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Local plan would bring town to halt, says KCC

MAIDSTONE could find itself gridlocked and unable to function effec-

tively if the council presses ahead with its local plan, KCC has warned. The county council says it will maintain its “strong objection” to the borough council’s current local plan, which has a target of 18,600 homes between 2011 and 2031, throughout the public examination process – and beyond. With Maidstone Council’s cabinet due to re-convene to look again at sites allocated for housing in the bor- ough, the Downs Mail can reveal that a critical letter from KCC point- ing out a series of key failings was not conveyed to council members before an important decision-mak- ing meeting.

KCC’s corporate director for growth, environment and transport, was sent to council chief executive Alison Broom, with the request it be sent to all members of Maidstone’s plan- ning scrutiny committee before it met later that day, on January 20. However, it is understood the email went into Mrs Broom’s junk folder and was not read until after the meeting.

The letter, sent by Barbara Cooper,

The committee spent more than 25 hours deliberating the suitability of dozens of sites for housing without being aware that KCC was vehe- mently opposed to all suggested sites due to concerns about traffic

Adventure We are the champions

SUTTON Valence U13 boys have been crowned Kent’s county hockey champions for the second year in a row. After topping their group on goal difference the boys beat St Lawrence

College 2-0 in the semi-finals and won the final, versus Langley Park, 7-6 on penalty strokes after the game finished 0-0. They now go through to the regional championships as top seed. The

team were coached by former GB player and head of hockey David Mathews and hockey coach VinceWells.

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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flows, water and sewage disposal and the viability of development. Sites in Headcorn, Staplehurst, Marden, Yalding and Loose are par- ticularly prone to flooding and sewage issues, where the infrastruc- ture is outdated and working at ca- pacity.

The KCC letter cites a report from the consultancy Halcrow Group in 2010 which says that “the limited ca- pacity of the existing sewerage ... will act as a significant constraint”. A second report, produced by in- frastructure expert Amey last year, claimed that “the foul water sewerage system within


March 2015 No. 215 News

Hope for tourism

HEADCORN Aerodrome’s com- mercial offering could be im- proved, if Maidstone Council gets its way.

8 Village store request

AN appeal for volunteers has been made by villagers hoping for help in running the shop in Chart Sutton. 16

Housing support

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

Hope for transport

AN action plan has been drawn up to encourage Arriva to improve bus services.

Pensioner donation

GENEROUS locals raised money for the elderly victim of a doorstep scam in Yalding.26

Comment Obituaries 46-47 30-31

ONE writer is full of praise for Maidstone Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department.

34 Crime Reports 36

A RUNNING machine was stolen from a shed in Boughton Monchelsea; eggs were thrown at a window in Loose.

Parish Councils 38-47

METHANE monitoring was likely in Boughton Monchelsea; chil- dren were being helped to deal with the fear of dogs in Broom- field and Kingswood; online mapping was a possible tool to eliminate dog fouling in Chart Sutton; pine needles were cover- ing the play area in East Sutton; weeds were causing a menace in Nettlestead; there was a school parking mix-up in Sutton Va- lence; large dogs were attacking walkers in West Farleigh.

24 18


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