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downsmail.co.uk A retrogressive step


I READwith interest Dennis Fowle’s article concerning Brexit. It is vital thatwe get some sort of trade dealwith Europe – it is in everyone’s best interests. I certainly wouldn’t relish the prospect of talking trade dealswith US Presidnet Donald Trump, amanwhomakes Jean Claude Juncker look like a gullible pushover. Other nations such asAustralia, Canada


and NewZealandwould also rally to our cause, but given the distances that are involved, the costswould almost certainly be passed on to consumers. Butwhat really bugsme is that I have


long-standing friends in two EU countries – France andMalta – and last year Iwas privileged to spend threemonths in the former and sixweeks in the la�er. If,whenwe leave, I have to go through


the tedious process if applying for visas/travel permits in order to repeat the experiences that I previously enjoyed using a passport only, that formewould exemplify the retrogressive stance this country has undertaken in the name of progress. L Skeels,Maidstone


Recipe for life ismissing


IWAS sad to read of declining church congregations, but I amafraid itwas inevitable. Now86, and I have seen dramatic changes in our society and in individuals. Inmy younger days, the churchwas at


the centre of our communities. I remember the hymns and atmosphere of reflection and contemplation – the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Christ in the NewTestament. They gave stability to my life that remains to this day. They offered a strength to face adversity and a recipe for a happy life. Today, theworld spirituality is no longer


in our lexicon.A Hindu punditwas once askedwhat he thoughtwas the cause of all human distress and unhappiness. He replied: “Greed and ignorance,when spirituality declines andwheremateriality is rampant.” I amnot a religious zealot but the church


gave us an unequalled rule of lawand this was exemplified by our resilience and courage during thewar. In an explosion in Lee Green, south east


London, in 1940, thereweremany dead andwounded. People fromless damaged


houses came – as if bymagic –with tea, bandages and blankets – and not a social worker or counsellor in sight. We are nowconfronted by the difficult


problemof care of the elderly. In days gone by, the family cared for their aged. Now, the government has relieved us of that responsibility and consigns themto profit- driven residential “care” –where love is sometimes in short supply. Michael Nash,Maidstone


Cost of traffic delays


IWAS at least 45minutes late formy hospital appointment on October 17. Having been caught up in bad traffic in


Hermitage Lane, I rang ahead to advise themof this situation and got the distinct impression fromthe operator thiswas a common and evenworsening occurrence. The impacts are apparently a daily event


causing great stress and distress to staff and patients alike. The disruptive effects on appointments are both costly to the NHS and to patientswhose livesmay depend on urgent treatment. Under the Freedomof InformationAct, I


have asked the hospital trust for figures and statistics relating to the impacts observed by staffmembers and HR department, andwhether it records changes in appointment cancellations and rearrangements thatmay relate to the impacts of the frequent stationary traffic conditionswe face on Hermitage Lane? Keith Young, by email


Demographics are changing


YOUR headline thatMaidstone looks so sleazy offers a glimpse into the changing demographics of the town. You highlightedWaitrose has pulled the


plug on investing in the town; there is a business reason for this. The retailer is anticipating a fall in income fromfood that will not cover the cost of a newbuilding in a newlocation.Waitrosewill have consideredwhether the people of Maidstone townwould travel up Si�ingbourne Road to buy their food, but more importantly the demographics of a Waitrose customerwill not come or perhaps they no longer exist. Maidstone council hasn’tmoved


Maidstone up – a decent pavement isn’t enough to bring the people into the town centre.We knowtraffic is a constant issue. Maidstone is not dynamic enough. Our


town is not the bastion of cycle routes or dedicated bus lanes that allowfast track journeys. There is li�le point in enforcing a strict


‘clean streets’ policywithin a halfmile of the town centrewhile rubbish is regularly dumped in every direction elsewhere.We might reflect that our ‘dirty’ outer-town and its surrounding tributaries fitwith a sleazy demeanour. RichardMaryan,Maidstone


Solution to a ‘hairy’ drive


I NOMINATEWest Park Road for the ‘most dangerous inMaidstone’ title. Driving north fromParkWay/West Park


Road junction is the first of 10 triangular shaped obstructions protruding six feet into the road. Driversmust evade nine more on alternate sides. Thewidth of coaches, lorries etc force other vehicles to stop or have awingmirror smashed or worse.And this is evenmore hairy after dark. Further on, youmust dodge two slabs of


concrete six inches high and 12 feet in diameter called “roundabouts”. At the pedestrian crossing nearby, grammar school boys think it is okay to step in front of and haltmoving traffic. Conclusions? Remove all 10 obstructions.


Redesign two “roundabouts” into one large one.Make the crossing pedestrian controlled. Don Bates ,Maidstone


Delivering on Local Plan


ON OCTOBER 25, councillors voted throughMaidstone's newlocal plan. The challenge nowis to ensure this delivers for everyone in the town and across the borough, andwe provide the appropriate infrastructure. A Conservative- ledMaidstone Borough


Council developed this plan, but since the Lib Dems took control of the council in 2015we have hadmissed opportunities. They have voted against amechanismfor a Leeds-Langley relief road, and have voted against improving air quality at the Wheatsheaf Junction. It is clear tome, as a relatively new


councillor, representing an area of our town that this planwill only be a success if delivered by the Conservatives.We should remember thiswhenwe vote. CllrMa Boughton, Conservative, Fant Ward,Maidstone Borough Council


Maidstone Weald December 2017


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