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Drinking ban plans to ‘clean up town centre’

A NEW order making it illegal to drink in the street, beg or sleep rough could be introduced to “clean up” Maidstone town centre.

Maidstone Council says the Pub-

lic Spaces Protection Order, which could be introduced as early as May, would help to cut crime and anti- social behaviour (ASB) in urban Maidstone, where levels of ASB are the fifth highest in the county. The order would include further measures to deter unauthorised col- lecting of money on the street, the use of “legal highs” and rough sleep- ing on the street. Drinking alcohol in public spaces, not including licensed premises, would also be prohibited where it affects the quality of life for visitors and residents. The proposed order is based on

crime andASBdata provided by the police and would extend from the town centre along the river to Ringlestone, out to the Vinters Park estate, to Rock Road towards Penen- den Heath, across to Mote Park, and Waterloo Street and Campbell Road. Maidstone Green Party cam- paigner Stuart Jeffery said the plan to use the order to “criminalise the homeless”was appalling. He said: “Homeless people need support to get off the streets, support that will often include help with other issues rather than just finding a place to live. Criminalising them through a PSPO is the opposite of

help and support in my book.” He said the council had failed homeless people in Maidstone, where there are now seven times more than in 2010, adding: “The council needs to focus its energy on providing shelter and support for homeless people.” A map of the proposed control

area can be viewed at www.maid-, where you can also have your say. The consultation runs until Janu-

ary 25, after which the results will be considered by Maidstone Council’s communities, housing and environ- ment committee.

Time up for

free parking FREE parking in West Malling’s main town centre car park is set to end as Tonbridge and Malling Council seeks to raise £350,000 in in- creased charges across the borough. The busy car park behind the

Praise for hospital staff

HOSPITAL staff at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells have been praised for “going the extramile”. Staff Star awardswere presented to almost 30 team members following

a poll of patients, visitors and colleagues. Prizeswere presented by the trust’s chief executive Glenn Douglas, chairman Tony Jones and actress Cheryl Fergison, who played Heather Trott in EastEnders. Winners included the League of Friends (pictured), who received a special recognition award.

High Street is designed to operate on a short stay basis to support local shopping and other visits, with mo- torists allowed to park for three hours at no cost. But from April 1, charges will be imposed from 8am to6pmeach day except Sundays, with motorists paying 30p for the first half hour, 60p for an hour, £1.20 for twohours and £1.80 for three hours, which is the maximum length of stay. A review of the borough’s park-

ing fees outlined historic problems, with long stay parking taking place in the car park near Tesco. Parking used to be restricted to four hours, but commuters and people working in the town parked there all day. To stop this, the borough council


cut the time to three hours with a pay and display ticket containing the vehicle’s registration number, and an additional ticket could not be obtained.

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January 2016 No. 225 News Medical concerns

A DOCTORS’ surgery in East Peck- ham could close after the NHS said its lease was un- likely to be renewed. 10

Passengers wanted

TRAVELLERS are being encour- aged to car-share to cut congestion in Maidstone.14

Congestion hope

TWO sites off the M20 have been put forward to ease Operation Stack chaos.

Tax office to shut

HM Revenue and Customs is clos- ing its Maidstone office, which employs 200 staff.28

Comment 46-47 26-27 Crime Reports 27

A STATUE of a goddess with two cherubs was stolen from a front garden in Larkfield.

Obituaries 34 Parish Councils 35-43

THE clerk was given a pay rise in Addington; defibrillator training took place in Birling; children’s parties were on the rise in East Peckham; a new church for Kings Hill was discussed; volunteers were needed to help with Mere- worth Fete; a gate in Offham was ‘closing too quickly’.


Inside this edition:

RESULTS from a survey fuelled calls for a new visitors’ centre in Leybourne Lakes Country Park. For details, see the four-page sup- plement by Malling Action Part- nership, which supports people, businesses and events in the 11 parishes in the Malling area.

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