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News £50m bypass scheme agreed Continued from page one

North, has re-emphasised the finan- cial obstacles the project faces. The KCC leader says there would only be a total of £10m funding available for a scheme that would cost more than £50m. At the end of a two-hour debate in

which it was agreed to press ahead with the idea, Cllr Carter said: “We can't promise a transport plan that can't be delivered and gives devel- opers an opportunity to build more homes. “Don't make decisions based on

total uncertainty. We need to find out how much the true cost is.” However, chairman of the board

Cllr David Burton said:“We make a list of desires and then find out how theymight be achieved.” The board agreed to back an ITS

that includes the Leeds-Langley by- pass, increased bus frequencies of up to every 10 minutes and a 50% rise in long-stay town centre park- ing charges. The proposal for a park and ride service in Lintonwas removed. The chosen strategy (DS3) could see an increase of 7% in vehicle travel times from 2014 to 2031, which com- pared favourably to 30% in the DS1 option. The latter included a range of small-scale junction improve-

ments and the development of the bypass. The sustainable package (DS2),

which included improved bus fre- quencies, Linton park and ride, en- hanced walking and cycling facilities and increased parking charges, would have seen a rise of just 3%, according to consultant Amey, who was commissioned by Maidstone Council and KCC to un- dertake the study. However, coun- cillors were sceptical about this finding. Cllr Annabelle Blackmore, leader of the Conservative group on Maid-

stone Council, said: “The assump- tion has been made that 8% of peo- ple will have a modal shift and not drive, which is a possibility in urban areas but not in rural areas. “People will not cycle from Head-

corn toMaidstone every single day; not from Staplehurst or Marden. It is not practical or real. “We currently subsidise park and

ride by £500,000 a year. What sub- sidy would we have to provide to prop this one up? It is not sustain- able financially and there is not the political will for park and ride.We should look for greater collabora-

tion over bus services.” The other option, do minimum

(DM), included little more than the already-planned towncentre bridge gyratory scheme and would have seen a rise of 38% in travel times. Cllr Gary Cooke, KCC member

forMaidstone South East, said: “All things have to be funded and we need to work on that, but it is im- portant there is provision for a relief road for the residents who live here and those whowill move here.” The board's recommendation will

go in the draft local plan document that will go out for consultation.

New vicar keen to be returning to Kent

THE Rev Mark Montgomery has been appointed as the new priest to look after St Gabriel’s Church at Kings Hill. He will live at Kings Hill and be-

come an associate priest in the clergy team covering the two benefices of West Malling with Offham, run by the RevDavid Green, and Mereworth withWest Peckham, run by the Rev Pat Dickin. The date on which he will be for- mally licensed to start his duties has

Is it good value to pay for your funeral before you die?

Yes it is, according to funeral plan adviser, Peter Camrass of Camrass Wills. The cost of funerals has gone up by more than the rate of inflation for many years and shows no signs of stopping. The average cost of a funeral was around £1,200 in 1997 and is now over £4,000 according to the Sun Life Cost of Dying Report. It is expected to increase to over £7,000 by 2024

Peter goes on to say that there are other benefits also.

Cash flow during probate. Very often, the family will not have access to your savings until well after the funeral because Probate, the legal process which takes place after a death, can take several months. This means relatives have to find the money for the funeral from their own funds. If you have a pre­paid funeral this difficulty is avoided.

Funeral wishes in your Will. Even though you have stated preferences in your Will, e.g. burial or cremation, eco­friendly coffin etc., it is up to the executors of the Will to arrange the funeral and they are not legally obliged to follow your instructions. With a pre­paid funeral, you have already instructed the funeral director and so your wishes will be honoured.

Peace of mind. Setting up your own funeral plan not only protects your loved ones from rising funeral costs, but also spares them the distress of having to make difficult decisions at an emotional time.

For a free guide to funeral plans contact Peter on 01622 720985

16 Malling August 2015

youth officer for the Diocese of Chester, he has been working for the last 18 months in Tranmere, assist- ing in reaching out to families and young people. He had previously worked as a youth minister and vol- unteer for 18 years. Mark and his wife, Kirsty, who

still to be finalised but is expected to be in the early autumn. Ordained in 2010 and currently a

have a daughter Isabella, moved from Kent to the North-West 12 years ago, and said they were really excited to be returning to the county.

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1st Sunday of the month throughout the summer

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