Monday, 18 June 2007

July date for public meeting

THE proposed Kent International Gateway depot at Bearsted will be debated publicly in July.

Speakers at the debate, organised by Kent County Council, will include its leader, Cllr Paul Carter (Con), Cllr Fran Wilson (Lib Dem), leader of Maidstone Borough Council, Lord Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association, Faversham and Mid Kent MP Hugh Robertson (Con) and Dr Hilary Newport, Kent director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Richard Horton, chairman of the STOPKIG campaign, and Brian Clifford, chairman of the Bearsted and Thurnham Society, will represent protestors.

The debate will be in the large hall at Invicta Grammar School, Huntsman Lane, Maidstone, on Friday, July 6, from 7 to 9pm. Former BBC Radio Kent presenter Barbara Sturgeon will chair the meeting.

KIG has yet to say if it will send a representative.

Source Say NO to Kent International Gateway

Driver accused of filming 150mph blast on M20

Police are quizzing a motorist after claims he hit speeds of up to 150mph on the M20 – and then put the film on the internet.

But Anthony Coyne, 27, from south London, was identified by the clip he uploaded on to the web – and shopped to cops by the Sun newspaper who tracked him down.

The paper claims the footage – shot by his passenger – shows the speedo of his high-powered £28,000 Vauxhall VX220 sports car toppling 150mph.

It says the film was taken on a stretch of the M20 near Harrietsham, close to Maidstone.

The Sun story said: “Coyne believed there was nothing in the photos to show where the speeding took place or to identify him.

“But we tracked him down within hours. He left his phone number in earlier postings on another site and even gave away his location by revealing he was taking his new motor to Paris. There was only one motorway he would use – and that was the M20.

“We identified the exact spot as being near Harrietsham.”

Kent Police say they are now investigating the clip which the Sun claims Coyne posted on a site devoted to the VX220.

Coyne himself denied he hit such speeds and claimed he only posted the clips to ‘get a reaction’.

It comes just months after the Saturday Observer exclusively revealed the reckless antics of speed-nuts going through the Dartford Tunnel and across the QEII Bridge.

In those clips, uploaded on to YouTube, idiots risked life and limb hitting speeds of 130mph – almost triple the 50mph speed limit.

Source One & Two

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Church Thefts

Churches are being targeted by thieves stealing Kent peg tiles from roofs.

Three incidents have been reported to Mid Kent police where thieves have climbed onto the roofs of churches in East Sutton, Sutton Valence and Harrietsham, and stolen tiles.

Officers believe the thieves may not have been caught red-handed because passersby assume they are legitimately working on the church roof.

Crime reduction officer, John Grant said:
“These thieves are being very overt in their actions, and naturally, people assume they are workers repairing the roofs as opposed to thieves stealing tiles from them.

“We would just ask members of the public to be vigilant and to ensure churches in the area are told if people are seen on the roofs.

“If anyone actually witnesses tiles being stolen, they should call the police immediately.”

Friday, 1 December 2006

Harrietsham Primary School

The New Primary School opened on 5th September having moved from the old site on Ashford Road to West Street.

"Harrietsham school provides new primary school facilities at a sensitive green field site near Maidstone, Kent. The new school is a single storey structure built on a sloping site with the rear of the building embedded in the slope. This allows the existing ground levels to flow into the sinuous organic curves of the roof.

The primary structure is a steel frame founded on mass concrete trench footings. Pre-stressed beam and block construction provides a solid ground floor. Timber ’I‘ beams spanning between the steel frame provides a light weight roof structure supporting standing seam and green roofs."
Source : Elliot Wood Projects

Friday, 17 November 2006

Muslim case 'dominated' pregnancy

A woman who was abused by her boss after she converted to Islam has said the way she was treated hung over her throughout her first pregnancy. Caroline Elgedawy, 32, from Harrietsham in Kent, won an employment tribunal case on Thursday against Lincoln insurance firm Hanover Park Commercial.

The tribunal ruled she suffered discrimination over remarks made by chief executive Andy Halstead.

Mrs Elgedawy is due to return to work from maternity leave next week.

Dominated pregnancy

But she is still waiting to hear how much compensation she will receive and Mr Halstead has said he "could not possibly comment" on whether she would return to work.

"This should have been a time when I was enjoying my first pregnancy," she said.

"But this has dominated it."

Mrs Elgedawy, who has a baby daughter, became a Muslim after she married her Egyptian husband, Reda, last year.

She told the tribunal in Nottingham Mr Halstead became abusive over her decision to eat only halal meat at the firm's Christmas party.

"I was totally disgusted by his behaviour. He had completely humiliated me," Mrs Elgedawy told the four-day hearing, at which she represented herself.

The firm denied the allegations.

Mrs Elgedawy, 32, who earned £52,000-a-year as head of business information and strategy, told BBC South East Today she was "extremely disappointed" at her treatment.

"There was no reason why I should make up such a story," she said.

"Frankly, I am relieved it is over and now we can start to move on."


Thursday, 27 April 2006

M20 is 'as noisy as a nightclub'

Residents who live near parts of the M20 motorway in Kent are subjected to noise levels similar to those from nightclubs, a report has suggested. An environmental health officer from Maidstone council monitored the noise between junctions eight and nine from Hollingbourne down to Ashford.

The readings showed levels which would usually result in planning applications for new homes being rejected.

Noise reduction work is already under way between junctions four and five.

The Highways Agency is installing an environmental noise barrier along 2km (1.25 miles) of the M20's coast bound carriageway near Aylesford.

Maidstone council's Steve Wilcock took readings further along the motorway on the Fairbourne Lane bridge at Harrietsham.

He described the figures as "startling".

The morning rush-hour showed a maximum peak of 94 decibels (dB), with an average background noise level during daytime of 79dB.

Mr Wilcock said anything above 72dB would normally prohibit any new house building taking place in the immediate vicinity.

A Maidstone council report in 2003 suggested 26 ways of dealing with noise pollution, but the levels at Fairbourne Lane have actually increased in the three years since.


Friday, 19 March 2004

Hundreds voice anger at rail cuts

About 400 people attended a meeting to voice their anger at plans to stop trains calling at Kent villages. The Strategic Rail Authority plans to stop some services calling at stations such as Charing and Harrietsham in a move to reduce journey times to London.

MPs, MEPs, councillors and rail authority representatives met locals at the meeting in Harrietsham on Thursday.

Organisers said they ended the meeting confident they could persuade the SRA to change its mind.

The SRA runs South Eastern Trains, which took over services in the South East on a temporary basis last year after Connex was stripped of its franchise.

It has said reducing the number of stops trains make during off-peak journeys will help cut journey times between major stations.

Paul Latham, of the SRA, said at the meeting: "We have been lobbied quite hard for faster journey times to key destinations in Kent.

"With the track infrastructure that we've got, in some cases the only way to achieve that is to have some services stopping at less places, lightly used stations."

Villagers told the meeting they would struggle to get to work or school, or be forced to use their cars, if trains did stop calling at their stations.

Confident of rethink

Damian Green, MP for Maidstone and shadow transport spokesman, said: "Several people have made the point to me from Charing, the village I live in, that a lot of children use the train to go to school.

"The morning journey may be in peak times, but the afternoon journey is in off-peak.

"If they cannot get back in the evening my guess is that many parents will start taking their children to school by car.

"So it would have the perverse effect of the SRA persuading people back into their cars - that cannot be sensible."

The meeting was organised by Tylden Reed, of the Kent Association of Parish Councils.

'We will win'

He told the BBC after the meeting he was confident of persuading rail chiefs to rethink their plans.

Mr Reed said: "Everyone on the top table knows where the residents and the rail users stand.

"We would much prefer to have the trains stopping, because they will still go past our stations.

"Surely the rail authority wants passengers?

"What they decide is entirely up to them, but I believe we will win this one."