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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

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

we celebrate this milestone with a special edition of Downs Mail.

Town traffic chaos to be investigated

MAIDSTONE Borough Council is undertaking a detailed review of three major causes of congestion across the town.

The public is to be consulted on parking and bus services, with a sur- vey on the public’s attitude to park and ride just completed. Cllr David Bur-

ton (left), chairman of the borough’s strategic planning, sustainability and transportation committee, said: “We are trying to be front-footed on

traffic issues…which are constantly changing.” Hesaid: “The public told us it did-

n’t want another park and ride at Linton and no longer believes this is the way forward for Maidstone, so the council has taken a step back.”

Hesays the closure of the park and

ride at EclipsePark saved the council £300,000 a year, at the expense of 300 core users, many of whom trans- ferred to P&R stations inWillington Street and the London Road. Cllr Burton said: “We have sta-

bilised our park and ride offering and are looking at other areas to tackle the congestion issue. How- ever,we will return to park and ride if more people wish to use it. We have access to another site at the bot- tom of Blue Bell Hill.” A spokesman for Maidstone Council said the park and ride sur- vey attracted 1,493 responses. She said: “The council is review-

ing the park and ride service as the current contract ends in 2018.

“A report will be sent to strategic planning, sustainability and trans- port committee by July 2017.” In the meantime, Cllr Burton says

more information is being gained from the public to inform other pos- sible moves, such as upgrading Maidstone bus station or creating transport hubs at locations, such as the old Royal Mail sorting office near Maidstone East train station. Cllr Burton said junction improve-

mentswere on the cards in the com- ing months, including feeder lanes on the Ashford Road where it joins Willington Street. Other plans in- clude investigations to improve the Coldharbour junction of the M20. He said: “The early data from our work on the Maidstone gyratory

shows it is improving journey times. “While I support cycling and

01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

walking strategies, we cannot ignore the fact that people still want to use their cars. Even without building an- other house, traffic in the town will grow by 20% in 20 years because our children will have cars and our grandparents are no longer hanging up their keys at 70.”

FREE No. 241

News A story of true love

TWENTY years ago, Downs Mail 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

A COUPLE have celebrated a magical wedding ceremony – despite the bride learning of a cancer diagnosis. 3

Lockmeadow open

OWNERS of the Lockmeadow entertainment complex say work has finally fiinished

SPECIAL report on the traffic issues in Hermitage Lane.

New primary plan

MAIDSTONE is to get a new primary school, run by a local trust.


Mote Park vigilantes 12

VIGILANTE action has resulted in two arrests of suspected paedophiles.

Princess backs school 22

PRINCESS Eugenie is the new patron of a local osteopathy school.

Obituaries Comment

34 46

Crime Reports 47

A CAR was broken in to at Plains Avenue; tyres were slashed on a vehicle in a driveway in Derby Road; a John Street property was burgled and items stolen; flowers were picked from a garden in Alkham Road by two young women.

Parish Councils 47

CATHERINE James has been co-opted onto the parish council in Barming; the parish council at Loose has said that it is likely to have to pay to have bins emptied at the King George V playing fields; a map showing the location of fire hydrants in Barming is to be drawn up and sent to the parish clerk.

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Hermitage Lane fury 4&5

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