember


THIS year’s Remembrance Day parade will take place on Sun- day, 9. Full details are in the Maidstone Council-sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the centre pages.


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