orderForm.noItems Maidstone Weald Edition Maidstone Weald Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

May 2017

Rural rail stations face cut in services

RAIL services across theWeald could face the axe if a planned timetable shake-up gets the go ahead.

Stations including Headcorn, Sta- plehurst, Marden, Pluckley and Paddock Wood are most at risk from a government proposal. It wants a new franchise to take

up the rail service currently pro- vided by Southeastern. And hidden among the consulta-

tion documents is a suggestion that a fast service between Ashford and Tonbridge could be introduced. This would mean the current service not calling at theWeald sta- tions as it prioritises a faster train to London. The new plan would come into force at the start of 2019, and trains would stop at these stations every hour – it is currently every 30 minutes. A petition set up to get the gov- ernment to rethink collected more than 11,500 signatures. However, because of the General Election, the closing date originally set for May 23 was moved to May 3. The con- sultation is still open until May 23. Started by Martin Chambers, the petition says of the cuts to theWeald stations: “We believe this would be disastrous for the communities, towns and villages along this line and could potentially lead to the clo- sure of the stations altogether.” Huntonmumand parish council-

lor HelenWard is worried about the Marden station shutting. She said: “Commuters use it and

my children took the train to Ton- bridge when theywere at school. “If you go to the village after 7.30am, you will struggle to park

FREE No. 241 News

Top Twenty

DOWNS Mail throws a party to celebrate 20 years in newspaper publishing in Maidstone and Malling.

Local Plan control

A TOP borough councillor says the Local Plan gives Maidstone control of its future.

5 One-day truck ban

POLICE enforcd the ban on trucks through a village on just one day.

12 Water hazard

YOUNGSTERS have been warned about swimming at the weir in Yalding.

18 Turtle sanctuary

A STAPLEHURST man is on a mission to rescue abandoned terrapins.

Protestors gather at Marden station, which is facing cuts to services

near the station. People come from Boughton Monchelsea and Park- wood on the south side of Maid- stone because it is easier to access. “Marden and Pluckley are two of

the least-used stations on this list, and we fear the government will simply close them.With the houses that are being built here, and the businesses in Pattenden Lane, it will be disastrous for the area.” Retired Mr Chambers, who used

to commute to London, told the Downs Mail: “The fast service will come in at the expense of others. Pluckley is a village, butwewant to stay connected and in touch. “If we are reduced to a Sunday service or worse, with only one train an hour at these stations, we are going to feel isolated. There are peo-

ple who commute and many who moved to the area because of the train services and they are going to feel very upset. “The Department for Transport simply hasn’t future-planned this. There are houses being built all around the area, and people moving in to them will use trains. “Taking these trains away will

only damage our community. “It will change people’s lives. If

they pay hard cash to come and move here and then their service is takenaway, that will be disastrous.”  See the petition at https://peti-  See the consultation at: nsultations/future-of-south- eastern-rail-services.

Ofsted praise HARD work has paid off for

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

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two primary schools who are celebrating after being told they continue to provide a good education in glowing reports from Ofsted. 4

Honour for Molly

A VILLAGER is recognised for her tireless work for the community.


Comment Obituaries

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Parish Councils from 36

Headcorn councillors heard that laughing gas cylinders had been tipped in the parish; a new PCSO had been appointed in Coxheath; a possible site for a defibrillator was being considered at East Farleigh; fundraising events were being planned for Nettlestead Village Hall and the kitchen was being renovated.

Crime Reports 47

A green lawnmower with a missing hub cap was taken from a shed in Boughton Monchelsea; a house in Chart Sutton was broken into and computer items were stolen; tele- phone cables under a hatch in the road were cut in Headcorn; some- one slashed a car tyre in Coxheath.

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