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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

November 2016 Clive’s lights date

WHEN West Malling traders needed someone special to switch on the town’s Christmas lights, street cleaner Clive Mitson was the obvious choice.

Chamber of commerce members voted unanimously for the Veolia employee who has been keeping the pave- ments and roads spick and span for the last three years. Julia Smith, the chamber’s secretary, said: “We wanted to find someone who receives little or no recognition for doing a great job the whole community benefits from. Come rain or shine, Clive clears away the weekend rub- bish, sweeps the autumn leaves and is often found dig- ging out the moss in the pavement cracks.” Clive is also an avid fundraiser for the Pickering Can- cer Drop-in Centre at Tunbridge Wells. Turn to the MAP section inside for more details of the Christmas Lights Festival.

Councils clash over local housing plans

MAIDSTONE Council chiefs have sent a thinly-veiled warning to Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council to ease up on planning proposals.

Responding to TMBC’s Local Plan consultation, Maidstone’s chief ex- ecutive Alison Broom said her resi- dents have been in contact to “express their grave concerns”. A letter to the head of planning policy Ian Bailey was described by one seasoned observer of local plan- ning policy as a “declaration of war”.

It states: “Should Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council proceed with its development strategy, miti- gating transport impacts on already busy routes into Maidstone will be vital, including the A20, Hermitage Lane and A26, the latter having al- ready been subject to a significant in- crease in traffic following developments at Kings Hill.” The letter highlights potential pro-

posals on the Maidstone border at South Aylesford and Ditton which “suffers from severe traffic conges- tion” and raises the “current prob- lems around Hermitage Lane and the A20”.

It adds: “Focus in this regard should be upon an alternative route that draws road traffic away from this part of the A20 and Hermitage Lane in particular, whilst having re- gard to mitigating congestion and improving traffic flows on the wider road network in the area.” The letter says that the proposal could “also allow settlements to coa- lesce with Maidstone” and that “open space as part of any develop- ment, in order to address this issue, should therefore be a priority”. Howard Rogers, the cabinet mem-

ber in charge of planning at TMBC, said: “We have gone out with The Way Forward (consultation) docu- ment and are waiting for the re- sponses to come back...but we will get these responses in and qualify accordingly. “I am aware there are traffic issues in that part of Maidstone and I am aware of a lot of development work. “We are a long, long way away from looking at planning applica- tions, but rather looking at where potential building could happen and what would be needed in terms of infrastructure to accommodate it.” One local planning observer told Downs Mail it was “a highly signifi- cant letter – a declaration of war”. More Hermitage Lane & A20 news, see page 4

Crossing fury

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

AN MP has launched a furious tirade after being caught up in traf- fic chaos at the level crossing in Aylesford. It emerged that issues with a railway bridge in London have helped to cause gridlock on roads in the area.

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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

Remembrance effort

WI ladies have been busy knitting and crocheting red poppies.

3 Top earners in Kent

Workers in Tonbridge and Malling take home the highest wages in Kent.


Broadband problems 10

RYARSH residents continue their battle for a better internet service.

Pub scheme row

VILLAGERS call time on East Peckham townhouse plan.

T-junction danger

ROAD-users have urged changes at a notorious blind T-junction at Eccles.


Obituaries Comment

Crime Reports 26 32 34

Parish Councils 42-43

A ‘Beware of the Ducks’ sign will be put up at Offham after a car ran over a number of ducklings.


Inside this edition:

WEST Malling Parish Council has ap- pealed for residents to help its cam- paign against anti-social behaviour in the town by reporting incidents. See the four page supplement by Malling Action Partnership, which sup- ports people, businesses and events in the 11 parishes in Malling.

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