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Supermarket idea for M20 park and ride site

A PLAN to build a Waitrose 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.”

CORE services for the elderly are under threat, Age UK Maidstone haswarned. It follows a request to the organ- isation fromKCCto cut its costs in West Kent by £10,000 next year. Age UK says it has not received

a real-term increase from KCC in six years for the core services it provides Kent’s elderly residents and already receives less per pen- sioner than anywhere else in the country. Age UK’s chief executive in Maidstone Paul Coles said: “We have a good relationship with

Mr Yandle outlined the vision, pictured, to Boxley parish council- lors and residents ahead of a plan- ning application due to be submitted to Maidstone Council in late February. He said the single- storey building, next to the Tower- gate office block, would have a simple and contemporary design, in keeping with the surrounding re- tail and commercial units and would feature Kentish ragstone. The car park would provide 300 spaces, with two hours free parking for customers. Replying to concerns

Age UK faces budget cut

KCC’s adult services and under- stand it has difficult decisions to make to balance its budget, butwe are already the poor relation to other voluntary service providers. “We are a lean organisation, so

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 which we want.” Mr Coles said negotiations are continuing with KCC, with a deci- sion expected in the coming weeks.

6 Latest hospital plan for Newnham Court

A PROPOSED hospital for mental health patients has been unveiled. Turn to page 12 for details.

about traffic problems, Mr Yandle said that vehicles visiting the store would be spread throughout the day, whereas the park and ride traf- ficwas condensed at peak times. No new highways work would

be required, with shoppers using the existing access by the Chiltern Hundreds 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.

Costa coming to Bearsted?

A COSTA coffee shop could be open- ing in Bearsted. It was thought that workmen

were set to move in at the former Hunker Down Daisy florist and tearoom on the A20 Ashford Road to begin necessary refurbishments. Amanda Harris, from the nearby

Cavendish Tea Rooms, said: “This is a very busy road and businesses and local residents are already con- cerned about where these new cus- tomers will park. Traffic queuing at the nearby garage and Tesco – which already sells Costa coffee – already spills in to the road and takes up spaces outside the parade of shops on that side of the road.” As Downs Mail went to press, no representative from the Costa chain had returned our calls.

Public meeting to discuss local plan 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

8 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

Shopping boost

WORK is to start on a major re- vamp of the historic Royal Star Arcade, Maidstone. 5

Play park demand

THE campaign to save a play area in Bearsted Park has been stepped up.

Open space vision

A NEW cafe and visitors centre is the key part of a project to boost Mote Park. 19

Obituaries Comment

POP icon David Bowie had an interesting link to Maidstone.

46-47 26-27


Crime Reports 31 Parish Councils 42-43

A KEY road in Boughton Mal- herbe was weather-damaged; the Diocese of Rochester ob- jected to a proposal to serve al- cohol at Bredhurst Village Hall; the bus service in Detling was slammed; a £1,704 defibrillator was ordered in Downswood; water pollution fears were raised in Hollingbourne; air condition- ing provoked concern in Lenham.


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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