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Hey you! Up in the sky...

VILLAGERS in Bearsted were aston- ished to see a massive cherry picker ris- ing into the sky over the Green. The machine was hoisted 33 me- tres into the air, and for operative Jay Hammersley, it’s a perk of his job. “You really have no idea what the area is like until you get up above,” said Jay (pictured).

Jay Hammersley checks out the view of Bearsted from the cherry picker

Downs Mail journalist Rebecca Smith hitched a ride to capture some fantastic images and get the low down on why the machine was there. Full story page 3

Relief road is ‘key to clearing congestion’

THE single biggest improvement to Maidstone’s traffic woes would be the building of the Leeds/Langley bypass.

That was the message from the chairman of the borough’s strategic planning and transport committee, Cllr David Burton. Speaking after the council ap- proved its far- reaching Integrated Transport Strategy, Councillor Burton (pictured) said he believed the South East Relief Road would offer “the most significant

contribution to relief on the area’s roads”. He added: “My personal view is

that this would be the single most significant improvement. I travelled

across Maidstone today, and there were no problems. Itwas lovely. But, if something does occur then this area quickly becomes congested. The relief road would provide an al- ternative route aswell as providing a shorter journey.” Cllr Burton, who represents the Marden and Yalding ward, pointed out that a significant proportion of the area’s new homeswere destined to be built in the south. The council's report on the Inte-

grated Transport Strategy says that action to tackle congestion on Maid- stone’s roads is needed urgently, with 18,500 new homes and 14,500 new jobs envisaged by 2031. The proposals in the Integrated

Transport Strategy also include road improvements, particularly around key junctions, better bus services and train connections. Cllr Burton said: “The first drafts

were very much carrot and stick, with lots of stick for motorists. This latest draft is carrot, carrot, carrot. Yes, we want more cycle paths and, yes,wewant more bus services and better train services - but don't for- get the humble motorist.” The findings will be added to evi-

dence supporting the council’s Local Plan – the document bringing to- gether planning for development in the borough – which is due to be submitted for approval next month.

4 By-election win

UKIP’S John Barned (73) has won the Maidstone council Shepway south by-election, beating the Con- servatives by more than 22%. The seat was left free by the

death of Cllr Dave Sergeant in May. 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

6 October 2016 No. 234 News Ulcombe promises

THE friends of the church at Ul- combe will hold an auction of promises next month - full details.

Crash in Leeds

A YOUNG female motorcyclist was injured in a rush hour collision.

4 Newton crosses floor

INDEPENDENT Maidstone coun- cillor Gordon Newton has joined Ukip.

Detling Hill exercise

FIRE service experts flew a drone over the A249 at Detling in an exercise.

10 Super benefice latest

THE vicar vacancy at Holling- bourne is to be adver- tised this month. 10

Ramblin’ too loud

THE Ramblin’ Man music festival was too loud five times, it has been revealed. 14

Jail for alley thugs

TWO men are behind bars for a vicious attack on a man in Maidstone.

MP’s lorry crusade

MP HELEN Whately is tackling the issue of illegal park- ing by lorries.


22 40

Comment 42-43 Crime Reports 43

A WHITE Range Rover was stolen from a driveway in Leeds; lead was stolen from a business yard in Harrietsham; two bicycles were stolen from an address in the High Street, Lenham; a green golf buggy was stolen from a club in Kingswood.

14 6 3


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