The Jubilee School has put in for planning permission to turn Gatland House into a 420 pupil  Free School. To do this they require a change in planning permission from use as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to a Free School.

If granted then Gatland House will become a major Primary School for Maidstone.  As a Free School it will be fully funded by public money but will not be accountable to the people of Fant and Maidstone. Some of the issues to consider are:

  •  The School is the property of the Jubilee Church which is mainly based in the Town Centre and Bearsted areas, rather than Fant.
  •  Is there a local demand for a school at Gatland House?
  •  Is the building large enough for 16 classrooms, plus specialist school classrooms, and other ancillary space?
  •  All the current parking space is planned to be retained
  •  Very limited Playground space can be provided within the site
  •  How will the local area cope with all the extra traffic
  •  There has been no consultation with the local community over the proposals to have a new school at Gatland House

For full details and to put in your comments please go to http://pa.midkent.gov.uk/online-applications, the application reference is 14/503957/FULL


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Labour launch 20mph campaign at bike security event

CyclingPaul Harper, Labour’s councillor for Fant, launched our 20 mile per hour campaign at a bike security event on Saturday this week.  Labour are campaigning for the introduction of lower speed limits in residential areas make the roads safe for all road users.

There is a good deal of evidence in the 16 years since the Labour government intrdiuced 20 mph zones lower speed limits in residential areas increases community safety for pedestrians, children, older people and cyclists.

Elliot Dean, who is a local campaigner and cyclist said “any measures to increase road safety should be welcomed. I am supporting this Labour Party initiative and am also campaigning for more education for cyclists.”

Other elements of the Labour Plan in addition to 20 mph, include more education for cyclists, better signage of cycle routes, developing cycle routes which link the town to the villages, more cycle parking and secure cycle parking facilities in the Town and Village Centres.

Commenting on the news, Allen Simpson Labour Candidate for Maidstone and Weald said:
“Paul and Elliot are doing a great job campaigning for road safety in Maidstone.  Not only will this plan make the streets safer for all users, 20mph speed limits are also good for car drivers as they result in less traffic accidents.”

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Labour back the Big Maidstone Switch

Labour ice cubeThe Labour Party have backed the Big Maidstone Switch, a scheme designed to help residents to save on the gas or electricity bills by switching tariff or supplier. Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate Allen Simpson said:

“As the cost of living continues to squeeze many of us, even a small saving on bills can be well needed.”

People can register online here, at the contact centre or in the Gateway. You have until 13th October to register.

When the scheme closes, anyone who has taken part will be sent a personal report setting out how they can save by switching, and how much the saving would be. The last time this scheme was run, over 8 in 10 people taking part saved money and the average saving was £161. Get registered and get saving!

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Labour MPs launch home building policy with Maidstone builders


Two senior Labour MPs launched a ‘Help to Build’ policy to support home building, at a visit to a development by a Maidstone builder hosted by Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone, Allen Simpson.

Hosting the visit, Allen Simpson said:

“There are going to be a lot of houses built in Kent in the next few years. I want them built by local firms creating local jobs. I am pleased that Chris and Emma have launched this policy to fix housing supply here with a Maidstone builder”.

The Labour Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Chris Leslie MP said:

“Allen has told me about Maidstone’s challenges with housing, so I am delighted we can launch Labour’s Help to Build scheme here. It will encourage small house-builders to deliver more homes, as well as stimulating the local economy and helping to prevent prices from spiraling ever further out of reach for young homebuyers “

Labour shadow ministers Chris Leslie MP Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Emma Reynolds MP, Shadow Housing Minister visited a Walderslade housing development of 14 homes by Maidstone-based builder Paul Ray. They discussed the policy with Paul, and other members of the Maidstone home building sector.

The policy supports home building by providing government guarantees for bank lending to SME construction firms in a similar way to how the current ‘Help to Buy’ scheme underwrites mortgages. It is designed to address the barriers to housing supply.

Maidstone Council have identified a shortage of 19,600 homes in the area, but have not yet identified where they should be built, who will build them or what transport and infrastructure should be put in place. Separate Labour figures show that the housing gap between housing supply and demand in the South East is has reached 85,950 in the last four years.

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Kent social entrepreneur meets Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband  Allen SimpsonLabour’s Parliamentary Candidate Allen Simpson took Chris Norman, the Operations Manager of Kent FareShare to meet Ed Miliband at a reception in the Houses of Parliament celebrating community heroes.

Kent FareShare are a social enterprise which takes surplus food from businesses and distributes it through charities and community organisations working with disadvantaged people across the region. The service launches in 2014 in Maidstone and across Kent. The organisation also run a network of food banks.

Meeting Chris, Ed Miliband said that “this is a brilliant initiative – a wonderful way of helping people in food poverty and using up unwanted food. Good luck with the launch!”

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