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‘Wartime’ market closes after 70 years of trading

A GROWERS’ local co-operative which traded successfully in Maidstone for 70 years has become a victim of the times.

Maidstone Country Market cele-

brated its anniversary in April. However, with fewer producers

and customers the market commit- tee could no longer make ends meet. Difficulty parking near the hall

and the pressure on producers to cut costs to compete with nearby cheap supermarketswere all factors which led to the market’s demise, according to former secretary Sue Chartier, pictured inset. As producers retired, it became a struggle to replace them. Sue said: “Unfortunately the out- goings became more than the in- come, and even though the hall rentalwas not expensive by today’s standards,we could not make ends meet.” “Although all our produce was home-baked and home-made, shop- pers will only pay so much – espe- cially when they can buy similar things cheaper at a supermarket.” The Maidstone country market began in April 1945 with surplus

Petition over

Mote charges APETITION has been launched fol- lowing Maidstone Council’s deci- sion to introduce car parking charges at Mote Park. The decision means the council

could raise £171,000 every year to- wards the upkeep of the park, which receives about a million visitors a year and has been voted the second best park in Britain. Visitors will be charged £1 for up

to six hours or £12 for longer, but the charges will not apply before 10am, to allow joggers and dogwalkers to enjoy the park early in the morning. Council leader Cllr Fran Wilson opposed the charges, saying they might encourage visitors to park in neighbouring streets. Other members were concerned

the charges could be the “thin end of thewedge” and increase over time. The council wants to ensure the

park retains its Green Flag status and wants to improve the park. It would also like to appoint a perma- nent parks officer. Cllr John Perry said he believed

the imposition of modest parking charges would help the park retain its status as a visitor attraction. Resident Bianca May began the petition opposing the charges, which attracted more than 750 signatures in the first five days.

26 Malling August 2015

A MEMBERSHIP scheme has been launched for supporters ofMote Park, offering benefits and discounts to regular visitors. The Mote Park Fellowship is the

group of volunteers that maintains the park with Maidstone Council. Its new website – www.motepark- – offers information on the park’s history, wildlife and

New president

of Inner Wheel FRANCES McGill, pictured centre, is the new president of the Inner Wheel Club of Maid- stone. The Inner Wheel Club will continue to work hard this year to raise money for local charities. Pictured with Frances is the new vice-president, Anne Goodliffe and past president Sue Kinsman.

fruit and vegetables grown for the war and soon became popular with housewives. Its previous namewas the WI market. Selling cakes and bread, pre-

serves, crafts, plants and local pro- duce long before the trend for farmers’ markets, customers flocked to the Maidstone country market from neighbouring towns. Held in the United Reformed Church Hall,Week Street, one lady said she had been a regular cus- tomer everyweek for 27 years. Sue was a customer herself in the

1980s, when she worked at the po- lice station in Palace Avenue, and

became a pruducer, selling plants after her retirement in 1993. Aresident of Otham, she also par- ticipates in the Bearsted country market, which she hopes will now benefit from additional custom. The Bearsted market takes place

in the WI Hall, The Street, from 10am to 11.15am each Saturday. Sue said: “The members wish to

thank all their customers and helpers for their support over the years.” Other local country markets can

be found at – the next nearest are at Rochester and Tenterden.

The Mote Park Fellowship, with Maidstone Council employees, receiving the Green Flag Award in 2014.

Discounts for park visitors

events, and invites visitors to join the group. For a £20 annual fee, used to sup-

port projects in the park,members re- ceive discounts including 20% off prices in the café, 10% off in the restaurant at Mote House, 50% off courses at the lake watersports cen- tre and free tickets for events throughout the year. Gifts help to

calm patients REPRESENTATIVES from the Aylesford and Eccles WI visited Pye Oliverward at Maidstone Hos- pital to hand over more than 50 comfort blankets and muffs, made for dementia patients. The comforters are created using

a variety of fabrics and materials and have attachments that patients can touch and explore. Patient experience matron Chris-

tine Steele said: “Some dementia patients can become agitated and these blankets and muffs help to calm them down.” Patients are given a blanket or

muff to keep while they are in hos- pital which they can then take home with them. They are all made with materials which can be taken with a patient into a scan or X-ray. Ann Butterworth, from Ayles-

ford and Eccles WI, said: “The idea came from my daughter. We wanted to make some for our local hospital so I phoned and men- tioned the idea to Christine, who thought itwas fantastic.” Ladies from the WI would bene-

fit greatly from donations of rib- bon, small soft toys, material, different types of wool, sewing cot- ton and large buttons. Donations can be left in a designated box at the main reception desk of Maid- stone Hospital.

Bakery plan

ASMALLbread production bakery could be established in Teston. A planning application has been submitted requesting the rebuild- ing of a garage in Fairlawn Cottage, Church Street to create an area solely for the production of bread, which would be sold to local shops, cafes and restaurants. A supporting statement said: “There are a number of commercial practices nearby, the largest being Turfsoil Ltd. They, together with the farm shop, generate scores of traffic on the country lane one property away. “We are practically adjacent to

Turfsoil and feel that the proposed bakery would not add or generate more disturbances. Our immediate neighbours are positive and enthu- siastic for this to go ahead.”.

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