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Flood defence blow leaves villages at risk

THE plug has been pulled on two flood defence schemes proposed to protect the people of Yalding, Collier Street and Hunton.

Asrevealed in theDownsMail last month, the Environment Agency’s modelling for three schemes, at a total cost of £35m, fell well short of locals’ expectations. Kent County Council (KCC) will

put in £2.5m to the project, instead of its promised £17.5m. MP Helen Grant said: “I was hugely disappointed to learn that this approach has been shown to fall seriously short of expectation.” TheEAoriginally said a combina-

tion of three flood storage areas (FSAs) would be the best approach. But detailed computer modelling

work indicates that Leigh Barrier im- provements will have very limited benefit for the residents of Yalding, Laddingford and Collier Street while

the EA says the FSAs on the Beult and Teise are unlikely to offer “sig- nificant benefit”. It has now recommended that the

most beneficial approach for homes in and around Yalding would be through Property Level Resilience (PLR) applied to individual proper- ties with anEAconsultation shortly. Under an existingDEFRAscheme

PLR grants of £5,500 are available to certain properties. These could fund flood barriers for homes, air- brick/vent covers and non-return valves which can be fitted to drains to prevent floodwater backing up. Several homeowners in Yalding

have taken advantage of the scheme, but were relying on the flood de- fence project for further protection.

Dates are all adding up

NEWmumSara Mollison reckons the addition to her fam- ily is already living by numbers. There has been a series of “spooky” coincidences where

many female relations have birth months which corre- spond to the birth date. For instance, baby Alexa Mollison, who was born at

Pembury Hospital, Tunbridge Wells, two weeks late, ar- rived in the world on June 6 (6/6). Perhaps there is nothing unusual there – but Sara was born on October 10 (10/10) – as was her mother, Mary Hillgrove. And there are more besides. Sara, who is on maternity leave from her job as a maths

teacher at Valley Park School, in Maidstone, said: “She kept uswaiting, but it turns out shewanted to impress her mathematical mama and be like all the other ladies in the family.” Sara is pictured holding babyAlexa,withmother-in-law Jackie and sister-in-law Sarah. See the full story on page 6.

Bank ram raid


Maidstone 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

RAMraiders attacked the NatWest bank in Staplehurst, ripping out much of the front of the building to get at the cash machines. These were then loaded onto another vehicle and taken away.


Let Age UK Maidstone help you with all your needs

Market successes

THE new Farmers’ Market has proved to be a success with dozens of stallholders taking part in Jubilee Square. For more, see the Maidstone Council-sponsored 12-page Borough Update inside.

01622 753618

Please see more of our services on pages 9 & 16

The EA’s feasibility study indi-

cated that a significant number of properties in Tonbridge and Hilden- borough would be protected by Leigh Barrier improvements and bids for funding were to be pro- gressed accordingly. The EA said 32 properties would

have been protected on the Beult at a cost of £9m, and 96 properties on the Teise at a cost of £7m. The Government will provide

£11m towards Leigh Barrier im- provements, with a further £2.5m from KCC and £0.5m from Ton- bridge &Malling council, together with private sector contributions. The scheme is also reliant on a bid

to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for £4.5million.

August 2016 No. 232 News Truck cab to pulpit

A LORRY driver is soon to take over as the new, full-time vicar for Yalding, Laddingford and Collier Street. 3

Grafty plan approval

LUXURY homes are to be built on the site of the former Grafty garden centre. 12

Horse cons are jailed 14

THREE fraudsters who sold sick horses for profit have been jailed.

Sorry to Headcorn

PARISH council said sorry for re- moving the village’s hanging baskets. 14

Ramblin’ Man uproar

MUSIC festival organisers faced a chorus of complaint about excessive noise. 22

Kent show success

MORE than 80,000 visitors flocked to the county show at Detling. 28

Obituaries 30

Comment 32-33 Crime Reports 33

GOLF clubs were stolen from a house in Boughton Monchelsea.

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