News Council hands over sports park

TMACTIVE, the leisure facilities provider, has been given the task of turning around the fortunes of the troubled Kings Hill Sports Park. Handing over control of the

sports ground, which boasts an all-weather football pitch and pavilion, is the latest attempt by owner Kings Hill Parish Council (KHPC) to resolve its “parlous” fi- nancial position. In addition to tmactive agreeing

to manage the sports park, the parish council has received an in- terest-free bridging loan of £60,000 from Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (TMBC), to be repaid in two sep- arate tranches. The operating costs of the site

have proved a continuous drain on parish resources. While the decision for tmactive assuming day-to-day control of the sports park was far from unanimous, solicitors have been instructed to prepare legal docu- ments for council agreement.

Drug dealer sent to prison

A DRUG dealer has been jailed after being caught supplying co- caine and cannabis from his Mer- cedes in Maidstone. Peter Sowatskey (34) caught the attention of police for not wearing a seatbelt in the early hours of February 12, 2020. A search of his car led to the

discovery of a rucksack contain- ing drugs. Around £1,515 in cash was found in a coat pocket. He was arrested and, after ini-

tially providing police with a false address, his home was searched. More than 1kg of cocaine and

10kg of cannabis were seized, along with £24,266 in cash. Sowatskey breached his bail conditions and was arrested again at a guest house in Cornwall on February 15. More cannabis was seized as well as a further £20,000 in cash. At Maidstone Crown Court,

Sowatskey admitted possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply, possessing cannabis and two counts of possessing criminal property. On December 21, he was sen- tenced to four years in prison. He was also disqualified from driving for two years after admit- ting two further counts of driving with a proportion of a controlled drug above the specified limit.

The charitable, not-for-profit

outfit already successfully runs four major sites in the area for TMBC. The decisions, taken at a parish council meeting on December 16,

followed a review by the Local Council Consultancy (LCC), which warned last October that the authority has “little or no re- serves left”. LCC report author Chris Finlay

said KHPC has a “credibility problem” over its running of the Sports park and “unproductive tensions within in the council and the community…have brought the council to the brink of techni- cal insolvency”. The council admits in back- ground papers for December’s meeting that it “no longer holds reserves for this financial year and the full amount of precept (bud- get) is being used as revenue funds”. Cllr Tony Petty, pictured, who

voted against the tmactive man- agement plan, claimed: “The pro- posal includes terms that should

Tmactive fail to make a success of the sports park, KHPC has to make financial restitution. I can never agree to that. “There has been no business plan for the last 18 months.” Cllr Petty, himself a former

parish council chairman, argues the council staffing costs are too high, running at £400,000 per year. He suggests the only way for-

ward is for the whole council to stand down and seek re-election to regain public confidence. The LCC review conducted last October concluded that cash flow problems underscored the sever- ity of the financial position, but added that decision-making had been characterised by “over-opti- mistic forecasting and a failure to recognise revenue does not equate with profit”.

Road closures

for gas repairs A SERIES of Staplehurst roads will have to close for emergency gas works. Phase one of the closures will in-

clude Marden Road, which will close from January 18 for one week, from outside Homefields to the junction with Clapper Lane. The alternative route is via A229

Station Road, Maidstone Road, Sta- plehurst Road, B2079 Maidstone, Howland Road and Marden Road. Phase two will see Marden Road

£50k boost for hospice

HEART of Kent Hospice has received a massive £50,000 donation after seeing a significant rise in terminal illness referrals as a result of COVID-19. The charity says there has been a “huge increase” in the need for spe-

cialist support as the repercussions of missed diagnoses and treatments become even more evident during the pandemic. Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust donated the cash to help the hospice

care for patients and their families in the difficult months ahead. Sarah Pugh, chief executive of the hospice, said: “The funding has come at a cru- cial time for the whole team. We expect to see referrals continue to in- crease throughout this, our 30th anniversary year.”

Teacher offers lesson help

PRIMARY school teacher Emily Fisher is coming to the aid of par- ents struggling with home school- ing during the lockdown. Emily (27), a teacher, and for-

mer colleagues from Oaklands in Walderslade, have set up the Pri- mary Lockdown Learning Group.

Emily, who grew up in Snod-

land, said: “Our plan is to create videos explaining key methods and strategies as well as posting links to free resources and an- swering questions.” Find Primary Lockdown Learn- ing on the group’s Facebook page.

close again from January 25 for up to four weeks, between the junc- tions with Clapper Lane and Lin- dridge Lane. Clapper Lane and Pagehurst Road will be closed. Phase three will see Marden

Road shut from February 15 for up to two weeks from the junction with Lindridge Lane to outside Lit- tle Acre. Lindridge Lane will also close. For details, call SGN on 0800 111999.

Lane to shut

A ROAD is set to close in Langley for electrical works. Horseshoes Lane will shut between 8am and 5pm on January 17, between North View and Ambleside Oast. The alternative route is via A274

Sutton Road, Maidstone Road, Leeds Road, Heath Road.


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