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Traders in row over rubblish collection times

A COUNCIL-led initiative to boost the appearance of Maidstone's main shopping area has led to a rift with business leaders.

Maidstone Town Centre Management has described as "farcical" the introduction of strict time windows - 8.30am-10am and 5pm-7pm - for leaving rubbish outside premises for collection.

The new scheme, being launched on Monday, could see High Street firms fined up to £1,000 if they persistently leave trade waste out on the pavement outside the allotted hours. It follows complaints that unregulated dumping of rubbish outside premises during the day was creating a bad impression for people visiting the town.

MTCMI chairman Winston Quested told a retail and commerce group meeting last week that while the aims of the scheme were laudable its introduction had been "a farce from start to finish".

Officers had failed to take account of their views despite two attempts at consultation with misgivings at the selected time periods ignored, the meeting heard.

The result was a scheme that would defeat the whole object of the exercise with rubbish left on the streets overnight because of missed collections. Businesses could be penalised through no fault of their own, he stressed.

A spokesman for Maidstone council described the row as a "storm in a teacup". He added: "The intention of all this is a solution that will improve the cleanliness and image of the town."

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