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Countryside fears over 262 building land plots

THERE are fears for the future of areas of countryside in Malling after the borough council published a list of sites which could be suitable for housing.

As part of its “local plan” process, Tonbridge and Malling council has assessed more than 200 areas which were suggested for housebuilding and other uses by developers and landowners. Council planners graded the 262

sites green, amber or red according to their suitability for development, but stressed that not all the sites would go into the final plan. The green areas include two sites

near East Malling – a largeswathe of farmland and orchards at Broadwa- ter Farm, stretching to Kings Hill andWest Malling, and a site around Bradbourne House at East Malling Research. East Malling and Larkfield

Parish Council chairman David Thornewell (left) said: “People are concerned that they could be a lead-up to an enormous loss of countryside, ruining the setting of West Malling.Promises that Kings Hill would be confined to

the old airfield area would be set aside and East Malling would be lost in urban sprawl.” He said that, according to the in-

terim sites assessment, 4,772 homes could be built at Broadwater, while at East Malling Research, there could be 5,483 units. “The wording does

recognise Bradbourne House is a Grade I building but does not men- tion 30 acres around it are covenanted to the National Trust.” Many smaller sites have been in- cluded in the green and amber lists including Larkfield library and land at Woodlands Children’s Centre. Cllr Thornewell added: “Some of

these are what I regard as brown field sites within the built area and I think more explanation is needed for these officer decisions.” Trudy Dean, chairman of West Malling Parish Council said it was pressing for the whole area to be in- cluded in the Green Belt.  Housing special, pages 4&5

Downs Mail readers favour Brexit

AN OVERWHELMING majority of Downs Mail readers are in favour of leaving the European Union, a survey conducted by this newspaper has revealed. More than 70 per cent of respondents said they

want to leave the EU while a quarter want to remain. Hundreds of local residents have posted their votes online or sent in a coupon from this newspaper ahead of the EU referendum on June 23. As it stands, 72% of those voted to leave the EU, while 25% expressed a desire to stay. The remaining 3% are unsure.

A current poll of polls published by NatCen So- cial Research suggests that 51% want to stay in the EU while 49% wish to go. This does not take into ac- count the “don’t knows” who are believed to be a crucial component in determining the result. But an Opinium survey puts 43% in favour of leav- ing, 3% ahead of the “remain” camp and 17% in that

poll were undecided. Observers predict a low turnout will point to a win for Brexit while a higher showing on the day might indicate the remain campaign will triumph. Downs Mail will be running its survey until June 23 when we will publish our results online.  Turn to page 30 for voting details

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Vicar appointed AYLESFORD will have a new vicar starting in August. The appoint- ment of Rev Jonathan Hall has just been announced and marks the end of a six-month recruitment process. He is currently a hospital chaplain inTunbridgeWells.

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June 2016 No. 230 News Koi in lake mystery

A LAKE near West Malling seems to have acquired a new, foreign resident in the form of a large koi carp.

Fancy Goat future?

STAFF at troubled West Malling eaterie The Fancy Goat want to take it over. 8

Fines for flytippers

TWO men who dumped rubbish illegally have been given hefty fines.

Mayor Mark’s chain

MARK Rhodes has been installed as the new mayor of Tonbridge and Malling. 15

West Malling fury

BUSINESSES have complained that new parking charges have hit trade. 17

Joe’s dash for cash

JOE Westgate has drafted in a Larkfield trainer to get fit for a charity bike ride. 25

Crime Reports 26

A WALLET and cards were taken from a vehicle in Snodland.


Comment 30-31 32

Parish Councils 40-41

FORMER chairman of the parish council in Offham, Mike Rowe, has been awarded a major com- munity award for his work.

Town Talk alk

SNODLAND Football Club capped a successful season by winning silverware and promo- tion. For details see Town Talk in this month’s Downs Mail. The bi-monthly independent magazine is dedicated to Snod- land and Halling residents.

12 6

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