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Roads closed as soldiers including Gurkhas to join parade through Maidstone following election of new mayor and council leader

Troops are set to parade through a town centre this weekend - potentially one of the last chances to see the spectacle.

The procession will celebrate the inauguration of Maidstone’s new mayor, Cllr John Perry, and he and his wife Jan will ride through the high street in an open horse-drawn carriage.

The 36 Engineer Regiment will march through Maidstone
The 36 Engineer Regiment will march through Maidstone

The event, on Saturday, will also see troops from the 36 Engineer Regiment and from the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers exercising their rights as freemen of the borough to march through the town with bayonets fixed.

With the government planning to close Invicta Park Barracks in the near future, this may be one of the last chances to cheer our brave servicemen.

They will be joined by contingents from many civilian bodies too, such as the Cubs, Scouts and Guides, Red Cross and Freemasons.

Those military personnel marching in the parade will assemble in front of County Hall, with the civilian elements gathering in Earl Street. At 11.30am they will march along Week Street led by the British Army Band from Tidworth.

The parade journeys to All Saints Church in College Road where there will be a civic service.

The new mayor: Cllr John Perry
The new mayor: Cllr John Perry

There will be a series of rolling road closures in place between 10am and 1pm. Roads will re-open as soon as the procession has passed.

The roads that could be affected are Sandling Road (junction with White Rabbit roundabout), Station Road, St Faith’s Street, Week Street, High Street, King Street, Wyke Manor Road (junction with King Street), Gabriels Hill (junction with High Street), Bank Street, Pudding Lane (junction with High Street), Lower High Street (junction with High Street), Mill Street, Bishops Way, Knightrider Street and College Road.

In addition, Old College Horseway alongside the church will be closed from 6am to 1pm, and Jubilee Square and Bank Street will be closed from 9am to 1pm.

As part of the event, there will be entertainment in Jubilee Square with music from Bloco Fogo, who will be performing between noon and 12.45pm.

The parade will follow the first full council meeting since the local elections on May 2, at which members will decide who will run Maidstone council for the next four years.

The Gurkhas will form part of the parade
The Gurkhas will form part of the parade

The results of the polling at the start of the month were inconclusive, with the Green Independent Alliance Group ending with 14 seats, the Conservatives with 13, Liberal Democrats with 12, Labour six, Fant and Oakwood Independents two, and two other Independents.

Since the election, the Fant and Oakwood Independents - Paul Harper and Patrick Coates, have formed a grouping with the Independents Anne Dawes and Fay Gooch, to make a group of four.

There are 49 seats on the council, so a majority requires 25.

The party leaders are all keeping closed-mouthed ahead of the meeting on Saturday, but backbench councillors have been ready to predict the outcome.

It is widely expected that Stuart Jeffery, leader of the Green Party, will become the council leader - the first time the town will ever have had a Green Party leader.

Stuart Jeffery (Green Party) is expected to be the new council leader
Stuart Jeffery (Green Party) is expected to be the new council leader

He is expected to appoint a cabinet containing three Greens, three Lib Dems and one Labour councillor.

A coalition of the Green Independent Alliance with the Lib Dems and Labour would give 32 seats - a comfortable majority.

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