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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

Apples are the stars of fruit festival November 2016

WEAVERING’S apple-growing heritage was celebrated in style at a Festival of Fruit. The event, which took place at the Diamond Jubilee Orchard, was a celebration of all things apple, including apple pies, apple pressing and beekeeping. Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Derek Butler, is pictured receiv- ing a basket of fruit from Boxley Parish Cllr Vic Davies and assis- tant clerk Melanie Fooks.  Full story on page 10

Has the Bearsted shop bale come to an end?

THE redevelopment of a popular shopping parade at Bearsted Green has moved a step closer after campaigners lost their fight to get it listed.

It is feared that the decision now

leaves the way clear for developers to put forward a new scheme. The Bearsted and Thurnham Soci- ety, which appealed against English Heritage’s refusal to list The Parade, expressed disappointment after the original decision was upheld. Treasurer Roger Vidler said: “It is

now very much up to the owners of the building and what they propose to do. The ball really is in their court, but we have had huge support and remain determined to try and do everything to preserve it. “There is very limited car parking and this would be a serious problem for any future planning application.” Bearsted residents have fought to

save their shops, which have already been the subject of two planning proposals by Hove-based owners Evenden Estates to demolish and re-

build, with flats above. The campaign was backed by MP Helen Whately, county councillors Paul Carter and Jenny Whittle, as well as three borough ward council- lors and the parish council. Listing would have given the building additional protection, which the borough council would have to consider when making a de- cision. The existing businesses, butchers WJ Crouch incorporating Rickwood’s; Bearsted Computer So- lutions and Taylors the Newsagents, would need to relocate during the reconstruction.

The owners withdrew the first ap- plication and the second was refused by MBC’s planning committee. The Bearsted and Thurnham Soci- ety hoped to persuade English Her- itage to list the parade. It was thought that the Victorian canopy, in

particular, should be preserved. However, English Heritage felt that the architectural and historical interests of the building did not meet the criteria for listing, although it did make a positive contribution to the character of the conservation area. The society then asked the De- partment for Culture, Media and Sport to review the decision, making a comparison with the grade II listed Colonnade at Hawkhurst. Officials said the society had failed to provide evidence that the original decision was wrongly made. Borough ward Cllr Val Springett said: “This decision is really disap- pointing. Nothing will happen now unless the owners come forward with another application. “There is nothing left that we can do apart from hope they will respect the wishes of the community.”

Gyratory delay WORK on the Maidstone bridges

gyratory system will not be com- pleted on time.

01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

The £5.75 million project was due to end in November but bosses now say it will be January 2017.


A Crackin’ Christmas Holiday Club Wed 21st Dec - Fri 23rd Dec & Tues 3rd Jan

Newnham Court Shopping Village, Bearsted Rd, Maidstone, Kent ME14 5LH 01622 737733

Fully inclusive 7.30am - 6.30pm

FREE No. 235

News Downs Mail expands

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

Rare bird in Leeds

AN extremely rare nutcracker has been spotted in a gar- den in Leeds village.

Local Plan inquiry

THE public inquiry into the coun- cil’s Local Plan begins with MPs speaking out. 8

Let’s get militant

VILLAGERS are threatening di- rect action to highlight traffic problems.

COUNTY council chiefs are to consult the public on a council tax rise of 4%.

Ukip fraud denial

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


23 34

Comment 38-39 Parish Councils50-51 Crime Reports 51

A YELLOW quad bike was stolen from a garage in West Street in Harrietsham.

10 KCC consults on hike 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.

Action packed Fun days


Time Only Nursery Places also Available

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