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Fears as flood funding pledge ‘trickles away’

RESIDENTS in Yalding and Collier Street who suffered their worst ever flooding three years ago fear they could find themselves hung out to dry. Kent County Council (KCC),

which promised to match-fund flood defence improvements by £17.5m is now offering £4m of which, we understand, only £1.5m will be earmarked for Yalding. Proposals put forward by the En- vironment Agency (EA) following the floods of Christmas 2013, in- cluded increasing the capacity of the Leigh storage area and creating a new Lower Beult storage area at a total cost of £35m. KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter has denied he – and KCC – are reneg-

ing on the pledge, claiming he al- ways said that the funding would need to be supplemented by cash from the borough and parish coun- cils. Whilst KCC had put its £4m offer on the table, the borough councils were still debating as to the size of cheques they could prof- fer, he said. Soon after the December disaster –

which saw Prime Minister David Cameron and HRH Prince Charles heading a high profile list of visitors to the village – Defra (the Depart- ment for Environment, Food &

Rural Affairs) said it would foot 50 per cent of the bill if the county council would pay the rest. In February 2014, Cllr Carter said

KCC would underwrite the costs of building better flood defences for Yalding and Tonbridge and raise the £17.5m needed. But Mr Carter is looking to the

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Regional Growth Fund for financial support and asking Maidstone and Tonbridge and Malling Councils to each find £1m. Hesaid: “We have put £4m


Summer Fest’s a big success

A SHARP downpour in the town centre did little to dampen the spir- its of the thousands of people who turned out to enjoy the Maidstone Summer Festival. Staged at locations across Jubilee Square, Fremlin Walk, Brenchley Gardens and Week Street, the festival filled the streets with colour, noise and music. The event was put on by the

Kent Community Events (KCE) and supported by One Maidstone with Downs Mail as the media partner. KCE spokesman Barbara Dunford said that despite one rain shower, the day was filled with sunshine and fun.

Picture special, page 18 LOCAL NEWS UPDATED DAILY EVENTS - SERVICES & INFORMATION - ITEMS FOR SALE Your community website

MPs’ pledge MPs Helen Grant and Helen

Whately have pledged to accept the result of the EU referendum for the long-term good of their Kent con- stituencies, the economy and the nation.

3 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

July 2016 No. 231 News Reg’s bench tribute

A LASTING tribute has been made to Reginald Fitzgerald, missed off a war memo- rial for 67 years.

5 New school to open

MAIDSTONE is to get a new school specialising in science and maths. 10

Stones’new pitch

MAIDSTONE United will play pre- season friendlies away this summer.

Horse fraudsters

TWO fraudsters face jail this month for mis-selling sick and injured horses. 16

Grafty Green delay

PLANS for developing the Grafty Green garden centrre site have ben delayed. 17

Castle ticket dodgers

LEEDS Castle’s finances are being hit by visitors dodging entrance fees. 26

Red kites returning

RED kites spotted in the Maid- stone area sparked hopes of the birds’ return . 29

Rachel’s brave battle 32

READ how Rachel Curley decided to fight her cancer diag- nosis head on..


Comment 36-37 Crime Reports 37

TOOLS were stolen in Hunton. Parish Councils 46-47

A SHOP saftety scheme to crack down on potenial crime for Headcorn has been discussed. A cleaner may be required for the pavilion in Chart Sutton.

34 32



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