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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

Tory candidate debates with pupils May 2017

FORMER Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat came face to face with all his political oppo- nents at a local school.

The Malling School has been staging its own election campaign in which pupils represent the na- tional parties. Mr Tugendhat spoke to debating society students and then at a Q&A session. Head Carl Roberts said he was proud his students asked “mature and informed” questions. Pictured are Mr Tugendhat with Henry Cox, Josh Burt, Matt Pettet, Emma Stone and Kestra Willett.

Villagers face bigger blasts from quarry

PLANSto use bigger explosives at a quarry near Offham are creating shock- waves among locals.

The explosions at Gallagher’s

Blaise Farm Quarry have been a reg- ular feature of life for villagers, who are alerted by the company to blast- ing up to twice a week. But now charges of up to 25kg – more than twice the current size – are being in- vestigated to improve efficiency and meet demand. A document submitted to Kent County Council for its view on the idea has already attracted objections from Offham Parish Council, which says vibrations from blasting at the quarry haveprogressively worsened in the last six months, even with the current 10kg charges. Parish council chairman David Frankling said: “In the last six months, the vibration has got pro-

gressively worse, with more resi- dents reporting disturbance, includ- ing windows rattling and ornaments juddering. “In Offham,we have a significant number of old houses without foun- dations and the potential for damage is now a big concern.” He says the parish council wants

to see sensors fitted at various loca- tions across the village before any consideration is given to increasing the size of the explosions permitted. He added: “It seems that the

quarry is moving closer to the village and we know that Gallagher has permission to mine even closer to our homes, so we should be moni- toring any potential impact before discussing anything further.”

Offham Parish Council began compiling a dossier of the disruption to homes last month and has urged villagers to make their concerns known to KCC, the Minerals Plan- ning Authority, Gallagher and the Environment Agency. Gallagher’s chief executive Nick

Yandle said he understood the reser- vations of residents but felt the best way to allay fears is to carry out a trial of the higher explosives. Hesaid:“We are progressing talks

with the county council which would allow us to carry out a small trial – maybe 10 blasts – to gather data, which can be put in front of people.” He continued: “To be fair, we are not limited by the amount of times


Mickey’s Café Diner 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent

we can blast, but are constantly look- ing at ways to meet demand and do things in the most effective way. “It seems fewer, larger blasts are preferable to more smaller blasts. However, the caveat is that this would only be on the basis of it not causing a problem. If the data shows it does, then we will keep things as they are.”

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Residents and parish councillors aired their views at a public meet- ing on proposals for a large re- tirement home at West Malling. The 4-page supplement inside by Malling Action Partnership sup- ports people and events in Malling.

FREE No. 241 News

Trail of fame

BLUE plaques will put up in Wateringbury to remember the village’s past VIPs. 3

Phone box’s new call

AN unwanted phone kiosk at Ryarsh has been given a new lease of life.

Pantomime time

STARS hit the town to unveil plans for panto fun at the Hazlitt Theatre.

4 Drugs danger

PARENTS warned after drugs are found on a footpath at a church.

6 Top Twenty

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

Ofsted praise

TWO schools are celebrating after they were awarded “good” grades by Ofsted.

Obituaries Comment

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Parish Councils 42-43 Crime Reports 43

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