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MP launches petition against barracks closure

MP Helen Grant Credit: PA

The MP for Maidstone and the Weald is launching a petition opposing the closure of Invicta Park Barracks in Maidstone, Kent.

Helen Grant is calling for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to reconsider the decision stating that it will negatively impact 800 service personnel, their families and the town.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced its closure last year as part of widespread cutbacks in the Ministry of Defence's budget.

91 of the most expensive sites are to close by 2040, reducing the size of the total estate by 30%.

The MoD says the estates are too big and too expensive to continue in their current form.

It says the move will release enough land to build 55,000 homes as part of the wider government housing policy.

Plans to sell Sussex downland halted

Credit: ITV Meridian

Campaigners won a reprieve tonight in their battle to protect historic downland outside Brighton.

Brighton and Hove City Council is hoping to raise more than a million pounds by selling the land at Plumpton Hill and Poynings to restore nearby Stanmer Park.

Campaigners say that new ownership cannot guarantee they will remain untouched.

The council says the project does not put the downland at risk.

At a meeting tonight councillors delayed a final decision.

Shock for Kent charities, facing large council bills

They raise money for homeless people, for hospice care, for medical research. But now the charity shops of Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham could be forced to hand over thousands of pounds in TAX to Medway Council.

The authority aims to boost its reserves by cutting council tax relief to charity shops and dozens of other organisations run by volunteers. The move is being described as a 'cruel cash-grab' by the voluntary sector - and it's triggered a furious political row. Derek Johnson reports

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  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, January 2017

Clean. Soft. Hard. Red, white and blue. We're getting a better idea of what sort of Brexit we're heading to.
And we may be getting an idea of what destination the long-running Southern Trains dispute is heading to, as well. And Donald Trump - does he know where he's heading? The Dorchester ... in Southampton?

To discuss all this -

  • Conservative Ed Vaizey MP, from Wantage in Oxfordshire;
  • Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb in Brighton from the Greens;
  • Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove in Sussex

join Phil Hornby, our Political Correspondent

Island council elects new leader

Credit: Isle of Wight Council

The Isle of Wight Council has a new leader.

Conservative councillor David Stewart was elected at a meeting this evening.

It follows Monday's resignation of the former leader, Jonathan Bacon, and his deputy, Steve Stubbing. They were both independents and said they quit because then said they could no longer deal with the Government's continued austerity cuts.

The latest on the Southern Rail talks

Southern Rail says it will resume a normal service from Tuesday next week.

The company has been locked in talks with the drivers union ASLEF all day today as the two sides try to come to a deal.

With the latest is our transport correspondent Mike Pearse.

Mike spoke to the General Secretary of ASLEF Mick Whelan.

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