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Recent News For Maidstone

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  • key_vince_cable2.jpg
    Article: Apr 23, 2014

    Today, Vince Cable gave the Cambridge Public Policy Lecture, exploring how further and higher education can be brought closer together to create a "parity of esteem" between the sectors.

    Vince Cable called for a new generation of National Colleges to fill the high-level vocational skills gap.

    "I want to set out a vision for a new generation of National Colleges: specialised institutions, acting as national centres of expertise in key areas of the economy. They will be employer-focused, and combine academic knowledge with practical application."

  • Unemployment falls once again
    Article: Apr 23, 2014

    The total number of people in receipt of unemployment benefits locally has plummeted over the past 12 months to just 1.8%, more than 30% lower than this time last year.

    The news comes as unemployment nationally fell to 6.9%, lower both than when the coalition came to power in May 2010 and when New Labour came in in May 1997.

  • Article: Apr 23, 2014

    Today, Nick Clegg spoke at the launch of the Cityfathers, a new forum for working fathers, on the need for radical change to create equal opportunities in our parental leave system.

    Nick commented on the importance of change in modern society, where we now have the highest female employment rate on record. More parents choose to both earn and share childcare responsibility, but there is still an assumption that it is the father who works and the mother who cares for the children.

  • Article: Apr 23, 2014

    The Government has announced eight major renewable projects as part of electricity reforms, which will give a massive boost to green growth and green jobs.

    The projects are delivering low-carbon, affordable and reliable power for the long-term that is better for the planet, consumers and the economy. By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs and will generate clean electricity to three million homes across the country.

  • Cllr Derek Mortimer
    Article: Apr 23, 2014

    Residents in south Maidstone remain worried by the development threat hanging over neighbouring green-field sites in Cripple Street and Postley Road.

    Grazing paddocks at Postley Road are subject to planning application MA/13/2038 for 65 houses, and the site also features as a housing allocation in Conservative-led Maidstone Council's draft Local Plan.

  • Pike fishing tackle recklessly discarded on the banks of the River Len
    Article: Apr 23, 2014

    South Ward Councillor Derek Mortimer acted quickly and decisively to ensure that two individuals who were illegally fishing at Tovil Bridge were challenged and moved-on last Bank Holiday Monday.

    This follows on from local Lib Dems alerting the Environment Agency Hotline to another Close Season poacher on the River Len in Maidstone town centre just last week.

  • Catherine
    Article: Apr 22, 2014

    Following the Nick Clegg v Nigel Farage debates round 3 is now taking place in Maidstone.

    Local Euro candidates Catherine Bearder MEP and Janice Atkinson will battle it out at Oakwood Grammar school in Maidstone on the evening of April 30th .

    The arrangements have been finalised in the aftermath of the recent debates between the leaders of the two parties galvanising the European elections debate.

  • Big Spring Clean reaches Monckton's Lane
    Article: Apr 22, 2014

    Local Lib Dems have been busy over the long Bank Holiday weekend leading a series of community clean-ups.

    North Ward Lib Dem Councillors Jenni Paterson and Tony Harwood organised the events which cleared litter and fly-tipping from a number of local beauty spots.

    At picturesque Weavering Heath, near Grove Green, a tent and ground-sheet had been discarded amongst hundreds of bottles and cans. At Cuckoo Wood, Penenden Heath, the haul included building debris and scores of energy drink cans. The River Medway tow-path and River Len nature reserve yielded bagged-dog mess, lager cans, vodka bottles, fishing tackle and even used disposable nappies.

    Tony commented: "Local people are now out in our community clearing litter and fly-tipping every single day. Their dedication is inspirational, and only serves to underline the ignorance and thoughtlessness of the litter-louts and fly-tippers."

    Jenni added: "We are organising lots more community clean-ups in coming months - so watch this space for times and locations."

    Stop press: The litter-strewn area around the East Station and East Station car park, fronting Sessions House Square, has at last been cleared-up following a long campaign by local North Ward Councillor Tony Harwood.

  • Rave approved by Maidstone Council in Whatman Park
    Article: Apr 22, 2014

    Residents across North and West Maidstone had their Easter Sunday afternoon and night ruined by a rave event at Maidstone Council's Whatman Park. Irate residents, some made ill by the noise, logged complaints with Maidstone Council and even called the police. Wildfowl were seen and heard crashing about after dark in distress, and nests were reported abandoned.

  • Petition: Apr 21, 2014
  • Brian Mortimer and Jasper Gerard
    Article: Apr 21, 2014

    Below is a letter recently put out by Cllr. Brian Mortimer:

    Tory run Maidstone Council has unveiled plans to build 450 new homes in the village of Coxheath. It is very important that if you have any views on this you MUST RESPOND to the consultation by the 7th May.

    Please do not leave it too late to challenge this unprecedented threat to our local quality of life, because if these allocations are approved and put in to the new Local Plan there is nothing we can do to stop them. It is now that your village needs you most. Apart from emailing / writing to Maidstone Borough Council please sign the petition that is being organized by local residents with my advice and support.

  • Cllr. Tony Harwood with Cllr. Ian Chittenden on Royal Engineers Road
    Article: Apr 20, 2014

    Councillors in North Maidstone are calling for action to improve safety on the pedestrian crossing on Royal Engineers Road near the entrance to Invicta Barracks. This crossing is used by many parents and children walking to and from school at St. Paul's and Northborough.

    There has long been a problem with motorists failing to notice or not stopping when the traffic lights turn red. Drivers are often more focused upon the roundabout ahead when travelling towards Maidstone, drivers leaving the roundabout to head north towards Bluebell Hill are often caught out by the crossing.

  • Leafy Calder Road
    Article: Apr 20, 2014

    Pictured is leafy Calder Road triangle at Ringlestone, a high profile site that, as a result of significant investment through Councillors' devolved local budgets, has been transformed from unofficial parking area and magnet for anti-social behaviour into a high quality open space.

    Borough Councillor Tony Harwood and County Councillor Ian Chittenden funded the ambitious tree planting programme which has so improved the local environment. The 'extra heavy standard' small-leaved lime tree which forms the focal point for the planting scheme delivers welcome shelter and shade, purifies the air, provides a habitat for wildlife and fills the estate with perfume when it flowers. The surrounding wild cherry trees are a beautiful sight in the spring and benefit bees when they blossom and birds when they fruit.

  • Article: Apr 19, 2014

    Plans for tougher penalties against reckless directors have been unveiled by Business Secretary Vince Cable today.

    While the UK already has one of the strongest disqualification regimes in the world - with disqualification periods ranging from two years up to fifteen years for the worst offenders - the new measures will mean the rogue minority face stronger deterrents to break the law and more robust sanctions if they do.

  • Abandoned litter and tackle
    Article: Apr 17, 2014

    Local Lib Dems acted quickly to report illegal Close Season angling activity on the River Len at the junction of Palace Avenue and Mill Street to the Environment Agency last night. This follows a call by Maidstone Liberal Democrats for the Agency to act decisively on the epidemic of Close Season poaching on Maidstone's rivers and streams.

  • Tony Harwood
    Article: Apr 16, 2014

    Maidstone Council Lib Dem Planning Spokesman Tony Harwood is urging residents to formally object to Conservative-led Maidstone Council's plans to tarmac 17 acres of countryside on Maidstone's irreplaceable Greensand Ridge to create a poorly located park and ride. Local Liberal Democrats believe that a park and ride in such a remote location will lead to increased rat-running through country roads and further congest busy Linton Crossroads.

    Local Ward Cllr Brian Mortimer has attended 2 meetings in Linton and has seen the anger and upset that this proposal has caused. Brian stated this is the biggest issue he can remember in Linton and we must do all we can to stop this unjustified development in what is a very sensitive location. Brian and Tony have also signed the "No Park and Ride at Linton" petition on the 38 Degrees website and are urging others to do so.

    It is vital that concerned residents ensure that their voice is heard by responding to the ongoing Maidstone Local Plan consultation via LDF@maidstone.gov.uk by 7th May, citing "Objection DM 15 Park and Ride and PKR1(1) Linton Crossroads.

    Tony's personal response to the Local Plan Consultation addressing the park and ride is set out below for information:

    Objection DM15 Park and Ride

    Park and ride is not a sustainable transport panacea, and if poorly located can increase local traffic congestion and pollution and damage the landscape. Park and ride works best where it is well-related to existing communities, and not located within more remote stand-alone locations. The Old Sittingbourne Road, London Road and Willington Street sites succeed in this context because they also serve the local community as a bus service. The Langley Park park and ride, which was cancelled by Maidstone Council, would have brought optimal benefits because it would have complemented the originally proposed mixed-use development of the site and reduced the generation of local car journeys.

  • Littering
    Article: Apr 16, 2014

    A few days of warm sunshine has swelled visitor numbers to Maidstone's popular open spaces. Unfortunately, as the crowds return home their lasting legacy is a sea of litter. Mote Park, South Park, Penenden Heath, Cornwallis Park, the River Len Nature Reserve and Cobtree Park were all left heavily litter-strewn following the weekend's fine weather. Parking areas and those around benches were particular grot spots. Your local Liberal Democrat Councillors and civic-minded local residents have cleared up much of the mess, but the professionals of the MBC Cleansing Team needed to be called out at Penenden Heath. Our sincere thanks go out to Maidstone's hard-working staff who are fighting to keep the ever-growing tide of litter at bay.

  • Article: Apr 16, 2014

    New figures show the rate of unemployment has fallen below 7% for the first time since the recession. The number of people out of work dropped by 77,000 in the last three months, while total employment has seen the biggest annual jump in a generation.

    There are now more people in work than ever before, with nearly 0.7 million more people in employment since this time last year, showing that the Lib Dem plan to create a million jobs is working.

  • An Episode on the Field of Battle
    Article: Apr 16, 2014

    Cllr. Tony Harwood provides an update on progress towards the realisation of his vision to install a lasting memorial to all those who died during the Battle of Maidstone:

    "The final hurdle in the long campaign to deliver a fitting memorial to all those who lost their lives in this pivotal Civil War battle has now been cleared. The Maidstone Council grant-funded installation will be built on the site of the original St. Faith's churchyard - now part of Brenchley Gardens - in early summer 2014.

    The planned Civil War memorial, and new Captain Louis Nolan statue in Church Street, mean that the County Town is at last acknowledging its long and rich history.

    The inscription on the new Civil War memorial will read:

    This stone marks the last stand of the Royalist defenders of Maidstone on the storm-lashed night of the 1st June 1648, and serves as a memorial to all those who lost their lives on that long and blood-soaked day.

    Battle of Maidstone 1st June 1648
    The Great Rebellion - Second English Civil War (1648 - 1652)

    Thus richer than untempted kings are we, That, asking nothing, nothing need:
    Though lords of all what seas embrace, yet he That wants himself is poor indeed.

    excerpt from 'The Grasshopper' by Kentish cavalier poet Richard Lovelace (1618 - c.1658), who tore-up the petition in favour of Parliament at Maidstone in 1641."

  • Article: Apr 15, 2014

    The European Parliament has approved new rules to make big lorries safer for other road users and more fuel-efficient.

    Under changes pushed by Liberal Democrat MEPs, the design of lorry cabs are set to be changed to reduce the number of blind spots under the front widescreen and the side of the vehicle. The new designs would also include safer cab fronts to reduce damage caused by impacts with cyclists and pedestrians. It is thought the proposal could help prevent dozens of fatal accidents each year.

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