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News


downsmail.co.uk Bike schemes to cut traffic


RESIDENTS are being urged to get on their bikes, with the town hall considering two new schemes for those on two wheels. The council sees cycle/scooter


hire and ‘cycle parking’ as ways of reducing the county town’s congested roads and boosting the local economy. Greener forms of travel are cen-


tral to the new administration at Maidstone Borough Council. Electric and pedal-powered cycles would be hired at desig- nated centres for commuters to travel the last mile or so to and from the town centre. But power scooters are on hold until Gov- ernment makes a decision on safety. The council’s strategic planning and infrastructure committee is keen to see the scheme pro- gressed, with initial pick-up and drop-off points at Maidstone East and West stations, the town cen- tre bus station, Mote Park and


Pupils back to


home learning PARENTS at a Maidstone junior school had to revert back to home- schooling because of overrunning engineering works.


Children at North Borough Ju-


nior School had to learn remotely on June 8 whilst Kent County Council (KCC) carried out inves- tigative work on an old air raid shelter under the playground. The work started during half term but had to be extended. James Sanderson, head of prop- erty operations at KCC, said: “To ensure the safety of the school com- munity we asked the school to pro- vide pupils with remote learning for the first few days of term while investigations are completed. “Some areas of the school site may remain fenced off until fol- low-up work can be carried out, and we will keep the school up- dated as the work progresses.” Head teacher Jenny Chiverton wrote to parents: "I know that this has been unwelcome news for you, please believe that it is for us, too. “We would far rather be in school with the children. We've all missed far too much school time al- ready this year and have just got back into a flow and routine. “However, it is vital that we do


everything we are instructed to do to ensure the safety of everybody.”


22


park-and-ride sites at Willington Street and possibly in Allington. Maidstone Hospital, Oakwood


Park campus and other sites will also be considered. The committee asked for a de-


tailed officer report on costs and potential providers by October. The council sees benefits to the local economy, with more people travelling on local streets, an in- centive to improve the visitor economy including cycling op- portunities in Mote Park, health benefits, a reduction in harmful pollutants from vehicles and a re- duction in commuter costs associ- ated


with transport. The committee is also planning


a range of cycle parks across the borough. There could be stands in town


other forms of


and village centres, a hub at Maid- stone Hospital (for visitors and staff), lockers at Barming, Beltring, Harrietsham and Hollingbourne stations and at the two park-and- ride sites. Disabled cycle parking could fea- ture at Bearsted, East Farleigh, Har- rietsham, Headcorn, Hollingbourne, Maidstone East, Marden and Sta- plehurst stations. Several councillors spoke of po-


tential benefits to rural communi- ties, encouraging residents to cycle to main roads where public trans- port is more readily available. The initial council budget is little


more than £50,000, but if it is suc- cessful more funding could be found for expansion, mostly from housing developer contributions. The committee will consider a progress report and timeline.


Road funds


QUESTIONS are being asked in Maidstone Borough Council as to why developer funding from the McDonald’s restaurant in Hart Street, opened eight years ago, has not yet been used to improve traf- fic flows in the area. The council’s Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee has called for a report on these S106 funds and the role of KCC as the highways infrastructure provider. Councillors spoke of public con-


TV spot for rescued Blossom


A DOG who was being eaten alive by maggots has appeared on a new Channel 5 show. The first episode of The Dog Rescuers featured Blossom, a lurcher cross,


from Maidstone. Emaciated Blossom was found shut in a kennel and cov- ered in flies. She was so sick she was given just hours to live. RSPCA animal rescue inspector Rosie Russon said: “She had little wounds


scattered around her body, where she was so thin and, living in a kennel, it had just rubbed her skin. There were probably more than 1,000 mag- gots on her body – probably only 24 hours old.” Blossom was quickly rescued and later became healthy enough to be


re-homed. WI welcomes new members


KINGS Hill Women’s Institute will be re-uniting in the commu- nity centre on Wednesday, June 23. The WI group, which has not


met for over a year due to the pandemic, will be meeting in line with all COVID-19 proto- cols, and organisers are hoping


to welcome new members. Meetings are held on the fourth


Wednesday of each month and ac- tivities include a walking club, a cinema club, lunch and dinner clubs as well as coffee mornings. The group welcomes women of all ages, from 18 upwards.


cerns about increasing traffic prob- lems and wanted to know if this was now a design or financial problem.


Planning roles CHAIRMAN of Maidstone Bor-


ough Council’s Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee is now Cllr Paul Cooper (Con), with Cllr Val Springett (Con) vice-chair- man.


Cllr Cooper takes over from Cllr


David Burton (Con), now council leader.


Parish praise


BOTH Lenham and Boughton Monchelsea Neighbourhood Plans have passed MBC’s final planning stages.


Councillors praised the “fantas- tic work” of the parish councils and local communities.


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