orderForm.noItems Malling Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

December 2017 Townswitchonis

biggest so far CHRISTMAS has truly started in West Malling after thou- sands of revellers attended the annual festive lights switch-on. Reindeers, the Rock Choir

and Olaf fromFrozen were among the attractions on Sunday, November 19, for a fun-filled day of entertainment in what was described by organisers as the “biggest event yet.” Story and pictures, see page 3

Wholesaler closure ‘big blow’ to towns

ITwill be a bleak Christmas formore than 250workers fromtheMalling areawhowere given theirmarching orders after the shock announcement that one of the area’s biggest employers has gone into administration.

LocalMPs and councils have spo-

ken of their horror after Palmer and Harvey, which has depots in both SnodlandandAylesford, announced it had called in the administrators. The news came less than amonth

before Christmas, and leaves many families in the area facing an uncer- tain future. A total of 2,500 jobs went nation-

wide, including 198 in Snodlandand 58 in Aylesford, with a further 39 keeping their roles across the two depots for the time being. MP Tracey Crouch was “shocked

and saddened” by the news, espe- cially so close to Christmas. She said: “They are a significant

employer in the constituency and manywill be affectedby thedecision tomake staff redundantwith imme-

diate effect. “I was not informed of this news

in advance and the first I heardwas on the 10pmnews. Itwould not sur- prise me if that is when many em- ployees heard too.” She added: “Iwill also get further

informat ion about


longer termim- pact on staff pensions and other accumu- lated benefits.” S n o d l a n d

Town Council were alsodisappointedto hear of the news affecting such a big employer in the town. “This will be a big blow to the town because of the number of

Snodland people who work there,” chief executive Karen Sowten said. “There is never a good time for

such news, but this is particularly bad coming as it does just before Christmas.” Mark Todd, national officer of the

Union of Shop, Distributive andAl- liedworkers, said: “Usdawisdeeply concerned at the devastating news that Palmer and Harvey has gone into administration and that a sig- nificant number of redundancies have already been announced. “This announcement is amassive

shock to ourmembers and is an ex- tremely distressing situation for all concerned, especially in the run up to Christmas.” The company, theUK’s largestde- liverywholesaler to the convenience

market, has 14 regional distribution centres, and blamed a challenging trading environment and cashflow issues for the decision to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers as admin- istrators. Joint administrator Matthew

Callaghan said: “This is a devastat- ing blowfor everyonewho has been involved in the business.”


Christmas bookings being taken now

Obituaries 34

Parish Councils 38 Crime Reports 39

LEAD was removed from the roof of a home in London Road, Ayles- ford; a blue MG ZR car was stolen fromMedina Road, Ditton; a Jack Russell was stolen from the dog pound in Offham.

Comment 46-47 Town Talk

A SNODLAND girl has been named as Young Fundraiser of the Year at theWard & Partners Children’s Awards after walk- ing fivemiles and raisingmore than £2,000 for charitywhenher grandad was diagnosed with Parkinson’sDisease – seeTown Talk in this month’s Downs Mail. The bi-monthly inde- pendent magazine is dedicated to Snodland and Halling resi- dents.

FREE No. 248


Youngster on his bike 4


PARISH council reminds residents of pooch ban.

8 Ben’s Spanish hack

A TEENAGER represented the UK at the European Cyber Security Challenge. 14

Children in Need

PUPILS across the area helped raise record amounts for the annual telethon.


A SCHOOLBOY was given a re- placement after his bicyle was stolen. Free Home delivery

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