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News


News


Gardencouplein a fond farewell


KCC backtracks on safety signs


ROAD safety improvements put forward by the county council to reduce speeds at the notorious Bull Lane junction in Eccles have been described as “half-baked” by MP Tracey Crouch. The proposal from the highways’ authority follows a public call for steps to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians in light of in- creased traffic since the bridge to Peters Village opened. A public meeting, called by the


OUTGOING owners Rob and Amanda Brookman insist it will be business as usual as they pre- pare to move on from the Potted Garden in Bearsted. TThe couple have been at the


helm of the plant centre, situated on theA20, for almost 17 years, but when the doors open on themorn- ing of November 1, there will be newowners in place. Coolings Nurseries Ltd, who al-


ready have a garden centre in Knockholt near Sevenoaks, have bought the site, but nothing – in- cluding the staff –will change. Mrs Brookman said: “The staff


Bull Lane Safety Committee (BLSC), was attended by borough councillors and representatives of Aylesford, Burham and Would- ham parish councils at which KCC agreed a £20,000 package of meas- ures.


However, eight months on and


will all be the same, it will still be the same faces for the customers, just Rob and I won’t be here. I think the staff are excited about the new owners, but certainly initially the customerswon’t notice any dif- ference. There is planning permis- sion for some development here, a bigger shop and a tea room, but for that to happen we either had to commit to another five years or move on, so we’ve decided to move on. It’s the right time for us


the council’s “scaled back pro- posal” omits the 30mph vehicle-ac- tivated signs (VAS) that BLSC spokesman Trudy Clark says are crucial to the scheme’s success. She said: “We are exceptionally disappointed. There have been some brief explanations from KCC as to why the VAS signs cannot be implemented, but these appear to be excuses hiding behind the issue of cost and maintenance. We now feel we are a long way from the pledge made by KCC’s Matthew Balfour at our open meeting to ‘make the junction safer’.”


She says that were the junction


built today it would fail national visibility standards, and the cur- rent proposals will not make any significant difference to safety. Miss Crouch added: “What has


to go. The centre will benefit from fresh ideas and fresh owners. We’re very pleased with what we’ve built up here over the years, we’ve got lots of cracking cus- tomers.” The pair, who live near Faver-


sham, who celebrated their silver wedding anniversary this year havingmetwhile studying atHad- lowCollege. They have no immediate plans


been proposed will do little to im- prove the safety of the junction and it is hardly a surprise that residents feel let down by this half-baked re- sponse." Neil Harris, of Aylesford Parish Council, says councillors will be asking why the VAS signs cannot be fitted and for an assurance the £20,000 for improvements at the junction are ring fenced. He said: “We are struggling to understand why the signs can’t be fitted and disappointed because they do work. Rumble strips are welcome, but not as effective.” KCC says hedging will be cut


other than to spend timewith fam- ily and a holiday. Mr Brookman (51), pictured


above, said: “Inevitably after 17 years here, itwill be strange not to be coming here for work every day. I will still buymy plants here and I hope I can get a discount!” He hasworked in the plant busi-


ness for 33 years, andwent to agri- cultural


Novice pupils’ fish success Bearsted salon’s perfect 10


A POPULAR hairdressing salon celebrated its 10th birthday – and raised cash for charity in the process. So Hairdressing


Kennedy, Jett Martindale, Kian Wilkins and Jamie Holder had fished competitively and the experience was a success. The lads kept up the school’s tra-


in Bearstedmarked its


with a special client


where customers, local residents and business contacts raised a glass to the success of the salon. The guests were


joined Kent instructor Bob Goble to fly-fish for carp. He said: “They had no idea you


anniversary evening,


dition of competing well – taking third place at the event at Hadlow College. Earlier in the month the boys had


Bob Goble and Malling School pupil Jett Martindale


could catch carp with fly gear andwere pleasantly surprised with the size of the fish. With help frommyself they managed to hook and land some super specimens!” Extra-curricular co-ordinator Tony Nichols, who organises the event for


also treated to some pampering, hair styling demon- strations and shop- ping opportunities, while a raffle raised £520 for the Heart of Kent Hospice. Owners Steve O’Rourke and Sam Cooper (pictured) are delighted


with the support they have received fromthe community. Steve said: “I can't believe it's been 10 years.We've had great sup- port fromthe locals and love being part of the Bearsted community.”


POLICE are investigating a re- ported “road rage” incident where two drivers started brawling in the middle of a dual carriageway. Rush hour traffic on the A228


was delayed as the pair scuffled and took swipes at one another.


the school in East Malling, said: “The boys were very excited about their achievement. They did the school – and themselves – proud.”


Drivers in brawl on busy A228 According to police, officers


were called at around 9am on Sep- tember 26 to reports of the incident but the two men had left the scene by the time the officers arrived. Enquiries are on-going into the circumstances of the incident."


college with Gary


Carvosso, managing director of Coolings. The new owners are “proper


FOUR pupils from The Malling School caught the fishing bug when they took part in their first Fishing4Schools competition. It was the first time Connor


plant people”,Mrs Brookman said, and added: “We wanted it to go to good hands and we wanted Cool- ings to be perfectly honest.”


back and new roads signs and bol- lards added as part of the scheme, set to start in November. It will be combined with work to reduce speeds on the Pilgrims Way to 40mph from the junction with Rochester Road and 30mph start- ing near Hale Close. The KCC spokesman added that


the success of improvements will be monitored and other significant developer-led projects may well allow further improvements to be made in the area.


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