This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Four editions delivered to over 88,000 homes every month MalMalling Editionling Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

FREE Maidstone Town | Maidstone East | Maidstone South | Malling

School travel pass at risk, says KCC chief

TEENAGERSin Maidstone could face costly trips to and from school if Kent County Council decides to withdraw its Young Person’s Travel Pass.

KCC is looking to shave £22.5 million off its £1.8 billion budget next year and the travel pass, which costs the council £8.8 million, is one of the services under threat, ac- cording to KCC leader Paul Carter. Withdrawal of the pass would

cause an outcry among Kent fami- lies, aswell as adding to the severe congestion onMaidstone’s roads. With many parents opting to

drive their children to school, rather than paying the full cost of public transport, the extra cars would have a massive impact on traffic flows, according to Cllr Carter. He told the town’s Joint Trans-

portation Board that if the Goven- ment’s spending review on No- vembner 25 was severe the young person’s travel pass would be under threat. He said: “The differ- ence it would make to travel for students in Maidstone would have a phenomenal impact.” All schoolchildren from years 7 to

11 are entitled to apply for a pass, aswell as 16- to 21-year-olds in care or young carers aged up to 18. The annual pass costs parents

£250 (or £100 to those in receipt of free school meals) – a significant saving on regular bus fares throughout the year. The average

Why Annette is a star

AWOMAN who set up amediation serv- ice to help residents settle disputes is to receive a lifetime achievement award. Annette Hinton has been chosen by

the CelebrateMaidstone team to receive the 2016 award at the Stars of Maidstone award ceremony inMarch 2016. Formore than 25 years, Annette has championed free access to mediation services for people in Maidstone, setting up Maidstone Mediation in 1989 to help settle disputes between residents, and to facilitate restorative justice for victims of crime. Annette said: “There was no office, no

training manual, no template for doing mediation and no money – just the concept of using a neutral third party to help people resolve conflicts. I had six volunteers and worked


cost per pass is £588, leaving KCC to subsidise each pass purchased by £388. Families with more than two secondary school age children get the remaining passes free. The county council has to save

£209 million over the next three years and faces yet another year of central government funding cuts. The travel passes have been is-

sued at the discretion of KCC for many years, despite the rising costs. The council has increased the cost of the pass to offset its losses, but this is the first time Cllr Carter has admitted that the benefit could be at risk.

Budget crisis at museum

MAIDSTONE Museum is still strug- gling to make ends meet, in spite of its hugely successful summer exhibi- tion.

Brick City was a popular attrac-

tion throughout the school holi- days, with people of all ages getting involved in building and creating items out of Lego. But even with an annual budget

of almost £260,000, excluding staff costs, Maidstone Council expects the museum to have overspent by £9,208 at the end of the financial year. In a normal year, this could be

closer to £65,000. The council says the museum’s budget is under “sig- nificant pressure”. Paul Riley, the council’s head of finance and resources, said: “The recent Lego event has negated some of the overspend for this fi- nancial year only.” Within the culture, heritage and

leisure sector, theVinter’s Park Cre- matorium also failed to achieve its income target in 2014/15. The council has been asked

to find savings of £1.63m in 2016/17, of which the culture

5 Kent’s Most Awarded Optician

Book Now 01732 617557

December 2015 No. 224 News

Air may take flight

KENT Air Ambulance is looking to move away from its base in Mar- den, where it has been lo- cated since 2000.. 6

Separate the shows

MAIDSTONE Council is taking steps to avoid event clashes in 2016.

Livery trailer taken

A RARE horse ambulance, worth £14,000, was stolen from a barn in Ryarsh.

Shopping chaos

A LOCAL MP is attempting to ad- dress traffic issues at Quarry Wood.

Refugees to arrive

THE council is to resettle 10 Syr- ian refugee families over the next five years. 14

Obituaries Comment

46-47 28

30 Crime Reports 30

EGGS were used to damage a car in Ditton.

Parish Councils 40-41

A DOG was shot with an airgun in Ditton, where a cat was stolen; a flood warden was to receive Wellington boots in East Peck- ham; horses had to be removed from land in Mereworth; a steam rally caused traffic problems in Offham; walkers reported smells of drugs in Wateringbury.

Town Talk

THE new Valley Invicta Pri- mary School in Holborough Lakes, Snodland has opened. For more details see Town Talk in the central pages of this month’s Downs Mail. The bi- monthly independent maga- zine is dedicated to Snodland and Halling residents.

12 10 8

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48