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News


Man ‘asked children to get into car’


A MAIDSTONE man has been ar- rested after allegedly asking chil- dren to get into Aylesford.


his car in


The suspect (20) was seen driv- ing a black vehilce in Greenacres, where it is claimed he ap- proached a boy and asked him to get into the vehicle. Two days later, a man in a black car gestured to a boy playing in a front garden on the same estate. The following day, police re-


ceived a report that a man in a black hatchback asked a girl to get into his car in Teapot Lane. He was arrested on suspicion of caus- ing harassment, alarm, and dis- tress, and was taken into police custody. Detective Sergeant Lisa Feath- erstone, of the Maidstone Child Protection Unit, said: “Although the children returned safely home, these were understandably distressing incidents. “We would urge anyone who may have seen anything or who may have information about these incidents to come forward.” Anyone with information should call 01622 604100, quoting reference 21-0717, or Crimestop- pers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or using the online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.


Store moves to


new Mall shop MATALAN has opened a new store in Maidstone.


The chain, which sells a mix of clothing and homewares, has moved from The Broadway to The Mall. The 17,448sqft store has taken over part of a unit previ- ously let to British Home Stores, which shut in 2016.


Gareth Holland, leasing execu-


tive at Capital and Regional, said: “Matalan is a perfect fit for us in Maidstone, enhancing the every- day needs-based clothing and homeware offer at the centre, as well as the staple, dependable family offer that’s key for our local community. “It has been a tremendous team


effort to open this new store in the current retail climate.”


Antony Darbyshire, property director at Matalan said: “We’re delighted with our major new Maidstone store, and impressed that we’ve been able to open on time.”


36


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Concern over smells at £8m chicken farm


CONCERNS have been voiced about plans for a multi-million pound free range egg farm with 64,000 hens at Hunton.


Fridays Ltd intends to submit a planning application later this year for 237 acres of land at Reed Court Farm at Chainhurst. Local councillor Richard Webb, who was unaware of the com- pany’s intentions, said he intends to investigate the implications for local people, such as noise, waste management and smells. Cranbrook-based Fridays will


spend £8m on three industry-lead- ing hen houses.


Tory borough councillor Lottie


Parfitt-Reid said while rural dwellers have to accept agricul- tural smells as part of life, she is worried about the amount of truck traffic the farm would generate. The venture, called Wealden Woods Free Range Farm, promises the planting of 36,000 na- tive trees to create 50 acres of new woodland and pasture.


The company might meet oppo- sition to plans to re-route public rights of way to a new public ac- cess pathway along the River Beult.


Cllr Parfitt-Reid said she will


seek assurances on truck move- ments and phosphate run-off, which can promote algae blooms in rivers. She added: “This is espe- cially relevant with this locality, which is prone to flooding. It is im- portant that these concerns are ad- dressed by Fridays.”


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Fridays’ production manager Graham Fuller said the operation will comply with the “highest standards of animal welfare”. Liberal Democrat Cllr Webb said: “There will always be issues with the building, noise and odours that are associated with


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chicken farming, but we do live in the countryside and farmland is regularly spread with manure and livestock is always being farmed. “Free range eggs are a growing demand, so we should look at pro- posals like this with a clear mind of what other options farmers have. Also, Fridays are a local firm, which would be preferential to a non-local firm coming into the area. “ Manure would be removed twice a week using conveyor belts, loaded onto covered trucks and re- moved to avoid odours, say Fri- days.


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Scott Roberts and driver Mark Saunders open the Headcorn depot Move fuels better service


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WATSON FUELS, suppliers of home heating oil, farm fuels, road diesel and industrial lubricants across the UK, has opened a depot in Headcorn. The purpose-built depot replaces a facility in Hawkhurst, bringing


HQ said: “Kent has excellent road links and hundreds of fantastic rural busi- nesses, it makes sense for us to invest in the area. Our new depot enables us to reach more customers across the region, helping businesses and fam- ilies to manage their fuel supply easily and cost effectively.” The depot is the latest in a series of operational investments by Watson


Fuels, including replacing 30% of its 350 strong fleet of tankers, with new vehicles by December 2021.


greater capacity to supply homes and businesses across the South East. Scott Roberts, operations and logistics director at the firm’s Wiltshire


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self-isolate AN entire year group at Maidstone Grammar School have been told to self-isolate due to two confirmed cases of Covid-19. The Barton Road school wrote to parents to say a small group of stu- dents are believed to have been in “direct prolonged contact” with the first case. Head Mark Tomkins wrote: “We


have been advised by Public Health England to notify you that there has been a confirmed case of Covid-19 within the school. “We are continuing to monitor


the situation and working closely with Public Health England. “The small number of students


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who have been in direct prolonged contact with the confirmed case will have received an individual letter and will be staying at home for 14 days. “If we have another positive case


it is our intention to text the parents of the students identified as ‘being in contact’.”


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