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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 in a letter objecting to a planning ap- plication about the wider implica- tions 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. Since 2011 West Kent Police has

‘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:

15 Cllr Dennis Collins recovering at home

had to trim £70m from its previous budget of £300m, leading to the loss of 500 police officers and 1,000 sup- port 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 new cus- tody cell.

6 LED plan puts

lights back on STREET lights which had been turned off overnight in residential areas to save money will be going back on again, thanks to KCC’s de- cision to switch to LED bulbs. The switch-off from December 2013 was met with widespread crit- icism from residents, but now the county council is to invest £40 mil- lion in a centrally-controlled light- ing system.

East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council chairman David Thornewell said: “We have had complaints from shift workers and women who are going to work early. The quicker this is done the better.”

The LED – light emitting diode – system will be monitored remotely, allowing faults to be detected and repaired quickly. The work will be financed by a £22m interest-free loan from the Government and it is hoped to obtain further funding from the European Union. Dave Brazier, KCC cabinet mem- ber for environment, said that LED lighting had become significantly cheaper with products guaranteed for up to 20 years.


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.

Hospitals criticised

THE Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has been told in an inspection report that it must make improvements. 8

Slow upgrade job

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

Town tops love list

WEST Malling is the country’s most romantic place, it has been claimed.

Obituaries Comment


46-47 30-31

32 Parish Councils 40-41

SPEED Watch volunteers were wanted in Addington; fencing re- pairs were to cost £770 in Ayles- ford; the precept in East Peckham could rise to pay for flood defences; A plan to move an archery club to the sports park in Kings Hill was welcomed.

Crime Reports 41

A FLOUR-LIKE substance was poured over vehicles in East Malling; a horse rug and feeding bucket were stolen in Ryarsh; bales of hay were taken from an outbuilding in West Peckham.

Town Talk alk

A BAN has been made on visi- tors driving their vehicles into Snodland Cemetery. For more details see Town Talk in the cen- tral pages of this month’s Downs Mail. The bi-monthly in- dependent magazine is dedi- cated to Snodland and Halling residents.

12 4

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