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News ‘10-yearwait’ for road changes

ROADimprovements to cope with 1,150 homes off the A249 will need to dovetail with upgrades on the M20 at Maidstone and the M2 at Stockbury. Quinn Estates expects to submit its ambitious plan for a “garden vil- lage” on top of Detling Hill this month, but says it will be down to Maidstone Council and the highway authorities to set the agenda for up- grading the road. It says a part-signalled gyratory on

the Sittingbourne-bound carriage- way of the A249 will serve the de- velopment, which also includes a hotel, 650,000sqft commercial park, playing fields, primary school and possibly a park and ride. It would not, however, be pressed

on how far up its priority list the newinfrastructure would be, in spite of claims that the dual carriageway is already operating above capacity and the development could take 10 years to complete. A spokesman for the company

run by Mark Quinn said it had a good reputation for providing “the goodies”, but these would have to be phased and co-ordinated with road improvements elsewhere. Quinn spokesman Hamish Buttle said improvements to the entrance

to Detling showground, with an ac- celeration and deceleration lane, and possibly a bus lane to Maidstone and M20 junction im- provements were also being dis- cussed. He added that a section 106 condi- tion would be legally binding and planners were keen to talk

Hamish Buttle

about how the site might tie in with road improvements on the M20 and on theM2at Stockbury, and a possi-

ble third Thames crossing. But the development of another 100-hectare site in Maidstone, incor- porating the formerRAFDetling air- field is causing awar of its own. Stockbury and Detling parish councils oppose the plan, while Thurnham has said it will make its decisionwhenthe plan is submitted. Stockbury Parish Council vice chairman PhilWooddrew the battle lines after attending a second public consultation at Detling village hall. He added: “The details of Quinn’s plans are almost irrelevant, as they would be bound to change over the

10-15 years it would take to build. “The site is within a designated

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and without a substantial upgrade along the length of theA249 between J7 and J5 of the M2, and the complete re-modelling of both junctions, the road cannot cope with the traffic that would be generated. “We have been assured by Maid-

stone Council that it remains politi- cally opposed to the development. Officers have stated they have no need for additional land for housing, having already secured their five- year land supply.”

Lions help silver surfers get to online

SILVER surfers in Maidstone have been given new equipment worth more than £500 A tutorial screen and two tablets

bring Age UK Maidstone’s computer kit up to date, thanks to Maidstone Lions Club. The charity has been running

free computer classes for eight years, helping nearly 500 older users. Age UK Maidstone community

fundraiser Karen Kennedy said: “Being able to look up a recipe on

line, buy some shopping or order gifts is invaluable if you have mobility problems and puts the elderly back in touch with a world we all take for granted.” Maidstone Lions Club made the donation with the proceeds from running a car park at the Job Centre offices in Staceys Street on Maidstone United match days and on Saturdays in December. For details of the computer courses call Olu Dobner on 01622 753618.

Age UK’s Louise MacPherson with Lions’ member Malcolm Luxton

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For further information and to book call 01622 691916. 49 Earl Street, Maidstone.

6 Maidstone December 2016

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