Maidstone East Edition Maidstone Weald Edition
October 2017 April 2019 Panto ahoy! £48k cost of borough’s legal action
THE cast of Cinderella, which is to be staged at the Hazlitt Theatre in Maid- stone, took to the River Medway to launch this year's panto. On board The Kentish Lady were national treasure Rustie Lee (Fairy Godmother), former EastEnder Ste- fan Booth (Prince Charming), Eliza- beth Bright (Cinderella), Craig Anderson (Buttons) and, pictured, Stephen Richards and Adam Bor- zone (Ugly Sisters) . They were greeted by pupils from
CCTV call in a bid to stop fly-tipping
Churches face closure as funds crisis looms
South Borough Primary School and members of the media. The panto runs from December 1-31. For tick- ets go to www.hazlitttheatre.co.uk
MAIDSTONE Borough Coun- cil spent almost £50,000 of tax- payers’ money on its doomed High Court action against Kent County Council. Leaked papers, seen by Downs Mail, say the bill at the
RELIGIOUS leaders are struggling to make ends meet and protect churches from closure, Downs Mail has learnt.
In a perfect storm, the institution
CALLS for the installation of CCTV cameras to prevent fly-tipping on a country road have been made by the local borough councillor.
Burberry Lane, near Leeds and Broomfield, has been targeted by waste dumpers for years, but in re- cent months, the problem has be- come more acute. Constructionwaste, rubble, hard
which has defined Weald commu- nities for centuries faces a future of rising costs, falling attendance and a potential shortage of clergy. The situation has become so
core, windows and household fur- niture is left illegally – often strewn in the middle of the road. Cllr Gill Fort said: “Every month
pressing, the Diocese of Canter- bury, which oversees Maidstone borough, has instigated a wide- ranging consultation on how the church should be funded in future. Anna Drew, the diocese’s direc-
we are having toilets, sinks and construction waste dumped in the village, specifically in Burberry Lane, where we are now thinking of installing cameras on private land, to oversee the problem area.” A recent event in Burberry Lane
tor of communications, told Downs Mail: “Perhaps, in the past, we felt there were more important issues to attend to than money, but now we need this bigger conversation.” Bankrolling the Weald’s ancient
saw a caravan burned out while a torched car remains on a footpath
churches is a major challenge for vicars, the laity and congregations. Around 80% of these iconic build-
nearby, more than a year after it was dumped and set on fire. The church car park has also seen
many instances of illegal dumping. But it is a problem in many rural
ings are grade I listed and require expensive specialist care and main- tenance. Many are not energy effi-
areas including Langley, Otham and Kingswood. Water Lane in Bearsted and Pilgrims Way have also been targeted recently. Last year, Maidstone Borough Council cleared 911 cases of fly-tip- ping and this year more than 163 have been recorded since April. The approaching darker evenings will prompt a rise in illegal tipping. Cllr Fort welcomed a joint initia-
tive by the Environment Agency and the Driver and Vehicle Stan- dards Agency to clamp down on
cient, resulting in basic bills, like heating, topping £8,000 a year. Headcorn’s St Peter and St Paul’s Church alone costs £1,500 per week to run. Crucially, each church is also ex-
pected to pay the diocese a “parish share” – a set contribution to cen- tral church funds which covers the cost of hiring the clergy and pay- ing for the wider church’s ministry and charity work. At present, this money is gener-
unlicensed waste carriers, but be- lieves the cost to small firms of dis- posing of construction waste at a transfer station is proving a deter- rent that is costing councils more. Cllr Fort made her remarks as
ated entirely at grassroots level by grants, legacies, fundraisers and the collection tray, prompting church leaders and the clergy to question the sustainability of this approach. Weald vicar, Rev Fiona Haskett
one of the borough’s closest trans- fer stations at North Farm, Tun- bridge Wells, announced it will be closed for 10weeks. She added: “If you go along the
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(pictured) told Downs Mail she supports the concept of a parish share. She said it helps maintain the country’s network of churches, even if it does take about £75,000 from the coffers of the four churches in her charge at Chart Sutton, East Sutton, Headcorn and Sutton Valence each year. “With one of my own churches
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line of increasing fines, they have to be enforced. A reduction in the charge or offering it free may have the desired similar effect.” Athree-monthly litter pick on the mile-long stretch of road through Leeds village produces an average 32 black sacks of rubbish.
Cllr Fort, who also serves as a
parish councillor, says teaching children about social responsibility and the issue of litter in schools will help take the issue off the streets. She believes with every household receiving a weekly refuse collection service, there is no excuse for litter being thrown from vehicles or dumped in the road.
point of settlement was £48,554. It is not yet known how much
KCC spent on its lawyers, but it is thought to be a similar amount. MBC launched proceedings against KCC last summer to se-
cure a judicial review over the county council’s use of £200,000 in developer contributions for studies into a Leeds-Langley re- lief road. Turn to page 20 for the full story.
Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper
No. 246 News
Kate, 107, dies News
FREE No. 264
Lesson in schooling THE secretary of state for edu- cation gets a lesson in frontline schooling froma Loose head teacher.
KATE Hart, a resident at an old people’s home in Bearsted, has died aged 107, her son David has disclosed.
HELEN Whately asked the government to halt the borough’s housing scheme.
Village ramraidfury Plans for Dr Nigel
RESIDENTS in Staplehurst reveal their frustration after an alleged ramraid rocks anotherWeald village.
THE widow of GP Dr Nigel Minnet will walk the Grand Canyon for charity. 12
8 A runaway success
WEMEET the young athletewho has taken his sport by stormin just two years.
THE former Neighbours star brings his show to the Hazlitt Theatre next May.
Linton clean sweep
LINTON villagers clean up as they blitz the countryside in a litter-picking drive. 22
A BUDGET of £400 was set aside to buy planters in Broomfield and Kingswood; Coxheath Parish Council has applied to the British Heart Foundation for a grant to buy a community defibrillator; six warning letters were sent and 23 vehicles recorded by East Farleigh Speedwatch volunteers; Langley Parish Council has paid more than £900 to a contractor to repair street lights.
Parish Councils28-29 Obituaries
UTBUILDINGSwere broken into in Chart Sutto ;n three garden fence
Rd, Wea ering; pumpkins were i stolen
taken in from
Comment 46-47 Comment 38-39
32 Parish Councils 34-35
Crime Reports 29 OCrime Reports 35
ASH dieback has been discovered in Monks Meadow in Detling; Hollingbourne village fete stall- holder co-ordinator Jean Duffy has resigned; yellow lines are needed for Buffkyn Way, Otham, to allow buses through Imperial Park; rub- bish bins in the sports field in Kingswoodare to be moved over to the picnic area and rear exit.
VEHICLES have been driven over pane inls were
Cdamge to crops; an attempted n East Farleigh; a large ornamen- al garden urn was
quipment were Sutton Valence.
oxheath; a back door was broken i break-in was reported in Detling; a tvehicle was vandalised in Bearsted Marden; a vehicle tyre was slashed n Headcor from an eLenham.
n; tools and gardeni allotmentng in stolen
Jason Donovan date 1418
3 MP’s Local Plan bid 34
Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper
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