Maidstone East Edition

Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

October 2017 January 14th - Panto ahoy! 28th With you every step in lockdown

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

DUE to the COVID-19 lockdown and the impact it has had on small businesses across our borough, Downs Mail has de- cided to scale back publication of our newspaper. Rather than suspend operations tem-

porarily, we will publish once a month – the next edition will be available from usual outlets from February 4. We aim to be out on the first Thursday of

every month during the lockdown period. Thank you for bearing with us and for your continued support. Keep up to date with Daily Downs Mail’s

round-the-clock, breaking news service at

Otham homes battle lost

THE battle to save the ancient church at Otham being engulfed by a 440-house development has been lost.

Government inspector Stephen Normington found for appellant Bellway Homes, despite elected Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) members rejecting the application three times. Critics warned the plan for 400-

plus homes was out of keeping with grade one listed St Nicholas’ Church, pictured, and posed serious safety worries due to the narrowness of Church Lane. MBC officers recommended ap-

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

proval of the scheme, in the face of members’ vehement opposition. Bellway asked the inquiry to support the findings of another inspector who approved the scheme in the 2017 Local Plan. Traffic lights were proposed for the junction of Willington Street and De- ringwood Drive, which the council

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

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

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

originally rejected amid fears of se- vere congestion. But the inspector sees signalisation as a solution for Deringwood Drive traffic exiting to Willington Street. Mr Normington found no evi-

dence Church Road had a poor safety record and Bellway proposed

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

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


King Street cycle lane to be

FREE No. 246


Kate, 107, dies News

No. 288

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.


Police ‘a no show’ MP’s Local Plan bid

Plans for Dr Nigel

KENT Police failed to show to the scene of a hit and run incident in which a car was severely damaged.


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

Jason Donovan date COVID-19 latest

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

widening and a footway from the church to the existing footway to the north and an extension of the 30mph area.

Otham borough councillor Gor-

don Newton said: “I do not think the inspector has got on board what he has just approved, and ought to be ashamed of himself.” Residents’ action group spokesman David Hatcher said: “This will lead to degradation of our countryside and traffic.” There was criticism that MBC used

the same lawyers who warned against fighting the appeal due to the financial cost, which has yet to be de- termined. Of the church, the inspector said 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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Home Alarms supplied and fitted Serving 28 day aged grass fed local beef. see page 3

“there would be less than substantial harm to the significance of this her- itage asset” and some benefit from the proposed car park. He asked for electric charging points and mea- sures to protect the character of the area. County councillor and oppo- nent Gary Cooke said: “It’s a bad de- cision and the community has now got to live with the consequences.”

New Castle boss

LEEDS Castle has appointed Helen Bonser-Wilton as its new chief executive to replace Sir David Steel who left to become the new Governor of Gibraltar.

Obituaries Obituaries


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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.

Heather House joy COMMUNITY centre Heather House in Park Wood will soon be replaced by a new building.

Homeless growing

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.

THE borough council is facing growing problems in housing homeless people dur- ing the pandemic.

Sports park chance Comment 46-47

THE troubled Kings Hill Sports Park’s day-to-day running has been taken over by not-for- profit organisation tmactive.


Crime Reports 35 à23

Comment à45-47

READ our round-up of the latest news on how the pan- demic is affecting us.

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Maidstone & Malling’s No. 1 newspaper

à4 Hazlitt Theatre delay

A MEETING scheduled later this month to discuss the Hazlitt’s fu- ture has been put back a week for further work.



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