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Southeastern – we overcharge commuters

SOUTHEASTERN trains has admitted it charges customers too much to

travel into London from Kent on the West Malling line. Commuters have long believed that fares from the station are dis- proportionately expensive. Now the rail company has con- firmed that the fares for the line, which runs through East Malling, Barming, Maidstone East, Bearsted, Hollingbourne, Harrietsham and Lenham – are “an anomaly”. However, the company claims it is powerless to change them be- cause of the effect it would have on its revenue projections.

in local MPs Helen Whately and Helen Grant.

BCG member Tony Fitzpatrick said: “It is utterly outrageous that they can admit there’s a problem, that in effect they are overcharging hundreds of passengers, yet they are unwilling to address that. “How can that possibly be ac- ceptable? The fact it affects the whole line, at least a dozen stations, is extraordinary.

But the Bearsted Commuter Group (BCG), formed at Southeast- ern’s suggestion to work with the rail company to address customers’ concerns, has said it will not let matters rest.

The group is drafting a letter to rail minister Claire Perry, copying

“Southeastern ended its last email to us by saying it was sorry it could- n’t write in positive terms. What I don’t understand is why it couldn’t. Surely if it recognises a problem, it should try to fix it?”

In his letter to the BCG, South- eastern’s Benjamin Ward admitted: “I accept there does appear to be an

Borough’s sport success

RESIDENTS of Tonbridge and Malling lead the running as the most sporty in Kent. And the borough is also ranked one of the highest in the country for sport participation. The number of adults taking part in at least one 30-minute, moderate intensity sport session per week in the borough is higher than anywhere else in the county, according to a survey on behalf of Sport England. The Active People Survey also places Tonbridge and Malling 17th nationally out of 326 local authority areas. It is the largest survey of its kind ever undertaken, with 165,000 people interviewed each year. In Tonbridge and Malling, 43.5% of residents took part in at least one 30-minute, moderate intensity sport session per week during 2014/15 compared to 40.5% in 2013/14. Cllr Maria Heslop, cabinet member for community services, said: "It is fantastic to see that Tonbridge and Malling achieves such a high rating in the survey. I

Cllr Maria Heslop joins Parkrun 3

anomaly in the system”, and added: “With over 2,000 stations on the UK rail network there are hundreds of thousands of fares and fare combi- nations in the system. These contain a number of anomalies.”

He cited an example where, until a few years ago, a passenger want- ing to travel from London to Dover between October and March would have been better off buying a ticket to Calais. This was because the former British Rail also operated the cross- channel ferry services until the 1980s and used the reduced fare as a means of attracting additional business during the winter. Mr Ward said that as anomalies like these were discovered, they were corrected, where 4

Heart aack

driver saved AMANwho suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his car inWatering- bury was saved by hospital staff whowere in vehicles behind him. Peter Rabbatts (62)was driving to

work through the village when he collapsed.Whenhis car failed to pull away as the traffic lights changed, the two medics became concerned and ran to help him. Paediatric oncology nurse Helen

Stevens and occupational therapist Chloe Joseph, who work for Maid- ston and TunbridgeWells Hospital Trust, each had an instinct that something was wrong. Discovering that Mr Rabbatts had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, Helen immedi- ately began CPR, supported by Chloe, while a member of the public called for an ambulance and helped to direct traffic. As Chloe took over the chest com- pressions, the hospital trust’s medical director Paul Sigston

6 Kent’s Most Awarded Optician

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July 2015 No. 219 News Bring back festival

A WARD member has called on his colleagues on Maidstone Council to support a river festival in 2016.

Tropical Larkfield

THE warm summer has helped a Larkfield couple grow their first batch of bananas. 8

Dumping closure

RUBBISH dumped by fly-tippers caused the closure of a road in West Malling.

Parking scheme off

A PLAN for a new 212-space car park at West Malling sta- tion has been withdrawn.12

Crime Reports 30

A HANDBAGS was stolen from a property in Snodland while a res- ident went down to a car park.

Comment Obituaries 46-47 32

THE decision not to debate the demolition of the Russell Hotel in Maidstone is defended.

34 Parish Councils 42-43

CONCERN was raised in Adding- ton about school changes; the police’s 101 service was criticised in Leybourne; the change of venue of a Parkrun away from Snodland drew an objection.

10 5

Inside this edition:

THE Malling School has outstand- ing elements, according to Ofsted. For details, see the four-page sup- plement by Malling Action Part- nership, which supports people, businesses and events in the 11 parishes in the Malling area.

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