News

Have your say

We want to hear what those who live and work in South Ashford think about issues that affect them.

As proposed at our meeting on 5th September we are promoting online discussion of such matters.

We will post any information we receive about such issues here on our website and on our Facebook Page. We have also created a Facebook Group where you can join the discussion.

Join in now:

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Will tree protection stop St. Stephens Walk plans?

Visual from proposal

A tree protection order confirmed during Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee yesterday evening (14th November 2018) may prevent a plans for accommodation for profoundly disabled adults being permitted.

The tree protection order, ABC case reference 18/TPO/0008, protects 15 trees on the site boundaries of Land East of Lantern House, many of which are shown as being removed in documents accompanying a planning application for 16 apartments for disabled residents and 6 for staff (ABC Case reference 18/00608/AS). The tree protection order was made in July but was put before the Planning Committee for confirmation.

South Ashford Community Forum included a comment in their representation on the proposal expressing concern regarding the limited amount of open/garden space within the development.

KMFRA Survey and Council Tax consultation

Safety and wellbeing plan update 2018

Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority

Chairman’s introduction

Chairman KMFRAThis year we wanted to take the opportunity to give local people an update on the work we do and the range of services we provide. Please take a few minutes to read the information below, or look at the infographic on this page (use the Zoom link to see a much larger version) and fill this short survey and consultation* about next year’s Council Tax.

As customers and taxpayers, we always aim to provide you with value for money and the best service we can. Though thankfully I know that many of you have never needed to call on us in a crisis, I hope you are reassured that we will always be there when you need us.

Like everyone in the public sector, finances are tight, but we have managed to make significant savings of around £26m since 2010, much of which has been re-invested in our frontline service. We also work closely with police, ambulance, Kent County Council, Medway Council and others to share expertise and resources and deliver efficient services to keep the public safe.

The Home Office inspection team will be here in the New Year and we expect to hear the outcome of that in 2019. If you want to read more about our work and plans please have a look at our Customer and corporate plan and you can also sign up to email alerts about incidents in your area or to get safety advice.

Nick Chard
Chairman – Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (more…)

Halstow Way development application

View from open space

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has submitted a planning application for the construction of 17 affordable rented apartments on the Noakes Meadow public open space.

The application follows a consultation that we reported in February
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2018/02/20/halstow-way-redevelopment-consultation/

The proposals have changed in that the number and mix of properties has changed

  • from 14 x 1 bedroom and 7 x 2 bedroom, totalling 21
  • to 6 x 1 bedroom, 7 x 2 bedroom and 4 x 3 bedroom, totalling 17

The total potential occupancy has increased from 56 to 60 people.

The position of the block has been adjusted so that the access road now runs between the rear of St. Simon’s Church and the block.

We will publish more details when we have had the opportunity to study the application, but the application addresses all issues arising from past use of the land. The major remaining issue appears to be whether it is acceptable for ABC to use this rare opportunity to build truly affordable housing even though it will result in some loss of open space.

The ABC Planning Case reference is 18/01508/AS
http://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=110796

We have as with all planning applications we are notified of for South Ashford posted basic details under
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/category/site/planning-notice/

East Stour Park Development Proposal

Boundary of development site

East Stour Park site

Please click on any image in this post to enlarge it then click the back button in your browser to return to this page.

As reported by South Ashford on 19 September, Quinn Estates have submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Request for the site between the Romney Marsh Road, and the East Stour, to the South of Norman Road.

This article adds more information regarding the proposal and looks at the history of the site in relation to development.

The Screening request indicates the intention to construct up to 300 flats in blocks up to 10 stories high.

The proposal has been dubbed East Stour Park by the developer.

Proposal

Parameter Plan

To date only the EIA Screening request has been published, but documents accompanying the request give an indication of the scope of the proposed development.

The documents show that the development is to comprise four blocks each with varying storey heights

The largest and highest block is proposed to be at the south end of the site and will have a maximum of ten stories, facing onto Norman Road, reducing to .seven storeys. The second and third blocks will vary from seven down to five storeys, whilst the northernmost block will be of five and four storeys, nearest to the Riverside Inn. (more…)

Options for changes to hospital and local care services survey

Following our post regarding listening events to discuss potential options for changing hospital and local care services in east Kent, alongside the public meetings and other engagement activity, Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway have a survey open until 25 November for you to share your views on the current proposals. Please read this information about the potential changes before completing the survey.

If you are attending one of the listening events, information given may help you to complete the survey.

The survey link is: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/EastKentNHS2018/

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Brookfield Post Office Temporary Closure

The Post Office has announced that, regrettably, following the resignation of the postmaster and the withdrawal of the premises for Post Office use the Brookfield Post Office will be closing temporarily on Wednesday 24 October 2018.

Adam Williams of Post Office wrote: “Looking after a nationwide network of Post Office services, we have a responsibility to make sure every service makes the best possible use of resources, while ensuring that customers can still access our products and services. I can assure you that we will continue to work to find a solution that will provide a Post Office service to the local community.

“If you have any questions you would like to raise about this matter, please write to me via the National Consultation Team at the address shown at the end of the letter. Please note that your comments will not be kept confidential unless you expressly ask us do so by clearly marking them “In Confidence”.

“Any future changes to service provision would be handled in line with our Principles of Community Engagement. A copy is available at the end of this letter.

“We would like to apologise for the inconvenience the temporary closure may cause. We hope that our customers will continue to use the Post Office and full details of alternative Post Office services in the area are shown at the end of this letter.

“We will write to you again once I have any news about our plans for future service provision.”

Contact Post Office:

email: comments@postoffice.co.uk

online: www.postofficeviews.co.uk/

FREEPOST Your Comments

Alternative branches:

Kingsnorth Road Post Office

Kingsnorth Road
Ashford
TN23 6HZ

Services

The same range of services will continue to be available with the addition of dollar Travel Money and On Demand Travel Insurance.

Access and facilities

This branch has automatic wide door and level access at the entrance.

Transport/parking

Forecourt parking is available outside. There are local buses serving the surrounding area.

Distance

This Post Office service is located approximately 0.8 miles away from Brookfield branch, along varied terrain.

Opening times

Monday 07:00 – 21:00
Tuesday 07:00 – 21:00
Wednesday 07:00 – 21:00
Thursday 07:00 – 21:00
Friday 07:00 – 21:00
Saturday 07:00 – 21:00
Sunday 07:00 – 21:00

Singleton Post Office

Singleton Centre
Singleton
Ashford
TN23 5GR

Services

The same range of services will continue to be available with the addition of Car tax, comprehensive range of Travel Money
and On Demand Travel Insurance.

Access and facilities

This branch has automatic wide door and level access at the entrance.

Transport/parking

Off road parking is available nearby. There are local buses serving the surrounding area.

Distance

This Post Office service is located approximately 1.1 miles away from Brookfield branch, along varied terrain.

Opening times

Monday 06:00 – 22:00
Tuesday 06:00 – 22:00
Wednesday 06:00 – 22:00
Thursday 06:00 – 22:00
Friday 06:00 – 22:00
Saturday 06:00 – 22:00
Sunday 07:00 – 22:00

Security Guidance for Smart Devices

Consumer Guidance for Smart Devices in the Home

Smart or internet-connected devices, such as smart TVs, music speakers, connected toys or smart kitchen appliances can bring great benefits to your daily life. However, without taking steps to secure all of your internet-connected products, you and your data could be at risk from someone getting unauthorised access to your device or account. Developed by the UK government and industry experts, this guidance will help you manage the security of your devices and help protect your privacy.

Setting-up your device

  • Read and follow the set-up instructions for the device. These are often found in an app downloaded onto your smartphone, tablet or from a paper manual and guide that comes with the product.
  • Check device instructions to see if you need to create an account on the manufacturer’s website, or download any other recommended apps.
  • If you are prompted to enter a password during the set-up process that is easy to guess, (such as ‘admin’ or ‘00000’), you should change it. Guidance on creating a strong password can be found on the Cyber Aware website. www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/passwords/

Managing your account

  • To set-up and manage your device, you may need to create or use an existing account on the manufacturer’s website. This account may allow you to add a new device or link your smartphone to your devices. You should ensure that your account has a strong password.
  • For added security, if the device or app offers Two Factor Authentication which provides a second layer of security, (such as a text message to your phone) you should enable it. This is particularly important if the account contains your personal data or sensitive information or is linked to something that may impact your or another persons physical safety.
  • Some products allow you to access or control them when you are away from your home’s Wi-Fi network; such as, to view security camera footage. Consider whether you need to make use of this feature, as products may allow you to disable it either in the app settings or within your account.

Keep updating your software and apps

Much like your laptop and smartphone, software and app updates help keep your devices secure. You should:

  • Check whether you can set-up and enable automatic updates (on the app or on your online account).
  • Install the latest software and app updates. These updates should download and install automatically on your device. If not, then you should install them straight away so you have the latest security protections. You should be prompted when a new update is ready to install, usually via a pop-up message or in the settings menu in the app or device menu.

If you become aware of an incident and think it affects your device

#CyberAware
www.cyberaware.gov.uk/

Download this guidance

www.getsafeonline.org/themes/site_themes/getsafeonline/resources/Consumer_Guidance_for_Smart_Devices_in_the_Home.pdf

 

KCC Budget Consultation

Budget Consultation 2019-20

Kent County Council

Opens:11 October 2018
Closes: 21 November 2018

Kent County Council (KCC) provides a huge range of essential services to the people of Kent and when times are tough it is more important than ever to spend money wisely. We need to make some big decisions and would value your views before setting next year’s council budget (April 2019 to March 2020).

How KCC are funded£967m planned spend

Funding for the KCC budget comes from many sources in addition to council tax, including grants from central government. About a third of the council’s budget is made up of money we receive from council tax. Each year we decide how much we can spend on services for Kent residents and businesses for the next financial year, compared to how much funding we’re likely to get from the government and local taxation.
www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/how-we-are-funded

KCC prioritises spending on services that:

  • make sure children and young people get the best start in life
  • help communities feel the benefits of economic growth by being in work, healthy and enjoying a good quality of life
  • help older and vulnerable residents to be safe and supported with choices to live independently.

These are KCCs strategic priorities. The Strategic Statement Annual Report details how every pound spent in Kent is used to deliver better outcomes for Kent’s residents, communities and businesses.
www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-and-policies/corporate-policies/increasing-opportunities-improving-outcomes

The Big Challenge

£640m savings over 8 yearsSome councils are in severe financial difficulty and are now being forced to make some tough decisions, including reducing services to a minimum. KCC is not one of these authorities.

In recent years the amount of money available to local councils from the government has decreased while demand and cost for council services has increased. We expect this trend to continue in the future.

Since 2010, we have made savings of £640 million to offset these challenges. These savings have focussed on the transformation of services, which means delivering better outcomes at lower cost and working in more efficient ways. This has allowed us to continue to protect and invest in front line services.

However, there is also increased pressure on spending because of the rising demand for services, inflation and the living wage. This means that despite the £640 million savings KCC have already made since 2010, they still have a considerable shortfall to find now (around £94 million in 2019-20) and in years to come.

You can find out more about the council’s finance and budget (www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget), including what they spend their money on (www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/spending) and council tax (www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/council-tax).

What do you think?

We’d like to hear your views on:

  • Council Tax – is a modest rise acceptable if it helps to sustain the services that you value most?
  • The future of KCC services – are they focussing on the right priorities or have we got some things wrong?
  • How can KCC improve their communication with you – so that you are aware of the challenges they face now and in the future?

Please read the budget consultation document before completing the online questionnaire.
https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/965314/41994469.1/DOCX/-/Budget_Consultation_Information_Document.docx

The consultation will close on 21 November 2018.

Complete the online questionnaire
https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/consult.ti/DraftBudgetStrategy201920/answerQuestionnaire?qid=5376387

Consultation documents

For more details on the UK’s public finances and the terms used to describe them see the Office for Budget Responsibility’s Brief Guide to Public Finances (http://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/brief-guides-and-explainers/public-finances).

Kent County Council  11 October 2018
www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/our-budget