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News


No let up on noisy freight


EXTRA freight trains running through Maidstone will continue to be diverted until after Christmas. We reported residents’ complaints


about the noise in our last edition, following Network Rail’s decision to switch trains to the line running from Maidstone West to Farleigh and beyond while bridge repairs are carried out in Lewisham. At the time, Network Rail was criticised by Fant borough council- lor Matt Boughton for not informing those living along the line of the dis- ruption and a likely completion date. Aspokesman said: “It isnowesti-


mated that in order to take advan- tage of the planned closure of parts of the route over the Christmas pe- riod, work will not be completed until the end of the year. Unfortu- nately, this means that freight serv- ices will still need to make use of the Medway Valley line.”


Call to players


MONDAY Badminton Club, based at New Line Learning Academy, Loose, is on the lookout for new members. The club meets from 7.30pm to 9.30pm on Mondays. Call 0770 900244.


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downsmail.co.uk


Eclipse Park plan for £14m store is agreed


A £14m Waitrose will be built at Eclipse Park in Maidstone, near the M20. Members of Maidstone Borough Council's planning committee ap- proved the new food store – thought to be the biggest in the county – by 10 votes to one. If work goes ahead according to


plan, the new shop, near junction seven of the M20, is unlikely to open before spring 2018 but could create more than 200 local jobs. Cllr David Burton, chairman of


MBC's Strategic Planning, Sustain- ability and Transport committee, sought to play down fears of traffic problems in an already busy road network. The member for Marden and


Yalding told Downs Mail: “You can balance an increase in movements with the fact that the park and ride is not there any more. “Whilst the store will bring some


more traffic, we have got some money to improve that junction.” Kent County Council had offered some observations about traffic


orchard dental practice


Emergency Appointments


Free Parking


TAKE ON A NEW CHALLENGE IN 2017


Maidstone Duathlons take place on March 5th at Harrietsham


Sprint race is 3k run/27k bike/3.5k run Standard race is 9.5k run/42k bike/3.5k run


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Examination £19.70 Late evening &


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16 Maidstone East January 2017


The Maidstone Sprint Triathlon is at Sutton Valence School on May 6th The distance is


300m swim/18k bike/4.2k run.


All event details and entries are found at www.velocity-events.co.uk


build-ups in the area, but withdrew its concerns when pledges were made to provide bus routes to and from the store. Arriva will operate the services to


stops on the Bearsted Road on the existing 333 and 334 services. Cllr Burton said that shoppers tended to use the nearest and most convenient food store to where they live, but could see customers coming from areas such as Vinters Park, Penenden Heath and Grove Green, which already has a large and popular Tesco. The Waitrose will sit alongside other chains such as Next and


Hilton at Eclipse Park. Other sites considered included


Baltic Wharf on St Peter’s Street and the empty Royal Mail sorting office site in central Maidstone, al- though none was thought to offer the same as the sitewhich is owned by Gallagher Properties. A Waitrose spokesman said:


“The proposed food store serves a different catchment to Allington Park, and analysis suggests there would be limited overlap of trade between the two locations.” It is estimated that construction


will take nine months, plus a two- month internal fit-out.


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