Bus lane ‘will not help unlesswe tackle traffic’

A PROPOSED new bus lane to al- leviate congestion on theA274will notwork, saysMPHelenWhately. Such ameasure on theSutton

Road,which will see a marked in- crease in traffic volumes with the buildingofthousandsofhouses, is inadequate, she says. Bus giant Arriva recently an-

nounced a scaling back ofsome serv- ices and the stoppingofone altogether,which served Langley. Mrs Whately (pictured) said:

“Traffic is making life a misery in Maidstone and the villages. “People tellme that sitting in long

queues, being late forwork and de- layed getting homeisunbearable. “Atthesame time, important bus services are beingwithdrawn from growing villages like Langley.We need a proper strategy to tackle con- gestion and improveour roads. “I don’t think a bus laneon the

A274 by itself is the answer. People with busy lives will take thequick- est route – the fact thatArriva is see- ing fallingdemand for its services suggests that’s not always the bus. “Manyofmy constituents have

toldme they don’t see the point of a new bus lanewhen traffic on that road is so bad and people aren’t using thebuses. “I’m concerned that theviewsof

residents are not reflected in the Local Plan,and I’ve challenged the planning inspector to rethink his proposals. I want him to reconsider all optionsforour roads, includinga Leeds-Langley relief road. “More people using buses more

often is probably part of the answer, but first weneed investment in the roads to tackle traffic and reduce journey times.”

Arriva reveals

main changes MP HELEN Whately received a letter from the regional manag- ing director of Arriva, saying that a number of services will become less frequent and others will be withdrawn altogether. These will come into effect from April 4 2017 and include: Withdrawal of Langley’sNo12 service, which will be served by the No 13, but less frequently. Replacing the half-hourly No 8 from Downswood to Maidstone Hospital with an hourly service  Additional stops on the no 19 from Bearsted to Maidstone, in- creasing journey times. TheNo82 ParkWood to Maid- stone reduced from every 8 to every 10 minutes. Loss of the No 85 direct hospi- tal service for Shepway and Senacre residents, with users hav- ing to change buses in the town centre to get to the hospital. Taste awards

MAIDSTONE had two successes at the Taste of Kent Awards, which honours good food in the county. The Mulberry Tree, in Boughton

Monchelsea was runner-up in the restaurant category and Total Berry Rumwood Green Farm in Langley won an award for its raspberries. StephanieDurling of Produced in

Kent, said: “The awards highlight the finest produce thecounty has to offer and forwinners, they are the stamp of approval from customers.”

Beer festival

MAIDSTONE is turningGerman, withaBavarian Bierkeller opening in the townandplans to bringthe Oktoberfest toMote Park. Crowdshave been enjoying steins

of lager and oompah music at the former Beluga Bar in Bank Street since the beginning of themonth. The Oktoberfest will be at Mote Park fromOctober 13-15.

Weapon charge

A HOMELESS man has been jailed after hewas arrested in Maidstone, armedwith aknuckle-duster. Samuel Murphy (35) admitted

possession of the weapon in Fairmeadow.Hewas given a 42-day prison sentence atMid KentMagis- trates’ Court andmust also pay a £115 victim surcharge.



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