News Rally to back relief road plan

A RALLY in support of the pro- posed relief road in south Maid- stonewill be held in the firstweek ofNovember. Itwill beheldat theMercureHotel

(GreatDanes) in a large function hall onNovember 2 at 6.30pm. It is being organised by county councillors Gary Cooke and Paul Cooper. Among the audience will be resi-

dents, pressure groups such as WILLact, representatives of parish councils and landowners as well as locally elected members of the bor- ough council, council officers and localMPHelenWhately. It will be chaired indepently by

local businessmanGeoffMiles,who is chairman at the Maidstone Stu- dios atGroveGreen. Cllr Cooke, who has campaigned

for eight years to get the relief road on the agenda once more, said: “We’re looking at a hall with a ca- pacity of about 500 to accommodate a pretty big attendance. “This is an important issue, and

one that has gained significant mo- mentumin thepast year, not least by parish councils and the work of Jenny Sutton and herWILLact cam- paign inWillington Street. “Wewant to update peoplewhere

Wards that will be decided

Cllr Gary Cooke,WILLact’s Jenny Sutton and Cllr Paul Cooper

the relief road.” The rally aims to be a non-political

showof strengthby localpeople. It is likely to attract residents fromLeeds, Sutton Rd,Willington Street, Shep- way,

Otham, Broomfield,

Kingswood and Langley. But in the run-up to the next

tranche of Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) elections in May 2018,when 18 seats are up for grabs, the issues of Maidstone’s housing numbers and its impact on roads and the need for a relief road are likely to be significant. A few seats shifting to the Tories

Kent County Council in itswork on would see them wrest control from

the LiberalDemocrat-controlled ad- ministration. CllrCookewas hoping for greater

co-operation between the county council and the borough authority after a unanimous agreement in the summer by the joint transportation board (JTB) towork on a relief road proposal. But he has expressed dis- appointment that the LiberalDemo- crat faction atMBCdecidedto invest developer contribution cash (section 106 money) not into the relief road fund but into walking, cycling and bus lanes aspart of the council’s con- troversial “modal shift” strategy to get drivers off the road.

THIS is the list of borough council wards which are up for grabs next year, and the current incumbents of the seats. Allington – Dan Daley (Liberal Democrat) Bearsted -Mike Cuming (Conservative) Boxley – Derek Butler (Con) Bridge – David Pickett (LD) Coxheath & Hunton – Brian Mortimer (LD) East – Nikki Fissenden (LD) Fant – Paul Harper (LD) Harrietsham& Lenham– Janetta Sams (Ind) Headcorn –Martin Round (Con) Heath – JamesWillis (LD) High Street – Clive English (LD) Marden & Yalding – David Burton (Con) North – Tony Harwood (LD) ParkWood – JadeWebster (Con) Shepway North – Simon Ells (Ukip) Shepway South – John Barned (Ukip) South – DerekMortimer (LD) Staplehurst – John Perry (Con)

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