Author Archive: southashfordcf

Chair of South Ashford Community Forum

Covid-19: Remain Cautious

While Coronavirus cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.

Meeting with others

To minimise risk you should minimise the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.

 If you can, meet outdoors or, if you’re indoors, think about how you can improve ventilation to letting fresh air in.

Limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually.

Face coverings

The Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas.

Hygiene

Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.

It is particularly important to wash your hands:

  • after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose
  • before you eat or handle food
  • after coming into contact with surfaces touched by many others, such as handles, handrails and light switches
  • after coming into contact with shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
  • when you return home

Where possible, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. If you do need to touch your face (for example to put on or take off your face covering), wash or sanitise your hands before and after.

Get tested and self isolate

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild. You should self-isolate at home while you book the test and wait for the results. You must self-isolate if you test positive. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This is the law.

The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Testing twice a week

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms. This means they could be spreading the virus without knowing it. Testing twice a week increases the chances of detecting COVID-19 when a person is infectious, helping to make sure you don’t spread COVID-19.

Rapid lateral flow testing is available for free to anybody.

Get vaccinated

All adults in England have now been offered at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19.

If you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, you should get vaccinated. It usually takes around two to three weeks for an antibody response to develop. You need two doses of vaccine for maximum protection against COVID-19.

However, even if you have been fully vaccinated, you could still get COVID-19 and get sick – a recent PHE report shows that around 1 in 5 people who are double-vaccinated are still vulnerable to getting infected with the Delta variant and showing symptoms. You can also still spread COVID-19 to others. We all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect others and to reduce the risk of new variants developing and spreading.

NHS Covid Pass

The NHS Covid Pass allows you to check your Covid status and demonstrate that you are at lower risk of transmitting to others through full vaccination, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity.

Cabinet Office:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do#keeping-yourself-and-others-safe

Oakliegh House planning application

Image of proposed development looking North along Watercress Lane
CGI looking North along Watercress Lane

A planning application has been submitted on behalf of Ashford Borough Council for the redevelopment of Oaklieigh House.

The development was initially publicised through an online consultation in July 2020. South Ashford Community Forum organised an online meeting to discuss the development during the following month.

As was the case at consultation stage proposals include the demolition and redevelopment of Oakleigh House sheltered housing in Beaver Lane and the adjacent block of flats and development of the grass area between Watercress Lane and Cross Stile.

The planning application varies from the consultation proposals as a result of comments made by residents and by a Design South East Panel. This has led to a two fewer dwellings for adults with learning disabilities.

Schedule of accommodation
Independent dwellings
for older people
1 bed apartments41
2 bed apartments10
1 bed mews cottages3
Total54
Independent apartments
for adults with learning disabilities
1 bed – planning application
(consultation)
12
(14)
2 bed1
Total13
(15)

The application can be viewed and comments submitted via the Ashford Borough Council website
planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=119156

Bus Service Improvement Plan

In March 2021, the government published a new National Bus Strategy which sets out a framework for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and a vision for future bus service improvements across the UK.

The strategy places a requirement on all Local Transport Authorities and Bus Operators to create a Bus Service Improvement Plan, which will act as the vision for how they are going to try to improve bus services in Kent in the next few years. This will then be used to help create Enhanced Partnership Schemes with bus operators, which will set the standards for all bus services running in the county.

Kent County Council’s (KCC) first version of the Improvement Plan must be published by the end of October and their Enhanced Partnership Schemes need to start from April 2022.

KCC need your help!

KCC are excited about the opportunity this presents and want to ensure that our Improvement Plan reflects the views of Kent residents.

First of all they want to know what would make bus travel more attractive to you. Answer two quick questions to tell them your thoughts.

Your feedback will help them create proposals for the Plan. They will be shared later in the Summer.

Two quick questions

ANSWER THE QUESTIONS

Timeline

  • Early engagement
    Kent Bus Service Improvement Plan is currently at this stage
    Give KCC your views by 25 July
  • Further engagement
    This is an upcoming stage for Kent Bus Service Improvement Plan
    KCC will seek your views on our emerging proposals
  • Publication of first version of Improvement Plan
    This is an upcoming stage for Kent Bus Service Improvement Plan
    By 31 October
  • Ongoing engagement
    on Plan and how its working

Kent County Council, 28 June 2021.
https://letstalk.kent.gov.uk/busfuture

Working Mens’ Club development proposals

Proposals have been published for the redevelopment of Ashford International Sports and Social Club, previously Ashford Working Men’s Club.

Norman Road Elevation

The proposals include the demolition of the existing social club building and the creation of a replacement social club building at the rear of the site closer to B&Q.

The scheme also includes the development of 31 high quality apartments arranged in two blocks fronting Beaver Road and Norman Road, which will range in height from 3 to 5 storeys.

Parking spaces for the club and the apartments will be provided to the rear of the buildings with the vehicular access onto Norman Road retained. Communal amenity areas and landscaping is also proposed within the site.

The apartments will have 1 or 2 bedrooms and each apartment will have access to at least one parking space.

Beaver Road Elevation

The developers, Cost Plan Group, would like to give club members and the local community the opportunity to share their views on the scheme prior to the submission of a planning application. Due to government guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to hold a public consultation meeting as they would normally do.

They have created an online public consultation website to encourage you to find out more about the proposal and give your feedback. The feedback received will be reviewed and analysed and where possible used to inform the final application submitted to Ashford Borough Council.

Costplan’s website indicate involvement in a number prominent developments internationally.

Site Plan

Costplan are in the process of preparing a planning application for the Site and the current consultation is part of the process. They will carefully consider all comments received, and use them to inform our final proposals.

The application will be accompanied by a variety of surveys and reports, on matters including flooding, highways and transport, ecology, archaeology, contamination and nutrient neutrality.

The proposals will be detailed with a full set of application drawings including floor plans and elevations.

Once the application is submitted, you will have a further opportunity to make your formal comments to Ashford Borough Council.

Costplan Group
http://www.ashfordsocialclub.co.uk/

Ashford split by new boundary plans

The Ashford Parliamentary Constituency will be separated from the majority of the Borough under Initial Proposals put forward by the Boundary Commission for England.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) is currently conducting a review of parliamentary constituency boundaries on the basis of rules most recently updated by Parliament in 2020. These latest rules retain 650 constituencies for the UK Parliament as a whole, and require constituencies that are proposed or recommended to comply with strict parameters, in particular as far as the number of electors in each constituency is concerned.

The BCE has published its ‘Initial Proposals’, which will see South Ashford in the same Constituency as Hawkinge and Elham but different to that of Great Chart and Kingsnorth.

The existing Ashford Parliamentary Constituency boundary, shown as a narrow blue line, follows the Borough boundary, thicker green line, other than an area to the east, which includes Ruckinge, Aldington and Brabourne, and is part of the Folkestone and Hythe Constituency.

The Initial Proposals published by BCE will see the Borough split across three constituencies, with boundaries shown red against the green Borough boundaries.

  • Ashford urban area, including the Town Centre, Stanhope and Singleton will be in a constituency which extends eastward to Hawkinge and Wingmore.
  • The south and west of the Borough, including Aldington, Ham Street, Wittersham, Tenterden, Kingsnorth and Great Chart will be in a new Weald of Kent Constituency, which stretches as far as the outskirts of Maidstone and includes Boughton Monchelsea, Loose and Nettlestead.
  • The northern part of the Borough including Chilham, Bilting, Boughton Lees, Sandyhurst Lane, Westwell and Charing will become part of the Faversham and Mid-Kent Constituency with with villages as far west and north as Bredgar, Radfield and Conyer.

The primary criteria for the new boundaries is that apart from five specified exceptions – every constituency recommended must have an electorate (as at 2 March 2020) that is no less than 95% and no more than 105% of the ‘UK electoral quota’. The UK electoral quota for the 2023 Review is, to the nearest whole number, 73,393.
Accordingly, every recommended constituency (except the five ‘protected’ constituencies) must have an electorate as at 2 March 2020 that is no smaller than 69,724 and no larger than 77,062.

The BCE may take into account in establishing a new map of constituencies for the 2023 Review:

  • special geographical considerations, including in particular the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency;
  • local government boundaries as they existed (or were in prospect) on 1 December 2020 (see paragraph 16 above);
  • boundaries of existing constituencies;
  • any local ties that would be broken by changes in constituencies; and
  • the inconveniences attendant on such changes.

BCE have published a guide to the Review:
boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/2023-review/guide-to-the-2023-review-of-parliamentary-constituencies/

You can comment on the proposals on the BCE consultation website www.bcereviews.org.uk/.

Comments must be made by Tuesday 2nd August 2021.

Share your ideas for change

Do you live, study or work in Beaver?
Are you 18 to 25 years old?
How can Beaver be made a place where young people can live more healthily and feel safe?

Ashford Community Safety Partnership are looking for young people aged 18 – 25 to take part in a guided community walk around Beaver on 26 June, and share ideas for change.

Join them on Saturday 26 June, 10.15am to 1.15pm
South Ashford Baptist Church, 24 Brookfield Road, Ashford,TN23 4EY

You’ll use C3’s CHESS™ App to review local shops, food outlets, amenities and public spaces. The App is easy to use and C3 will show you how. You will collect information about the neighbourhood and the things that make it easier, or harder, for you to live healthily, spend time with friends, and feel safe.

On Saturday 10 July you are invited to a follow up session. They’ll share the CHESS walk results, and help you work together to generate ideas for change and turn these into a community action plan. You’ll also receive a £15 voucher.

To find out more or take part please contact:
Alison Oates, Community Safety and Wellbeing Manager, Ashford Borough Council
01233 330 225
csu@ashford.gov.uk

This project is run by Ashford Community Safety Partnership and C3 Collaborating for Health.

Mental Health Help for Adults

Single Point of Access

If you are known to Kent Mental Health Partnership or need urgent mental health support, advice or guidance call the 24h helpline

0800 783 9111

Release the Pressure

Release the Pressure

Life can get really tough sometimes, but talking can help. We have a highly trained and experienced team available 24/7 to provide expert support no matter what you are going through.

Don’t suffer in silence:

  • webchat
  • text the word Kent to 85258 or
  • call 0800 107 0160

Just talking can help

Help Kent & Medway Talking Therapies

NHS Talking Therapies offer effective and confidential treatments which can help with common mental health problems.

You do not need to have a diagnosed mental health problem to refer yourself to an NHS psychological therapies service, which are also sometimes referred to as IAPT.

You may be:

  • having panic attacks
  • struggling with flashbacks and nightmares
  • feeling low and hopeless
  • finding it hard to cope with work, life or relationships.

Other things that talking therapies can help with include:

  • constant worrying
  • obsessive thoughts or behaviours
  • fear of social situations
  • constant worry about your health
  • phobias.

Visit www.helpkentandmedway.co.uk/ or nhs.uk/talk

Every Mind Matters

Better Health – Every Mind Matters

Get a free NHS approved mind plan. Answer 5 quick questions to get your personalised plan of simple ideas to help improve your mental health and wellbeing.

www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters

1live Well Kent & Medway

Live Well Kent and Medway

Is your mental health impacting your life, work, money, housing or relationships? Live Well Kent can help through a range of groups, programmes and services.

https://livewellkent.org.uk/

Connect Well

Connect Well East Kent

Connect Well East Kent is a Social Prescribing platform managed by Social Enterprise Kent for the East Kent area.

Social prescribing is a way to help people make positive changes in their lives and within their communities by linking them to voluntary and community groups and other non-clinical services.

Social Enterprise Kent is working with voluntary and community sector organisations across the East Kent area to provide access to services via this social prescribing tool that enables trained professionals to refer individuals to non-medical support to maximise social, emotional and practical wellbeing. This will in turn allow them to:

  • Feel more involved in the community
  • Meet new people
  • Make some changes to improve health and wellbeing

https://www.connectwelleastkent.org.uk/

Kent Sheds

Kent Sheds is growing network of like minded people (Men and Women) of all ages, who take part in practical actives (such as wood work), in informal spaces with friends.  

https://www.kentsheds.org/

Kent Dementia Helpline

A 24h confidential service offering support and guidance for people with dementia and their carers

Phone: 0800 500 3014

Step 3

COVID-19:
Restrictions in England
From 17 May

Government guidance remains that you should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.

Meeting OthersOvernight staysEducationWork and business
You can meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people. You can meet indoors in groups of up to six people or two households.

You don’t have to stay 2m apart from friends and family, but consider the risks to you and those you are with.
Domestic overnight stays are allowed, in groups of up to six people or 2 households.Schools, colleges and universities fully open.

Regular testing provided
You should continue to work from home if you can.
Retail and personal careBars, Pubs and RestaurantsAccommodationLeisure and sporting facilities
Open.Open.

Groups of up to six people or two households allowed indoors.

Groups of up to 30 allowed outdoors
All holiday accommodation open, including hotels, hostels and B&BsOpen indoors and outdoors, including gyms, indoor sports
facilities, swimming pools, saunas and steam rooms.

Organised sport and group exercises allowed.
EntertainmentLarge EventsResidential CareShielding
Open indoors and outdoors, including cinemas, bowling alleys, zoos and theme parks.Events, including live performances, business events and sporting events can proceed with capacity
limits, indoors and outdoors.
People who live in a care home can have ‘low risk’ visits out of the home without the need to isolate
when they get back.

Residents can also name up to five visitors.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) you do not need to shield, but should continue to take extra precautions such
as shopping at quieter times of the day. You can follow the same advice on meeting friends and
family as everyone else
Domestic travelOverseas travelPlaces of WorshipWeddings and Funerals
Travel safely. Plan ahead and avoid the busiest times and routes if you canCheck whether your destination is on the red, amber or green list. You should not travel to red and amber countries. If you are travelling to a green country, check the rules in your destination
as testing or quarantine requirements may be in place.
Open. You can attend in groups of 6 people or 2 householdsWeddings, receptions, life events and wakes can take place with up to 30 attendees, indoors in a COVID-Secure venue, or outdoors.

No limit on funeral attendees, subject to how many the venue can safely
accommodate with social distancing.

For more information and detailed guidance visit: gov.uk/coronavirus

Census scam

Kent residents targeted by UK Census text scam

Kent residents are being targeted by a text scam, pretending to be from the UK Government Census 2021. The text will say that information is missing from your application.

What happens:

You receive a text message pretending to be from UK Government Census.
The text will say that information is missing from your application.
You will be directed to a website to update your details to avoid a £1,000 penalty.

What to do:

This is a SCAM

Do not click on any links. The website is designed to steal your personal and financial details.

Report scams to Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133.

Please warn vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.

Report it

Read about how and why you might be contacted by officials working for the ONS on the census website:

The Census does not ask for your telephone number, email address or bank details.

Remember Do not click links in emails, social media posts or messages (text, What’s App, Messenger etc.),unless you are sure they are legitimate. Type web addresses into your browser for official websites of banks, government departments etc..

Kent County Council Public Protection
https://mailchi.mp/kent/residents-targeted-by-census-scam?e=5d620a3416

Powergen Plots 1 & 2 begin

Plot 1
Studio Flats17
1-Bed Units 130
2-Bed Units110
Total Plot 1257
Plot 2
Studio flat 16
1-bed Units 41
2-Bed Units 84
3-Bed Units 2
Total Plot 2 143
Total Plots 1 and 2400
Plots 1 and 2
Accommodation Schedule

Construction of the proposals for Powergen Plots 1 and 2 has commenced in the last few weeks.

Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee voted to permit the proposals in June 2016 for 400 apartments, with final approval being granted in November 2016, as part of hybrid application 15/01671/AS. The application included full details for Plots 1 and 2 while Plots 3,4 and 5 were in outline.

The accommodation proposed is tabulated to the right:

The completion of this development will be a valuable contribution to Ashford Borough Council’s Five Year Housing Land Supply which was 295 dwellings short in July 2020.

Land ownership

A subsidiary of the UK arm of Scandinavian letting company ‘Neighbour’ had purchased the land for plots 1 and 2 and it was intended that they would be built before Plots 3, 4 and 5. In the event the land for Plots 3,4 and 5 was purchased by GRE Assets, who commenced the construction, have completed a number of blocks, with work on those remaining ongoing.

In December 2018 the name of the company owning Plots 1 and 2 was changed from Neighbour Ashford Ltd. to Victoria Road Developments Limited.

In August 2019 the company that financed the purchase of the land, Lendinvest Security Trustees, obtained an order to appoint a receiver for Victoria Road Develepments.

In October 2019 the an application was made to Ashford Borough Council for a certificate  confirming that access works were undertaken lawfully to implement a start of the approved development of the site. The application was been submitted to confirm that the planning approval has not expired hence allowing the site to be sold with planning permission.

However, on 21 April 2021 Victoria Road Developments remained the registered owners of the site and Lendinvest the Lenders.

Previous proposal

The previous proposal for the site, the Zedhome scheme, was permitted on appeal. It included 519 dwellings on Plots 1 and 2 sites plus 8000m2 of commercial and other non-residential uses. in blocks up to the equivalent of 16 storeys. The whole development (including the Plots 3, 4 and 5 sites comprised 1000 dwellings plus commercial and other uses.