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Maidstone Weald Edition


downsmail.co.uk


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


December 2018 Headcorn hit


by ramraiders RAMRAIDERS caused extensive damage to the front of the Sains- bury’s Local store in Headcorn. A large mechanical crane was


used to gouge the cash machine out of the wall late on November 19. It is not known how much cash was in the machine at the time.


29


Rural protection plan ‘not failsafe’ warning


government protection for rural areas as a “negative planning instrument”. cations in on some areas. Conservative group leader and


REPRESENTATIVES in the Weald have been warned against using Recognition for areas including


the Greensand Ridge and Low Weald as areas of outstanding nat- ural beauty (AONB) is now under- way and has received cross-party support. Headcorn borough councillor


Karen Chappell Tay


(pictured)


says achieving the AONB designa- tion will offer the highest protection against inappro- priate develop- ment. She told Downs Mail: “If we se-


cure AONB status that would be wonderful.” But the influential landowners’


body, Country Land & Business Association (CLA), cautioned AONBs do “not ensure its protec- tion and enhancement” and the needs of rural businesses must be heard. Two Maidstone borough councillors proposed the AONB status, going further than the coun- cil officers had themselves pro- posed. It includes an application for na-


tional “sub-tier” AONB recogni- tion for all “landscapes of local value” identified in the Local Plan, including Low Weald and the Len and Loose valleys. Liberal Democrat Cllr Sue Grigg


said achieving AONB status can take several years, which critics fear could be used to sneak appli-


Staplehurst borough councillor John Perry said: “There is wide support for this and protecting the Greensand Ridge, but the hoops that need to be gone through to achieve designation means this will be a long, slow process, but it has to be worth a try.” CLA regional director Robin Ed-


wards said: “AONBs can bring sig- nificant benefits, but it must be recognised that the designation of an area of land alone will not en- sure its protection and enhance- ment. “AONB designation should not


be used as a negative planning in- strument, and rural areas that are designated cannot remain immune from events within the economy. “AONB policies must include


sustainability for the economic and environmental development of rural communities. “Land management brings envi-


ronmental benefits and can only continue and improve if farmland and rural businesses within the AONB are economically sustain- able.”


FREE No. 260


News Jean stepping down


JEAN Hammond’s 14-year association with Headcorn’s parish magazine has come to an end.


3 Jobless mum stole


A JOBLESS Marden mother of three who stole fuel from a supermarket petrol station faced the music in court .


Eco village scheme


A BUSINESSMAN claims a plan for an “eco village” in Kingswood could help finance a relief road.


Council mag blunder


THE borough council is under fire for a magazine which wrongly depicted WW1 in artwork.


Obituaries


18 32


Parish Councils36-38


A NEW defibrillator machine has been installed inHeadcorn; there have been pothole problems in Busbridge Road, Loose; a resident in Langley asked for help to clear debris from a chestnut tree which was landing in Leeds Road; a litter pick is scheduled for March 2019 at Marden; allotment hold- ers face an increase in rents in Sutton Valence.


Crime Reports 38


A HORSE box trailer was stolen in East Farleigh; a tractor was taken from an agricultural field near Staplehurst; cards and cash were taken from a car in Headcorn; a digger trailer was stolen from a building site in Marden Road, Staplehurst; a car was damaged in Laddingford; an attempt was made to steal a wing mirror from a van in Chart Sutton.


Comment 46-47


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