orderForm.noItems Maidstone East Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

January 2018

‘Visionary’ plan to save village library

REURBISHMENTS to Bearsted library could be paid for by selling off part of the site for housing, Kent County Council (KCC) has revealed.

The library area would remain

in its existing location while the old schoolmaster’s annexe could be turned into dwelling space, said KCC leader Paul Carter. He told Downs Mail there may

also be scope for an extension. Cllr Carter – who represents the

village at CountyHall – said: “My plan and visionwould be to refur- bish the existing library, dividing it into two. There would be the li- brary on one side and housing on the other, with a possible exten- sion. “We’d end upwith a very attrac-

tive semi-detached property, to produce a capital receipt to pay for the refurbishment.” CllrDenis Spooner, the borough

councilmember for Bearsted, said: “If that is Paul’s plan, then that is absolutely fabulous news. “I have alwayswanted to keep a

library on the site and I have been advocating the renovation of the schoolmaster’s wing for flats for a number of years. But if that is the KCC intention, then it is fantastic to hear it.” He added: “It’s been a deteriorat-

ing building for quite a while and KCC probably just do not have the funds to do it up. Clearly, some- thing needs to be done there.” He said the flooring and joists are

in a “terrible state” and there may be a host of other problems. It was shut by KCC last April as

part of an on-going KCC investiga- tion into the extent and cost ofwhat

FREE No. 249

News Plums help church

A BUMPER harvest of plums in Leeds is helping a local church pay for much- needed repairs.

Brides get a refund

BEARSTED vicar John Corbyn has a way of making sure the bride gets to the church on time - money!

Memorial expense

THE war memorial at Bearsted could cost £25,000 to fix.


Woodcut Farm battle 8

THE battle over the Woodcut Farm industrial estate scheme may go to court.

Bus service threat

DESPERATE efforts are being made to reverse bus service cuts.

Little Mix coming

GIRL band Little Mix have set a date to play a concert at the Detling showgrounds.

14 Parish Councils30-31

Cllr Denis Spooner welcomes KCC leader Paul Carter’s plans for the refurbish- ment of Bearsted’s village library

it describes as “extensive repairs to the building”. One sticking point may be a

covenant – dating back to the mid 19th century – restricting any fu- ture use to an educational purpose, casting some doubt over selling it as a property. Cllr Carter said he was unaware of a covenant.

The old schoolmaster’s wing – on

the right of the building – has been empty and unlived in for decades. Cllr Spooner floated an idea to

KCC several years ago where that part could be converted into flats and rented out to teachers, thus ful- filling the educational purpose of the covenant. He added: “This could have


helped to fund the library. That was the humble idea that I put for- ward to KCC officers some years back but I didn’t really hear any- thing back.” The school was originally part of

the Canterbury diocese and was later taken under the wing of the county council.

COUNCILLOR Geoff Cosgrove has resigned after moving away from Detling; a thousand tulip bulbs have been planted on the A20 by developers in Harrietsham; coun- cillors in Hollingbourne were “de- lighted” to hear that the future of the Christopher’s, the village shop, is safe; new bins have been installed in Harrietsham.

Crime Reports 31

THERE was an attempted break-in at a property in Otham Lane, Bearsted; gas cylinders were stolen from a builder’s yard in Lenham; a horse box trailer was stolen from stables in Bredhurst; a shed in Bearstedwas broken into; a vehicle parked in Boxley was damaged.

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