News Ask for help

HEADCORN vicar Fiona Haskett has called on local people suffering as a result of the pandemic to ask for help. Writing in the parish magazine,

Rev Haskett hopes the commu- nity's generosity and neighbourli- ness will continue but that those in need will “yell”. She writes: “We won't judge you

if you are ever in that position, so please yell if you are ever in need. I promise you that it will be in the strictest confidence.” Call 01622 891804.

Scout appeal

LEEDS & Kingswood Scout Group is looking for new leaders or helpers. Two of the current volunteers are retiring and another two are mov- ing, having been accepted into the Royal Air Force. All training and uniforms are provided to people who are inter- ested in giving back to their com- munity. Call Alan Poulton on 01622 843019.

Plan for 60 flats on hospital site agreed

THE former private Somerfield Hospital can be converted into 60 self-contained apartments in a scheme which will provide 73 units. The 2.5-acre site in London

Road, Maidstone, was given ap- proval for development by the Even Group, based in London, last month.

Maidstone Borough Council’s planning committee agreed in a 7- 6 vote. Several councillors were con-

cerned about the high level of one- bed apartments, which limits the number of two-bed apartments and the impact of extra cars. But one condition is that there is additional on-site parking and more electric charging points. One vocal critic, local borough

member Jonathan Purle, said when plans were revealed by Downs Mail last summer: “There have been issues with having it empty

many, and would add to the “ter- rible” traffic congestion on London Road. The main building is grade two

listed and most of this is retained, together with the listed ragstone wall fronting London Road. But some modern non-listed buildings to the rear will be de- molished. A new three-storey building was agreed as part of the scheme. Demolition of 79 London Road

and, indeed, most people prefer using brownfield sites in some form for housing rather than churning up ancient woodland and the like.” Cllr Purle felt the original plan for 80 units on the site was too

was agreed, with erection of a re- placement building providing six apartments and six townhouses and conversion of an ancillary building to a dwelling. Planning committee members emphasised the need to protect trees both on the site and next to it, and to encourage wildlife. The buildings were originally housing, but became a private hos- pital in 1990. The hospital shut per- manently in April 2019.


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