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Village relief road is ‘smoke and mirrors’

A LEEDS to Langley relief road is nothing more than a developer’s prom- ise, according to residents in rural villages being consumed by new housing.

This was the response to an up- date delivered to Maidstone Joint Transportation Board, which has commissioned a feasibility study into a road to ease traffic between J8 of the M20 and Sutton Road. Members of the board were given the presentation by consultants – in private – concerning a South East Maidstone Strategic Link at their last meeting.

But the idea of a relief road has been dismissed as “Lord Lucan rid- ing in on Shergar” by the chair of Langley Parish Council, Cheryl Tay- lor-Maggio.

She said: “It’s not going to happen. It is an argument being put forward by Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) to justify its need for large housing numbers. I’m not against

some kind of road, but it will do nothing to help the traffic problems we already have and are adding to with the building of yet more hous- ing on the Sutton Road.

“The council is trying to promise a road that has not been agreed, that KCC cannot afford and that will not happen, purely to push through these housing numbers.

“To claim it is a mitigating meas- ure is totally false. It’s akin to a de- veloper’s promise. It’s just smoke and mirrors.” The board was told it could cost

between £42m and £55m to build a relief road for Leeds and Langley to ease disruption.

While a dual carriageway, costing

even greater sums, now seems un- likely, a single-lane road is under

discussion, although the route op- tions remain a secret.

An earlier suggestion to widen Burberry Lane, which runs around Leeds village near the castle, was met with instant opposition from the castle’s then chief executive Victoria Wallace. Leeds Parish Council understands from MBC local plan that the relief road will not happen until 2030. The parish council has resolved to chal- lenge this.

MBC and the county council are working jointly to reduce HGVs and traffic in areas like Leeds and Will- ington Street. Meanwhile pressure mounts to find a solution to Maid- stone’s traffic congestion issues as MBC remains committed to building 18,600 homes by 2031.

Downs Mail backs festival fun

THERE will be some right royal goings-on in Maidstone town centre on July 2, when this year’s Maidstone Sum- mer Festival marks Her Majesty’s 90th birthday. Organisers of the festival, which follows on from

last year’s hugely successful parade, have asked all entrants to come in character as kings and queens. Pupils from Maplesden Noakes School are busy working on a dance routine celebrating the works of Michael Jackson – aka the King of Pop – and Freddie Mercury’s famous band Queen, which will be per- formed at one of several stages set around the town for the duration of the festival.

Three samba bands, three dance schools, singers, schools and baton twirlers are among other artistes who have already promised to participate. As last

year, the Downs Mail is media partner for the event. The festival will take place at venues around the town centre, including Jubilee Square and Brench- ley Gardens. Anyone who would like to be involved should contact Barbara Dunford on 07771 821476.

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

School blow A SINGLE mum may have to give up work to get her child to her new primary school. Vinters Park resi- dent Laura Procter’s daughter missed out on all three options and will have a five-mile journey to get to Langley Park school.

MAY HOLIDAY CLUB 31st May - 3rd June Fully inclusive 7.30am - 6.30pm

New info panels

A SERIES of information panels has been unveiled as part of a Maidstone history trail in the town centre. For more, see the Maidstone Council-sponsored  12-page Borough Update inside.4

Action packed Fun days

Newnham Court Shopping Village, Bearsted Rd, Maidstone, Kent ME14 5LH 01622 737733

BOOK NOW May 2016 No. 229 News Summer ball for Dan

A SUMMER ball in memory of actor Dan Wiltshire aims to raise awareness of organ donation.

Alex joins church

YOUTH worker Alex Coakley has joined the team at Bearsted church.

6 New village warden

SALLY Williams aims to be the “eyes and ears” of Bearsted as warden.

SANDLING milkman Philip Collins is looking forward to a lie-in after 43 years.

Comment 12 Milkman Phil retires 34-35

A ROYAL Mail post box was stolen in Harrietsham.

Parish Councils50-51

VEHICLES are still being parked too close to the Wykeham Grove junction in Leeds; a new CCTV system is being considered in Lenham; two new councillors, Chris Roots and Malcolm Allardyce, have been co-opted on to the parish council in Harrietsham; three gazebos were damaged in Downswood.

16 38-39

Obituaries 38-39 Crime Reports 51


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