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Concern over plan to scrap local wardens


OPPONENTS have hit out at KCC’s proposal to get rid of dedicated local


communitywardens. The county council says ithopes to


save £1.28m by almost halving the number ofwardens in Kent and cen- tralising the service. Maidstone currently has five area


wardens across the borough and a district supportwarden who covers the town centre, as well as a super- visor. Local postswould be lost and all staff risk losing their jobs com- pletely because the number of war- dens in the county would be cut from 79 to 40. KCCis also consulting on halving


the number of supervisors from 12 to six, reducing the area manager posts from three to two and cutting administration staff from four to one.


Parish councillor Peter Spearink,


from Staplehurst, whose community warden is Mira Martin, said: “I am frankly astonished that KCC can claim that halving the number of wardens and spreading them fur- ther but thinner will lead to a better service. Whose heads are they trying to pull thewool over? “Here in Staplehurst and Marden


our warden is known, trusted and held in the very highest esteem by all. She has built up this trust and re- spect over a number of years and to talk of sending her to other places as and when will mean that she will no longer be able to rely on the fact that she is known and trusted. “We will be in a situation where


Town tops road risk 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. Statistics show 470 road accidents


were reported in the borough last year – 68 more than its nearest rival of Dartford – with 643 people in- jured 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 position to deal with them when they be- come problems – give yourself space and time by managing your speed.” He added that even though Maidstone stands above other areas for the number of accidents, it does not indicate its driv- ers are more dangerous. In


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Thumbs down to stationwalk


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THESE two Laddingford residents believe they have been risking their young lives just to get the train to school. Full story – page 23.


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


some communities will hardly ever see awarden again because they are all being sent to the worst areas all the time. “This is yet another example of


KCC being run by the accountants and not by the needs of the people.” Janet Jennings, a former Neigh- bourhood Watch chairman in Lenham, whose communitywarden is Martin Sherwood, says the public should unite to persuade the county council to make savings elsewhere. She told the Downs Mail: “This is


a financial decision thatwouldmean community wardens could be placed anywhere in future. “The whole success of the scheme is that wardens


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October 2014 No. 210 News


Borough reform


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


Working for future


THE Downs Mail has teamed up with Maidstone Council to pro- mote work options for young people. 18-19


Housing concern


A 500-NAME petition was sub- mitted to Maidstone Council in protest at the urbanisa- tion of Headcorn.


Local plan endorsed


THE Labour candidate for next year’s General Election says he supports Maidstone Council’s 18,600 housing target.


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Comment 26-27 Obituaries


THERE was confusion about af- fordable housing in Broomfield and Kingswood; a revised traffic calming scheme was due for completion in Coxheath; volun- teers were needed for the Head- corn emergency plan; rabbits had undermined a cemetery tree in Marden; a meal was held for power cut victims in Nettlestead.


Crime Reports 43


46-47 30


Parish Councils 33-43 25 6


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