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Maidstone East Edition Maidstone Weald Edition October 2017 July 2019


Panto ahoy! Vicar asks for


price of a pint WEALD vicar the Rev Fiona Haskett isurging villagers todig deep and donate the price of a pint and some crisps to counter massive maintenance bills. Just one of her four churches cost around £66,000 to run last year.


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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


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.


Planners’ shock as appeals overturned


CALLS for the installation of CCTV cameras to prevent fly-tipping on a country road have been made by the local borough councillor.


Maidstone has lost 46% of the


planning appeals levelled against it, compared to a Kent average of between 23% and 30%. The figures have prompted


anger within the borough’s plan- ning committee, with Headcorn’s Martin Round protesting: “We are being made to look fools in front of our community. “What’s the point of us sitting


here? What’s the point of us actu- ally having a committee? What’s the point of us employing enforce- ment officers?” The statistics came to light as


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


core, windows and household fur- niture is left illegally – often strewn in the middle of the road. Cllr Gill Fort said: “Every month


council officials pledged an audit of appeal decisions to see if the government’s inspectors “are get-


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


saw a caravan burned out while a torched car remains on a footpath


nearby, more than a year after it was dumped and set on fire. The church car park has also seen


ting it wrong”. Planning officer Austin Mackie


many instances of illegal dumping. But it is a problem in many rural


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-


told councillors: “We’ll also look at how we are approaching ap- peals… are we really putting to- gether the right evidence? Have we let our guard down a bit? Or do we need a better evidence base?” He said the borough’s compara-


tively poor results might be down to other authorities having green belt or more Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designations. But he admitted the number of


tive by the Environment Agency and the Driver and Vehicle Stan- dards Agency to clamp down on


gypsy and traveller appeals dis- torted Maidstone’s wider statistics. He said that, in terms of gypsy


and traveller sites, “inspectors are placing significant weight on status


BOROUGHplanners have been left reeling after government inspectors overturned nearly half of their rulings.


CCTV call in a bid to stop fly-tipping


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


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


and need”, while other planning losses had been “really subjective views on minor developments”. “We have a positive local plan,”


he said. “We have a positive atti- tude to delivery. But when we choose to refuse, inspectors are not recognising that this is the excep- tion to the rule.” Cllr Round said: “We have a


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.


01622 690290 YOUR LOCAL PROPERTY EXPERT


maidstone@martinco.com 23 Pudding Lane • Maidstone • Kent


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.


good, well-appointed, high qual- ity, public, affordable gypsy and traveller sites, we will continue to short-change both the gypsy and traveller community and the set- tled community,” he said. As Downs Mail was going to


Cllr Fort, who also serves as a


press, Maidstone lost another ap- peal… this time relating to Love Lane in Headcorn.


visit www.amiga.co.uk or call 08000 199622 Home Alarms supplied and fitted


Home Alarms supplied and fitted visit www.amiga.co.uk or call 08000 199622


plan that is robust… yet appeal in- spectors are constantly berating our system. They are actually knocking the work of our enforce- ment officers.” However, North Ward’s Cllr


Tony Harwood said the “elephant in the room” was the lack of trav- eller provision in Maidstone. “Until we get our act together on


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


FREE No. 246


News downsmail.co.uk


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


Kate, 107, dies News


FREE No. 267


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.


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Spice Lounge closes MP’s Local Plan bid


Unlicensed anglers


FISHERIES law enforcement teams have been cracking down on illegal anglers near Marden.


Plans for Dr Nigel


THE widow of GP Dr Nigel Minnet will walk the Grand Canyon for charity. 12


Jason Donovan date


THE former Neighbours star brings his show to the Hazlitt Theatre next May.


Spotlight on scams


FROMplanting dead rats to smashing roofs, we lift the lid on the doorstep scammers.


Obituaries Obituaries 8 26 Parish Councils 34-35


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.


A CCTV camera in Boughton Monchelsea needs a tamper- proof cover after it was pointed to face a bench instead of the play area; Broomfield and Kingswood Parich Council is looking into a hitching post for dogs, following concern about the number tied to the play- ground railings; West Farleigh parish councillors are considering “residents only” signs as parking in a lay-by gets worse; litter picks have been organised in Langley.


Crime Reports 35


VEHICLES have been driven over farmland in Lenham, causing damge to crops; an attempted break-in was reported in Detling; a vehicle was vandalised in Bearsted Rd, Weavering; pumpkins were stolen from an allotment in Lenham.


Parish Councils28-29 32


Community shed fire 18


ARSONISTS torched a shedwith BoughtonMonchelsea’s fete eqipment inside.


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A POPULAR Indian restaurant in Coxheath has finally closed its doors after 13 years of trading.


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Crime Reports 29


Comment 46-47 Comment 38-39


OFFENDERS broke into a post of- fice in Marden and tried to steal a safe; a trailer, tools and pressure washer were taken from a prop- erty in Headcorn; lead was stolen from the roof of flats in East Far- leigh; a car trailer was taken in Ulcombe; tools were stolen from a business in Coxheath.


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