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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

October 2017

FREE No. 246

News Queen star’s visit

GUITARIST Brian May visits school to talk hedgehogs. 3

Malling School joy

PUPILS from The Malling School come third in a fishing contest.

Crochet poppies

THOUSANDS of handmade pop- pies will form a carpet of remembrance.

Commuter relief Fire crews at the scene of the Holborough Lakes apartments blaze (Picture by Peter Rimmer)

Will fire victims be home within year?

BERKELEY Homes have been praised for their reaction to the devastating fire at Holborough Lakes – and it is understood those who lost their homes could be back in them within a year.

No-onewas injured in the blaze on September 16, but 23 families have been forced from their homes due to the extensive damage caused after the fire broke out on a third-floor balcony. Since an initial statement on the

day of the fire, BerkeleyHomeshave made no comment to the press, but those directly affected have been told they should be back in the block within a year. In the meantime, the 23 house-

holds have been put up in tempo- rary accommodation, and Cllr David Lettington, who represents

Snodland East and Ham Hill on Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, has been impressed by the reaction of the housing company. “We’ve had huge problems on

that estate with parking and all kinds of things so normally I’m at their throat; but they are doing an brilliant job,” he said. “It’s clear that some people are ab- solutely devastated. They’ve lost their homes, treasured possessions and it could be many months before any developments in terms of a per- manent home happen. It’s very sad, very difficult and I hope for them it

is resolved as soon as possible.” Fire safety in blocks of flats has

been a huge talking point since the Grenfell Tower disaster in June, but Snodland Town Councillor Mark Sawkins – who lives on the same es- tate – says the protection on the houses did its job. “The building has done exactly

what you’d expect it to do,” he said. “It’s testament to the fact that the building has been put together well and the cladding has done what it was supposed to do. “The fire started on a balcony and that’s why it managed to spread so

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

quickly, but had it been in one of the apartments, I don’t think the dam- age would have been anywhere near as bad.” Cllr Sawkins also praised the com- munity response, adding: “It’s been phenomenal. Even still now, you’ve got people keeping in contact with others to check they are okay.” See pages 16-17

Obituaries 30

Parish Councils 32 Crime Reports 32

A CAR was broken into Ditton; a Vauxhall Astra in Snodland had its wing mirror damaged; stones were thrown at a parked car in Larkfield causing damage; a dog went miss- ing from Ryarsh.

Comment 40-41 Town Talk

SHOP worker Peggy Woodger has retired after 49 years and confides that although she will not miss going to work any- more, she will certainly miss her collagues and the customers “very much”. Co-op colleagues gave her a warn send-off – see Town Talk in this month’s Downs Mail. The bi-monthly independent magazine is dedi- cated to Snodland and Halling residents.

TRAIN chiefs announce extra car- riages for hard-pressed commuters.. Is it enough?

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