KCC has been forced to admit that turning off street lights after midnight was a mistake. A total of 64% of replies to the consultation chose a return to all night lighting. So over the next 14 months KCC teams will continue to convert street lights to LED. These will be connected to a central point which will control each light remotely. This allows for more flexibility to meet the needs of each street and means that the level of light emitted for each lamp may vary. Contractors will be assessing all areas to ensure the lighting levels will be right at all times for pedestrians to feel safe and be able to see kerbs, faces, hedges and dog mess! Trudy welcomes the return to all night lighting as a ‘victory for common sense’.

Aylesford Newsprint

The 100 acres of Aylesford Newsprint is another site that has come forward as part of the "Call for sites" process of the Local Plan Review. The liquidators have appointed planning consultants and proposals are now emerging for a mixed commercial / housing site as liquidators must realise the assets to pay off people owed money when the site shut. The site is not without problems such as access, contaminated land, and being crossed by Ditton Stream, to name a few. However as a brown field site, favoured by the Government for housing, if some of it was released for homes it would reduce the pressure to build on local green field sites. UPDATE: At the time of going to print two exhibitions of provisional proposals for the site were due to take place and we understand that a further exhibition will be arranged in due course.

On your bike!

Maidstone BC is promoting a comprehensive network of cycle routes out of the town. The Parish was surprised to find that North Pole Road and the old Teston Road opposite North Pole Public House is a potential cycle route out from Barming, with the idea of closure of North Pole road to traffic being considered. There appears to have been no local consultation and the Parish Council is in touch with TMBC, and KCC about it about it

TMBC’s Call for Sites

We have previously reported on the sites put forward by landowners and developers for housing across the Borough as part of Government procedure (we would need a whole newsletter if we were to tell you about each site!) We are waiting for TMBC’s planners to consult on their response to each site.

It is clear this is very much a "numbers game" as the Borough will have to o satisfy the Inspector in due course that enough land has been allocated for houses up to 2031. This includes sites such Leybourne Grange and Peters Pit, Wouldham. It is why brownfield sites, such as Aylesford Newsprint, are important together with any smaller sites where development would not spoil the area. Trudy Dean [email protected] Roger Roud [email protected] Michelle Tatton [email protected], we were alarmed to see the whole of East Malling Research Station on the map and were equally concerned to hear the very recent announcement that EMR had been taken over by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, saving EMR from potential administration. While NIAB say operations will continue at East Malling the future of the site remains a worry, with a likely loss of some jobs in the near future.

The other big site is Broadwater Farm which runs from Well Street to New Barns and across the bypass up to the boundaries of Manor Park and St Leonards Street. Its release for housing would remove the green wedge of countryside separating East and West Malling from Kings Hill. The Conservation Areas would also be undermined and the setting of the listed buildings within them. It is annoying and confusing that it is labelled Kings Hill on the Call for Sites map. Land should be called by its local name and not re-badged in this way. There is also local concern about the field forming part of the Malling School playing fields next to Winterfield lane, parts of Forty Acres between the A20 and Winterfield lane and Lucks Hill, and the site of the East Malling Centre/Woodland’s Children’s Centre in Chapman Way.

There is clearly a need nationally for more homes, including in Tonbridge and Malling, but if East and West Malling are to keep their identities local residents and amenity groups have a real fight on their hands

East Malling Community Litter Pick

On 4th and 5th March a hardy band of volunteers turned out to help clear litter and fly-tipping in the village. Michelle Tatton, who co-ordinated the effort, says ‘We had a brilliant few days tidying up various parts of the village including in and around the playing fields on New Road, the verge between Dickens Drive and the A20, and the area around Clare Lake. Thank you to everyone who took part - you did a terrific job!’ There will be more volunteering events organised soon - if you would like to be kept up to date with events please contact Michelle who is maintaining. 

East Malling Hotline editor, Michelle Tatton and Cllr Roger Roud.


Does your dog have a chip on their shoulder?

From 6 April 2016 the law concerning dogs and microchips is changing.

This new law will state that all dogs, over the age of 8 weeks, will be required to have been implanted with a working microchip and that up to date contact details of their owners are available on a registered database.

If the microchip and contact details are not in place dog owners could face a fine of up to £500!

The change in law has been put in place to try and reduce the number of stray dogs that cannot be reunited with their owners due to there being no way of identifying who the dog belongs to. It is already a legal requirement to make sure that a dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place, which includes if it strays from a private property and onto public land.

Leader of the Lib Dems on Tonbridge and Malling Borough and Larkfield South Borough Councillor, Anita Oakley and a keen supporter of the dogs trust said “Micro chipping is a very sensible way forward.   Many of us really value our pets and this is an excellent way of ensuring that if the worst happens and we lose them we can be swiftly reunited with our dog”  

“If a dog cannot be returned to its owners quickly it will have to stay in kennels, with fees mounting. This is frustrating for all concerned, especially owners when presented with a bill for their dogs unplanned stay at kennels. This new legislation requires owners to keep contact details up to date with the microchip company, or face a fine. So if you are moving home, sell your dog or give them to someone else, don’t forget to update your details.

Running up to the new legislation being introduced, some veterinary practices around the country have been offering free or reduced cost microchipping. Check with your local vet to find out more about this as they may have special offers available.

Under the new laws, there are also penalties if someone who is not authorised by a qualified vet tries to implant a microchip. Database companies will also be penalised if they fail to update and keep accurate records. The full legislation can be read online under The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 and can be found here:www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2015/9780111125243

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New Housing Promises Will Not Fix The Problem

Tim Farron made clear that secure, affordable housing is a core Liberal Democrat commitment.

We believe that every individual, regardless of income, employment, social class, or family circumstance, has a right to safe, affordable accommodation. That is why we have opposed the new ‘Right to Buy’ scheme that will deprive communities of housing stock without adequate replacements to meet current demand.

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement pays lip-service to making housing available to all but, in typical Osborne fashion, it only takes a small look at the detail to see that this is hot air. Prioritising properties for those who can already afford to take out mortgages and put down big deposits does not help make housing available to all. Neither does defining £250,000 as affordable or reducing the obligations on property developers to provide an adequate level affordable housing in new developments.

There are 1.6 million people on housing waiting lists right now, and building “affordable” houses that you’ll need a £50,000 annual salary to afford is not going to make that list any shorter!

We need this government to take affordable housing seriously. We need local authorities to take affordable housing seriously. As a Liberal Democrat, I am appalled by the complacency of this government in the face of a housing crisis that is putting a secure and suitable home out of reach of so many men and women in our country.

If you agree, and would like to stand with the Liberal Democrats as we keep up the fight for better housing for all, join us!

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Staggering new figures highlight the problem of NHS ‘bed blocking’ in Kent!

Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign for an emergency cross party commission to solve the crisis in NHS and social care.

The funding crisis in social care means more patients than ever before are stuck in hospital beds longer than they need to be, adding pressure to local hospitals.

Bed blocking figures show in Kent there were 151 people stuck in hospital beds, despite being well enough to be discharged or transferred to social care.

The shocking figures for Kent reveal that the number of hospital beds out-of-action because of bed blocking is equivalent to 568 people staying in hospital for an entire week longer than they need to be.

Tonbridge and Malling Liberal Democrats and Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb have called for a national cross party commission to tackle the funding crisis.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb said:

“The NHS and social care face an existential crisis. Demand for services continues to rise year on year but funding is failing to keep up. The position in social care is perhaps even more serious.

“Growing pressures on services are so severe that all parties must come together to fundamentally re-think how we can guarantee the future of the NHS and social care services.

“The Government cannot avoid this issue any longer. Establishing this commission will show they are serious about protecting these vital public services.”

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Residents don't want parking charges in West Malling

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has surprised and angered local residents and businesses this week by proposing to charge for short term 'shoppers' car parking in West Malling High Street for the first time ever.  The plan came only months after West Malling had been rated one of the best Market Towns in the country, and weeks after Council Leader Nick Heslop and MP Tom Tugendhat toured the town in support of local small businesses.

On January 4th, a report was published proposing charges from April 1st.  The first half hour would be charged at 30p, and then 60p for an hour, £1.20 for two hours, £1.80 for three hours, then jumping to £5 for over 4 hours.  Currently, shoppers can park for three hours free of charge and then must leave the car park to free up space for new customers.  These proposals mean that workers rather than shoppers can return to the car park.

Under another proposal, business permit charges in the Ryarsh Lane Business car park would be tripled from £50 to £150 per year.

The report also says that extending charges to evening hours after 6pm and on Sundays, and for the first time including on street parking charges may be considered in future across the Borough.

The proposals are to be discussed at the Council offices on the evening of Jan 11th.  They are part of a Borough wide plan to raise £350,000 more from car parking to offset investment in new technology, including ticket machines.

Parish Councillor Richard Selkirk was bowled over when he   launched a petition against the proposals which attracted over 2,000  in the first two days. "The supporters make it clear what a wide area West Malling serves and how the independent traders attract people who don't want the same old High Street with the same old chain stores.  Many local petitioners  pointed out that charges would simply push shoppers into adjoining residential streets, or send them to  ASDA, Morrisons, Tesco Larkfield or Sainsbury where free parking is provided just down the road."

Winners of National Retailing Awards,  Michelle of Soles with Heart and Nikki and Russell at West Malling Flowers have both registered their opposition to the plans, as have other local business operators. Amy Barker of Monks Clothing said "The people it will put off are the ones popping in to get milk and then dropping in to see us.  We make some big sales that way."

Pressure is mounting on the three local West Malling Borough Councillors: Sacha Luck, owner of The Old Clock Shop, said she did not think that people would be put off coming to the town, whilst colleague Sophie Shrubsole vowed to represent local people and oppose the charging plans.  Brian Luker has so far offered no view.

Trudy Dean, County Councillor for West Malling and Chairman of the Parish Council said she was disappointed and angry at the process the Borough Council had used.  "The Parish Council and Chamber of Commerce have a West Malling Parking Steering Group which has met many times and worked constructively together to help make parking improvements. the most recent of which have yet to be reported and assessed.  But this report came out of the blue, giving us only a week to fight off charges due to start in only three months' time. The Borough Council has failed to explain how the imposition of charges can possibly improve the availability of parking in the town, which is the main issue concerning shoppers, businesses and residents. We shall be asking the Borough Council to drop these proposals until a proper consultation with residents and businesses has been held, and a solution less damaging to businesses and residents can be agreed.  There are many ways to help West Malling remain the most vibrant and beautiful shopping centre in the Borough, and this isn't one of them. "

Use this link to sign the petition opposing the parking charges.


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Southeastern Christmas 2015 Service

From 8.00pm on Thursday 24 December (Christmas Eve) to Sunday 3 January, Thameslink Programme improvement work means no Southeastern trains will stop at Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street and London Bridge.

There will be a revised timetable, and trains going to/from London will start/terminate at Victoria, Blackfriars or New Cross. Please note these station closures also apply from Tuesday 29 - Thursday 31 December. Tickets will be accepted on alternative routes on Transport for London services.

Some stations will not have direct trains to London throughout this period, but replacement buses will be available, and tickets will be accepted on alternative routes.

Christmas Eve (24 December)

Last trains from Charing Cross and Cannon Street will be earlier than normal, please check before you travel for the revised train times. Improvement work begins at 8.00pm.

Christmas Day (25 December)

No Southeastern trains will run.

Boxing Day (26 December)

There will be a half-hourly high speed service between Ashford International and St Pancras International. No other Southeastern trains will run.

New Year's Eve (31 December)

On New Year's Eve, Southeastern will not serve London Blackfriars from 11.00pm, as the station closes early. Early morning trains on New Year's Day will leave from Victoria.

Additional work will be taking place on certain dates over the holiday period affecting services throughout our network.

There is a video explaining the changes, a leaflet for you to download, journey advice, ticket acceptance details and the most up to date information over this period on the Southeastern website. You could also download Southeastern On Track app for live information or follow them on Twitter @Se_railway for updates on train services and help 24/7.

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