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downsmail.co.uk Maidstone North Edition Maidstone North Edition


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


November 2016


FREE No. 235


MP joins town celebration of diversity News


MAIDSTONE and the Weald MP Helen Grant was one of the guests at the Maidstone Black and Minor- ity Ethnic Communities Forum’s recent celebration.


Mrs Grant, deputy mayor of Maidstone Malcolm Greer, and 200 guests from 20 countries enjoyed a coming together of cultures. The MP spoke of the need to em- brace and celebrate our diversity and to counter the national 85% in- crease in hate crime since the coun- try voted to leave the EU in June.


Downs Mail expands


DOWNS Mail announces the ex- pansion of its portfolio from four editions to five - distribut- ing 85,000 copies monthly. 3


Lockmeadow revamp


WORK srtarts on improving the town centre entertain- ment complex.


She said: “It is also vital that peo- ple from diverse backgrounds en- gage with the political process if


they are to effect positive change. Registering to vote is a good start.” Full story, page 11


More homes ‘will put lives at risk on roads’


RESIDENTS living around Maidstone Hospital claim borough council house-building programmes could put lives at risk.


It follows details of eight more


sites earmarked by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council for devel- opment off Hermitage Lane and the surrounding area. In TMBC’s plans, a further 100 hectares of green field land is sug- gested for development. Barbara Woodward, chairman of


the New Allington Action Group, says with more than 1,300 homes for the area included in Maidstone’s building plan to 2031, even one more development will affect theA20 and westbound traffic coming into town. Mrs Woodward says Allington


Action Group has been fighting de- velopment near the town’s hospital since Croudace first applied to build 500 homes off Hermitage Lane. She said: “Now, with more homes reaching completion, residents face chaos on this road every day. A


Barbara Woodward and Darren Young


friend reported passing three ambu- lances in traffic as shewalked to the hospital. One put on his blue lights but when there is nowhere to go, what can they do? Lives are at risk.” TMBC’s call for further construc-


tion sites has produced suggestions for development at various sites in- cluding behind the RBLI cottages, the Quarry Wood Industrial Estate, land backing on to the Coldharbour traveller site and land east of Her-


mitage Lane, as well as at East Malling Research Station. A spokesman for TMBC said the


Local Plan is out to public consulta- tion until November 25, but it does address the need for better infra- structure. These improvements could carry up to 3,000 new homes. The action group’s Darren Young


says: “We aren’t paying officers to make planning decisions on our be- half because they are educated, be- cause that’s obviously not the case. “We have two borough bound-


aries and this push-pull scenario be- tween the councils is driving all needed housing to our doorstep.” The group is asking residents to respond to TMBC’s consultation and to attend a show of opposition at Maidstone council’s planning meet- ing at Maidstone Town Hall at 6pm on November 17.


01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT


Gyratory delay WORK on the Maidstone bridges gyratory system will not be com- pleted on time. The £5.75 million project was


maidstone@martinco.com 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent


due to end in November but bosses now say it will be January 2017.


14 Local Plan inquiry


THE public inquiry into the coun- cil’s Local Plan begins with MPs speaking out. 4


Sink hole danger


A TOP geologist warns of the sink hole dangers facing Maidstone.


5 Beggars moved on


TOWN centre beggars will be moved on in a bold council scheme.


Ukip fraud denial


AN EX-Ukip MEP denies she knew of an expenses scam run by an aide.


Obituaries Comment


21 30 42


Parish Councils 43 Crime Reports 43


VEHICLE body parts were stolen from a Volvo saloon at a car park in Campbell Road.


17 3


Festive recycling


CHRISTMAS is coming and we have advice on recycling festive waste. For more, see the Maid- stone Borough Council-sponsored 12-page Borough Update inside.


01622 880840


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