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Maidstone North Edition


downsmail.co.uk


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


Christmas 2018 Christmas arrives at council tip


YOU know Christmas is just around the corner when the rubbish tip at Tovil becomes a shrine to the fes- tive season. What started as a bit of fun a


few years back has now become a massive celebration. Most of the decorations – which


include dozens of plastic Santas and snowmen – were destined for destruction, and have been used by tip staff to decorate their office.


Plan to sell off parks for homes revealed


HOUSES may be built on parks and play areas owned by Maidstone


Borough Council (MBC), Downs Mail has learned. finger at members as the alleged culprits. She warned that such an alleged


MBC has carried out a review of


its portfolio of land and is looking for ways to create rental revenue streams as well as address the need for homes. The Lib Dem-run authority hired


consultants to look at 200 plots across the borough. They identi- fied 33 which went before the Pol- icy and Resources Committee as restricted papers. Sites identified include those in


the centre of the county town as well as Fant, Barming and Alling- ton. Among the play areas identi- fied are Quarry Square, Maidstone; Mangravet Recreation Ground;


Rosemary Road in Bearsted and Snowdon Avenue. Officers, particularly chief execu-


tive Alison Broom (below), wanted to keep the infor- mation secret but councillors argued to have the debate in public, probably in January. Downs Mail has been allowed sight


of the papers and published part of their contents online. Mrs Broom told councillors in an


email she was “disappointed” at the apparent leak and pointed the


disclosure by an elected member could breach the code of conduct. But she did concede there are ex-


ceptions, where disclosure is “rea- sonable and in the public interest”. Mrs Broom warned: “Any alle-


gations of breaches of the code of conduct will be investigated by the monitoring officer, in accordance with the constitution.” An MBC source said: “These are


areas of land which are effectively owned by the tax-payers. Elected members argued that the debate should be heard in public and that’s what they decided to do.” The paperwork suggests coun-


cil-owned car parks are to be part of a separate transport strategy, fu- elling speculation they will be built on. MBC officers tried to justify withholding the information from the public because it contains “com- mercially sensitive” information. Full story, page 8


FREE No. 261


News


Goldengirl’sbabyjoy WINTER Olympian and former grammar school head girl Lizzy Yarnold is pregnant with her first child.


Buzz the trainee


MEET Buzz, the cocker spaniel, who has become the fire service’s latest trainee.


Mumstole petrol


A JOBLESSmumof three twice took petrol fromMor- risons without paying – court case.


11 ‘Inspiring’ Rotarians


LOCAL Rotarians have received an award from a charity for ‘inspiring work’. 14


Science school starts


WORK on a new science and technology school inMaid- stone has started with the removal of trees.


Lions’ festive toys


MEMBERS of theMaidstone Lions’ Club will be giving away free toys to kids inWeek Street soon.


Obituaries


20 26


Crime Reports 30


A BLACK Vauxhall Astra was stolen in Allington; parcels were stolen from a delivery driver in Lucerne Street; a vehicle was keyed in Coral Park; a tyre on a Skoda was damaged in Queens Road; a mailbox in a block of flats in Scotney Gardens was van- dalised; six new-build homes in Hermitage Lanewere broken into and damaged.


Comment 38-39


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