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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 for 100 homes at Barty Farm, Bearsted, about 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. Since 2011 West Kent Police has 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 custody cell. Mr Hall says the money could be secured through a community infrastructure

6 Adventure Leah’s art on the road

A 10-YEAR-OLD pupil from Platt’s Heath Primary School is to have her art- work splashed across the borough – on the side of a dustcart. Leah French, who is pictured, fifth from the right, with her classmates,

beat more than 1,500 entrants from Maidstone to come up with a design that would get residents thinking more about their environment – and the benefits of recycling.


plan for park CLIMBING walls, ice skating and crazy golf could all be on the cards in a scheme to inject energy – and cash – into Maidstone’s Mote Park. The award-winning park, voted second-best park in Britain, is look- ing at spreading its appeal, with a plan to create an adventure zone. The pay-to-use facility on a 1.76 acre site would include Segway hire, high ropes courses and a climbing wall. Other ideas include adventure golf and seasonal ice skating.

Maidstone Council’s cabinet, which last year agreed to use the park as a revenue raiser, thus re- ducing the cost of providing cul- ture and leisure services, has agreed to spend up to £790,000 on creating the attraction and a café. Officers have modelled their pro- posals on the Adventure Zone at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, which they claim has a superior safety record compared with other high ropes courses. Since then, a significant amount of work has been under- taken by council officers,


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March 2015 No. 215 News

Farewell to Peter

FRIENDS and family paid their respects to former mayor and councillor Peter Parvin, who died at the age of 80.

Restaurant closes

BEARSTED Green has lost a long established eatery after its owner opted to convert it into a home.

5 Housing support

BUSINESSES were said to be im- pressed by the concept of a new garden city, according to a Maidstone law firm.

Hospitals criticised

THE Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has been told to improve.

Speeding solution?

A WOMAN is to campaign for the opening of a cul de sac near Bearsted. 55

Parish Councils 34-35

FOG was causing driving diffi- culty in Boughton Malherbe, where a petition to get a road weight restriction had been set up; lights in Bredhurst were dazzling residents; Broomfield and Kingswood had asked to enlarge its parish boundary; the Swinging Sixties would be the theme of Hollingbourne’s summer fete; the parish precept was frozen in Lenham.

Comment 46-47 36-37

THE Ramblin’ Man Fair, which takes place in Mote Park in July this year, is a concern for one reader, while another writer is full of praise for Maidstone Hospi- tal’s Accident and Emergency department.

Crime Reports 42

PORECLAIN ornaments were stolen in the burglary of a home in Lenham.

Obituaries 54-55 43 26 3


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