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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

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

Pets fill pews at church

THESE three dogs boosted the congregation at a recent pet service in Headcorn’s parish church. The shelties owned by Eve Martin from Headcorn were joined by 50 people for the outside event at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, with other guests including a tortoise, guinea pigs and many more dogs. Rev Fiona Haskett said: “It was a lovely morning. All the animals behaved extremely well. In fact, it was so well attended we are looking to make it an annual event.” The event follows a pet service held at East Sutton in August attended

by Oscar the horse. A Benefice Apple Day, including a host of apple-related activities, will be held at the Headcorn church on Saturday, October 17.

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 Park and ride

idea defeated PEOPLE power has won the day for the folk of Linton and south Maidstone.

Following a high-profile cam- paign to “Keep Linton Green”, Maidstone Council has kicked out a proposal to build a large park and ride facility near Linton crossroads. Residents opposed to the plan claimed that the idea would not ad- dress current traffic issues in the area and merely create a blot on the landscape.

The park and ride idea had been included in the draft local plan, which is now out for public consul- tation for the second time. But Maidstone Council’s strate- gic planning committee has re- moved the proposal from the new draft, along with the scheme at Sit- tingbourne Road, which could now face closure as early as February next year.

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 Parking concerns

PROPOSED double yellow lines could severely harm Mar- den, it is feared.

Countryside threat

AN emergency meeting was to take place over a plan for 29,000 solar panels. 12

Cycle track wanted

CYCLISTS are calling for Maidstone’s first ever pump track to be built.

15 County move idea

KCC is planning to remove its services from Maidstone Gateway in King Street.

Comment Obituaries


46-47 36-37

30-31 Parish Councils 45-47

A TROUBLESOME youth was warned in Broomfield and Kingswood; a raw sewage leak occurred in Chart Sutton; Adam McKinley was to return as the community warden in Coxheath; a lorry got stuck in East Sutton; there were new Speed Watch re- cruits in Hunton; clothes were overflowing from the clothes bank in Marden; a bin in Yalding had “improved” by being burnt.

Crime Reports 47 Road deaths

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

The committee was told the Lin- ton facility would have had “such a negative impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, particularly from the lighting which would be situated at the crest of the scarp slope

DANGEROUS driving and dis- traction have led to an increase in the number of serious injuries in traffic 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 715.34


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