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downsmail.co.uk


News


Rat-run drivers face £100 sting


COMMUTERS on their way into Maidstone may have been frus- trated at threats of a £100 fine – but action to reduce traffic through Detlingvillagehasbeenwelcomed. Drivers using The Street and Pil-


grims Way in Detling, just off the A249, have been stopped by police and warned of a £100 fine for driv- ing through the village. Earlier this year, Kent County


Council restricted the roads to ac- cess only from7-9.30amMonday to Friday, in a bid to stop drivers from using the village as a rat-run. Since October 2, Detling’s PCSO


Matt Adlington has been on the street informingdrivers of theirmis- demeanour. And Cllr Nick de Wiggondene,


who represents Detling on Maid- stoneBoroughCouncil, isdelighted that action is being taken. “It’s always a difficult thing to


make sure these things are enforced. Matt has been doing a great job, I was just hoping his voicewas going to hold out because he was talking to every driver,” he said. “It’s been one of themost persist-


ent issues of concern for people. It’s constant first thing in themorning. “People have beenusing it as a rat


run, andthere is somuch traffic that comes off the A249, goes through the village and then back on to the A249 just to try and gain a couple of


hundred yards. The A249 from the bottom of


DetlingHill to the roundaboutwith J7 of the M20 is notoriously busy, but while the main issue has been those drivers using the village to try and cut out a bit of the traffic, Cllr de Wiggondene insists that is just part of the problem. He added: “When you get resi-


dents themselves coming out of the village via Church Lane onto the A249 themselves, they frequently findpeople swearing andcursing at them because they think these vil- lagers have gone through a rat-run and are trying to sneak back in to the line to jump the queue.” One driver who was stopped by


the PCSO admitted to being com- pletely unaware of the restriction. He said: “My sat nav told me to


go down this way onmy commute fromSittingbourne to Bearstead. “To be honest, I hadn’t seen the


signs at all. “Since then I’ve lookedmore care-


fully and the signs are there, but they are not visible until you get to the turning – effectively when you are already off theA249. “I understand it’s frustrating for


residents when cars cut off to try and miss the ridiculous traffic, but for people like me who are legiti- mately driving down the road, it does seema bit harsh.”


Help formums at TheMall


THEMallMaidstone shopping centre has unveiled a new baby changing and feeding area formums with young children. The Baby Fresh Parent and Child Roomwas opened onMonday,


October 9 by Karen Lambert, of Downswood, with her four-month-old son Oscar and three- year-old daughter Phoebe (pictured). The Babyfresh


facilities are on the middle level next to Iceland and opposite J C Rooks. They offer four feeding areas, three baby changing areas and a large double toilet, one with the baby changing area in. The roomalso


includes a food prep area with a microwave and bottle warmer as well as a play area. Suzie Brindle,


marketingmanager at TheMallMaidstone, said: “We’re delighted to open our new Babyfresh parent and child room, which will provide our shoppers with a dedicated space where they can feed and care for their children. “It’s great that our shoppers can now experience our new facilities and we really hope theymake a difference to their visits here.”


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