Urgent treatment centre open

The urgent treatment centre at the William Harvey Hospital is now open.

Urgent treatment centres provide treatment for minor injuries and illnesses that are urgent but not life threatening.

Urgent treatment centres are GP-led, open at least 12 hours a day (24 hours at the main hospital sites), and are equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend A&E for. 

Call NHS 111 or visit  to find out which service is best for you.

NHS 111 can signpost you to the nearest service and, where appropriate, can book you an appointment at the Urgent Treatment Centre.

The Urgent Treatment Centre can treat:

  • sprains and strains
  • suspected broken limbs
  • minor head injuries
  • cuts and grazes
  • bites and stings
  • minor scalds and burns
  • ear and throat infections
  • skin infections and rashes
  • eye problems
  • coughs and colds
  • feverish illness in adults
  • feverish illness in children
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting and diarrhoea
  • emergency contraception

Urgent Treatment Centres need to comply with government guidelines on social distancing and provide safe environments for both patients and staff.

NHS are encouraging people to call NHS 111 to book an appointment ahead of visiting. This means you won’t have to wait at a centre for an appointment and it will help ensure the safety of everyone.  

Coronavirus National Restrictions

5 November to 2 December

National restrictions apply to England

Meeting IndoorsMeeting OutdoorsWeddings and Funerals
You cannot meet anybody socially Indoors unless they are in your household or support bubbleYou can meet with 1 person from another household in outdoor public spaces, following social distancing.
Children under 5 and anyone dependent on continuous care do not count towards the 2 person limit.
Weddings and Civil partnership ceremonies can only take place where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover.
Funerals can take place with up to 30 people in attendance.
Working from homeEssential ShopsNon-essential Retail
You must work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home you should continue to go to work (unless you are clinically extremely vulnerable).Open. Essential shops should follow COVID secure guidelines.Closed. Can only open for click-and-collect and delivery services.
ExerciseLeisure and GymsHospitality
You can exercise outside on your own or with your household; your support bubble or one person from another househoid.Closed. Except for allotments and outdoor playgrounds.Closed except for takeaway, click-and-collect, drive through and delivery sevvices. Takeaway not permitted after 22:00.
EducationHealthcare ServicesResidential Care
Early years, schools and FE colleges open. Universities must reflect wider restrictions.You can leave home for any medical reason.Care homes are encouraged to provide safe, COVID-secure visiting opportunities. See the guidance for detaiis on how to keep visits safe.
TravelPublic TransportOvernight Stays
You must not travel in the UK or overseas other than for permitted reasons, including work, eduration, medical reasons, caring responsibilities or for essential retail.You may still use public transport, but should only travel for permitted reasons and should look to reduce the number of journeys you make, avoid travelling at peak times and walk or cycle where you can.Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences are not allowed, except for work and other exempt purposes.
Entertainment and tourismVulnerable PeopleWorship
Entertainment venues are closed. Public gardens at visitor attractions are open.If you are 60+ or clinically vulnerable be especially carefui to follow the rules and minimise contacts with others. If you are ciinicaliy extremely vulnerable you are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essenliai health appoinlments.Closed. Except for:
broadcasting acts of worship, and
individual prayer.
ChildcareYouth Clubs and Activities
Registered childcare and childcare activities open to enable parents to work, or for respite care. Parents can form a childcare bubble with another household For informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.Some youth services are able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

For more information and detailed guidance visit

UK government

Appeal against HMO refusal dismissed

An appeal against a refusal by Ashford Borough Council (ABC) to issue a Lawful Development Certificate for the existing use of a house in Bond Road as a large House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has been dismissed.

The Planning Inspector has agreed with ABC that the applicant has failed to provide sufficient evidence that the house in question has been used as a large HMO continuously for ten years.

The request for a Lawful Development Certificate followed an earlier application for planning permission for change of use of the property to a Large HMO. That application was refused because “The proposed change of use, due to insufficient onsite parking, would result in an unacceptable impact in on-street parking to the detriment of existing nearby residents and the surrounding road network. Further, any vehicles attempting to park at the front would result in vehicles overhanging the footpath to the detriment of pedestrian safety.” contrary to Policy HOU11 of the Ashford Local Plan.

Under the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 the Local Planning Authority (LPA) cannot take enforcement action against a breach of planning control after defined time limits. In the case of a change of use to an HMO the limit is ten years; after which the use becomes lawful.

Green Homes Grant

If you’re a homeowner or residential landlord you can apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements to your home.

Improvements could include insulating your home to reduce your energy use or installing low-carbon heating to lower the amount of carbon dioxide your home produces.

You must redeem the voucher and ensure improvements are completed by 31 March 2021.

How much you can get

Vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost of eligible improvements, up to a maximum government contribution of £5,000.

If you, or someone in your household, receive certain benefits you may be eligible for a voucher covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of the voucher is £10,000. Check if you’re eligible for the low income support scheme.

Landlords are not eligible for low income support.

Read more about the scheme on the Simple Energy Advice website

Check if you are eligible for a voucher and find home improvements that you can carry out on the Simple Energy Advice website

Then apply for a voucher via

Find an Installer

The voucher can only be used for work carried out by an installer registered under the scheme, for the work that is being undertaken.

Find an installer on the Simple Energy Advice website

We recommend that you do not take advice from cold callers, whether by phone or door to door salesmen nor respond to social media adverts or emails. we have learnt of examples of potential scammers and rogue traders taking advantage of the announcement of this scheme.


NHS Covid-19 App

Download the NHS Covid-19 App to

  • Get alerted if you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Find the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
  • Get alerted if you have visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus.
  • Check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a free test.
  • Book a test and get your result.
  • Keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.

Download for iphone:

Download for Android:

The NHS COVID-19 app protects your privacy and identity from other app users, and their privacy and identity from you. The app uses random IDs that cannot be used by the NHS or the government to identify who you are, or who you’ve spent time with.

The app cannot:

  • use your GPS location or track where you have been
  • be used to check or monitor if you’re self-isolating
  • be used by law enforcement to identify or track you
  • see personal information on your phone, such as your messages, address book or your phone contacts

More information:

Consultation on planning system reforms

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is consulting on two sets of reforms to the planning system.

The first, Changes to the current planning system, includes:

  • changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need
  • securing of First Homes through developer contributions
  • temporarily lifting the small sites threshold
  • extending the current Permission in Principle to major development

This is likely to increase the assessed need for housing in Ashford.

The second, Planning for the future, relates to the wider changes that have been announced by the government. The Government press release states that the proposals include:

  • plans to overhaul outdated planning system and reform the way the country builds
  • Plans to streamline process, cut red tape and harness technology to deliver homes faster
  • Valued green spaces protected for future generations, with more building on brownfield land
  • Building beautiful homes with communities at heart of new planning system
  • 30% discount through First Homes, with an emphasis on key workers

Stagecoach Back to School Services

Stagecoach logo

As schools re-start Stagecoach are doing all they can to get pupils get there safely. They are also making some changes to our bus services and times.

As well as increasing our cleaning measures and introducing social distancing on board buses, they’ve added extra dedicated school buses and drivers, which means they can keep more of you moving safely.

What you need to know about dedicated school buses:​

Extra School Services 

  • Stagecoach have added dedicated services just for school pupils
  • Please check the front of the bus which will indicate if it’s a school service..
  • All seats are available for use on the dedicated school services. Find out more here. 

Staying Safe

  • Stagecoach have enhanced onboard cleaning and are doing allthey can to make buses safe. Find out more in our travel with confidence video.
  •  They recommend that adults & children over the age of 11 years should wear a  face covering on school dedicated services, unless exempt.
  • Keep a safe distance when queuing at bus stops
  • Use contactless payments or have exact fares, where possible

Plan Ahead

  • If you’re not travelling for work or school please try to avoid school travel times
  • Check their app for more information on the busiest bus times

At this difficult time Stagecoach’s priority is to protect the safety of children, passengers and colleagues. Below is an update with the latest advice and information about travelling by bus.

No change issued on buses

Stagecoach have been listening carefully to feedback on what extra steps they can take to help people feel safe onboard their buses. One of the measures they’ve taken is to minimise cash handling by not issuing change on the bus. They are continuing to accept cash on our buses, but drivers are unable to give change back. Any over-payments are donated to Demelza Hospice Care for Children. Some of you will have purchased a KCC Travel Saver pass, this can be scanned on the bus as usual. However some of you didn’t want to commit to a long-term ticket in such uncertain times.

Don’t worry, there are still lots of options for you.

  1. Pay with the exact change
  2. Buy a monthly ticket on the Stagecoach website
  3. If you have a mobile smartphone, you can download the stagecoach app and buy day or weekly tickets straight to your phone. Find out more here.


The government require all passengers using public transport aged 11 years or more, to wear a face-covering unless medically exempt. Our drivers will remind passengers of this requirement, but it is the responsibility of your child to comply. Our drivers will not refuse travel or apply any enforcement measures, but we appeal to students and parents to ensure that this is taken seriously and that a face-covering is worn at all times when on the bus.

Bus service levels

Every available bus will be out on the road when schools and colleges return. Stagecoach will be running all usual school day bus services. Their depot teams across the region will be working flat-out to get buses to where they are needed and they’ll continue to work closely with the County Council, and schools, to do everything we can to maximise capacity. They have a range of measures in place to ensure buses are clean, safe and ready to help get you to and from school from the start of term.

This year Stagecoach will be running some school day bus journeys as ‘dedicated schools services’. This means they will only be available for young people to board if travelling to and from their place of education. The general public will not be able to use them, and, in line with government instructions, these buses will be able to carry more people. Unlike normal service buses which now have a limited seating capacity, these dedicated schools services will allow the near maximum seated capacity of the bus.

All dedicated schools services will have a special destination display that shows ‘School Service’ at the front of the bus, alternating with the route number and destination. As these ‘dedicated schools services’ are for students only, morning journeys will only stop to pick-up students and drop them at school/college. On the way home in the afternoon the ‘dedicated schools service’ will collect students from school/college and then operate as drop-off only at all other stops. You can find a list of all the dedicated schools services in the area tabs below.

Regular service buses have government capacity restrictions. This means a double decker bus can only carry up to 32 people. Some regular bus journeys will be shadowed by another bus running behind. These buses will be operated by a different bus company contracted by Stagecoach and funded by the County Council. They will be there to provide back-up capacity, if needed. Stagecoach been working with the County Council to decide which journeys will be shadowed, based on which routes are usually busier. When students return they’ll be keeping a close eye on the busiest journeys so if necessary we can change the allocation of these shadow buses to suit demand.

Stagecoach are urging everyone to check their schools buses web page for the latest timetable information. Please also check their Twitter feed @StagecoachSE for updates as they happen.

Timetable details are published below, but may be subject to change. You can also use ‘Plan a journey‘ on the Stagecoach website. We’ve listed the schools area by area in the tabs below and you can view and download a PDF timetable showing indicative bus times that operated last year (most of which will remain the same from September). Please note that some of the times shown will be subject to adjustment – we will update these as soon as we are able to do so.

Download timetables for: 

** DEDICATED SCHOOLS SERVICES** in Ashford are routes: 124, 15S, 18A, 515, 516, 517, 518, 519, 925, 921, 1A (Chartham to Spires morning journey only).

Stagecoach buses 27 August 2020:

Stagecoach services from 31st August

Stagecoach logo

On Bank holiday Monday 31 August   a normal Sunday/Bank Holiday service (pre-COVID) will operate on all Ashford Stagecoach routes.

From Tuesday 1 September full pre-COVID timetables will resume  for all Ashford bus routes, with the following exceptions;

  • Route 10X – On Mondays to Fridays the first journey to Maidstone and the first journey to Ashford will run up to 20 minutes earlier compared to pre-COVID for reliability.
  • Route 111 – Will continue to use the revised timetable shown above.

Oakleigh House Meeting Notes

Consultation Period extended to 31st August
Participate using link at foot of notes

Oakleigh House Development

Date     Tuesday 11 August 2020

Time    19:00

Venue   Online


Committee:                         R. Shrubb (Chair), J. Shrubb,

Councillors:                         Cllr L. Suddards (ABC, Beaver), Cllr C. Suddards (ABC, Victoria)

Council Officers:                  ABC: M. James, G. Holloway, L. Mason

Other Attendees:                 Names of ordinary members and other attendees are withheld to maintain privacy

1            Welcome

Bob Shrubb (BS) opened the meeting welcoming attendees and introduced councillors and council officers.

2            Proposals

BS displayed drawings of the proposals from the PRP consultation video.

Features brought to the attention of attendees were:

  • Extent of site including existing Oakleigh House site, adjacent ‘Star Block’ and surrounding land, grassed area between Watercress Lane and Cross Stile
  • Main block: 3 storeys reducing to 2 storeys near to adjacent housing
  • Single storey ‘Mews cottages’ adjacent existing properties
  • Disabled adult accommodation (on plot between Watercress Lane and Cross Stile) 2½ storeys.
  • ‘Shared space’ (tabletop crossing) between entrances to buildings.
  • Opportunities for community landscape improvements on ‘avenue’ between disabled unit and existing houses and opposite side of Beaver Lane

3            ABC introduction to scheme

Giles Holloway introduced the scheme, raising the following points:

  • The single storey mews cottages will distance the main block from adjacent properties.
    • ABC are considering making these available for sale on the open market.
  • The scheme is part of ABC’s strategy for addressing the needs of the ageing population; by 2037, in Kent, only Dartford is expected to have a higher number of residents exceeding 65 years.
  • The existing building is obsolete and not fit for purpose; accessibility is poor, the building is not dementia friendly, does not address the needs of the partially sighted. The site layout and presentation of Oakleigh Court and the Star Block are poor.
  • Those given priority for renting the units in the independent living accommodation are:
    • People 60+ in good health.
    • 50+ with health needs
  • Units will be adaptable for ambulant disabled and wheelchair users
  • This development will compliment existing facilities at Farrow Court and Danemore (Tenterden) and those in progress at East Stour Court (Willesborough) and Poplars (Kingsnorth Road).
  • Provision has been made for parking spaces in Cross Stile to address the issue of parking on the grassed area.

4            Councillor’s Comments

Cllr Lyn Suddards said she supported the concept of the scheme but was concerned about the impact of the loss of green space on existing residents.

5            Residents’ Comments

The meeting was opened for comments from residents.

  • The main issue that concerns residents is the loss of the green space, which it was said is used by those with young families and offers an area where they can play safely under supervision.

It was asked whether the adult disabled accommodation could be separated from the independent living block and placed on one of the derelict sites close by.

Mark James responded that the two buildings were one project. There will be benefits for the Council in having a second adult disabled unit close to Cherry Tree Court (adjacent to Farrow Court). It was also hoped that an intergenerational relationship could be created by having the two adjacent to each other. Whilst not excluding acquiring land for the purpose this was land that ABC already owns. They accept loss of green space is a contentious issue but having to buy land can add £ millions to project costs. The resident was invited to send details of the land referred to, so Housing could check whether it is in ABC ownership.

  • A comment was made regarding the short notice for the meeting and asked whether another could be held for those that are away at the time of the meeting.

Bob Shrubb responded that SACF only had about ten days to arrange the meeting and with no income, limited funds and resources there was a limit to what they could achieve. They had wanted to arrange the meeting before the end of the Council’s consultation.

Giles Holloway responded that this was only part of the consultation and the Council would like to reach those that had not been able to participate in the meeting

  • Concern was raised about dust and noise during the construction period and impact this would have on property prices.

Giles Holloway responded by saying that ABC subscribe to the Considerate Contractor Scheme which sets out how the contractor addresses issues which affect neighbours, such as dust, noise, traffic movement, liaison with neighbours and schools and offered to introduce the resident to existing sites.

  • The potential for vehicles to park on the inside of the bend on Beaver Lane, as a result of the development, where with vehicles that now park on the outside of the bend could result in reduced visibility and available road width.

Giles said that Kent Highways would be consulted and issues such as this addressed with them.

6            Consultation process

Cllr Charles Suddards asked about the consultation process and how residents affected by the development were contacted.

Mark James said that normally the Council would have held a consultation event in a local community hall, with the information from the PRP Video displayed, giving residents the opportunity to discuss the proposal with the Council and Architects.

With the current restrictions on holding public events they had put the consultation for Oakleigh House online and had distributed leaflets to 200 properties around the site.

As concern had been raised about older people who may not have online access, he suggested a paper questionnaire might be distributed.

Cllr Lynn Suddards asked whether boards could be displayed at a local venue, such as St. Francis Church, for a day allowing residents to visit in their own time. Mark confirmed this could be arranged subject to arrangements with the Church.

Mark said although there had been problems with the Council’s email system at the beginning of the week, he has replied to everybody that had commented on the consultation portal.

When all of the consultation responses had been examined and any amendments made to the proposal, they would post details of comments that had been addressed by changes and the reasons that any comments could not be addressed.

A planning application would then be submitted when residents would have the opportunity to comment formally.

7            Close

Bob Shrubb closed the meeting thanking everybody for joining and asking that residents participate in the survey on the Council’s Consultation portal –