Local News for East Malling - No 78 from Trudy Dean, David Thornewell, Michelle Tatton and Roger Roud
The good news is that new covid case numbers are dropping in every Borough in Kent. Local GPs advise that over 3,000 vaccinations have been done at Leybourne, saving an estimated over 20 lives. Thanks to all those who have volunteered help at the centres, especially Rotary members.
Vaccinations for anyone over 70s, keyworkers or with medical problems making them vulnerable, are still being done by invitation only from all local GPs at Leybourne surgery. A new vaccination centre will be opening next week in the Angel Centre to serve the Tonbridge end of the Borough.
Anyone over 80 is asked to contact their GP Surgery immediately if you have not received an invitation for a covid vaccination.
It is very worrying that the Government is issuing guidance that door to door deliveries of leaflets from councillors should stop. So the Royal Mail, Free newspapers, pizza delivery and magazines, Fliers for local businesses and so on are all considered safe, but not Hotline? We worry that only wealthy political parties will be able to pay the Royal Mail to deliver their leaflets. With County Council elections coming up, it means anyone not using internet will be unable to get local information, and that is surely not right?
The immediate effect is that I cannot consult ALL residents on KCC’s suggested pattern for 20mph limits on roads in East Malling. A consultation in Larkfield has just finished, but we produced all the details and how to respond in a door to door delivery of Hotline. If we hadn’t done that, most people would not have known about it.
So please encourage friends and neighbours to sign up to these Bulletins, and forward it to others to make sure we get as many views of the East Malling 20mph Scheme as possible.
County Councillor for Larkfield, East and West Malling
EAST MALLING 20mph ZONE
The most common complaint I receive is about vehicle speeds. People are concerned about safety, particularly of children and people with walking difficulties. Noise, vibration and pollution are also often mentioned. Pupils at The Malling School voted heavily for a lower speed limit for New Road after several incidents.
So, I have used my Councillors' Community Fund to pay for KCC to design a 20 mph scheme which would cover the whole of the area I represent - East Malling, Larkfield and West Malling. Now I want to begin the process in East Malling by asking your views on the roads and speeds which should be consulted on in East Malling.
The idea is that all residential roads should have a 20 mph limit, marked by road signs and markings on the road surface. So all roads in Bradbourne Park, Clare Park, Stepstile, and the Winterfield estates would all be included. Blacklands, Upper Mill, Vigor Close, Rocks Close, Stickens Lane, Cottenham Close, Church Walk and The Grange would also be covered by 20 mph restrictions.
Officers advise that the main through routes of Winterfield Lane, Clare Lane, Mill Street and New Road between the King and Queen and Beech Road could also be restricted to 20 mph, but these would need further structures on the roads such as ramps, flashing signs or chicanes for which funding would need to be found.
High Street, Chapel Street and Rocks Road are already in the 20 mph limit. But are the entry points to the zone in the right place, or should they include a wider area, starting further away from the village centre?
Broadwater Road, Well Street, The Heath and Sweets Lane would all become 20 mph, and my view is that they should all also become part of the Quiet Lanes Network.
So please let me have your views.
You can reply to our online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BWQDDVT
OR by sending your views by email to me at [email protected]
OR in writing posted to FREEPOST, Kent Lib Dems. ( Yes - that is the full address!)
Thornhill and West Malling GP Repeat Prescriptions Warning
Both local surgeries are updating their computer IT systems between 16th Feb and 3rd March. This means repeat prescription requests must be put in by next Wednesday, FEBRUARY 10th. Please tell anyone without internet.
Patients should email their requests to west [email protected] or drop a request in to either of our external script boxes at all 3 sites.
Local Crime reports
There continues to be a steady stream of shed and garage thefts locally.
The advice is to put your car and bikes in your garage if you have one, particularly to avoid catalytic converter theft. Mark the converter and bike with Smartwater or other security ID so it can be returned to you if it’s traced.
Local Quarry Blast Monitoring sites
I am pleased to report that KCC have agreed that 6 monitoring sites can be set up locally with a view to keeping a close eye, or rather ear, on increased blasting at both Hermitage Lane and King Hill quarries. We have suggested East Malling Research as one site, but if you have a garden where you can securely provide a home for the equipment on alternate weeks, please let me know. [email protected]
Just When You Thought Things Couldn’t Get Worse
The Government has announced that the Boundary Commission will be conducting reviews into the areas represented by Borough Councillors in Spring, and MPs in Summer. Anybody would think the Government had nothing more pressing to do!
Michelle and Roger are holding virtual surgeries on the second Thursday of each month, the next being on Thursday 11th February. They are offering appointments of up to 15 minutes between 11am and 1pm. If you would like to discuss a local matter, please email [email protected] or [email protected] to receive your personal on-line link.
Chaucer Way verge ‘churned up mud’
We have received several complaints regarding this verge near the path to the Larkfield Tesco car park. It appears KCC returfed it, but heavy rain and shopper pavement parking reduced the area to a muddy bog. This is a long standing problem, and despite yellow lines, people still park there for a quick shop. What is the answer? If the area is to be grass, it needs a kerb side barrier to prevent the same thing happening again. Otherwise, should it just be tarmaced? We would welcome your views.
MUD, MUD, not so glorious MUD
I’m quite partial to mud. I’m famous in our family for finding countrywalks which always include a muddy bit! But you don’t have to look far at the moment. Lockdown and heavy rain are creating mud baths at the gateways to all popular walking paths, especially in the Leybourne Lakes and Manor Park Country Parks. So if you can use less popular routes and spread the wear a bit, that would be good. We are asking KCC for extra money in the budget to reinstate the surfaces when better weather comes.
Fast Trains from West Malling to London - More Years of Broken Promises
KCC has caved in to Government and approved a Rail Strategy which does not include the promised fast trains from Maidstone and West Malling to the City and St Pancras, with connections to Crossrail at Farringdon. Instead, KCC have accepted an 80 minute service which will use the Catford line and terminate at Blackfriars, for a connecting service to St Pancras. This is slower than existing services.
Trudy writes: Transport Ministers have been promising additional fast trains on this line, ever since the huge outcry when our services to Cannon Street from West Malling were stopped in 2009. This Rail Strategy will be the basis for consultation on the new Rail Franchise for Kent for at least the next ten years so I am supporting attempts to get KCC to change its mind and oppose this strategy. Local commuters and businesses want the Government to deliver on their promises of fast, direct rail links to the City and beyond to Cambridge, with connections to Luton and Bedford.
VOUCHERS FOR FREE SCHOOL MEALS
John Vennart, Headteacher at The Malling School, has advised us that TMS are now changing to vouchers for free school meals rather than food boxes. So if your children are entitled to receive Free school meals when they attend school, and have not received your vouchers, contact the school, ready for half term.
New Waste water plant in Aylesford
A new Care Home for West Malling?
People in West and East Malling will be receiving leaflets about a planning application for a proposed Care Home on Lucks Hill near West Malling Station, opposite More Park Roman Catholic Primary School. Planning permission for a 200 space car park was given to this site in 2018. But nearly 12 months of lockdown have meant empty car parks, and home working is expected to continue. The owners have therefore decided that a car park is ‘no longer viable’, and are applying for a 70 bed care home on the site instead. Single bed rooms with en-suite facilities will be offered to private and NHS patients with dementia, and needing end of life care.
In a pre-application meeting with parish councillors, I pointed out the need for better lighting and a pedestrian crossing from Station Road North for commuters and Care Home users if the application is successful.
This is likely to be a controversial application as some people will see it as an attempt to build in the proposed Green Belt, just as in Forty Acres, whilst others will see it as an improvement on the existing permission for a car park which it would replace.
Flooding at East Malling
Roger Roud digs deep into the subject.
Once again, the centre of East Malling has been subject to flooding by the stream rising in Gilletts Hole.
A similar situation arose last year resulting in a near miss for the Hall House in Church Walk. Water was lapping at the front door step. This forced a ditch to be dug in the green so as to let water escape. A blockage in an underground culvert which runs through the garden of Court Lodge was found to have been blocked in the verge along Church Walk.
After some hesitation, KCC Highways uncovered the source of the problem and repaired it. All was well until late January when a similar problem occurred, this time almost flooding not only the Hall House but the small bungalow belonging to EMR opposite the King and Queen.
KCC Highways were on the case again and jetted out the culvert under the road on Monday, and the water disappeared. However, flooding returned and Michelle made further calls to KCC for more jetting out.
However, on speaking to a representative of EMR, it seems that they are trying to solve the problem permanently by clearing out a second culvert which runs across their access road and under the front of the properties formerly owned by them on New Road. This culvert originally took the excess water from the stream and channelled it through to a ditch which runs down the eastern side of New road behind the brick wall. On investigation, they found the culvert was blocked and so installed a new manhole on their land to help solve the problem. Unfortunately, they have until now been unable to clear the blockage which appears to be on private land. Until this problem can be resolved, it seems we will have to put up with the flooding. KCC seem either unwilling or unable to use the powers available to them, but we will keep pressing.
Whilst investigating the streams, EMR are also trying to pin point the problem that causes New Road to flood at the junction of Chapman Way. Again, the stream of water drains into their grounds. Let’s hope they are more successful with this blockage!
Drop off and pick up on Beech Road
Roger and Michelle have been working together and in conjunction with The Malling School to try and find a solution to the traffic problems in Beech Road during school drop off and pickup times. More often than not, Beech Road becomes gridlocked and tempers flare as a result, often necessitating parents to drive on the pavement to escape. Roger and Michelle found that there are pinch points along the road where parked cars, having dropped off students, effectively stop vehicles exiting the school from getting out into the road and hence back to New Road. ‘If you can’t get out of the School, others can’t get in’, resulting in gridlock. Roger and Michelle’s solution is to possibly reduce parking in Beech Road during critical hours, with restrictions much the same as were introduced in New Hythe Lane with some positive results. They intend to undertake a consultation as soon as is possible and will present it to the planning and Transportation Board at TMBC to be assessed and, if agreed, implemented.
A20 consultation - roundabout at Quarry Wood Retail Junction
www.kent.gov.uk/a20londonroadaylesford Get your views in! The proposal is to remove the traffic light system and replace it with a roundabout
Snodland, A228 Holborough Road: Lane closure in place 18th January - 1st April on the Southbound carriageway only from Peter’s Bridge to Holborough Roundabout to allow for new development works. Please allow extra time for your journey: http://moorl.uk/?1uplhdw