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KCC U-turn in bid to limit traffic issues

KENT County Council has launched an offensive to halt over-develop- ment in the southern part of Maidstone.

In a surprising policy U-turn, KCC has said it will in future raise objec- tions to sizeable planning applica- tions in the south of the borough if they are likely to impact on traffic flows at the Wheatsheaf junction. KCC’s approach has been adopted after a modelling study for Maid- stone Council's emerging local plan. Almost 3,000 vehicles an hour pass through the Wheatsheaf A229/A274 junction during the morning rush hour, causing conditions KCC de- scribe as severe.

KCC strategic transport and de- velopment planner Brendan Wright

Inspiring Jo heads for catwalk

PENENDEN Heath woman Jo Ostermeyer (41) will be a model at a Breast Cancer Care fashion show.

Jo, who works for Charities Aid

Foundation at Kings Hill, was diagnosed with the disease in 2008, but has recovered to travel the world and take part in curling competitions. She will take to the catwalk in London as one of the country’s most inspiring women and men to have received a breast cancer diagnosis. 6

said: “Our position as highways au- thority is that no further develop- ment beyond that committed within the planning system can be accom- modated on these routes.” Without a Leeds-Langley bypass in place, KCC predicts some 3,500 vehicles an hour will pass the Wheatsheaf by 2031 – an increase of 11%, causing an 83% escalation in delays for motorists. Even with a Leeds-Langley bypass, morning de- lays will increase by 28%.

Cllr Brian Clark, who sits on both Maidstone and Kent councils, said: “I have campaigned for a number of

years for KCC to recognise the se- vere traffic impact of housing devel- opment along the


corridors and I welcome this change of stance.

“In recent years local residents

have been all too aware that the con- gestion at the Wheatsheaf is severe, and the recent high level of housing development along the A229 and A274 has pushed things to crisis point. “

Maidstone Council planning com- mittee chairman Cllr Clive English remained sceptical. He said: “In my 20 years as a borough

4 Villagers fail

to secure land RESIDENTS in Bearsted and Thurn- ham have failed to buy a parcel of land to protect it from development. Locals had pledged more than £500,000 to secure land at Bridge Farm, east of Water Lane, which once formed part of the controversial Kent International Gateway (KIG) proposal. Bearsted Parish Council had also pledged £80,000 to help purchase the land.

A spokesman for the Bearsted and Thurnham Society, which helped co- ordinate the response, said: “The whole community should be con- gratulated for coming together and producing such an amazing re- sponse over such a short period of time. Sadly, we were not successful.” Two plots were advertised for sale, with guide prices of £550,000- £600,000, and £300,000-£325,000, at the western end of the former KIG site. They form a sizeable green belt between residential development in Bearsted and the M20.

01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

Mary Richards, secretary of the Bearsted and Thurnham Society, said: “The agent, Hobbs Parker, has told us that they are unable to reveal the identity of the purchaser.”

October 2015 No. 222 News Religious birthday

THE building that houses the United Reformed Church in Maid- stone is reaching the ripe old age of 150.

3 Bus idea in reverse

THE park and ride proposal for Linton has been thrown out by Maidstone Council. 4

Cycle track wanted

CYCLISTS are calling for Maid- stone’s first ever pump track to be built.

Back from the bike

KATE Bosley has penned a book about her recovery from a serious cycle crash. 10

Harvest festival

CLIMATE change has caused the date of next year’s Kent Show to be moved. 12

Music at the Mote

THE Maidstone Mela has returned for its 13th year.16

Grounding out

MAIDSTONE Rugby Club may be on the move. 47

Comment 46-47 33 Crime Reports 33

BICYCLES were taken from homes in Fant and College Road, Maidstone; metal flower pots were stolen in Loose.

Obituaries 34 Road deaths

DANGEROUS driving and dis- traction have led to an increase in the number of serious injury traf- fic accidents in the past year. The number of people killed and seriously injured (KSI) on roads in Kent and Medway in- creased by 10% in 2014, up from 650 in 2013 to 715.


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