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News Bid to save mill from developer RESIDENTS in north Maidstone are fighting to keep the disused Springfield Mill from the jaws of

the bulldozer. The mill, which played a pivotal

role in the development of paper- making in the town, would disap- pear under a proposal in Maidstone Council’s draft local plan to build 950 homes on the site. But a group of local people want

to see the disused historic mill in Royal Engineers Road remain as a lasting reminder of the town’s ar- chitectural heritage. Richard Baldwin, from Sandling

Road, said: “Paper-making in Maidstone and the surrounding area has been the backbone of the area and employed more people than any other local business dur- ing its growth. In particular, Springfield Mill and the Whatman paper company, founded by James Whatman, put Maidstone on the worldwide map for over 250 years. “It is this history and Maid- stone’s architectural heritage that we wish to preserve and save from the bulldozers, also the habitat and flood plains – not to mention the unscathed skyline that is enjoyed by the local community.” Northward Cllr Tony Harwood,

who believes Springfield Mill is being “asset stripped” for high density housing, said: “Local resi- dents and councillors have no faith

in Maidstone Council’s basket-case local plan and are working hard to deliver protection for this iconic riverside complex through English Heritage listing, tree preservation orders and government and Euro- pean wildlife protection legislation. “This strategically-located em- ployment complex will make a su- perb business park conversion along the lines of Turkey Mill, while its wildlife-rich flood meadow, pond and woodland de- liver a range of priceless environ- mental services for the county town. The last thing the over- stretched infrastructure in North ward needs is more flats.” The group has set up a Facebook

page and an online petition at e-maidstone-historic-springfield- mill-from-high-density-housing, which had attracted almost 400 sig- natures as the Downs Mailwent to press.

Residents are also concerned

about parking and congestion is- sues along Royal Engineers Road. Maidstone Council’s conserva-

tion officer Mike Parkinson has ap- proached English Heritage to ask if the entire Springfield Mill complex can be listed.

Cllr Tony Harwood with Cllr Jenni Patterson, far right, and residents Cllr Harwood said: “Such an in-

tact and iconic industrial complex is a remarkable survival, and truly the jewel in the crown of Kent and England’s papermaking heritage. “The inter-relationship between

the Springfield Mill complex and the nearby Alfred Waterhouse gothic revival mansion built for the Balston family at Springfield is also hugely significant and should clearly be preserved.” Some residents have suggested

the mill should be converted into a working industrial museum for visitors, to showcase Maidstone’s paper-making industry.

A place in history

WHATMAN paper was used by many famous artists including JMW Turner, John Robert Cozens, John Sell Cotman and Cornelius Varley. William Blake used it for four of his illuminated books, the public being informed that they were printed on "the most beauti- ful wove paper that could be pro- cured". Latterly, Whatman papers were

critical in the fields of medicine and research. The mill in Spring- field closed in 2003.

Arthritis help Warning after brick thrown at moving car from Friends

PATIENTS with rheumatoid arthri- tis will benefit from quicker diag- nosis and more precise treatment thanks to a donation from the League of Friends. The League of Friends at both Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals has paid for two ultra- sound machines, each costing £40,000. Dr Amit Saha, clinical lead for rheumatology at both hospitals, said: “These machines will allow us to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis earlier and more accurately, which means we can start treatment sooner, giving better outcomes for our patients. “Early diagnosis and treatment

can prevent long-term damage and, in some cases, get patients into complete remission. “The ultrasound machines are portable so we can use them in clinic. As a result, patients can now be diagnosed and given a treatment plan at their appointment. “Being able to see the affected

area on screen will also help us ad- minister steroid injections more ac- curately as we can view precisely where the injection needs to be de- livered.”

POLICE issued a stern warning of the danger of throwing objects from road bridges after a car travelling in Snodlandwas hit with a brick. The incident happened between 9.45pm and 10pm when a brickwas thrown from a bridge on the A228 and hit the tailgate of a Vauxhall Meriva, denting it. Three people were seen standing

on whatwas believed to be the Roc- fort Road Bridge, which runs above the A228. Police are keen to hear

from anyone who may have wit- nessed the incident. Officers reminded people of the

fatal consequences which can be caused by throwing objects at any moving vehicles. In July 2010, a 47- year-old man died following a colli- sion involving a lorry and a pick-up truck on the A20 Swanley inter- change, after stones were thrown at the lorry. Police Sergeant Jo Mott said: “This was an incredibly stupid act and one

of a number of recent reports of ob- jects being thrown from bridges, in- cluding incidents above the M20, between junctions 4 and 5. This brick could have struck the driver with disastrous consequences. Throwing something large from a bridge at a moving vehicle could easily kill someone.” Anyone with information is asked

to contact 101, quoting reference YY/5613/15 or call Kent Crimestop- pers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

May fayre date Work to start on new homes

WORK is expected to start in August on the first 152 homes at Peters Vil- lage on the bank of the River Med- way after approval was given by Tonbridge and Malling Council. Residents should be able to move

inby late2015to early 2016. The ap- plication is phase 1 of the scheme on the site of a former cement works nearWouldham and comprises two, three and four-bedroom houses and

apartments. The village will eventu- ally include 1,000 homes, a school, community centre, pub and open spaces.Work is underway on a bridge across the river to link up with the A228 near Snodland. Developer Trenport has submitted

an application to the borough coun- cil for phase two – the next 157 dwellings including 65 affordable homes.

ROLLupfor theMayFayre at Christ Church Hall, Malling Road, Snod- land on Saturday, May 22, when the fun includes stalls, games, a raffle and refreshments. The event runs from 11am to 2.30pm and admission is 20p for adults, children free. All money will go to the Christ Church Hall fundraising appeal.

Active over 55s LARKFIELD Active Retirement As- sociation membership is now open with lots of activities on offer for over 55s. The group meets at Lark- field village hall on the third Friday of the month. Contact Chris Baker on 01732 873705.

Malling April 2015 31

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