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Maidstone North Edition


downsmail.co.uk


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


February 2018


Reviews mixed after gyratory’s first year


IT HAS been open for just over a year – but opinion is split on the success of the Maidstone gyratory system.


Costing almost £6m and taking


around nine months to finish the new lanes, the project aimed to re- duce journey times through the town centre by 74 seconds on aver- age. But while some insist that it has


improved traffic flow, concerns re- main that other parts of the town are feeling the strain instead – and that the layout can cause confu- sion. Cllr Brian Clark has seen several


close shaves with vehicles travel- ling the wrong way through the system, and feels that drivers who are not familiar with the layout are at risk. “The lack of guidance for drivers


is leading to vehicles heading straight into oncoming traffic trav- elling north on the A229,” he said. “I feel there is an urgent need to


review safety before there is a seri- ous accident.” Sean Carter, chairman of South


Maidstone Action for Roads and Transport (SMART) says that any gains for traffic in the town centre are “wiped out” by increasing vol- umes of traffic on the A274 and A229, while the Green Party’s Stu- art Jeffrey feels the money on the system could have been spent more wisely on other road im- provements. The gyratory has also had a


See a pharmacist


DOCTORS are advising people to use their local pharma- cists for minor ailments.


Peace summit delay


A MEETING to resolve a row over a relief road has been de- layed again.


Royal visit to castle


LEEDS Castle will celebrate its 900th birthday with a royal visit.


24 Parish Councils 34


The Maidstone gyratory has had mixed reviews from regular users as it be- gins its second year of operation.


mixed reaction from public trans- port chiefs, with Arriva’s Kent managing director Oliver Mona- han feeling there has been little dif- ference. “We are still affected by heavy


congestion at peak times,” he said. There remains concern about the


use of the area for pedestrians, with Mr Jeffrey feeling that the sys- tem has made matters far worse for them. Fran Wilson, the leader of


Maidstone Borough Council, agrees. “While we still have concerns


around access for pedestrians and cyclists from the west side of the town, the work carried out has im- proved the flow of traffic,” she said. Opinion was also split among


users on Downs Mail’s Facebook page when asked for their reviews on the system. John Ryan described it as a


“major improvement” on the pre- vious set-up, but Dave Shepherd feels that there is still work to be done. “I use the system every day in all


BEST WISHES FOR 2018


directions," he wrote. The light se- quence is not right; traffic coming from Rocky Hill always seems to block the box junction.”


Full report – pages 18 & 19


TRUSTEES are working on a five year plan for a nature reserve in Tovil; two roads in Loose are in line for ‘quiet lane’ status; two new benches are to be installed at the parish field in Barming; a trampo- line had been ordered and will be in- stalled at a play area in Tovil; members at Barming are in favour of a local council awards scheme.


Crime Reports 34


A CAMERA and other items were taken in a break-in at a residential property in Barming; power tools were stolen from a van in Maid- stone; CDs were stolen from a Ford Fiesta in Willington Street; a rac- ing bike was taken from a property in Wheeler Street.


Obituaries 38 Comment 46-47 16 11


FREE No. 250 News


Parishes face future


AN OUTSPOKEN churchman has warned two parishes face going bust if numbers continue to decline.


6


Our favoured schools 8


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


www.felicityrose.co.uk


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