orderForm.noItems Maidstone East Edition Maidstone East Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

March 2017 Primary school plan for medical site

A MUCH-needed new primary school or special needs education centre could be based at the Kent Medical Campus (KMC) near Bearsted, Downs Mail has learnt. The Education Funding Agency

(EFA) has earmarked the site for one or other establishment. We understand that the Leigh Academies Trust and the Valley Invicta Academies Trust (VIAT) have submitted bids to the EFA. But the local MP Helen Whately has called for both types of school to be built as each is needed. Although a primary school would fall short of the facility de-

sired in the Bearsted parish, it would provide easy access and ample parking for parents. Mrs Whately said: “I want to make sure we have more primary school and special school places to ensure children can attend local schools. “I’ve been working with Kent County Council, and pressing the EFA to move quickly, as we must have a new primary school open in September 2018 at the latest. “The EFA tells me they have identified a potential site for a new school on the Kent Medical Campus, and14

FREE No. 239

News Laundrette changes

ROSEACRE Laundrette in Bearsted has been taken on by the business family running Marino’s fish & chip shop. 3

Shop closure delay

HOLLINGBOURNE’S village shop has won reprieve from clo- sure until September.

Woodcut Farm fears

AN INFLUENTIAL body is con- cerned development of Woodcut Farm is looming. 6

MP Helen Whately

All change as Arriva unveils bus review

BUS passengers in Maidstone face major upheaval in a shake-up of routes throughout the borough by Arriva.

Changes which come into effect

on April 2 will see a number of cut- backs, with some services with- drawn completely. However, there will be improve-

ments in some areas, including a newdedicated service every 20 min- utes from the town to Maidstone Hospital. Details of the new timetable,

whichArriva says should reducede- lays by avoiding routes through the congested town centre, were un- veiled at a public meeting on Satur- day, February 18, at the Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone. The review coincides with the hir-

ing of leading PR consultancy Maxim whose press release, on be- half of Arriva, highlighted “exciting

changes to Maidstone services”. Craig Taylor of Arriva Southern Counties, said the bus firm had wanted “to see how we can further improve the reliability and punctu- ality of our services.” He added: “Congestion in the

town centre makes it difficult for our buses to keep to the timetable. By splitting routes and ensuring good connections, we will be able to pro- vide a far more reliable service.”

But concern over the “impact of

some of the changes proposed and the timing of them,” was raised by KCCbosses, according to an officer’s private briefing note to members, who will be going to the polls on May 4. The briefing, obtained by Downs

Mail, says: “As a result of our ap- proach, Arriva have made some ad- justments to their intended changes andmanyof the most sensitive have been mitigated. Despite this, there remains a negative impact for some passengers and the changes are likely to result in a negative reaction from the general public.” Arriva says that key improve-

ments include service 7 be- tween Maidstone and


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20 Signs for Lenham

A NEW “tree” of fingerposts have been erected in Lenham in village upgrade.

GPs work together

GPs in Maidstone and beyond are increasingly working to- gether in clusters.

22 Bring back dog bins

A COUNCILLOR has called for dog waste bins to be brought back.

Obituaries 24 32

Comment 34-35 Crime Reports 47

WINDOWS at a house in The Morlings, Bearsted, were broken inan apparent burglary attempt; fencing was damaged in Caring Road, Leeds; two blue horse rugs were stolen from a field in Chart- way Street, Kingswood; a Nissan Navara was stolen in Lenham.

Parish Councils 46-47

A RESIDENT has asked for an outdoor gym at the playing field in Leeds; flytipping continues to be left along the verges in Cheg- worth Road, Ulcombe; a resident has agreed to clear a culvert in The Street, Bredhurst; a new councillor has been co-opted onto the parish council in Harri- etsham.

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