CORONAVIRUS: Town obeys the lockdown - but not builders of new Maidstone schools
Wednesday 25th March 2020
THE building firm behind Maidstone's new schools is under fire today for allowing workers to flout social distancing rules on site.
Images taken at the site clearly show Bowmer and Kirkland workers not observing the two metre guideline designed to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The controversial development, just yards from to a mental hospital which treats criminals, is due to open in September.
On Monday evening, the Prime Minister once again pressed the need for a social distance of two metres and echoed the recommendations made by public health experts advising the Government.
Proposals for the primary and special needs schools, to be run by the Leigh Academies Trust (LAT), caused fury and widespread opposition among residents, elected officials and faith leaders but were passed by Maidstone Borough Council.
The Department for Education pushed for the Popes Field site and has, in the past, admitted the site, a former nature reserve, was chosen because it was available and cost-effective.
Bearsted borough councillor Denis Spooner said: "At the moment, it is entirely down to the company. At this time there is no legislation to be able to prosecute - it is down to the conscience of the company and, I suppose, the self-interest of the workers.
"It could be seen as irresponsible as this is precisely how the virus spreads. I hear that some workers are walking off building sites."
Vicar of Bearsted Canon John Corbyn said: "I am concerned about social distancing and alarmed at reports of people not observing social distancing. Not just in this case, but in people over 70 who use the exception of their age to turn a walk outside into a shopping trip, putting themselves at risk."
A spokesman for Bowmer and Kirkland said: "We put people first – our staff, clients, sub-contractors and the communities in which we work. We are keeping staff regularly updated with all Government advice. We are making additional health and welfare provisions on sites and in our offices including avoiding close contact working.”
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