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Library included in list of housing sites

CONCERN over the long-term future of Larkfield Library was renewed after it was offered by owner KCC as a possible site for housing.

East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council was shocked to find the plot in Martin Square was included in Tonbridge and Malling Council’s call for sites: a list of areas which had been suggested for development to meet the borough’s housing targets over the next 15 years. Parish council chairman Cllr David Thornewell had previously understood that the service, which had been under review, was not at risk as KCC officers had rejected the potential use of the land for new homes.

He said: “I am really concerned if

KCC has put forward the library for development. As a parish we were being told this was being considered and KCC denied it. We are supposed to be in the era of localism and this just shows how hollow that is, be- cause in reality KCC continues to do things without any prior consulta- tion.”

He said that selling off the library would be a severe blow as it was well-used by local residents as well as those from surrounding areas such as Leybourne and Ditton. He added: “It helps make the square a viable local centre and we

feel it must be kept.” However, a KCC spokesman said there were no plans to sell the library and that it was normal practice to ex- plore the options for all KCC’s build- ings to ensure sustainability for the future and maximise the potential of key community assets.

He added: “The council’s call for

development sites is for those that might become available up to 2031 and it would not be right for us to ig- nore the possibility of a change in the way library services are pro- vided in Larkfield before then, given that KCC has unused

4 Where people First apple fest bears fruit

OLIVER Franks (pictured) was among more than 200 people who joined in the fun at a free Apple Fest at Macey’s Meadow, West Malling, when they were invited to pick the fruit and help press it into juice. Organised by the West Malling Orchard Group and Kent Orchards for

Everyone Project, the event was a celebration of all things apple, including apple cake, apple identification, an apple recipe competition, honey and bee-keeping and children’s activities. After picking apples in the volunteer-run orchard, families helped


live longer TONBRIDGE and Malling is one of the healthiest places in Kent, with residents living longer and enjoy- ing better health than the average for the rest of the county. Life expectancy is higher for both men and women, with babies who are born this year expected to live to a borough-wide average of a ripe old 82.86 years – more than a year longer than their neighbours in Maidstone (81.73) where the aver- age matches the figure for Kent. Latest statistics from Kent Public Health Observatory, based on 2010- 14 data, show that only two bor- oughs in the county have higher averages. Tunbridge8

Town Talk alk

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

JAMIE Maynard (4) was look- ing forward to going home after an operation to cure a crippling condition. For more details see Town Talk in the central pages of this month’s Downs Mail. The bi-monthly independent magazine is dedicated to Snod- land and Halling residents.

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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 Anti-social action

OFFICERS are using new powers to disperse troublesome groups in West Malling. 4

County departure

KCC is planning to remove its services from Maidstone Gateway in King Street. 12

Holmesdale move

A SNODLAND school head has been seconded elsewhere to help an Ofsted visit.

Sugar drinks ban

WATERINGBURY Primary School has stopped fruit juices from being consumed.

Comment Obituaries


46-47 28

31 Parish Councils 40-41

A FALLEN tree was a concern in Addington; highway issues at the new school in Kings Hill were being addressed; a drain cover was rattling in Ryarsh, where a phone kiosk might be adopted; a laptop purchase was to be dis- cussed in Trottiscliffe; five teenagers started a fire in woods in Wateringbury; a request to use the West Peckham village green for archery was refused.

Crime Reports 41 Road deaths

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.


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