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the management of Fleming House bail hostel, situated worryingly close to the heart of Maidstone in residential Tonbridge Road.


Maidstone councillor Jonathan Purle, a friend of passer-by victim Jason Orwin (55), who was punched unconscious in Tonbridge Road, rightly questions why Lance Colston (33) was released from prison and is now sentenced to just seven years for manslaughter. This is far from the rst incident in Tonbridge Road linked to the hostel. Residents of this part of Maidstone must be very fearful. The authorities must respect these fears and question whether potentially violent criminals should be placed in this hostel. I believe isolated buildings were previously selected for accommodating such criminals, obviously in attempts to safeguard the public. Rightly, this hostel was recently refused permission to increase the number of offenders on bail. Safety of neighbouring residents is obviously the top priority and this hostel is currently failing. It is a matter of deep local concern which must be addressed urgently.


James George, Maidstone


Some political hope FOR those left dismayed by the turn of political events in this benighted town perhaps a message of solace, good cheer even, is to be found in what happened in our neighbour Royal Tunbridge Wells. It was the only area of Kent to vote Remain in 2016s referendum, and where the Conservatives – wait for it – lost overall control of the council. Clearly, enough disaffected Tories simply could not stomach the thought of supporting an English nationalist party led by a proven liar. Denitely a step too far. Strange days. Three cheers for Tunbridge Wells. K G Banks


Building deters swallows


I WAS intrigued by your article about swallows not being around in such numbers this year.


Having just returned from the West Country, I can report no issues with populations of swallows, swifts or martins. But I do know that these birds, which travel thousands of miles from their homes in Africa, are very sensitive to habitat disruption.


The amount of building works going on in the rural areas around Maidstone must put them off. There were plenty around last year during lockdown and even the cuckoos came back.


A friend who opens up her garage door


to ve or six pairs which nest in the roof every year has not seen a single bird in 2021. After scratching her head for a moment, she realised that the building of houses nearby may, in fact, be putting off her visitors.


46


As a sign-off, if you walk through Leeds Castle on the public footpaths, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of these beautiful and wonderous little birds, feeding on the wing around the moat. K Crossan, via email


Too cold for visitors?


I READ your recent article on the lack of swallows this year. Regrettably, I too, have seen few this year. Forty-odd years ago, as a child in rural Kent, I remember my father remarking on seeing a swallow in mid-March. This year, I have heard that they were not turning up until late April in some places because that month had been so cold. Equally, there have been reports of


swallows being spotted in winter around northern France because the winters are sometimes so mild, there is little reason to migrate to Africa.


It would be a fair guess that around here, large-scale building work would be putting these birds off staying around for long.


Who can blame them? B McGann, via email


Flock has returned


RE the swallow story in your recent edition. I am happy to inform you that I have spotted a group of about 18 swifts in ME15, near Tovil. I have seen the same amount return


each year for the ve years I have lived here. The River Medway is a short walk away and has natural banks in the Tovil area, so I assume good nesting material. I have always tried to work out where they nest, to no avail – possibly in an old house at the end of King Edward Road. It is a joy to watch them feeding, calling and ying each evening, and then to see the juveniles before they leave. Lynn Romero, via email


Think before building


RE your article on the future of Warmlake Nursery, which is earmarked for housing development, I’d just like to point out that a lot of people walk to Warmlake for supplies.


The nearest other garden centre is miles


away from the Warmlake crossroads which is very bad for accidents. I do not believe it’s in the community interest to continue these applications for new houses in Sutton Valence.


I now dice with death to get out onto the main road. I feel there is a lot to be looked at before even considering new developments in the Sutton Valence area. Janet Sladden, via email


Bond to protect projects


THE story in a recent edition of your newspaper about the Scout group that has lost £50K due to the demise of a


construction company should act as a warning to all those who want to embark on expensive construction projects. The answer is simple and that is to get the constructor’s bank to issue a performance bond in favour of the customer. This is common practice, so that if the builder goes under, the customer can call in the bond from the bank. That way, the project can continue with a new contractor.


This is especially important if the customer is borrowing from their bank to fund the project and a bank-to-bank bond is a common procedure. I used to issue, and call in, many such bonds during my banking career. Ian Stuart, Weavering


Fears for fruit crops


I ECHO the worries of farmers who fear erce late frosts have caused immense damage to the local fruit crops (Downs Mail June 3-16). I have three varieties of apple tree in my garden which normally fruit heavily, helping me to supply family and friends. But the early signs are very poor and many apple dishes look like they will be off the menu this year.


I am more hopeful for plums, pears and soft fruit like raspberries and currants. Jenny Moss, Maidstone


BBC brainwashing us


MARTIN Bashir, the reporter and presenter of the Princess Diana interview programme 25 years ago, only played a part of the BBC management that was and still is trying to brainwash us all into believing in its doctrine and bringing down those who don't agree with them. But the monarchy has emerged stronger than ever.


I, like many others, have had enough of the BBC ramming its agenda down our throats and treating us like children. We simply don’t watch or listen any more, which is a pity as it was once such a wonderful institution. Alan Wallace, via email


Scouts need your help


THE past year has been so tough for so many. It has also shown how important it is to work together to help those in need. Scouts plays a fundamental role in the


lives of thousands of young people and our goal is to build back our membership by welcoming new volunteers. As an adult volunteer you can help us continue to make an incredible contribution towards helping young people learn new skills for life. You’ll gain new skills, new friends and be part of empowering young people for their future. For more information about


volunteering with Kent Scouts contact our County Office via info@kentscouts.org.uk. Bear Grylls, Chief Scout


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