News MPtackles traveller issue

MALLING MP Tom Tugendhat has written a strongly-worded letter to the department for communities to express frustration over traveller incursions on local land.

His constituents have been telling

him of their “despair” and that their lives are being “increasingly blighted” by illegal invasions. Mr Tugendhat originally wrote to

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth at the Department for Communities and Local Government on July 13. He has voiced concerns that local councils – not Kent Police – are being forced to use appropriate leg- islation to move travellers on. He used an example of the incur-

sion on council land at Leybourne in late April, when police decided to pass enforcement over to the local authority, which only caused delays.

Although Lord Bourne re- sponded on August 4, the MP was unhappy at the general nature of the reply and has since contacted the secretary of state for answers to the specific incursions in Ley- bourne andWest Malling. One traveller group says local au- thorities should invest in more des- ignated sites for gypsy convoys to avoid the continual stand-offs. On August 25, the MP posted on

Practice offers

dementia help FOLLOWING the successful Dia- betesAwareness Evening earlier this year, Snodland Medical Practice Pa- tient Participation Group (PPG) is hosting a dementia evening at Snod- land Community Centre on Septem- ber 28 . The event starts at 6.30pm and will

be led by Dr Rebecca Prince, from the practice, and DrAnanth Puranik, a consultant psychiatrist at Bay Tree House, Maidstone Hospital. John Stockham said he hoped

there would be a representative from Snodland Dementia Cafe and other support services. “This informal session is open to dementia sufferers, their carers, rela- tives and anyone who would like to understand more about dementia and the support available,” he added. “The overall objective of the PPG

is to work with the practice to im- prove service to patients, improve communication between patients and the practice and to encourage patients to take more responsibility for their health and that of their fam- ilies.” The group meets at the surgery,

canvasses the views of patients and recommends courses of action. Anybody interested in becoming a memberof the group can contact the surgery for more details or email

12 Malling September 2017 Store staff’s £5k charity boost

BAKE sales, a bring-and-buy table and even a Cliff Richard-themed fancy dress singalong were among the events at Sainsbury’s Larkfield store, which raised more than £5,000 for charity.

Staff and customers joined in the

fundraising fun, which resulted in a cheque for £5,178.55 being handed over to Macmillan Cancer Support. Steve Surridge, manager of the

QuarryWood store, said "Our thanks go out to our customers and we're really proud of everything we've achieved." The money will help fund the charity’s work in Kent.

Knifeman’s robbery terror at skate park

AGROUPof teenagerswere held at knifepoint during a robbery at a Larkfield skate park. Police are investigating a report

that at about 10.15pm on Thurs- day,August 31, the teenswere sit- ting in a shelter at the skate park in New Hythe Lane when two men approached them. One of the men pulled out a knife and threatened them, de-

manding their money. The other smashed a bottle hewas holding. The teenagers ran from the

scene without being harmed. It is reported a mobile phone left by one of them was stolen, but later recovered. Oneof the suspects is described

as white, aged between 18 and 20 years, 5ft 10in tall and of propor- tionate build. He was wearing a

dark matching tracksuit with the hood up. The other is described as wearing a light tracksuit with the hood up. Anyone who saw incident, or

who may have information that can help, is asked to contact Kent Police on 01622 604100 quoting reference YY/024961/17. Alterna- tively call Kent Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Travellers set up camp atWest Malling village hall in August

Facebook: “Illegal encampments have been a recurring problem in many of our beautiful towns and villages. “Lots of people have been getting

in contact with me to tell me that it’s having a serious impact on their lives. The current process makes it incredibly difficult for these en- campments to be removed and drag out what should be a short process.

“Something has to be done so

that people are not continually dis- turbed.

“That is why I wrote to Lord Bourne at the Department of Com- munities and Local Government, to ask him what the government’s plan is to solve this pressing issue.” Valdemar Kalinin, of the Na-

tional Gypsy-Traveller-Roma, Council said it was down to local councils to provide designated traveller sites or “tolerated” zones which convoys can move onto. Mr Kalinin added: “What we

have tried to do in Kent for the past 20-odd years is to at least get a tol- erated piece of land where these

people can go to for a week, or 10 days at the most, before they move on.

“It comes down to racial preju-

dice against this community. We have been dealing with hate crime and now it’s at least being dealt with by the police and the CPS.” He claimed that Kent Council Council has been looking for a suit- able traveller site for the past 15 years. He added: “It shows they’re not looking very hard.” A spokesman for Mr Tugendhat

said there was “no movement” on the specific cases in Leybourne and West Malling, which Mr Tugendhat asked for answers on as Downs Mailwent to press. He added: “We hope to get a bit

of movement on the issue now that parliament is sitting once more. “What we would quite like from

them is to address the particular problems in Leybourne and West Malling and why the legislation is failing. “We’d like them to look at spe-

cific cases.”

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