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KENT Police say they have no knowledge of incidents involving schoolgirls being chased and fol- lowed around Maidstone. Invicta Grammar School sent an

email to parents on December 13 saying that the force had been in- formed after a number of incidents involving an "individual". But a Kent Police spokesman de-

nied knowledge of any incidents which matched the description given out by the school. The IGS email said: "We have re-

ceived a few recent reports regard- ing an individual chasing/ following students in Maidstone town centre. This has happened to students in a number of schools in the area. The police have been in- formed and are investigating." Concern has been heightened

after a woman was attacked in an alleyway in the town centre, and another in Wallis Avenue by a stranger while a manwas seriously sexually assaulted in Shepway.

Medals taken

WORLD War II medals have been stolen by thieves in Senacre, Maid- stone. Four military medals in a silver

frame were taken in Garden Close, Senacre, on December 13. Two other medals, a Silver Acorn

and Medal ofMerit awarded by the Scouts, are also reported to have been taken. Anyone who believes they may

have been offered these items for sale, or who may have witnessed suspicious activity in the area, is asked to call Kent Police on 01622 604100 quoting YY/028171/16.

Homes fears

BEARSTED borough councillorVal Springett has written to MP Helen Whately to highlight the issue of “our disappearing bungalows”. She said many single-storey

homes were being made larger by “remodelling” the loft space and adding extensions, while others were demolished to make way for more properties. Cllr Springett told a recent meet-

ing of Bearsted Parish Council she is concerned that there will be fewer bungalows left for older peo- ple to retire to.

PRIME Minister Theresa May has backed MP Helen Whately's cam- paign over anti-social and illegal HGVparking that has blighted Kent for years. ThePMgave unequivocal backing

to the Mid Kent MP and said her roads minister was working to find suitable sites for parking in Kent. Speaking at the final Prime Minis-

ter’s Questions of the year, Helen Whately asked: “Will my Right Ho- nourable Friend, the Prime Minister,

4 Maidstone East January 2017 Homes provider to boost air ambulance

MAIDSTONE social housing provider Golding Homes has chosen the air ambulance as its charity partner for the next two years. Colleagues at Golding Homes

voted for the charity and are lining up a programme of fund-raising

events and challenges. Chief executive Peter Stringer said:

“We’re delighted to be supporting this fantastic local charity that pro- vides vital life-saving support to the local community and is close to many people’s hearts.”

Following a visit to Golding Homes’ head office in Allington, Julie Clare, from the air ambulance, said: “We are thrilled to have been selected as the chosen charity by Golding Homes and we are looking forward to our charity partnership.”

Prime minister backs MP’s call for lorry parking

supportmycampaign for more lorry parking spaces, more effective en- forcement and, ultimately, a ban on lorries parking in unauthorised places?” The Prime Minister replied: “I recognise the concern my Hon- ourable Friend has raised. Can I as- sure her that theGovernment shares the desire to ensure thatwe don’t see this fly-parking of lorries and that we do provide suitable lorry parking facilities in Kent.

"I know My Right Honourable

Friend the roads minister is looking at this issue very carefully indeed. "I know the pressure on the roads

and villages and towns in Kent in re- lation to this. It’s something the Gov- ernment is working on and we will find a solution.” Lorries parked up on laybys, grass

verges, public land, industrial estates and private roads bring with them litter, human waste and sometimes prostitution.

Mrs Whately said: "I’ve had hun-

dreds of letters, emails and angry tweets about it – that’s why I launchedmycampaign to tackle fly- parking. We need more places for lorries to park, andwe need effective enforcement.” Ukip borough councillor Eddie

Powell said: “We certainly need more effective enforcement for those irresponsible lorry drivers who don’t want to pay for parking and pitch up wherever they feel like.”

Call for ideas to keep village shop going

MOVINGHollingbourne shop to the village train station is one option being considered in a bid to keep the business going. It follows news that the talks about

the store’s future, which were ex- pected to see a change of ownership in the new year, appear to have stalled.

Christopher Rudgard (pictured),

whohas run the Eyhorne Street shop for 12 years, told Downs Mail this week that while he had hoped to re- tire, he accepts he will be behind the counter at least until the end of March.However, a solution needs to be found.

Hollingbourne Parish Council chairman Mike Bedwell said coun- cillors were keen to hear from any- one interested in taking on the shop, or with fresh ideas to help make it pay. Hesaid: “The parish councilwants

to do what it can to keep a shop and post office open in Hollingbourne, especially in light of the closure of the NatWest bank in nearby Bearsted. Ifwewere to lose the shop and the post office it would make getting money very difficult for vil- lagers, especially the elderly.”

commuters at the station other than a ticket machine, so it could be ad- vantageous for a village store selling newspapers, sweets and perhaps cups of coffee, that commuters would enjoy also. “We are trying to promote the sta-

tion as the closest rail connection to Leeds Castle, and more commuters from thenewhomes at LangleyPark on the Sutton Road are likely to opt for Hollingbourne where they can guarantee a seat, and there’s free parking. It is not difficult to see the huge potential this would be for the village shop.” Cllr Bedwell said other sugges-

He said the idea of moving the

shop to the stationwas just one sug- gestion, adding: “This is an idea very much in its early stages, with no ap- proaches made as yet.” However, he agreed – if South- easternwaswilling – therewasmerit in the increased daily footfall for the shop from commuters. He added: “There’s nothing for

tions include relocating the business a short distance from its current ad- dress, but with parking, or keeping it where it is and taking on the busi- ness with some private investment from interested villagers. Anyone interested to take on the

shop or with ideas should email parish clerk Vicki Smith at www.hollingbournepc.kent-

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