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New homes will bring more crime, says police

KENT Police has warned that new housing in the borough could increase crime – unless the force is given £1.1m in extra funding.

Trevor Hall, Kent Police’s devel- oper contributions manager, wrote a letter objecting to a planning appli- cation for 100 homes in Barty Farm, Bearsted, mentioning the wider im- plications of the target for 18,600 homes in Maidstone Council’s draft local plan.

He said that without improved funding “it will be difficult for Maid- stone Council and the developer to demonstrate how they will create and deliver such safe and accessible environments where crime and dis- order, and fear of crime, do not un- dermine quality of life or

community cohesion.”

He added: “There are numerous examples around the county, in- cluding within Maidstone borough, where the developments of the 1940s, 50s and 60s led to residents being fearful of becoming a victim of crime and the financial and resource investment, both by Kent Police and the relevant local authorities, to cor- rect the situation was considerable.” KCC estimates that by 2031 the population of the borough will have gone up by 9,400 people, which would increase police demands by 6%, according to the letter.

‘Kims savedmy life’

MAIDSTONE borough councillor Dennis Collins believes the new Kims hospital helped save his life.

Rushed into Maidstone

Hospital in September last year, unable to move and with excruciating back pain and difficulty breathing, it was not until he was referred to an expert at Kims – close to M20 Junction 7 – that Cllr Collins (56) was ultimately diagnosed with acute septicaemia and blood clots on his lungs. Doctors previously thought

Cllr Collins, who lives in Chainhurst and represents Coxheath and Hunton, might have had a slipped disc. He told the Downs Mail:

21 Cllr Dennis Collins recovering at home

Since 2011 West Kent has had to trim £70m from its previous budget of £300m, leading to the loss of 500 police officers and 1,000 support workers. With the Government unprepared to fund policing infrastructure and a referendum cap on the police pre- cept at 1.99%, Kent Police says it needs to somehow find £1.1m in extra funding – £136 per new home – just for the Maidstone borough. The money would be spent on re- cruiting 14 new officers (based on three-year salary costs), 12 support staff and a

5 £1.3m site lost

MAIDSTONE Council has lost a £1.3m grant because it was unable to purchase a suitable gypsy site in time. In 2012 the council was awarded the sum from the Homes and Com- munities Agency for a travellers’ site on condition that it becomes es- tablished within three years. That limit will expire on March 31 and the Tory-controlled council has admitted defeat. Cllr Fran Wilson, leader of the Lib Dems, said: “The borough really does need to move faster than it currently seems to do.” In spring 2013 the council almost purchased a plot in Kettle Meadow, Lenham Heath that would have pro- vided 15 pitches but was thwarted by locals who got wind of the idea and swiftly bought the land themselves. A council spokesman said: “We are now looking at alternative op- tions to fund the initiative including another bid to the Homes and Com- munities Agency.” However, Cllr Brian Mortimer says he has been advised that any successful grant from the agency would only be about 50% of that awarded in 2012. The new site would have helped address the borough’s shortfall of gypsy sites, which prevents the coun- cil from protecting unallocated land from being taken over by gypsies.


February 2015 No. 214 News

£5.7m road scheme

WORK to improve the one-way system in the centre of Maid- stone should begin next year.

Farewell to Peter

THE life of Peter Parvin will be marked by a civic funeral after the former mayor died of a short illness, aged 80. 5

Slow upgrade job

SOUTH East Water has admitted the Week Street water main re- placement project has been delayed.

Greenfield solution?

NEW village in countryside could help address housing de- mand, say the Lib Dems.


14 30

Crime Reports 32

A COCKEREL was among items stolen in East Farleigh.

Comment 46-47 32-33 Parish Councils 42-43

SIGNS banning dogs were being erected in East Farleigh; sheep worrying was being investigated in Marden, where a defibrillator might be installed; a litter bin was thrown in Nettlestead; a groundsman was empowered in Sutton Valence; a cattle grid was to be fitted in Yalding.

10 4

Recycling goes up

ALMOST half of all waste in the borough is now being recycled. For more information see the Maidstone Council-sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the centre pages.

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