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Supermarket plan for M20 park and ride site

A PLAN to build aWaitrose supermarket on Maidstone’s doomed park and ride site at Eclipse Park has been unveiled.

The £14m proposal would see a 29,000sqft store developed close to the new Next shop near M20 Junc- tion 7, bringing an anticipated 200 new jobs. The store would be more than

twice the size of the existing 13,000sqft Waitrose in Allington Park, which the retailer says it is committed to retaining. Nick Yandle, chief executive of Gallagher Group, the developer be- hind the proposal, said Maidstone remains a key target for Waitrose, who would have built a store in nearby Newnham Court but for Maidstone Council refusing Land Securities’ application in June 2014.

He said: “The investment in a

Waitrose store is a sign of confi- dence in the borough. It will rein- force Junction 7’s importance as a gateway to the Maidstone economy and will attract further investment and employment at Eclipse Park.” Mr Yandle outlined the proposal

to Boxley parish councillors and res- idents ahead of a planning applica- tion due to be submitted to Maidstone Council in late February. Hesaid the single-storey building,

next to the Towergate office block, would have a simple and contem- porary design, in keeping with the surrounding retail and commercial units and would feature Kentish

ragstone. The car park would pro- vide 300 spaces, with two hours free parking for customers. Replying to concerns about traffic problems, Mr Yandle said that vehicles visiting the store would be spread throughout the day, whereas the park and ride trafficwas condensed at peak times. Nonew highways work would be required, with shoppers using the existing access by the Chiltern Hun- dreds pub or the new junction near the Next store. The existing park and ride facility

closes on Saturday, February 6. If the plan is approved, building

is expected to start in late 2016 with the store opening early in 2018.

Awards for young achievers AgeUKfaces

THEachievements of twoyoungsters fromMaidstone have been recognised at the annual Kent Try Angle Awards in Ashford. Josie Skivington, from Barming, was awarded in the good friends and

young carers category and Zoe Hossack, from Bearsted, was honoured in the arts category. Josie is pictured receiving her award fromCllr Mike Hill, KCC cabinet member for community services. Trophies were presented

to 24 young achievers at Ashford’s International Hotel. There were three winners in each of eight categories, which included: courage; positive intervention; music; sports; personal development and community action. Josie was described as an


budget cut CORE services for the elderly are under threat, Age UK Maidstone haswarned. It follows a request to the organ- isation from KCC to cut its costs in West Kent by £10,000 next year. AgeUKsays it has not received a real-term increase from KCC in six years for the core services it pro- vides Kent’s elderly residents and already receives less per pensioner than anywhere else in the country. Age UK’s chief executive in Maidstone Paul Coles said: “We have a good relationship with KCC’s adult services and under- stand it has difficult decisions to make to balance its budget, but we are already the poor relation to other voluntary service providers. “We are a lean organisation, so

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

this request to trim our funding needs further will translate into the closure of some services or more costs being passed to our clients – neither of whichwewant.” Mr Coles said negotiations are continuing with KCC, with a deci- sion expected in the coming weeks.

6 February 2016 No. 226 News No to warehouses

THE Waterside Park proposals to build an industrial estate off M20 Junction 8 have been re- fused at the High Court. 4

Tax set to increase

KENT County Council has ex- ploited a law-change to raise council tax by 4%. 6

Care home reprieve

THE decision on whether to close the Dorothy Lucy Centre in Shepway has ben delayed.

Open space vision

A NEW cafe and visitors centre is the key part of a project to boost Mote Park. 14

Tenants get raw deal 33

WANNABE renters are being ripped off, according to a study.

Comment Obituaries

Parish Councils

46-47 32-33


POP icon David Bowie had an interesting link to Maidstone.


FIRE extinguishers were being misused in Barming; talks were taking place to relocate a notice- board in Tovil.

Crime Reports 42 A PUB fight broke out in Tovil.


Clean-up weekend

JOIN in a long weekend of litter- picking activities between March 4 and 6. For more infor- mation see the Maidstone Coun- cil-sponsored 12-page Borough Update in the centre pages.

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