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Boroughs come to blows MailMarks

THE gloves are now off as Maidstone

Council prepares to fire a mighty blast to Ton- bridge and Malling Council which aims to load much more of its heavyweight residen- tial development in an areamost sensible peo- ple would consider part of Maidstone, not Tonbridge. I have frequently commented before that

places like Aylesford, Coldharbour, Her- mitage Lane, Aylesford, Larkfield, Ditton (even East andWest Malling) should never be part of Tonbridge. They are right on our doorstep and resi-

dents look so much more to the county town than to a much more distant Tonbridge. There is a powerful case for a boundary change, likely to win strong support from Maidstone, but little from a diminished Ton- bridge. There has been minimal damage to Maid-

stone in the past – but times are changing. Faced with the same problem as Maidstone in having to build many thousands of new houses to meet government’s insatiable de- mands, Tonbridge looks increasingly at its far Maidstone end for land. The crunch has come in Hermitage Lane, Barming. The new business development at the junction with the A20 is in Tonbridge bor- ough and the traffic changes and new traffic lights are causing themost appalling and dan- gerous problems.

Village has three schools

MAY I refer you to the latest edition of the Downs Mail (East edition, November). On page four, you printed an article headed “Hurry Up on second school”. Could I respectfully point out that Bearsted already has three primary schools – Thurnham Infants School, Roseacre Junior School (which I accept could be treated as one) and Madginford Primary School. This is the second time to my knowledge that you have referred to this maer as if Madginford is not part of Bearsted. When reporting on the need for further primary education provision in the Bearsted area, could you please refer to it by saying something like “additional” or “further” and not reinforce the outdated stereotype that Bearsted only exists north of the A20? Perhaps our local councillors and our

local MP should be asked to also correct their views or misunderstandings on this maer. Charles Tanswell, governor, Madginford Primary School

Road is not pedestrianised

I READ with some surprise the article in November’s Downs Mail regarding new premises in Park Wood. These shops, although very smart, are

not in a pedestrianised area. Most of the shops are on either side of Longshaw Road which is just that – a road. The definition of pedestrianised in the Oxford dictionary says and I quote ”accessible only to pedestrians”.

32 Maidstone Weald December 2016


Who are the key sufferers? Not the good

folk of Tonbridge, but Maidstone residents who see this vital lane as themain route to the M20 and access road to Maidstone Hospital. It really is a nonsense. They have had enough and are rightly causing a lot of noise. Already, most believe there is toomuch res- idential development in and around the lane. Now Tonbridge Council wishes to add heav- ily to it in its own Local Plan. In a draft letter to Tonbridge, Maidstone

says: “Mitigating transport impacts on al- ready-busy routes in to Maidstone will be seen as vital – including the A20, Hermitage Lane and the A26, already subject to a signif- icant increase in traffic following develop- ments at Kings Hill.” Maidstone also draws attention to signifi-

cant residential and employment develop- ment in South Aylesford and Ditton, already subject to heavy congestion and air pollution, which would worsen. The borough council says the current pro-

posals would allow settlements to coalesce with Maidstone – so provision of open space would be a priority.

This area is far from that. Traffic is not restricted at all and the road is used by buses, lorries and cars to gain access to the vast housing estate beyond the shops. Car parking is also available to shoppers directly outside the shops This area is now very dangerous with adults and children crossing this busy road to use the shops. They also have to negotiate the parked cars that are constantly reversing etc.. Today there are traffic lights directly on Longshaw Road outside the shops. Why would this be necessary if the areawas pedestrianised? I think that a lile poetic licence has been used by the developers. Jeanne Richards, via email

Shops are on a busy road

I WISH to inform you that the new-build at Parkwood is not pedestrianised. The shops are surrounded byWallis

Avenue, Longshaw Road, Livingstone Walk and CobbWay. The main car parking is on Longshaw Road, which is possibly the busiest road in Parkwood as it leads on to Bicknor Road which has a school , a church, four assembly halls, a crèche, a playing field, and playground. The car park is laid out either side of Longshaw Road facing the shops, causing much inconvenience to users as cars are constantly reversing in or out. Elizabeth McCashin, via email

Let’s all support the cause

JENNY Suon has been a long time campaigner for a relief road to reduce through traffic alongWillington Street to the benefit of long-suffering residents. I

MBCrequires focus on an alternative trans-

port route to draw traffic away from the A20 and Hermitage Lane, in particular. The council is calling for joint working in- cluding KCC. Expect some very tough, rough talks. There is feeling of abuse around.

Fewer hospital beds? A CASE is being prepared for a huge re-

duction in hospital beds in Maidstone and TunbridgeWells hospitals. The Maidstone trend was started in the

times of notorious hospitals’ chief executive Rose Gibb – and now the fund-holding GP- led NHSWest Kent Clinical Group is report- ing how a further cutwould make sense. The group is under great pressure to save

money and its plans look at big changes. Bed-blocking by patients who really need

social care is a huge problem and the group looks at changes which will ensure much greater care in the community for all of us. This will involve a much stronger physical and financial contribution from social wel- fare.

The group says that if nothing is done costs

will just escalate with another 67 acute hospi- tal beds needed in five years and 139 in 10 years. But, if the changes are made, it sees a need

for 60 less beds. The overall financial savings are big. Sowatch this space.

admire her tenacity and determination to achieve the goal of reduced traffic flow along this extremely busy thoroughfare. However, I feel that I must take issue

with Jenny regarding her aribution of comments made by councillor Eddie Powell of UKIP regarding the provision of this relief road, as patronising and flippant. Eddie, like many of us, believes that the saturation level of housing being built along the A274 around Bicknor Farm will be deleterious to the area. Not only is this housing being built on previously agricultural land, it will be productive of hugely increased levels of traffic. Such traffic will most likely find its way either through the town centre or down Willington Street. Jenny rightly states that the campaign

for this relief road should transcend political affinities. Indeed, it is my personal feeling that anything to do with important local issues should be free from party politics. Eddie works tirelessly for the people of Maidstone south ward, assisting residents with problems and difficulties that can occur when everyday life meets officialdom. Many people find this interface to be daunting and, sometimes, almost insurmountable. Community spirit seems to have declined over recent years. People who would once have had no hesitation in seeking counsel and help from neighbours, now find that there is a good chance that they hardly see their neighbours, let alone feel able to ask them for help or advice. I know Eddie has also supported local residents with a campaign of their own. It


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