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News | Fury over plans for townhouses

RESIDENTS have spoken out against a Park Wood development which they say will remove vital parking in the area and overshadow neighbours.

The plan by Golding Homes

would replace 27 single storey garages, off Francis Lane and oppo- site Sutton Road, with a three-storey terrace of nine townhouses. But those already renting the existing garages will have to go elsewhere. It has caused anger among neigh-

bours, who say parking is already difficult. One said he had been try- ing to lease a garage in the area from Golding Homes for years. Mark Hall, from Sutton Road,

says: “I have requested a garage from Golding Homes twice and have been told that there aren’t any available; yet, in the application Golding Homes states that most of these garages aren’t being used. I know for a fact that garages are very

Will we lose our M&S in firm’s cull?

MARKS and Spencer in Maidstone faces an uncertain future after man- agement announced the iconic British chain will have 60 fewer clothing and home stores, 30 of which will shut. It is not yet known if either or

both the town centre stores will survive the cull, which will take place over the next five years and is set against falling profits on its clothing side. Some of the stores will be con-

verted into food stores. Chief exec- utive SteveRowe also plans to open 200 Simply Food shops. M&S reported falling sales and

profits in the six months to the end of September. Mr Rowe told the BBC: "This is

about building a sustainable, more profitable business that's relevant for our customers in a digital shop- ping age." Half-year results show the prob-

lems facing Mr Rowe, who took over in April, as clothing sales fell 5.9%, while its stronger performing food sales also fell 0.9%. Pre-tax profit dropped 88% to £25.1m, partly due to higher pen- sion costs. The retailer has over 300 full-

range sites, which sell clothing, homeware and food, and nearly 600 Simply Food shops in the UK. M&Swill shut 53 stores in China, France, Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The retailer said it would start a consultation with about 2,100 em- ployees about those proposals. No one in the Maidstone branch was prepared to comment.

4 Maidstone December 2016

sought after in the area so maybe they could re-build the existing garages and rent these out? Mr Hall also suggests that in spite of living across the road from the de-

velopment, his home will still be overlooked – made worse by the re- moval of mature trees. Acomplainant calledBTColeman

also remarks about the plan to re- move garages and parking, replac- ing them with houses in an area where parking is limited. As well as concerns about in- creased traffic on narrow Francis Lane,MrTony and Mavis Prior (pic- tured) say their homes would be overlooked by the homes. Mrs Prior (69) said:“We have lived

here 30 years and all we can see at the moment is a row of trees along the Sutton Road.We bought the free- hold to our home and nowwe learn we are to lose our privacy.” They also fear a long-standing

Dealer threw drugs in river after police stop

A DEALER described as a prolific offender, who supplied hard drugs in Maidstone, has been jailed for more than five and a half years. Maidstone Crown Court heard

that Abdul Jalloh tried to escape ar- rest by throwing his phone and drugs into the river when he was stopped by plain clothes officers near Lockmeadow on September 23. However, quick-thinking offi- cers were able to retrieve his six wraps of heroin and one of crack cocaine, and his phone. The court heard that Jalloh’s

phone contained messages consis- tent with his role in supplying ClassA drugs. Jalloh – who admitted possessing

heroin and cocaine with intent to supply – was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison

on October 24. Sergeant Roy Haffenden said:

“The quick thinking of our officers ensured we were able to retrieve the drugs that Jalloh sought to dis- card. Because of this we have been able to provide the courts with con- clusive evidence of his guilt. “Jallohwas a prolific offender, in-

volved in the supply of heroin and cocaine in Maidstone and beyond This sentence means another dan- gerous criminal has been removed from our streets. “We are working to target those

involved in the supply of drugs in Maidstone and have both visible and plain clothes officers patrolling the streets. Criminals who come to this town with the intention of sell- ing drugs will be arrested and put before the courts.”

Sports bar a joint venture

IT SEEMS an unlikely leap from a plant hire boss to sports bar owner – but that is what Jordan Park plans to do with childhood friend John Gilham. They have just opened the Century Club in Lower Stone Street, Maidstone, in the prem- ises which once housed Rileys Sports Bar. For Mr Park (27) and Mr Gra-

ham (28), it is the culmination of a dream they nurtured growing up together in Plains Avenue in Shepway. The Century Club will have 14

HD television screens and will also serve food, drinks and have

DJs hosting evenings. Mr Park, who runs a plant hire company, said: “We always said wewanted to open a business to- gether and whenwe saw that the premises was vacant we decided to give a go.” There will be five lounge areas

and wherever the customers sit, they will be able to see the action being relayed on screen. He added: “We have gone for

the screens which give the best possible picture and wherever you sit you’ll be able to see a screen. But there are also areas where you can have a drink with- out watching them.”

agreement with Maidstone Council to park their car on hard-standing in the back garden will no longer apply since the land was transferred to Golding Homes in 2004. Golding Homes refused to be

drawn on the parking issue or the size of the redevelopment, saying these issues will be looked at as part of the planning process. Spokesman Keith Mandy said:

“We have designed the scheme to take into account, as much as possi- ble, the views from local residents. “The formal planning application

has been submitted to Maidstone Borough Council and as part of the planning process, they will take into consideration any issues or objec- tions before making a decision.”

Police praised

KENT crime comissioner Matthew Scott has praised Kent Police’s offi- cers and staff after Her Majesty’s In- spector of Constabulary (HMIC) commended the force for its effi- ciency at keeping people safe and re- ducing crime. HMIClooked at whether Kent Po-

lice was making best use of its re- sources to provide policing services that meet expectation and follow public priorities, and if it was plan- ning and investing wisely for the fu- ture.

HM Inspector of Constabulary

Zoë Billingham said: “Kent Police continues to be good in its work to keep people safe and reduce crime.” MrScott said itwas a “positive re- port” by the inspector.

Church quiz

CHARGE your brain and your glasses for a quiz night in Maidstone on Saturday, December 3. The fund-raiser for All Saints’ Church, in Mill Street, starts at the church at 7pm. Entry is £7 and people are invited

to join as a team or on their own. Those taking part are invited to

bring their own alcoholic drinks. Hot drinks, nibbles and mince pies will be provided. Call Mary Shaw on 01622 631368

to book by November 27 or email

Cable damage ADIGGERdamaged cables, leaving homes in Tovil without power for more than seven hours. UK Power Networks apologised

for the break in service for nearly 200 customers in Tovil Green. Some were without power until

just before midnight on November 2, as the service had to be turned off and made safe.

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