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Save the Ryarsh air raid shelter

RESIDENTS at Ryarsh have gone into battle to save the village pri- mary school’s air raid shelter from being knocked down to makeway for a new hall. The school has increased from

fewer than 90 pupils to 201 and the number is expected to reach 210 by September 2017. Five classrooms have been built since 1999, but the school hall is not large enough to match government guidelines. Kent County Councilwants to de-

molish the brick structure and build a large dining and sports hall. Villagers, former pupils and

parish councillors say its size and height would overshadow a neigh- bouring bungalow and pointed to the loss of the “historically signifi- cant”wartime shelter. One neighbour said: “The school

needs a new hall but this should be appropriately designed and could be elsewhere in the grounds.” A resident of Ryarsh Road, Bir-

ling, said: “My children are past pupils and have fond memories of using this unusual building during

its 70th anniversary and other events. It is vital to preserve this structure for future generations.” KCC said: “It is very difficult to

teach an indoor PE lesson with 30 children, allowing children tomove around safely in the space available. In assembly, it is only just possible to fit all of the children sitting down in the hall at the same time.” Ryarsh Parish Council said the

need for a hall was accepted, but asked for the plan to be reconsid- ered. Chairman David Storey said: “The new building would be twice as tall as the bungalow next door and about four metres from the fence.We have great sympathy with the neighbour. The proposals should ideally be amended to locate the hall elsewhere in the grounds.” Tonbridge and Malling Council

also objected to the size, scale and siting of the extension. The new building would provide

a school hall of 150sqm, additional storage and a link to the kitchen. If approved, the hall will be ready by January 2017.

Litter pickers clean up

VOLUNTEERS fromthe Ditton area showed just howmuch they lovewhere they livewhen they joined council members and staff to clear up litter. Setting off fromWoodlands Parade, the group spent twohours collecting rubbish fromthe surround- ing streets and alleyways. The result was 12 bags of waste including an old ex- haust pipe, fly-tipped vege- tation and several boxes of cardboard packaging, mostly destined for com- posting at the Blaise Farm recycling centre near Offham. Tonbridge and Malling

Council provided litter-pick- ing equipment for the lat- est in a series of events across the borough in the Love Where You Live cam- paign.

Jail for sex assaults on child

A SNODLAND man who repeatedly sexually assaulted a young child has been jailed for four and a half years. Brian Wood (52), of Nevill Place, knew the vic-

tim through an acquaintance and sexually abused the child several times during March 2015. He was arrested after the child told a relative

and police were alerted. When interviewed, Wood denied any wrong doing. He appeared at Maidstone Crown Court and denied two counts of sexual assault by touching, but was convicted unanimously by the jury. Wood also received a Sexual Harm Prevention

Order which will prohibit his involvement with the victim and their fam- ily, and other potentially vulnerable children.

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