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downsmail.co.uk Maidstone East Edition Maidstone East Edition


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


July 2017


Carnival fun in Bearsted


THE Green in Bearsted came alive for the annual carnival and fayre. A large, noisy crowd turned out to cheer on the procession as it moved though the village on June 24. It is the 38th year the event has been run.  See our report and more pictures on page 8.


Campaigners to take relief road to polls


CAMPAIGNERS for a relief road in south Maidstone are considering standing as candidates in the next tranche of local elections. Cllr Cooke said the congestion on


Downs Mail has learnt that they


maytarget Liberal Democrat seats in the borough council polls next year, blaming the authority’s majority rul- ing party’s house-building pro- gramme for clogging up the area’s roads. The candidates might also look to


forge pacts with other parties to get relief road candidates into office, ac- cording to one source. Relief road campaigner Jenny Sut-


ton, of Willington Street pressure group WILLact, acknowledged a new, political dimension to the cru- sade to end the disruption caused by traffic volumes. She did not rule out candidates standing on the relief road issue. Mrs Sutton also welcomed the support of Conservative county councillor Gary Cooke, who is lead- ing a drive to convince his author- ity’s leadership that a route and funding can be found.


the roads around Maidstone, such as Willington Street, had left them at "breaking point". WILLact has been producing sim-


ple signs which arenowpopping up all over the county town. In an email to supporters,Mrs Sut-


ton said: “Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) elections are due next year and the relief road is gain- ing more support. But strategic vot- ing is also required! WILLAct will be lobbying councillors.” Possible Lib Dem target Clive English said: “I would be surprised if it (relief road)was a major issue in any of the seats we hold. The relief road could be built in two years if KCC got their finger out and if they came up with a route and a funding mechanism. No political party at MBC is preventing it from happen- ing.”


MBC’s house-building pro-


lems in Shepway, Downswood and Otham, where drivers are finding ways of avoiding congestion on Willington Street and elsewhere by driving through residential areas. “Levels of congestion are now


very, very clear to people. This relief road should have been built years ago."


Earlier this year, Cllr Cooke an- nounced he and KCC officers were to start investigating routes for a re- lief road, with a view to putting pro- posals to parish councils by the end of the year. He hopes to build the case for get-


ting funding for such a project. But Mrs Sutton is unconvinced


KCC leader Paul Carter has any en- thusiasm for a relief road at this time, claiming: "If Paul Carterwants


01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT


maidstone@martinco.com 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent


it, he could probably get it with a click of his fingers." We approached Cllr Carter for a comment but he was unavailable. Leeds councillor Gill Fort said the issue is now more about traffic prob- lems across Maidstone caused by MBC’s house-building programme. To contact WILLact online, go to reliefroad.wordpress.com.


gramme is in response to demands from central government, said Cllr English. Cllr Cooke said: "There are prob-


FREE No. 243


News Barty signs down


‘GARISH’ signs outside an old people’s home in Bearsted have been removed after a public outcry.


Nightingale return


THE rare nightingale bird not heard in Leeds for decades may have returned.


4 School’s track record


A LENHAM School pupil is mak- ing huge strides on the running track. 5


Mela festival for all


A MULTI-CULTURAL festival takes place in Maidstone later this month.


20 3


Obituaries


30


Comment 34-35 Parish Councils46-47


SPEEDWATCH organisers have stood down in Lenham due to a lack of volunteers; repairs to play equipment in Bredhurst will cost more than £300; Robert Turner was elected as chairman of Boughton Malherbe parish council; speeding cars continue to be an issue in Harrietsham on the A20.


Crime Reports 47


AN ATTEMPT to gain access to an outbuilding in Bearsted was un- successful; a Vauxhall car was damaged in Weavering; a tractor was stolen from a shed in Otham; a ride-on lawn-mower was taken from a garden in Kingswood; a car tyre was slashed inWeavering.


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