orderForm.noItems Maidstone Weald Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

January 2018

Parishes told to sort out traffic problems

PARISHcouncils across theWeald say they are being forced to solve their own traffic problems.

Kent County Council (KCC) has

been forced to hand back some highways issues for villagers to sort out for themselves, they say. As a result, thousands of pounds

is being set aside fromparish coun- cil budgets for works to improve road safety in villages. AtHunton, the parish council has

just paid £1,500 to have aweigh re- striction signmoved 50 yards, after an earlier scheme by the county council failed to stop lorries using Redwall Lane. Hunton Parish Councilmade the

application to Kent Highways to move the weight restricted area back in May 2017 after the county council said there was no more money in the county coffers and if the scheme was unsuccessful the parish should act. Parish councillor Helen Ward

(pictured) said: “We understand thatmoney is tight, but it seems in- creasingly that highwaymatters are being pushed back down the chain to parish councils to take action. “We are trying to dowhatwe can

as a parish through initiatives like LorryWatch, and Speedwatch, but how affective this can be, particu- larly when people have to work, has yet to be seen. “Unfortunately, thewhole traffic

issue seems to be falling between stools with the county council un- able to fund the necessary im- provements and the police too short of resources to enforce con- trols likeweight restrictions.”

In other villages, the speed of

cars is the biggest concern, and in East Farleigh, the parish council is planning to borrow£70,000 to fund traffic calming in the village. Parish council chairman Glyn

Charlton has written to residents outlining the plans the village has to make the roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians, having first been mooted in their Parish Plan nine years ago.

“We have, aftermuch cajoling, fi-

nally obtained an acceptable traffic calming plan from Kent High- ways,”CllrCharlton said. “There is a requirement of £70,000 for the traffic calming scheme. The only way this can move forward is by obtaining a community loan. “The annual cost for a £70,000

loan is £3,400 over 50 years, which is easily affordable out of our high- ways budget.” In Boughton Monchelsea, vil-

lagers have recently shelled out £4,000 for traffic surveys as the parish council considers plans for a 20mph limit through their village. But parish council chairman

Steve Munford – who also sits on Maidstone Borough Council – un- derstands the situation from the county perspective. “Their priorities are to deal with

more major problems,” he said. “KCC won’t finance us to have a 20mph limit, butwe arewaiting for the results of our traffic survey be- fore deciding if we will move on with the scheme.” The parish council has moved

£50,000 into a newbudget category and set up a committee to dealwith the proposals. A KCC spokesman said: “Whilst

we sympathise with residents, we have to make tough decisions on where to improve traffic and road safety in local areas. “We look at the sitesmost in need

of improvement, which have the support of thewhole community. “Residents should in the first in-

stance contact their local councillor to get their support and there is po- tential for funding through their member grant scheme. “We're happy to consider all re-


quests as long as residents go through the steps outlined at”

Home Alarms supplied and fitted visit or call 08000 199622

THE most popular choices for sec- ondary schools in the area are revealed.

Our favoured schools 8

Star boosts dog hunt 13

SIMON Cowell has put up a reward to help family get their stolen dog Morse back.

Club’s future fears

A 200-year-old village club is fac- ing its biggest chal- lenge to date.

Theatre dates

DATES confirmed for Changeling Theatre’s 2018 shows in BoughtonMonchelsea.

28 Parish Councils 32-34

AN ALLOTMENT area in Boughton Monchelsea could see a redcuction in plots; two areas are being consid- ered for a new burial ground in Headcorn; councillors in Staple- hursthave offered financial support to a proposal for floodlights at the football pitch; Speedwatch volun- teers are being sought in Sutton Va- lence and West Farleigh.

Crime Reports 34

FLY tippers forced a gate in Staple- hurst before dumping rubbish; three incidents of car number plate theft were reported in one night in Yalding; Christmas lights and a wind charm were damaged in East Sutton; a number of pheasants were stolen in Ulcombe.

Obituaries 38 Comment 46-47 22

FREE No. 249

News Pupils giving time

YOUNGSTERS at Headcorn Pri- mary School are giving the com- munity a boost with acts of kindness.

Plant theft appeal

POLICE appeal for witnesses after a spate of plant thefts in Coxheath.

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