exploratory work for a relief road is a reflection of who we are today. The fact that this work should have been undertaken 40 years ago is demonstration enough that the structures of our British democracy are poor; our local politicians are not fit for purpose either. KCC should be acquiring land rights

along the M20; Kent Highways should be starting to build contingency car parks near our towns en route to Dover; these car parks will need mini-services or nearby access to them should Calais/Dover freeze-over sometime next year. There’s no point looking to Westminster

for help as they are in their own soup. Is there anyone out there with a thought of what might happen - anyone shouting and screaming? Surely Mr Fowle’s comments

concerning Brexit are about Britain not messing around; he is seeking that inner roar again! Westminster should give Northern

Ireland another vote to choose between EU and UK as should Scotland. Britain cannot afford to have half the “country” pulling in the other direction. Mrs May is trying to hang onto the

wind; if Britain falls down the cracks next April, those in Northern Ireland and Scotland will be the first to say what they think of Westminster. The Government's “fudge” white paper

demonstrates that our politicians can't decide what future we want. International businesses can’t afford to wait around. Our brave new world will not wait

around either if we can't negotiate to trade pencils. let alone our skilled services. It is EU or UK we want to hang onto,

but we dare not pose the question. Richard Maryan, via email

Map clues to village name

I REFER to your most recent letters’ page and your correspondent John Hughes’ remarks about the pronunciation of Bearsted. I have an 1819 Ordnance Survey map of

the Maidstone area and it is quite clearly spelt “Bersted” while Ulcombe is

“Ulcomb” and Hollingbourne is “Hollingbourn”. John Dixon, Downswood

Modal shift not working

I CHALLENGE anyone to actually walk the mile or so along Heath Road from the No 5 bus stop at Linton Crossroads to Coxheath centre whilst facing oncoming traffic? I tried this yesterday evening. As I reflect upon it, I suppose my

experience was an empirical test of “modal shift”, which I understand to be Maidstone Borough Council’s strategy to mitigate against the expected increase in road traffic by encouraging us to ride bicycles, walk or catch a bus, rather than drive a car. I wouldn’t like to guess when the

pavement was last resurfaced, but the terrain was very sketchy in places, and even more alarming was the overgrown hawthorn hedge which made it difficult to negotiate a safe passage even in single file as cars whizzed past inches away. Cycle along there? Good luck with that. I may be paraphrasing the Borough Plan

in this regard, but wasn’t modal shift the key to sticking 18,000 new houses in and around a town which is already reported to suffer the worst air quality outside central London, whilst at the same time avoiding a 37% increase in vehicle traffic by 2031 as is otherwise forecast to arise? Hmmm. Not working for me so far ... Andrew Duncan, by email

Support our local hospice IN LETTERS to Downs Mail, July 2018, Min Stackpoole is correct to draw a�ention to the Hospice in the Weald charity shop in West Malling. However the days of hospices respecting

boundaries in seeking much-needed funds are in the past. The charity world has become

increasingly competitive and every effort is needed to raise the income to sustain the viability of our hospices. Both Heart of Kent Hospice and Hospice

in the Weald provide an excellent and caring service to their communities.

Heart of Kent is in a significantly less

well-off area of Kent; Hospice in the Weald has the conurbations of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, and Tunbridge Wells in which to raise funds; Heart of Kent’s only large town is Maidstone and thus suffers a disadvantage. What is not generally known is the

difference in wealth of the the two hospices. The Charity Commission web site indicated that at the end of the financial year to 31 March, 2017, Hospice in the Weald has assets of over £12 million in long term investments, a further £4.6 million in “own use assets”, and another £3.4 million in “other assets” – a total of approximately £20 million. In comparison, Heart of Kent Hospice’s

assets at the end of March 2017 were zero long-term investments, £3.8 million in “own use assets”, and another £890,000 in “other assets”. A total of less than £5m. Hospice in the Weald’s turnover is in the

region of £9 million, Heart of Kent’s is approximately £4-5 million, a real challenge with low reserves. It’s tough out there and I would urge

everyone to support Heart of Kent Hospice and its shop in West Malling. They need and deserve our support. Richard Jones, Mereworth

Check car park barrier

KNOWING of your keen interest in ma�ers relating to Maidstone hospital, you may wish to publicise the fact that before paying the parking charge on a Sunday, it’s worth checking to see if one of the exit barriers is permanently raised. Had I done this last weekend, I would

have saved £6. I have since checked the list of charges

displayed at the ticket machines and there is no mention of there being no charge on Sundays. This smacks of sharp practice. If the raised barrier is not a regular

feature, surely the machines can be switched off when it is, with an explanatory notice at the machines giving the good news. If it is a permanent practice then it

should be displayed on the list of charges. Ron Lee, Heath Road

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Malling September 2018 43 Maidstone South Maidstone East Maidstone Weald

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