Ashford Borough Council

Homeplus site application

A planning application has been submitted for the site of the Homeplus Store at the junction of Beaver Road and Avenue Jacques Faucheux. The application follows a consultation event at the Stour Centre in May.

The proposal for 214 apartments, 9 townhouses, 3 commercial units plus a rooftop restaurant have been submitted by A Better Choice for Property Development Ltd, Ashford Borough Council’s property investment vehicle.

The application, case reference 19/01597/AS, can be examined on the Ashford Borough Council planning website: https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=113996

Extended bin collection times

Due to potential disruptions over the next few months Ashford Borough Council are extending bin collection times from the beginning of November. Bins will need to be presented no later than 6am on the morning of collection, if it safe to do so you can leave your bin out the evening before.

Collections are also being extended to take place later in the day so if your bin is not collected at the usual time please leave it out and crews will get to you as soon as they are able. There is a possibility that food waste may be collected separately from your recycling and refuse bins so please leave your caddy out if it hasn’t been collected.

The Council thanks you in advance for your co-operation and apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Public Spaces Protection Orders

ABC Crest

Ashford Borough Council

Opens: 24 September 2019
Closes: 15th November 2019

Introduction

Ashford Borough Council is consulting on the renewal of its Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) in four areas of Ashford. This will allow the Council to continue to maintain a range of measures to address anti-social behaviour and help to improve community safety and the local environment in these areas.

The four areas have been in operation for the last three years having been identified as necessary by the council and police following reports and complaints received from local residents. Since their introduction the number of anti-social behaviour complaints has reduced. 

The areas covered are Ashford Churchyard Passage, the Coney Bear site (near Torrington Road, South Ashford), the Town Centre itself and Singleton Lake

(more…)

Council Tax Reduction Consultation

Changes to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2020/21

Coins

Ashford Bourough Council

Opens: 01 August 2019
Closes: 30 September 2019

What is this consultation about?

Each year the Council has to decide whether to change the Council Tax Reduction scheme for working age applicants in its area. This year the Council has decided that changes should be made to significantly change the Council Tax Reduction scheme. This is due to the introduction of Full-Service Universal Credit within the Ashford area. In effect the traditional link between Housing Benefit (which will no longer be available to new working age claimants, with some exceptions) and Council Tax Reduction will no longer exist. It is essential that the scheme is changed to meet future requirements, to reduce the cost of running the scheme and to ultimately prevent any additional costs being added to Council Tax.

Please note that whilst the changes are intended to reduce the level and cost of administration, the Council is not looking to reduce the total overall level of support available.

What is Council Tax Reduction?

Council Tax Reduction is a discount for Council Tax and it was previously called “Council Tax Support”. The level of discount is based on the income of the household. Currently the maximum discount is 82.5% of Council Tax for working age households, 95% for working age disabled & carer households and up to 100% for pensioners.

Why is a change to the Council Tax Reduction scheme being considered?

In April 2013, the Council Tax Benefit Scheme was replaced by a new Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Council Tax Benefit had been funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. It supports people on low incomes by reducing the amount of Council Tax they must pay.

The Council Tax Reduction scheme is determined locally by District Councils rather than the Department of Work and Pensions. Although the Government initially provided funding for the scheme, the funding has reduced each year

People can claim Council Tax Reduction if they are on certain benefits, or in receipt of a low income. The current scheme requires all working age applicants to pay a minimum of 17.5% of their Council Tax (a maximum level of support of 82.5%). Working age disabled & carer households pay a minimum of 5% of their Council Tax. Applicants in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support and Income Rated Employment and Support Allowance receive the maximum level of support. Others receive a level of Council Tax Reduction based on their income and other factors.

A separate Central Government scheme is retained for people of pension age meaning that pension age claimants are not affected by changes to the scheme. Councils are only able to vary their schemes for people of working age.

All councils are required to review their Council Tax Reduction scheme each year. If they want to make any changes they must inform the public and gather views through public consultation.

Ashford Borough Council is proposing a number of changes to its existing scheme and, in line with legislation, we have a duty to consult you and provide you with the opportunity to tell us your views on the proposed changes to our Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

The Council is consulting on the following changes to its scheme for 2020/21 – these are explained in more detail later on:

  • Introducing an income ‘grid’ scheme for all working age applicants replacing the current means tested approach which was based on the previous Council Tax Benefit scheme (Change 1);
  • Limiting the number of dependent children used in the calculation of support to two for all working age applicants (Change 2);
  • Changing the claiming process for all applicants who receive Universal Credit (Change 3);
  • Removing the current earnings disregards and replacing them with a standard disregard of £25 (Change 4);
  • Disregarding Carer’s Allowance which is currently taken into account as income (Change 5);
  • Where the applicant is in receipt of Universal Credit, any amount awarded as a housing element will be disregarded when calculating the applicant’s income(Change 6);
  • Decrease the maximum level of protection for working age claimants from 82.5% to 80%, and from 95% to 90% for working age disabled & carer households (Change 7);
  • Remove the extended payments provision within the existing scheme (Change 8);
  • Provide a further income disregard of £40 where an applicant, their partner or dependant child is in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or a disability benefit such as Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (Change 9)
  • Making all changes in circumstances which change any entitlement to Council Tax Reduction on a daily basis rather than the current (benefit based) weekly basis (Change 10);This scheme is estimated to affect 4,500 households in the borough. The gross cost of the scheme is £7.4 million which is spread across Ashford Borough Council (9%), Parish (3%), Kent County Council (73%), Fire (4%), and the Police (11%).

Who will this affect?

Working age households in the Borough who currently receive or will apply for Council Tax Reduction.

This will not affect pension age households.

Are there any alternatives to changing the existing Council Tax Reduction scheme?

We have also thought about other ways to make the process simpler. These have not been completely rejected (including maintaining the current scheme) and you are asked about them in the Questionnaire.

We have considered the following:

  1. Continuing with the current scheme
  2. Reduce funding to other Council services to pay for additional administration costs
  3. Use the Council’s reserves to keep the Council Tax Reduction scheme

Documents

Respond

Links

Celebrating funding success!

Ashford Borough Council has been awarded more than £3 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund to revitalise Victoria Park.

The funding, thanks to National Lottery players, means the council can deliver its exciting plans to redevelop and restore one of Ashford’s oldest and most-loved green spaces, working with the local community, volunteer groups and the Friends of Victoria Park.

Proposals include a new children’s play area, improvements to the river, improved lighting across the park, and a new community hub building with café, and new toilets. The iconic Grade II Listed Hubert Fountain and the surrounding piazza area will also be restored and repaired.

The council will be employing four new members of staff to manage the project, including a parks officer who will be based on site. There will also be opportunities for the community to get involved with volunteering roles as part of the project.

Almost £1.9 million will be spent on repairs and conservation of the historical aspects of the park, and another £1 million has been earmarked for new building work including access paths, signage, bridges, and dipping platforms.

Friends of Victoria Park have welcomed the success and will be exhibiting some details of the proposals at Create and Mr. Harper’s Birthday Party this weekend.

Ashford Borough Council
https://news.ashford.gov.uk/news/celebrating-funding-success/

Election results

We now have the full results for the Borough Council Wards representing South Ashford.

Candidate Party / GroupNumber of Votes*
Beaver Ward
SUDDARDS, Lynda JuneLabour Party480Elected
WARD, AlexanderLabour Party 437Elected
TAYLOR, Thomas NormanUK Independence Party283
HODGKINSON, Amanda GeorginaConservative Party 238
PIZZEY, Maria AnnGreen Party237
DOBSON, Robert CharlesConservative Party183
Electorate: 4589Ballot Papers Issued: 1107Turnout: 24.12%
Norman Ward
WEBB, Jennifer AnneConservative Party205 Elected
JONES, Dylan AlexanderLabour Party187
BURGESS, Neil RobertUK Independence Party130
ARNOLD, Albert StephenGreen Party78
Electorate: 2077Ballot Papers Issued: 602Turnout: 28.8%
Victoria Ward
FARRELL, DaraLabour Party 484Elected
SUDDARDS, John CharlesLabour Party378 Elected
ADBY, Jeremy PaulConservative Party290
SMALL, JonathanGreen Party278
MBALI, Valerie CharlotteLiberal Democrats274
BRIDGER, Matthew JamesConservative Party248
TAYLOR, Ann MarieUK Independence Party193
STEWART, Peter AlexanderUK Independence Party186
Electorate: 4376Ballot Papers Issued: 1259 Turnout: 28.77%

Make up of Council

Conservative Party26
Ashford Independent11
Labour Party7
The Green Party2
Independent1
Size of Council47
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