orderForm.noItems Maidstone North Edition Maidstone North Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

August 2017

Sun shines on the Kent county Show

STUDENTS from New Line Learning in Maid- stone took their livestock on tour for expert opin- ion at this year’s Kent County Show. Connor Green, JessicaAustin and James Bee-

ton (front) took 14-month-old Honeydale Black Majestic - a pedigree Black Limousin - through her paces for the judges. Jessica (14), who is in Year 9 at the Boughton

Lane school, said: “The show is a great experi- ence and a chance to see other animals from schools in the area; it doesn’t faze me, even though it’swarm, there’s a lovely breeze.”

Full report and pictures on page 34

Fremlin backtracks on car park pricing

THE firm behind a massive hike in parking charges at FremlinWalk has backed down and reinstated the old pricing system, pending a review.

Drivers found charges at the 760-

space car park had effectively dou- bled overnight from Monday, July 10, causing fury. One Downs Mail reader stayed for little over two hours andwas left £8 out of pocket. On Fridays and Saturdays - the

most expensive days to park - car owners were expected to shell out £3.50 for half an hour, and £10 if their shopping trip took them longer than four. Indigo, which manages parking

at Fremlin Walk, claims a rise in business rates and rental charges, introduced by the government in April,was behind the decision. A flood of comments from out-

raged users, who described the prices as “hideously expensive,

even before the increase” and “dearer than London”; coupled with concern from Fremlin Walk’s owner about the impact on shop- pers, saw the old prices reinstated after just five days (July 15). Fears about the affect of high parking charges on the town’s footfall - under pressure from cen- tres like Bluewater, which offers free parking, and online shopping – has been expressed by Lib Dem town centre borough councillor Clive English. He has branded the government decision to raise the rates on car parks as “very strange” when High Street visitors up and down the country are in freefall. Cllr English said: “I’m glad In- digo is reviewing this price change.

While I understand, as a commer- cial operation, its reason for raising them, they need to take a longer term view and appreciate that peo- ple’s shopping budget is price sen- sitive and parking charges are a part of that.” Lloyd Wright, centre manager at Fremlin Walk, which is owned by M&G Real Estate, said: “We are currently in discussions with our car park operator, Indigo, with re- gards to the recent pricing changes at the shopping centre. We are de- termined to deliver a high quality service for our local community at a competitive rate, and therefore we will be seeking a resolution to ensure our centre remains accessi- ble and affordable for all.”

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

Driver Alex Hughes said on Fremlin Walk’s Facebook page: “I estimate the car park is raking in around £250,000 aweek ... I’m sure Fremlin walk would love to give their share of the profit to reduced pricing.” Indigo has said the old prices will remain while a review into charg- ing is carried out. Obituaries 36 Crime Reports 37

STEERING cables and wheel nuts were loosened on a vehicle in Far- leigh Lane; access to a basement in Clifford Way was attempted; a motorcycle seat was vandalised in Reginald Road; garden shears were stolen from a lawn in Had- low Close.

Parish Councils 37

FLYERS costing £60 would be de- livered to householders to publi- cise the parish council election in Tovil; Speedwatch has had a good take up of volunteers in Loose; Cllr Doe has asked for any further reports of drug-taking in the Barming parish field car park; the parish website in Loose has been receiving 300 hits a week.

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FREE No. 244

News Punishing parents

HEAD teachers are asking for more penalty notices for parents who take family holidays in term time.

Woman flees attack

A WOMAN fled a bus stop at- tacker early in the morning in Maidstone.

11 Leeds Castle pledge

MAIDSTONE’S treasure house can fight the threat of terror, says chief . 16

Lions’new president

MAIDSTONE Lions new president has been named as Derek Ransley .

20 5

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