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New air ambulance to ‘destroy quality of life’

A PROPOSAL by Kent Air Ambulance to relocate to a rural base near Yalding has been met with a tide of opposition from local residents.

The air ambulance, which has

been based in Marden since 2000, wants to consolidate its operation across Kent, Sussex and Surrey, with a purpose-built HQ at Old Hay Airfield, offWillow Lane. Although the application falls

within the borough of Tunbridge Wells, residents inWillow Lane are within Yalding parish and pay their council taxes to Maidstone. Most affected will be the 21 resi-

dents of Park Farm, in Queen Street, which sits 800m from the proposed helicopter pad and 150m from the helicopter’swesterly flight path. Paul Hawker, who lives in Park

Farm Barn, felt the application was misleading in suggesting the site was remote and little short of being awasteland. He said: “Park Farm remains a traditional and historical farmstead. There are 21 of us living at Park

Farm, including seven children, and many others at similar farm and country buildings and some static caravans within a short radius. “To state that the site is adjacent

to a ‘solar farm’ when between the solar farm and the proposed site there is arable farmland, six houses and a substantial apple orchard is misleading to the point of malevo- lence. There are also stables and a riding school, which aren’t even mentioned.” Tim Ornellas, who lives in Wil-

low Lane, said: “We all fully sup- port the excellent work of the air ambulance, now that it has become part of the Sussex and Surrey air ambulance with all operations merged at one location, to re-locate their existing bases toWillow Lane in my view is highly inappropriate. “I find it hard to believe that such a rural location, not close to a hos-

Pupils show their Young Voices

PUPILS from Yalding and Laddingford schools trav- elled to the 02 arena in London to take part in Young Voices. The 16 children from St Mary’s School, Laddingford, joined almost 7,500 other young voices from Britain who performed at the massive arena in front of a packed audience of parents and friends.


pital and surrounded by single- track or otherwise poorly main- tained roads, is the ideal place for such a day and night flying opera- tion.

“The quality of life for us all liv-

ing under the flight path will be se- verely impacted by the excess noise of low-flying helicopter operations and the increased traffic this pro- posed site will generate.” Yalding Parish Council has raised

no objection. Maggie Drummond, who lives in Queen Street, said: “I am not happy that Yalding Parish Council have chosen to say nothing – many families on the Yalding boundary will be impacted by noise.Howdare they not offer a de- fence against all this, after all the problems this area has encountered in recent years? “I will never make a dona-

tion to the air ambulance 6

Age UK faces 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 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

Units 15-16 Dickens Court, Enterprise Close, Medway City Estate, Kent ME2 4LY 01634 717400

this request to trim our funding needs further will translate into the closure of

5 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

Open space vision

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

9 Advert divides village

TWO new signs have created a split between a village school and parish council.20

Obituaries Comment 26-27

POP icon David Bowie had an interesting link to Maidstone.

46-47 32-33

Crime Reports 33 Parish Councils 42-43

DOORSTEP callers claiming to be ex-serviceman were at large in Chart Sutton; a village sign was to be replaced in East Farleigh; youths switched on hockey club floodlights at 2am in Marden; Southeastern was asked to install a noticeboard in Staplehurst; a toilet light was to be repaired in Sutton Valence; a fourth defibril- lator was planned for Yalding.

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.


Misted / Broken Glass Units, Door & Window Handles, Locks & Hinges, Patio Door Wheels & Tracks


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