Maidstone North Edition
Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper
December 2018 Park and Ride now in private hands
TRANSPORT bosses are to out- source Maidstone’s subsidised Park and Ride after a four-month probe into its performance revealed the scheme was haemorrhaging pas- sengers and cash. Borough councillors have now
asked officials to find a commercial operator willing to take the service off their hands. The scheme was given a reprieve
in January, but a forensic study into its performance between June 1 and September 30 showed passen- ger numbers were down to 55,885 compared to 71,732 over the same period last year.
Disabled face losing transport in cost cuts
THE future of a crucial lifeline for hundreds of disabled people is in the balance as councillors prepare to inflict swingeing cuts on grants.
Maidstone’s Disability Travel
Voucher scheme faces the axe as part of the borough’s wider drive to wring “efficiencies” from its budget. But Downs Mail understands the
move has set the council on a colli- sion course with Age UK Maid- stone – the charity which administers the £50,000 service on the authority’s behalf. A Maidstone Borough Council
source said: “Age UK says the voucher scheme shouldn’t be in- cluded among cuts to grants be-
cause the money is not a grant, but part of a service the council con- tracted the charity to deliver. “One of their senior people is due
to appear before councillors immi- nently to make their case.” Disability Travel Vouchers are
currently available to Maidstone residents, regardless of age, for jour- neys within the borough to hospital or GP appointments, or to schemes that counter social isolation. Those applying are unable to use
public bus and train services be- cause they have severe visual, phys-
ical or mental impairments, or mo- bility issues. Successful applicants receive £70-
worth of vouchers, valid for a year, to use with participating taxi and community transport organisations. Around 500 people benefit di-
rectly from the scheme, but sup- porters also point out the funds are “recycled” within the Maidstone economy – providing income for cab companies and transport charities. Age UK Maidstone has employed
a part-time administrator specifi- cally to maintain the service ever since the council approached it to run the scheme in 2008. Paul Coles, the charity’s chief ex-
ecutive, confirmed his organisation ran the scheme, but would not be drawn on the latest developments. “We’re currently in talks with the
council,” he said. Maidstone Borough Council had
not commented by the time Downs Mail went to press.
FREE No. 260
Business nomination MEET the former Invicta Grammar School pupilwho has been nominated for a business start-up award.
MBC boss under fire
COUNCIL boss Alison Broom is under fire after a complaint against KCC was rejected.
Leeds Castle celebrates 10
CELEBRATIONS for Leeds Castle’s 900th anniversary have been announced.
Meet the new boss
MAIDSTONE building giant Gal- lagher has named Lance Taylor as its new chief.
MPs ‘safe’ in snap poll
A RECENT poll says local MPs will be re-elected if a general election is called early.
ADOGowner has been ordered to muzzle her bull terrier after it bit two people.
Parish Councils 37
A NEW PCSO for Tovil was named as Ross Russell; £10,000 of funding was secured for play equipment in Barming; a planter will be built out of railway sleepers in Tovil.
Crime Reports 37
ACAR’S tyres were slashed in Alling- ton; a restaurant was broken into in Tonbridge Road; a door window was smashed in Sheals Crescent; a pass- port was stolen from a car in North Way; building materials including copper, cable tools and a lock were stolen from a garage in Fant; a gate was removed from a property in Shepway.
Comment 46-47 01580 890713 | www.frankiesfarmshop.co.uk
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