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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

January 2017 Store collection raises £4,000

KINDHEARTED customers at Tesco Grove Green have raised more than £4,000 for charity. Maidstone Riverside Rotary members were joined by saxophonist and tutor Clive Frewer and some of his students, who played Christmas songs during the club’s annual collection at the store.

The money will go to local good causes as well as emergency disaster relief charity ShelterBox. Club president Steve Elms said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to help several local charities and also ShelterBox. Also a big thank you to the generous people of Maidstone.”

Villagers urged to fight bank closure

A PETITION has been launched against the planned closure of the NatWest Bank branch in Bearsted.

The Bearsted and Thurnham Soci- ety hopes a significant proportion of the area’s 8,000 residents will back the campaign to save the branch. The petition can be signed in Tay-

lor’s newsagents on the Parade. The society has already received the support of MP Helen Whately and Bearsted Parish Council. Mary Richards, the society secre- tary, wrote to the bank complaining of a “flagrant disregard for cus- tomers’ needs”. With the recent closure of the Lenham branch, there is no NatWest between Ashford and Maidstone. The nearest branch, without going into town, is on the Sutton Road. Mrs Richards said the elderly and those who do not drive will be “se- verely disadvantaged”.

She poured scorn on the sugges-

tion by NatWest to use the post of- fice next door for paying in and withdrawals.

In her letter she states: “The alter-

native paying-in and withdrawal service mentioned ... is all very well but this post office counter is already very busy with queues being the norm, and there is no guarantee that this service will continue.” The society has been banking at

NatWest in Bearsted for 30 years. Mrs Richards said that not every-

one was willing to bank online and wondered how the NatWest offer of a visiting “community banker” could work in practice.

She added: “This branch offers a good, personal and friendly service. In short, it is a valuable community asset. We urge you to reconsider.” Helen Whately, MP for Faversham

and Mid Kent, has written to NatWest CEO, Ross Maxwell McE- wan to express disappointment at the loss of the branch. The NatWest branch in Staple- hurst, shut after a ram raid in the summer, will not re-open. Other branches that have been shut are Marden, Coxheath, Lenham, Snod- land and Headcorn.

A bank spokesman blamed falling transactions – Bearsted by 33% –while online and phone banking had risen by 54%.  The closure of the branch prompted a heated response from Thurnham Parish council. Members said the decision had been made in spite of it being a busy branch. They urged residents to write to NatWest and make their feelings known.


Pub takeover BEARSTED’s Oak on The Green


and the Fish on the Green, have been bought by Kent brewer Shep- herd Neame. The venues belong to a chain of five pub restaurants sold for £11.85m by owners Alex and Helen Bensley.


FREE No. 237

News Save our village shop

A RESCUE plan is needed if Hollingbourne’s village store is to survive once the owner retires.

Hospice needs help

THE Heart of Kent Hospice faces job cuts after suffering a drop in funding.

Tory ejection claim

A COUNCILLOR says he was ejected from a Ramblin’ Man meeting.

Church makeover

BOXLEY Church gets an £82,000 refurbishment and the clock has a facelift.

Leeds road closures

BANNED HGVs are blamed after road is closed by burst water pipes.


MP’s M20 campaign 20

Comment Obituaries

MP Helen Whately is pressing for a new M20 surface to reduce noise levels.

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Parish Councils 46-47

Work on the war memorial at Harrietsham would cost £8,000; at Lenham, neighbours of the Ham Lane playpark had com- plained about older youths using the equipment at night and caus- ing a nuisance; flytipping prob- lems in the Chegworth road area were reported at Ulcombe.

Crime Reports 47

A SUSPECT smashed the glass in a patio door and ransacked the property in The Landway, Bearsted, before stealing a num- ber of items; parts were removed from a vehicle in Honey Lane, Otham; animals were attacked and injured at a farm in Lenham.

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