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downsmail.co.uk 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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