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‘School times should be same everywhere’


LOCALschools should “get their act together” and all start and finish at the


same time, according to bus boss Norman Kemp. Mr Kemp, managing director of


Nu Venture, claims haphazard start and finish times, inset days and dif- ferent school holiday dates were a “nightmare” for bus operators try- ing to provide an adequate service. He says bus companies could lay


on more buses at a fixed time if they knew the numbers of pupils requir- ing public transport, alleviating pressure on parents and helping ease congestion on the roads. He said: “We have an education system that thinks about the teach- ers, not about the children. If the schools got their act together, it would be easier to get childrenhome on one or multiple buses. “If they had the same start and fin-


ish times, it would remove an un- necessary expense for us and there would be less congestion at bus stops. “Parents should lobby against schools finishing early. We are a business – not a social service!” Although most secondary schools


have pupil registrations at about 8.30am, final classes finish at varying times. In StAugustineAcademy it is, with the exception of Thursdays, 2.50pm; for New Line Learning and Cornwallis academies it is 3pm, while both Maidstone Grammar School for boys and for girls end at 3.30pm. MrKempwas responding to com- plaints by parents of pupils at In-


victa Grammar School that they could not rely on buses to get their children into schools on time. Congestion in the town centre


often meant the buseswere delayed, making the children late for school. The journey time for children from


Grafty Green to the Maidstone grammar schools – a distance of about 10 miles – can be as long as one hour 15 minutes. One mother with daughters at In-


victa said all parents wanted their children to be independent, but the bus services made it impossible. It also meant she could not work full-time as she needed to be on hand for the school run. Speaking at a meeting of


40 Help homeless


this winter THE Downs Mail is inviting read- ers once again to give their gener- ous support to Maidstone Churches’ Winter Shelter.


Second best park in the country


CELEBRATING Mote Park winning a runner-up prize in a national award is Jason Taylor, Maidstone Council’s parks and leisure manager; Hazel Rus- sell, a Mote Park Fellowship volunteer; Alan Frith, the council’s audience development officer; Cllr John Perry, the council’s cabinet member for leisure services and Mick Pipe, aMote Park Fellowship volunteer. Full story – page four.


GURKHA RESTAURANT 112 WEEK STREET, MAIDSTONE ME14 1RH


01622 692343 www.gurkharestaurant.org


OPENING HOURS: 12.00NOON - 2.30PM & 6.00PM - 11.00PM THE BIG DEAL Free delivery and collection. Subject to terms and conditions.


The campaign will run from December 8 till the end of Feb- ruary. Seven churches will take turns to open at 7pm to pro- vide a meal, warmth, company,


entertainment, a bed and breakfast. Last year 37 homeless people re-


ceived help. “The needs have not diminished,” said Salvation Army’s Major Grayson Williams (pictured), chairman of the shelter trustees. Readers can help by volunteering in the evenings, giving food, cash or small gifts, or helping out with pro- fessional skills.


To help, contact 07906 628413 or dianagordonuk@googlemail.com. Donations can also be taken to the


Salvation Army citadel in Union Street between 9am and noon.


Part exchange your old furniture for new!


The Big Ye llow Building, St Peters St, Maidstone 01622 691 291 www.lincolnfur niture.co.uk


November 2014 No. 211 News


Borough reform


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


Jobs to be lost


UP to 400 full-time roles could be lost, as KCC aims to save £206m during the next three fi- nancial years.


19 Shopping disruption


TRADERS and customers will suf- fer four months of disruption when Week Street is dug up to lay a water main.


Best of both worlds


OUR latest feature on youth em- ployment and training focuses on the many benefits of appren- ticeships.


28 Comment 34-35


THE owner of a controversial trailer defends his position.


Obituaries


46-47 38


TREVOR Bradley, a Maidstone rugby player, is remembered.


Crime Reports 51 stolen from a hotel in King Street.


Parish Councils SOME 48 boxes of wine were


51


REMEMBRANCE Sunday arrange- ments were made in Barming.


24 6


We will remember


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.


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