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Landmark ruling could help reduce congestion

A LANDMARK decision to prevent new housing in south Maidstone could help campaigners stop other unwanted developments.

The Secretary of State for com- munities and local government, MP Greg Clark, upheld an inspec- tor’s findings that building should not take place on land in Boughton Lane because of the adverse effect it would have on Loose Road and the congested Swan junction. The decision to refuse on the grounds of road congestion was the first time that KCC’s highway de- partment, which raised no objec- tion, had been overruled. Previously, Maidstone Council planners had stated it could only refuse on highways grounds if KCC lodged an objection. Sean Carter, chairman of the North Loose Residents Association planning group, said: “This has great implications for the Maid-

stone local plan and the council should be able to use this to seek constraints against the identified housing need of 18,560.”

Mr Clark felt an increase of be-

tween 15% and 30% in traffic flows, in an already-congested area, were a matter for “significant concern”. BDW Trading Ltd, KCC and Fu- ture Schools Trust, which owns the NLL Academy in Boughton Lane, wanted to sell part of the school playing fields for development to raise funds for the expansion of the Five Acre Wood special school, as well as creating an 8.65-hectare playing field on agricultural land for use by NLL students and the local community.

Boughton Monchelsea Parish Council supported the scheme as it

would have gained 95 acres of land for public amenity, but the pro- posal was contested by North Loose Residents’


Loose Parish Council and Maid- stone Council’s landscape and housing officers.

Maidstone councillors turned down the planning application for 220 homes, claiming the access road would destroy ancient wood- land and the extra traffic would add to congestion on Loose Road. Following a four-day hearing in July last year, planning inspector John Felgate dismissed an appeal against the decision. His findings have been upheld by the Secretary of State, who said: “On the appel- lants’ own figures, the likely

4 Carys makes light work of title

A BARMING teenager lucky to be alive after being born severely premature is targeting the Olympics after winning a regionalweightlifting title. Carys Harper, 15, who attends St Augustine’s Acad-

emy in Maidstone, won the Lion Heart category at this year’s CelebrateMaidstoneawards for overcoming dif- ficulties to achieve great things. Born 12 weeks premature and weighing only 3lb,

Carys – daughter of Zoe Reed and step-dad Chris –was initially unable to breathe without an incubator. Diag- nosed with dyscalculia, a brain disorder causing diffi- culty inmaking arithmetical calculations, she struggled at school butwith the help of JayneBradshaw, hermen- tor at StAugustine’s Academy, she refused to give up. Her fighting spirit led her to take up kickboxing, re- ceiving her junior black belt in March 2013. One of her teachers,Michael Blackford, introduced

April 2016 No. 228 News Care home to shut

THE best efforts of campaigners, including local MPs, have failed to prevent the closure of the Dorothy Lucy centre. 4

Election decision

KENT’S controversial police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes will not restand. 5

Southeastern delays

RAIL commuters have been told to wait until late 2017 for improvements.

Annual celebration

MAIDSTONE will do its bit to mark St George’s Day on April 23.

Heritage boards

VISITORS can learn about Maid- stone’s past on a series of educational panels. 20

Religious concern

A PROPOSAL to rebuild a mosque in the town centre has been criticised.

Moving from Mote

MAIDSTONE Mela will be held in the town centre in Sep- tember, for the first time. 29

Friday is market day

A FARMERS’ market will take place every month in Ju- bilee Square.

her toweightlifting and, in just two years, she has gone from beginner to competing at a national level. Carys wona silver medal in theBritish SchoolsWeightlifting Championship in February 2015 and gold in the 2015 London & SE Junior Championships,6

Hospital woe

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

DRASTIC financial measures have been necessary to keep afloat the Kims private hospital, which lost £15m in its first year. Full story – page 16.


Comment 44-45 Obituaries

46-47 46

Crime Reports 54 ROAD signs were stolen in Fant.

Parish Councils 54

COUNCILLORS in Barming called for a modern Medway bridge to be built next to the old one in Teston; flooding was killing fish in a pond in Loose.

23 18 12

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