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News News


Anotherincursion at Larkfield park


New Downs


Mail deputy THE Downs Mail has a new deputy editor.


Jon Phipps, 36, has been ap-


TRAVELLERS have moved back onto a popular park in Larkfield for the second time in six months. The families - in five caravans -


pointed to the role, replacing long-serving Diane Nicholls, who left in September for fam- ily reasons.


Jon, who grew up in Kent,


pulled on to Gighill Green in Lunsford Lane on Sunday October ,, releasing dogs on the popular public open space and setting up washing lines within hours. It is un- derstood the fami- lies in- volv ed have been offering tree felling services to residents in the area. Parish council chairman David Thornewell says more has to be done to stop the travelling com- munity running circles around the police and local councils. He says the job ofmoving on trav-


has, in his ownwords, lived in “all four corners of England”, having earned a degree in journalism in Preston, Lan- cashire, worked at the Press Association in Yorkshire for four years and spent time at the Bristol Evening Post. He waswith LocalWorld for three years and his most recent role was at the Police Federation of England &Wales.


He said: “I’ve always been a


firm believer in the impor- tance of local newspapers and their role in the community, and there is no finer proof of that than the DownsMail.


“I’m enjoying getting to


know people and I’d love to hear from anyone who has anything theywould like us to cover.”


ellers for a second time will run into thousands of pounds The last inci- dent, in early summer, costing the parish council £1,200, with the trav-


Call 01622 734735 or jon.phipps@downsmail.co.uk.


Call to clamp truckers for parking illegally


ellers simply moving on to take up temporary residence elsewhere in the area. He said: “They just seem to be


doing the rounds. These incidents have affectedWest Malling, forcing the closure of the village hall, and Leybourne, and now they are back in Larkfield. The police told resi- dents that this was a civil trespass when they reported it and that they couldn’t do anything and obviously the council offices were closed be- cause it was the weekend. These travellers know and play the sys- tem.” The council’s legal team served an eviction notice but it took aweek to enforce. Cllr Thornewell held talks with Laddingford Engineering in an effort to increase security further on the public land, near the M20. Valdemar Kalinin (pictured), of


the National Gypsy-Traveller-Roma Council said recently that local councils must provide designated traveller sites or “tolerated zone” which gypsy convoys can move onto. He said: “It comes down to racial prejudice against this com- munity.”


A SCHEME to clamp nuisance lorry drivers being trialled on the A20 should become a permanent fixture inMaidstone and through- outKent, it has been claimed. The national project is being tried


out in Ashford, which has suffered similar problems toMaidstonewith rogue truckers parking illegally. The vehicle drivers – many of


themforeign – pull up in lay-bys, in- dustrial estates, service stations, soft verges andvillage car parks in order to avoid paying overnight charges. But they cause damage and leave


human waste behind and, in some cases, attract prostitutes plying their trade. Ukip borough councillor Eddie


Powell, and long-time campaigner against rogue activities associated with antisocial parking said he would even “help out” in clamping offenders. Cllr Powell said the current sys-


temofmoving on offending drivers with the occasional ticket “is simply notworking”. Ashford's 18-month clamping trial is launched on October 30, and will


‘Spooktacular’ at the farm


Cllr Eddie Powell wants a ban on illegal lorry parking


stop HGV drivers parking between Charing and the Drovers round- about after complaints from resi- dents. Under the scheme, the ban runs


downsmail.co.uk downsmail.co.uk


enforced overweekends. "It's a great idea," saidCllr Powell,


"and the sooner they bring some- thing in over here inMaidstone, the better. I'll even go out andhelp them put the clamps onmyself. "With clamping, they have to pay


to be released so it will send ames- sage to the truck firms acrossEurope not to park in Kent. They'll get the message. "Lorry drivers entering this coun-


try just think they can park where they like and do what they like, in- cluding leaving filth behind them." But former trucker John Tweddell


MAKE the most of the October half-term holiday at Kent Life Heritage Farm Park’s Halloween Spooktacular in Maidstone. Brave kids are invited to the vintage village to knock on doors and


discover who – or what – is lurking behind them from October 21-31. The award-winning attraction at Sandling, near Maidstone, has a few


other tricks up its sleeve to turn its usual exhibits into frightening farmhouses and horrifying homes. Youngsters can try pumpkin carving, dressing up and the Ugly Bug Ball. On October 25, there will be more spooky goings-on with Kent Life


from8pmto 7amMonday to Friday, and drivers will have to pay a £250 fine to get the clamp released. But the ban will not be in operation or


5-6pm and, for older visitors, from 7-8pm. If you would like to know more about any of the above, call 01622 763936.


wrote on Facebook: “As an ex-HGV driver, this is a ridiculous idea. The council orwhoever needs toprovide decent affordableparking areas first. Theparking issue is one of themany reasons I left the industry.” Conservative MP HelenWhately


After Dark, This event includes a spine-chilling tour suitable for under-eights from


has also been campaigning for tougher action on “fly-parking”. She said earlier this year: “People


have been putting upwith noise, lit- tering andunhygienic behaviour as- sociated with fly-parking for too long.”


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