orderForm.noItems Vehicle thefts

POLICE have advised 4X4 drivers to make sure their vehicles are se- cure after several thefts in Kent. Cars have been stolen in Five

Oak Green, Tenterden and Mar- den. The latter was later found burnt out inHollingbourne. Police suspect that 4X4 vehicles

are targetedforuse in ramraids on stores after attacks in Headcorn, Lenham and Staplehurst. How- ever, these recent thefts are not thought to be connected. Drivers are reminded not leave

valuables inside or ensure they are left inside the boot and to make sure alarms are functioning.

Pub re-opens

A PUB in East Farleigh has re- openedwith a fresh newlook after closing its doors to undergo a £100,000 refurbishment. TheWalnut Tree in Forge Lane

has been taken on by Jason and Debbie Tharp, who also run The George Inn in Leeds village. The building has undergone a

huge renovation, funded by brew- ers ShepherdNeame andthe own- ers. The pair have introduced a newmenu of traditional pub grub, aswell as children’smeals.

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Arriva shuts bus stops overA249 safety fears

SAFETY levels on the A249 have been called in to question after Arriva pulled its bus services on the busy dual carriageway over fears of a serious accident. Arriva says it haswithdrawn its

333 and 334 stopping service be- cause the safety ofdrivers andpas- sengers can not be guaranteed. The bus company admits the

route betweenMaidstone, Sitting- bourne and Sheppey was under used but says the decision is based on health and safety concerns. A spokesman said: “The speed

limit for much of the A249 is 70mph. However, there are mo- torists who drive in excess of this speed, which causes a danger for buses trying to pull out into fast- moving traffic.” It leaves villages including Stock-

bury, South Green, Yelstead and Hucking without the service that has operated for over 50 years. Arriva’s decision follows more than a year of negotiations with

Kent County Council. Arriva added: “We have talked about what actions we needed to make them safe. If they were made safe wewould happily serve them.” Cllr David Tomsett says Stock-

bury Parish Council understands the dangers of the road, but has pressed for the stops to be put in safer places and pull-in and -out access for buses improved. The councillor andgarage owner

said: “We hope to keep the Vale House stop near theM2 as part of

Cllr David Tomsett on the A249 at Stockbury by the closed bus stop, commissioned and paid for by the parish council in the 1960s

the promised improvements, but who knows when that will be? In the meantime, the one at the bot- tom of the hill into the village has been taken out of service and we seem to be beaten back at every turn,with thedrivers nowrefusing to stop. It seems speed cameras and a 50mph limit on the A249 might be theway ahead.” A KCC spokesman said the cost

ofmeasures tomitigate safety con- cerns for the limited level of use was too high.

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