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Big tick for grammar schools MailMarks

 MAIDSTONE (with four) and Kent are

power bases of Britain’s few grammar schools, and many supporters will be de- lighted Government is likely to back remov- ing the nationwide ban on new grammars. I appreciate powerful pros and cons, butmy experiences of having my own life trans- formed more than 60 years ago at Borden Grammar School, Sittingbourne, convince me what is best for Britain. Money was so tight in my childhood home

that new school shoes were a real challenge and it was down to the personal support and dedication ofmyparents that Iwas able to rise from a very rough, tough junior school. I did not realise then that this was true so-

cial mobility and Government must ensure this in any new structure. I still remain close to that school and am

proud how many students have become na- tional and regional leaders so vital to the suc- cess of our country and society. At a time when quality of our education sys-

tem falls further down international league ta- bles, grammar schools are the increasing aim of many parents.We must meet demand. I think the Government must lift the ban as

soon as possible as part of a programme to im- prove education standards in all schools so Britain rises in international tables.

CQC inspection correction

I HAVE been asked to point out errors in a recent follow-up report regarding our CQC inspection. The article in Downs Mail states that

“Yalding Surgery in Benover Road was re- inspected after an unannounced visit by the CQC inspectors found it needed to improve ...” The original inspection was not unannounced – it was our booked scheduled CQC check up. Also, we were not re-inspected but underwent what they term a “desktop review” – meaning that we submied evidence online of the required improvements and they changed all areas needing improvement to good, so that we now have a good rating across the whole spectrum. Tony Fincham, NHSWest Kent CCG

Ramblin’ Man success

WE HAVE been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have received from our staging of the Ramblin’ Man Fair festival at Mote Park, Maidstone across the weekend of 23/24 July, 2016. We had more than 22,000 people on site

over the weekend. There was a fantastic atmosphere with no trouble.We are delighted to be able to put on the festival at Mote Park as it is a wonderful location

Contact our team ...

Got something to say? Write to The Editor, 2 Forge House, Bearsted Green Business Park, Maidstone ME14 4DT or email

36 Maidstone Town September 2016 Simon Finlay

Editor 01622 734735 ext 231

Diane Nicholls

Assistant editor 01622 734735 ext 232

Dawn Kingsford

Journalist 01622 734735 ext 233


Protect cricket THE game of cricket is still deeply em-

bedded in the British psyche and I am horri- fied by latest English Cricket Board (ECB) proposals which have potential to be very se- riously damaging to Test and county games and the very existence of our county clubs, in- cluding Kent. The ECB chairman Colin Graves and chief executive Tom Harrison face stiff opposition from the majority of county clubs to a plan to revolutionise the key money-spinning 20/20 overs format. It would be played on a mainly a big city

format (eg – London v Birmingham – and who in Kent will be loyal to that?), mixing the top players from our counties with the biggest names from abroad, producing a lengthy Big Bash competition at the height of summer. It is a format successful in hotter evening

climes of India and Australia and brings in substantial TV income. One aim is to spread

and we are very happy to be able to put money back into the local community via the council. We had customers from all over Europe

and the UK and we think the festival acts as a great showcase for Maidstone and Kent. We are aware of 35 complaints made to

the council relating to noise levels. Whilst we were well within agreed noise levels we take the concerns of any residents very seriously.We will be continuing to work with the council to minimise any disruption to the local residents whilst working very hard to make this event a continued highlight of the Maidstone calendar in the coming years. Early bird tickets for 2017 are on sale

now! Chris Ingham, Spirit of Rock owner and Creative Director of Ramblin Man

‘Free’ music an intrusion

I HAVE a Whitesnake album dating from the 1980s somewhere in the loft and a jolly fine example of British rock music it is, too. David Coverdale and his band are, like

me, geing on a bit so I applaud their ability to withstand the noise levels they were able to produce at the Ramblin’ Man Fair festival over the summer. Those of us who did not buy tickets but

who live downwind of the event certainly were given the entertainment for free, whether we wanted it or not. Personally, I

the game to a wider and younger audience. Many counties face financial problems and

they are promised stakeholder income. But most – and their members and sup- porters – believe this is an unacceptable gam- ble and amassive threat to the first-class game in Britain. Although these ECB executives see the cur-

rently lucrative county 20/20 competition con- tinuing, the counties could be robbed of star players (both domestic and overseas). Who would watch effectively Kent 2nds v Essex 2nds? The number of county championship games

is again being reduced, from 16 to 14 a season – an unacceptable loss to county members and a barrier to playing these matches at out- grounds around the counties, such as Tun- bridgeWells and Maidstone. The counties and the county championship

are the breeding ground for our England Test players – and success of the national team is still a high public priority. The 50/50 over games, with the end-of-

season Lord’s final, also have a strong follow- ing. Kent have done well this season. Note interest in the quarter final against Yorkshire. I fear such a gamble will be the graveyard

of county cricket and summer traditions which bring so much pleasure to many.

did not welcome or enjoy the entertainment. It was intrusive and rather too loud. My neighbour, who used the numbers

on the leaflet circulated to local people, said they did not seem to work and if and when he got through, they told him there was nothing that could be done about the noise levels. If the council is going to provide the

venue once again next year – as I believe it will – then it must have a beer way of recording and reacting to complaints. The council must have a presence there. In fairness, the music stopped before it

got too late and there was lile disturbance on the roads, as far as I could see. I was able to take myself off into the countryside for a walk near Hucking, but I regret to say I was still able to hear the drums quite clearly from there. J Maloney, via email

Less talk, more action

IT HAS recently become known to me that my name has twice been mentioned in your publication in connection with the disgraceful appearance of the parade of shops on Madginford estate. On the first occasion, this was in a report

of a parish council meeting, and secondly in an uncalled-for and ill-informed comment on your leers page. It is, of course, always a mistake to rush


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