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Heritage concern over £5m spa hotel scheme

Entrepreneur and actor Ciaran O’Quigley, owner of Mu Mu’s in Week Street and a director of Mu Mu Experience Ltd, wants to build Kent’s finest five-star spa hotel on waste land at the lower end of Brewer Street, behind St Francis’RC Church. The 36-bedroomed hotel, com-

plete with a luxury Roman swim- ming pool, 10 treatment rooms, a “living wall” entrance and a Japan- ese garden, would have the finest Italian marble bathrooms and hand- made furniture and provide 20 jobs. The ambitious ideas for HotelMu

Muincorporate a 1930s piano bar, a 100-cover restaurant, two library- style lounge areas and a retro cin- ema. The project also includes the renovation of St Francis’ derelict

PLANS to plough £6m into a spa hotel in Maidstone could be scuppered – by a fire-ravaged former schoolhouse and the town’s conservation officer. Mr Parkinson has lodged his ob-

church hall for community use. The 48-year-old businessman has

been working on the concept with design consultants for almost three years and has the support of the church, his neighbours and several local councillors, aswell as the town centre partnership One Maidstone. However, Maidstone’s conserva-

tion officer Mike Parkinson is against the demolition of the former St Francis’ Church School even though many say it has become an eyesore, having suffered neglect, vandalism, fire, damp and dry rot. Jason Howard at Trash or Treas-

Jubilant Stones need more room 8

ure, which backs onto the site, has welcomed the scheme. He says the derelict buildings are a constant worry to him, attracting drug-users and vandals.

MAIDSTONE United’s promo- tion to the highest tier of English non-league football has hastened the need for a bigger stadium. While the Stones have no inten-

tion of leaving the Gallagher Sta- dium, the club must increase its capacity by 1,000 to meet with Na- tional League requirements. Management will submit an ap- plication to Maidstone Borough Council to extend one end of the ground. The Stones beat Ebbsfleet United at Stonebridge Road on

jection with the council, saying he fears the development, which would encompass the site of a dis- used dance studio, would harm the heritage of the county town. He considers the old school,

whichwas badly damaged by fire in September, to be a “non-designated heritage asset”. He says not only should the application require listed building consent, but also approval from English Heritage. Mr O’Quigley says demolition of

the schoolhouse is key to the project. “The site is landlocked without the removal of this building,” he said. “Tourism plays a massive part in the plans for Maidstone, yet there is currently no high-end accom- modation in the town centre.

June 2016 No. 230 News School choices anger

A SINGLE mum faces giving up work after her daughter missed out on all her preferred primary school choices. 4

Clearer signs, please

THE county council is accused of confusing the public over loo signage. 10

Litter dump mystery

A Park Wood couple want answers about fly tipping near their home.

11 Kent Show details

THE county show in July will feature the area’s best beer and cider makers. 12

Fringe Fest review

THE town’s sixth fringe festival was a diverse affair, as Neil Nixon discovered. 14

KIMS ‘misled’ public

THE town’s newest hospital has been rapped for its misleading website. 32

£3m town revamp

THE latest phase of Maidstone’s revamp is about to get underway.

Five Acre Wood gift

FIVE Acre Wood School pupils have a play area donated by a rugby charity. 47

penalties on May 14 to graduate into the higher division on an af- ternoon drenched in emotion and excitement.

A last gasp equalising goal in extra-time sent the tie to penalties which the away side won 4-3. Full story and pictures, page 37

Election special

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

FULL coverage of the borough council elections, the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner poll and your chance to vote in our special eve-of-referendum opinion poll inside.


Comment 30-31 Obituaries

COMMUNITY warden in Loose Liz Lovatt reported fly tipping in Well St was dealt with; five tables for the pavilion in Barming are to be bought for £74 each

Crime Reports 47 PLANTS in Fant were destroyed.

46-47 36

Parish Councils 46 34

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