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Maidstone South Edition


downsmail.co.uk


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


December 2018


Park andRide future nowinprivatehands


TRANSPORT bosses are to outsourceMaidstone’s Park and Ride after a four-month probe revealed itwas haemorrhaging passengers and cash.


Borough councillors have asked


officials to find a commercial opera- tor willing to run the service, which has been subsidised by the taxpayer. If no deal is done, the council says


it will continue to run the car parks in Willington Street and London Road, but the dedicated 501 and 503 buses would be scrapped. David Burton, chair of Maid-


stone’s transport committee, said the decision was a “good outcome” be- cause it put the scheme in the hands of “professional operators”. The service was given a stay of ex-


ecution in January, when councillors agreed to extend the contract until May 2019, instigate a makeover and publicity drive, and launch a study into Park and Ride’s performance. Crucially, they also took a gamble


Book now to see panto 15


on winning over new customers with a cashless “pay to park” sys- tem, despite warnings from their of- ficers that the move could drive away a quarter of the existing core users. Public appetite for more fre- quent buses was also rejected, with the council saying changing the ex- isting 20-minute service to 15 would ramp up the cost to the taxpayer. A report into the study’s findings


TICKETS for the Hazlitt Theatre panto, Aladdin, are selling fast. Managers say dozens of performances of the 60-show run are now sold out, or have very limited seat availability. The Christmas favourite this year stars EastEnders actor, comic and stand-up Richard Blackwood (pictured).


by Maidstone’s parking services manager, Jeff Kitson, showed the changes had failed to gain traction with the public. Net earnings between June 1 and


September 30 this year were £65,300 compared to £110,285 the previous year, with passenger numbers plummeting from 71,732 to 55,885. Taxpayers subsidised Park and


Ride to the tune of £242,000 last year, and this year’s projections sug- gest that figure will exceed £310,000. By farming the scheme out to a com- mercial operator, the council is con- fident it can bring those numbers down to around £100,000.


FREE No. 260 News


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.


6


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.


Ordered tomuzzle


ADOGowner has been ordered to muzzle her bull terrier after it bit two people.


Obituaries


26 36


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


Christmas at Frankie's - Come along & join us for our CHRISTMAS TASTING EVENING on 30th November. Tickets are £10 - includes a glass of BUBBLY Tickets available from the FARMSHOP


Open 7 days a week, 9am-5pm Mon-Sat - 10am-4pm Sun


Clapper Lane, Staplehurst, TN12 0JT


22 14 3


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