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Maidstone East Edition


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


October 2017 October 15th Panto ahoy! - October 29th


CCTV call in a bid to stop fly-tipping


Our eight-page supplement (inside) on Maidstone’s emerging revised Local Plan looks at: l Four garden villages l 118 housing sites l New-look riverside l Old cinema plans l New GP surgeries l Tackling road jams


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.


Future of Maidstone


THE shape of Maidstone over the next 30 years is emerging in key policy proposals now before Maidstone Borough Council, with more to come.


Key aims of the emerging Re-


vised Local Plan are to try to ensure infrastructure improvements, em- ployment growth, maximising the natural environment (especially the rivers) and developing the cultural offer and visitor economy. The biggest challenges involve


trying to meet ever-growing Gov- ernment demands for huge in- creases in housing numbers. A meeting of Maidstone Bor- ough Council’s Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee was presented massive reports (2,500 pages) with new detail and com-


Work on Maidstone’s Local Plan Review is well advanced, based on the already challenging 1,214 fig- ure, and the council is trying to ex- pedite the review’s progress so it is based on current (not new) Gov- ernment methodology. One step being considered is tak- ing months out of the work pro- gramme, partly by eliminating local consultation – but the com- mittee has twice voted against this, because without local democratic views, a Government inspector could have reason to reject the total Revised Plan.


Big plans for riverside


THE high-profile riverside area opposite Royal Engineers Way could be in for major changes now a Call for Sites proposal has been declared “suit- able” for deeper investigation.Thearea covers Baltic WharfPowerhub, and


Lenham’s ‘Trojan Horse’


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


THE massive house-building scheme planned for Lenham Heath by the borough council is a “Trojan Horse” to accommodate a much larger development de- signed to deliver a new M20 junc- tion.


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


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


Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) is currently the “master de- veloper” of a scheme for 4,000 homes, but critics assert the aim is really to build 10,000 in order to meet Highways England criteria for access to the motorway. The claim comes as Downs Mail publishes an exhaustive eight-page supplement, compiled and written by company President Dennis Fowle, which details the “Future of Maidstone”, trawled from thou- sands of pages of official papers. Lenham Parish Council chair-


man John Britt (pictured) declared: “We always said MBC’s so-called Lenham Heath garden village plan


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


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


was fatally flawed, as it simply isn’t big enough to convince the Government to allow a costly new M20 junction to service it. “But we now believe Lenham


Heath is a Trojan Horse; part of a secret scheme on the huge scale of Otterpool Park, the ‘garden town’ proposed for other rural landscape next to the M20, within Folkestone


& Hythe District. From our sources, it’s clear that MBC in- tends to start with a ‘modest’ 1,000-home project


at Lenham


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


Heath and once that first cut is made, salami-slice its way through the countryside there, initially ful- filling the garden village objec- tive.”


MBC’s plans for Lenham Heath are now set against added pres- sure to resist even higher Govern- ment housing demands and sweeping reforms to local author- ity planning powers.


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


Maidstone could be set targets of 34,000 homes, compared to the 17,600 agreed in the MBC Local Plan of 2017. There is now intense speculation


that MBC will investigate possibil- ities to satisfy Highways Eng- land’s criteria for not only 10,000 homes in the Lenham area, but 10,000 jobs, too. We understand council officials


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.


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are in “regular, frequent dialogue” with Ashford Borough Council (ABC), Kent County Council and Highways England.


Continued on page 5 downsmail.co.uk


The Future of Maidstone Special supplement, October 2020


FREE No. 246


News FREE


Kate, 107, dies News


No. 283


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.


Plans for Dr Nigel Luxury cinema


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


A REVAMPED Lockmeadow Odeon cinema has re-opened with “luxury” seating for its customers.


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


PO future threat


YALDING Post Office and 500 other small branches may have to shut after the Government prepares to cut a subsidy as a result of leaving the European Union.


Obituaries Obituaries


Parishes 32


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.


Curry house saved COXHEATH will keep its curry house after all, following a change of plan by the owners of the business.


à10 à35 à41


Parish Councils 34-35 Comment à53-55


Jason Donovan date Stepping down


IT WAS the end of an era when Lenham Parish Council’s chairman stepped down.


18 à8 à6


KENT County Council has indicated a willingness to explore funding models for a Leeds-Langley relief road.


3


Relief road talks MP’s Local Plan bid


4 à4 & Fortnightly


Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper


à11


Young guns go for it Crime Reports 35


VIAT defiant


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.


MEET the budding entrepreneurs who have put the Covid-19 lockdown to good use.


Comment 46-47


THE Valley Invicta Academies’ Trust has defended its decision to send some students home early to minimise the spread of coronavirus.


à18 &19


à34


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