orderForm.noItems MalMalling Editionling Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

April 2017 We are 20! community it serves. Inside,

we celebrate this milestone with a special edition of DownsMail.

Bus firm steps in to save evening service

NU-Venture has agreed to take over the trouble-hit evening 155 bus serving the Malling area.

The decision has been welcomed

by campaigners, who have fought for four years to keep the service through Aylesford, Eccles, Burham and Wouldham. However, Arriva finally let the axe

fall on the evening service, used by shift workers and young people travelling between Maidstone and Chatham, on April 1. NuVenture’s boss NormanKemp (pictured) said the service – with the help of a five-month grant from local councils, following KCC’s decision to end its support – will run as be- fore, withArriva providing day-time buses. He added: “Now we need to work on funding the service into the future and unlocking money set aside for transport services.” The full extent of the changes to Arriva’s scheduled services came

into effect this month. Chatham and Aylesford MP

Tracey Crouch, who has been a key campaigner, said: “The 155 is a prof- itable service but still Arriva wants to divest itself of the evening service. If they actually recorded passengers, it might be a different story.” The MP is now involved in talks

over the use of money from Peter’s Village developer Trenport to fund a

long-term day and evening service between Chatham and Maidstone, with a connection to Snodland. She said: “I appreciate residents’ continuing patience as we work to- wards a long-term solution. It is clear Arriva has no interest in serv- ing the villages the whole time so it is good to know that there are alter- native providers who will.” East Malling and Larkfield Parish Council has also approached Arriva about the loss of services in Lark- field, without any consultation. The number 71 has been re-routed


to Gighill Road, leaving customers at Springfield and Brook Road – and the elderly at Hanover Green – with- out the service they relied on. Parish council chairman David Thornewell maintains that any justi- fications for changing the service to save time - allowing the bus to call at Snodland Station, and the high speed train - are cancelled out by de- lays at the traffic lights at the Gighill/LeybourneWay junction. He adds: “On top of this, this has 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

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been introduced without any con- sultation on a bus route that has been running for about 30 years.”

FREE No. 240

News Honour for a hero

TWENTY years ago, DownsMail landed on doormats for the first time, heralding a new era in local newspaper publishing. It has become a firm favourite with readers and advertisers, trusted for fair and accurate journalism. Two decades on, it is still a family-run company based in the heart of the

AWARD for Taliban bomb victim who rebuilt his shattered life after losing both legs. 3

Traffic nightmare

RESIDENTS say their complaints over traffic chaos at Hermitage Lane are being ignored.

Hundreds turned out to pay tribute to a much-loved musician.


Tributes to Mr Music 10

Prayers are answered

A GRANT for £65k means urgent repairs to Offham Parish Church roof can go ahead.


Death crash sentence 12

POLICE prevent an illegal rave in remote woodland near Aylesford.

Obituaries Comment

A WOMAN whose driving caused the death of a motorcy- clist has been locked up.

Illegal party stopped 15

30 32

Parish Councils 40-41 Crime Reports 41

SOMEONE fired an air rifle at a ve- hicle being driven in Booth Close, Snodland, smashing the driver’s window. In Beacon Avenue, Kings hill, a parcel was stolen from the doorstep of a house.

Town Talk alk

THE Co-op says that its stores in Snodland will close when the new one opens in the for- mer Bull pub – see Town Talk in this month’s Downs Mail. The bi-monthly independent magazine is dedicated to Snod- land and Halling residents.

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