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even bigger WELCOME to the November edi- tion of the Downs Mail, Maidstone and Malling’s number one news- paper. From today, we have expanded


the number of our publications serving the county town and sur- rounding areas from four to five. With the expansion of Maidstone


and an increase in its housing stock, we want to reach out to new read- ers.


Of course,wewant to provide an


even better service to our advertis- ers by adding thousands of copies being delivered door to door. Mail Publications Chairman


Claire Procter said: “At a time when some newspapers have declined,we have decided to expand our offering both to our family of loyal readers and our commercial partners. “The Downs Mail is soon to cele-


brate its 20th anniversary and what better way to do so than to an- nounce these exciting expansion plans.”


Downs Mail now publishes five editions across the Maidstone and Malling areas with more than 85,000 copies delivered direct to people’s homes and available for pick-up every month. All of our current and archived editions are also free to read on our website at www.downsmail.co.uk


News


Work starts on upgrade at Lockmeadow centre


WORK is set to transform Lock- meadow Entertainment Centre from a bland building into a bright, modern and more sympa- thetic focal point for the area. These were the words that se-


cured an eight-week approval time from Maidstone Borough Council’s planning officers for the upgrade, which started this month and should be finished by Christmas. Owners Kames Capital says it has


been exploring various options to improve the leisure complex inside and out since buying the Barker Street centre last year. It says the new natural stone clad frontage, with a glass entrance and canopy, will form part of the trans- formation of the 1990s building, which will include the refurbish- ment of the ground floor mall. The first floor balcony will be


glazed to create an extra 180sqm of floorspace, which will be used by Gravity, which has a trampoline centre at the venue. In pride of place will be a new Lockmeadow sign with illuminated, white acrylic letters on a black back- ground measuring 4.2m high by


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16.65m wide, with room either side to advertise the centre’s anchor ten- ants.


The designer states: “Asignificant feature of the proposal is to improve the main entrance. At present, it is dated, with no coherent design ap- proach. The signage also fails to blend in with the existing building materials. “The proposal instead replaces all signage and uses a modern stone colour cladding to cover the existing façade to create a visually attractive entrance toMaidstone’s premier en-


tertainment venue that will dramat- ically improve the appearance of the facility.” At ground level, new steps and


ramps will replace the existing arrangement leading to the main en- trance, which will also improve ac- cess for the disabled. Planning permission for the site to


be used as a leisure complex was given back in September 1996 and since then, a number of tenants have used the building as a venue for nightclubs, restaurants and leisure activities, alongside a cinema.


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