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News MPsupports

new traders MAIDSTONE and the Weald MP Helen Grant visited Harpers Gift and Coffee Shop in the Market Buildings, Maidstone. She was invited by new owners

Frank Goodhind and Serena Parker. The couple come from diverse backgrounds in the music industry and interior design, with Frank being a composer for many years. Together they have big plans for Harpers and hope to extend their love of artisan breads and cakes to their coffee shop menu. Mrs Grant chatted to Frank, with

whom she is pictured about his plans for the business and bought one of the unique greeting cards in the shop. TheMPadded: "It’s fantastic that

Frank and Serena have continued to provide a platform for local artists and craftspeople, which Harpers has always been well known for. I wish them the best of luck with their future plans.”

Store and pub trouble as travellers move in

TESCOinGroveGreenwas forced to shut early and police were called to the Early Bird public house after a disturbance report- edly caused by members of the travelling community. Locals reported caravans and

other vehicles parked up in the car park near the staff entrance to the store on September 3 and, accord- ing to sources, flooded the toilets in- side.

Residents reported mess and humanwaste in the area. Police confirmed theywere called

to the popular Early Bird public house in the square next to Tesco and the nearby parade of shops. A spokesman said: "We re-

sponded at 11.41pm on Saturday, September 3, to a report that a group of people entered the pub and damaged a number of glasses. "Officers attended and dispersed

the group. Therewere no injuries." An Early Bird staff member con- firmed there had been trouble but the pub had reopened for business. The pub's manager was ap-

proached for a comment. A Tesco spokesman said: “The

store manager informed me that travellers arrived on the site on Sat- urday, stayed the night and were gone by Sunday lunch time. “The store and local pub worked

with the police to encourage them to move on, and they have not re- turned since.” But a member of staff said: "They

made a right nuisance of them- selves, flooding the toilets and thieving stock from the store. They just arrived in the car park and made a total mess of it. There was

filth everywhere. “So the decision was made to

shut the store at 10pm which is a couple of hours early for a Satur- day.”

Reports emerged the following

day that travellers had set up camp in the Medway Street car park in the town centre. They later moved on.

About nine caravans and motor

homes moved on to the short-stay site overnight on September 5. Police were called out at 6.40pm

but no crimes were found to have taken place.

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