News

HLF Funding for Victoria Park

Hubert FountainA bid by Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has led to the award of £ 167,000, as the first stage of a proposal for £ 3.2 million, from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund England’s Parks for People programme. The funds will be used toward the development stage of the Council’s Victoria Park and Watercess Fields Masterplan.

Chris Dixon,  Arts and Cultural Industry Manager at ABC, commented to South Ashford Community Forum, when the application was submitted, “The priority for the programme is to conserve the existing heritage of the designated park, intending to make a significant difference to heritage, people and communities in the area. It is a two stage application process. The first stage is to develop a more detailed second round proposal. We are at the very earliest point, with no confirmed detailed plans, but have an ambition to:

  • refurbish the Hubert fountain and piazza;
  • reintroduce or recognise lost cultural and natural heritage elements;
  • provide a volunteers compound and other community facilities; and
  • put in place a range of community events and activities including a new ‘Friends Group’ etc.

The award follows the signing of a number of Section 106 agreements that allocate nearly £ 470,000, due to be paid on occupation of local developments.

Norman Road closure

Kent County CouncilWhen we plan to carry out the work and how long it will take:

This is to let you know that, as part of the on-going maintenance and improvement of the highway network, Kent County Council will be strengthening and resurfacing the circulatory of the roundabout and approaches at the junction with Gallagher Retail Park/ B&Q access Rd

The work will take 3 nights to complete, between 28th July 2017 and 1st Aug 2017 (excluding the weekend). All work will be between the hours of 7.30pm and 5am. This type of work can be affected by bad weather, so if it is not possible for us to carry it out at this time, we will arrange a new date and let you know via a letter drop to your home. We will also put up signs along the road, before we start, showing the date we plan to start work.

What we plan to do:

  • We will remove some of the existing road surface by a method known as milling. The complete area will then be swept by a mechanical sweeper to ensure the prepared surface is clean and free of dust and debris.
  • If required, the existing manhole covers or rain water gully gratings will be adjusted or replaced to the correct level before the new surface is laid. Please note that this operation is noisy and can be prolonged as it is carried out using pneumatic hand tools.
  • The new surfacing material will then be laid using a machine called a paver and compacted with a roller. This is a relatively quick process and dependant on the design will either be a one or two layer process.
  • Finally, following completion of the surfacing, all associated high friction surfacing and road markings will be re-painted.
  • The road will then be re-opened.

Please note that during the whole process, audible warning reversing sirens will be heard; this is a health and safety requirement and cannot be turned off but will be kept to a minimum.

How you can help

During these essential works, it will be necessary to close Norman Road, between the junction with Beaver Road and Romney Marsh Road so that we can carry out the works safely for both the workforce and road users. There will be limited access via the diversion route to Gallagher Retail Park and B & Q. An alternative diversion route for traffic will be signed whilst the road is closed. The diversion route for through traffic along Norman Road will be Beaver Road, Kingsnorth Road/ Wotton Rd/ Malcolm Sargent Rd / A2042 Romney Marsh Road. The footways will remain open at all times and pedestrian access to businesses and residential properties will be available.
It is inevitable that residents and businesses near the works will experience some disruption and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused, but we will try to keep this to a minimum. Access to properties will need to be restricted for a short period while work is carried out in front of each property and across road junctions. If you have any particular access needs, please let the workforce on the site know.

We need your help to make sure the work is done as quickly as possible and to the best possible quality. If your vehicle is usually parked on the carriageway, please make sure you park it somewhere else away from the site whilst the works are carried out, so the road is clear for us to resurface.

If you need more information, please call us on 03000 418181

You can also visit our website www.kent.gov.uk/highways to find out how we look after the roads throughout

Kent or report any faults you find on our roads.

For your safety and the safety of our workforce, please drive carefully and slowly through the road works.

Kent County Council 10 July 2017

Grantley Close closure

Kent County CouncilRoad closed 17th July for up to 4 days to allow KCC Highways to carry out urgent carriageway repairs. The road will be closed for the entire length. There is no alternative route as the road is a cul-de-sac. Every effort will be made to maintain access for residents whenever it is safe to do so. It is planned that the road will be closed between 07:00 hours and 17:00 hours each day. Please allow extra time for your journey.

Severity: Medium

Category: Carriageway works

Incident time: 17 July 2017 07:00
Completion time: 21 July 2017 17:00:00

Kent County Council 10 July 2017 10:20
http://www.kenttraffic.info/?sid=KCC170710_20&E=600458&N=141537&lyt=planned

Copycat Websites

Copycat websites are those which offer services from government departments or local government, but are not the official site and charge an often substantial premium for those services, often with no tangible benefit to the customer. They achieve this by using website tools to achieve high positions in search engines such as Google, often ranking them higher than the official site and making it appear as though they are ‘official’ or ‘authorised’. They also have website addresses designed to confuse with the official site, and often feature a similar look and feel and brand design.

Google does not allow promotion of firms which charge fees for services that are free from an official site, yet the copycat sites persist. They are meant to prominently display that the service they are offering is available free of charge or for a lower fee, but this often displayed in small type at the bottom of the page, or not at all. At least one government agency has taken action with the Advertising Standards Authority against sites which have copied their official logo and branding.

Get started…

Always be sure that you are using the official website, as copycat sites can occupy many of the top listings on your search engine page and end up costing you unnecessary money.

The Risks

  • Being misled into paying excessive prices for official services which can be purchased on the government department or local government site at the correct price. These services include:
    • Passports.
    • Birth and death certificates.
    • Fishing licences.
    • Driving licences.
    • Driving tests.
    • Congestion Charge.
    • European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC).
  • Being told that using copycat sites make a particular process or application faster or easier, when in fact you could do it yourself equally quickly and easily.

Searching and Buying Official Services Safely

  • Do not automatically opt to use the first website(s) you find in a search engine, even if the address seems authentic and you are in a hurry.
  • Instead, take time to look for the official website. You can normally tell that site is official if it ends in ‘.gov.uk’, it has the department, agency or council’s authentic logo and contact details and the prices are cheaper.
  • If you do opt to use an unofficial site to purchase official services, make sure that the payment page is secure by checking that the address begins with ‘https://’ (the ‘s’ is short for ‘secure’) and there is a locked padlock in the browser window.

If you think you have been misled into overpaying by using an unofficial site:

  • Contact the site to insist on a refund, saying you think you were misled.
  • Contact the relevant government department or agency or local government organisation and report the copycat site.

#scamaware

Get Safe Online
https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/copycat-websites/

A new study by Kent County Council’s Road Safety Team has found that a third of drivers in the county use their mobile phones while driving, including texting or accessing social networks, despite knowing it is dangerous and illegal.

2015 research has found that:

  • 59% of drivers admitted that mobile phones were a distraction to drivers
  • 33% of those aged under 35 admitted to using their phone whilst driving to text or access apps
  • 21% of all drivers admitted to using their phone whilst driving to text or access apps
  • 37% of those aged under 35 admitted to taking a hand-held call whilst driving
  • 27% of all drivers admitted to taking a hand-held call whilst driving

With research indicating that some individuals find it acceptable to use their mobile phone and drive, this campaign seeks to remind drivers that using phones, either hand-held or hands free whilst driving, places them and other road users in unnecessary and avoidable danger.

No matter what information you’re getting from your phone, nothing is worth risking your own life and the lives of those around you. It really can wait.

Kent County Council
www.kentroadsafety.info/mobiles/

Talk about scams

Anyone can be scammed. Scammers are intelligent, charming and persuasive – but feeling embarrassed or ashamed about falling for a scam can stop people from reporting them or getting the help they need.

Read Michael’s story to see how it could happen to anyone.

Play your part and share your experience on social media with #scamaware and help stop scams.

“I saw my dream car being advertised on Facebook. I had many conversations with the seller and it all seemed above board. All I needed to do was pay a deposit of £3,850 and when the car was delivered I would pay the balance.

“The next day I waited for my car and it didn’t arrive. I tried calling the seller but he never responded.

“I went to my bank and they said their fraud team would investigate. A few weeks later they got in touch, said they had retrieved my money and would be transferring it back to me.

“I will say that if you see something that seems too good to be true, then it probably is and if I am ever asked to do a bank transfer again I’ll decline as your money is not protected.”

Michael

Citizens Advice
http://scams.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Kent Police want to hear from you

Kent Police would like to hear your experiences and interactions with the police or a family member as a result of a mental health crisis.

To help improve the services and future learning, share a summary of how the police responded to the crisis. All information provided will be anonymous.

If you would like to share your experiences, email Melinda Ghirardi Melinda.Ghirardi@kent.pnn.police.uk or call 01622 652643 by Friday 14th July. Help make a difference today!

If you have any experiences you would like to share, good or bad, talk to Healthwatch Kent.
You can

call the Healthwatch Kent freephone on 0808 801 01 02,

click https://kent.healthwatchcrm.co.uk/your-views, or

email info@healthwatchkent.co.uk.

Healthwatch Kent 10 July 2017
www.healthwatchkent.co.uk/news/kent-police-want-hear-you

Ashford Heritage Strategy

Ashford Borough Council

Opens: 07 July 2017
Closes: 31 August 2017

Ashford Borough is home to an extraordinarily rich and significant stock of heritage assets which provide important and wide-ranging evidence of the rural history of this country and its tapestry of rural settlements. The Borough’s heritage is extensive too, with more listed buildings than any other in Kent, and with more grade 1 and II* listed buildings than other districts also.

This Heritage Strategy describes the rich history of Ashford Borough and its broad wealth of heritage assets. In doing so it responds to, and is compliant with the requirement for a ‘positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment’ promoted by the NPPF. It sets out how the historic environment can play an important role in delivering regeneration in the Borough, particularly supporting the objectives of the Local Plan for the regeneration of Ashford Town Centre, and the role of heritage in growing the tourism offer of the Borough. Having regard to the Government’s localism agenda, the Strategy promotes an agenda of further understanding and engagement with the historic environment, where the public play a leading role in delivering the outcomes of the strategy and shaping where they live, work and visit.

The borough’s attractive natural environment, including two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the successful Ashford Green Corridors initiative are widely recognised. However, the historic environment is equally one of the Borough’s most valuable assets, and one which can and should play an important role in its future development.

Have your Say

The Council is inviting you to have your say on the Ashford Heritage Strategy from Friday 7th July 2017 until midnight on the 31st August 2017.

(more…)

ABC Local Plan changes

Help shape our Local Plan

Main Changes to Local Plan 2030

Ashford Borough Council

Opens: 07 July 2017
Closes: 31 August 2017

Ashford Borough Council are preparing a new Local Plan to 2030. It is being prepared with the aim of ensuring that future development within Ashford is well planned and managed effectively whilst having a positive impact on local communities, the economy and the environment. The new Local Plan will provide a consistent approach to planning into the future across the whole of the borough. Once adopted, the Local Plan 2030 will form the statutory development plan. A draft of the Plan was formally published and made available for consultation during the summer of 2016.

Ashford Borough Council are now consulting upon a series of Proposed Main Changes to that Publication Draft of the Local Plan. These changes are intended to:

  • resolve issues that were raised during public consultation on the previous draft of the Plan;
  • meet the increased housing need requirements identified through an update of national population projections;
  • ensure that the Plan is up to date; and
  • make sure that it meets the requirements of current national planning policy and guidance.

It is considered appropriate to address these issues before the Local Plan 2030 is submitted to the Secretary of State to be examined by a Planning Inspector. (more…)

Is someone you know being scammed?

Older people and those who are isolated in their community are often targeted by scammers. If you know or visit someone who might be a target you can support them by keeping an eye out for potential signs of scams.

Someone you know might be being targeted if they:

  • have letters piling up – usually from abroad or what looks like junk mail
  • have a lot of items delivered, such as health or beauty products or fake jewellery
  • are anxious when the phone rings, or get a lot of phone calls
  • become secretive when discussing finances or have unexplained expenses to ‘friends’

Citizens Advice
http://scams.citizensadvice.org.uk/