Ashford Borough Council

Expansion of domestic abuse services

silhouette of figureDomestic abuse services will continue to expand in Ashford, thanks to the ongoing success of a strong multi-agency network programme.

At last night’s meeting, Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet paid tribute to the ongoing success of Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum (ADAF), which works alongside professionals in the health, police, fire, voluntary, local authority and charitable sectors to support those seeking help. The charity’s achievements include the Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, and a series of victim programmes.

ADAF is now introducing a new scheme in Ashford – in conjunction with the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company – aimed at helping perpetrators understand the impact they are having. A new rural drop-in service which may further improve provision for those across the borough is also being considered.

Additional funding has already been secured to provide a support network for both adolescent girls and boys, young women, and a specialist one-to-one service for children affected by domestic violence.

The Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, a weekly drop-in centre where victims can receive advice and support, received 443 visitors between July 2016 and June 2017 – a 20% increase compared to the same period in 2015-16.

It is believed the increase is due to the leadership, delivery and awareness of the facility, which is enabling victims to speak out. It is the second busiest One Stop Shop in the county, with 20% of those attending doing so on more than one occasion.

Ashford Borough Council funds the full-time domestic abuse coordinator post, as well as providing money towards an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), who is the primary contact for victims of domestic abuse. The council was also successful in bidding for funds to provide emergency accommodation to female victims of domestic violence.

Councillor Brad Bradford, Portfolio Holder for Health, Parking and Community Safety, said: “The council continues to play an important role in coordinating the response to domestic abuse. This ensures that Ashford has many excellent services committed to supporting such a worthwhile cause.

“This report highlights the marvellous work that has been undertaken by a range of agencies and I am impressed by the future work plan.”

The Ashford One Stop Shop is open every Tuesday between 9.30am and 12.30pm at The Willows Centre, Brookfield Road.

For information on other services available and other One Stop Shop’s across the county go to www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk

Ashford Borough Council  14 February 2018
www.ashford.gov.uk/whats-on/news/expansion-of-domestic-abuse-services-in-ashford-applauded-14th-feb/

ABC: Report it

Let's work together to make the borough a better placeAshford Borough Council has improved its online reporting system, making it easier for residents to report issues such as:

  • Flytipping
  • Littering
  • Dog fouling
  • Vandalism
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Planning enforcement

The new system replaces some online forms and allows residents to report incidents and then track their progress via a unique reference number.

www.ashford.gov.uk/report

Council Tax 2018/19

The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner is the last of the precepting authorities in Kent to announce their budget proposals for 2018/19.

We show the combined impact of proposed rises from Kent County Council, Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority, Ashford Borough Council and the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Kent County Council and Kent and Medway Fire Authority budgets were announced before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government raised the referendum threshold for Council Tax rises to 3% and may be reviewed.

The table shows the annual Council Tax for a Band D property

Council Tax 17/18 % Rise £ Rise  18/19
KCC 1,178.82 4% 47.16 1225.97
ABC 154.00 2.28% 3.50 157.50
FRA 73.35 2% 1.46 74.81
PCC 157.15 7.64% 12.00 169.15
Total 1563.32  4.10% 64.12 1627.43

We will update this post as more information becomes available

Posts relating to budget consultations:

KCC Budget Strategy 2018/19
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/17/kcc-budget-strategy-201819/

KMFRA Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/24/kmfra-safety-and-wellbeing-plan-and-budget-consultation/

ABC Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/12/30/abc-budget-consultation-2/

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2018/01/10/pcc-proposes-12-rise-to-boost-police-frontline/

ABC Budget Consultation

Budget Consultation 2018/19

Ashford Borough Council

Opens 29 December 2017
Closes 7 February 2018

At the last Ashford Borough Council cabinet meeting, members agreed a draft budget for the 2018-19 financial year, which begins on 1st April 2018.

The draft budget is presented to Council members at a time when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has just delivered his 2018 Autumn Budget to parliament. It is also set against the backdrop of the negotiations to leave the European Union, which continue to cause uncertainty.

Please read ABC’s draft budget summary document to help you take part in our budget consultation for the 2018-2019 financial year. We would value your feedback on our proposals.

2018-19_budget_consultation [pdf] 1295KB www.ashford.gov.uk/media/5384/2018-19_budget_consultation.pdf

The budget contains a large amount of information, so we felt it might be beneficial to outline the key points below:

Council tax

It is proposed that Ashford Borough Council increases its element of council tax by £3.50 per year for the average band D property, increasing the amount payable to Ashford Borough Council from £154 to £157.50 per year– please note this is based on the Ashford element of council tax only and will be adjusted to reflect your property band.

For context, even if all the other local authorities in Kent froze their council tax Ashford would still be setting the lowest council tax in Kent.

The council proposes to increase its element of council tax by £3.50 (which equates to 2.28%) as government allows councils to increase their council tax by 2% or £5, whichever is greater. So, although ours is proposed to increase by 2.28%, this is within agreed parameters.

The council’s Corporate Plan is focused on the delivery of business and housing growth as well as income generation from commercial activities – such as the £42m Elwick Place project, which is on budget and on schedule. The commercial approach needs time to mature and so for now we propose to increase council tax, however the future ambition of the council is to do so by a smaller amount every year. For example, last year the council raised council tax by £4. This year it proposes to do so by £3.50.

Ashford will still set the lowest council tax in Kent. (more…)

Christmas recycling & refuse collections 2017/18

During the festive period, your recycling and refuse collections may take place on different days. Check our calendar below – and read on for tips on how to recycle more this Christmas!

Week Normal collection day Revised collection day
Recycling Mon 25 Dec Wed 27 Dec
Tues 26 Dec Thurs 28 Dec
Wed 27 Dec Fri 29 Dec
Thurs 28 Dec Sat 30 Dec
Fri 29 Dec Tues 2 Jan
Refuse Mon 1 Jan Wed 3 Jan
Tue 2 Jan Thurs 4 Jan
Wed 3 Jan Fri 5 Jan
Thurs 4 Jan Sat 6 Jan
Fri 5 Jan Mon 8 Jan
Recycling Mon 8 Jan Tues 9 Jan
Tues 9 Jan Wed 10 Jan
Wed 10 Jan Thurs 11 Jan
Thurs 11 Jan Fri 12 Jan
Fri 12 Jan Sat 13 Jan

 

Collections will resume normal service on Monday 15 January 2018.

All refuse and recycling should be out for collection by 6am over  Christmas and New Year. Please note collections may take place up to one day later than shown.

There will be NO garden or bulk collections for two weeks; week commencing 25/12/17 and week commencing 01/01/18. Check when your garden waste will be collected over the festive period:

Recycling at Christmas and New Year!

Not sure which bin festive items go into? Check our handy guide below:

Green recycling bin

  • Christmas cards
  • Tin foil and foil serving trays
  • Champagne, wine, beer and alcohol bottles/cans
  • Paper wrapping paper
  • Christmas crackers
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Soft drink containers
  • Sweet/biscuit tins

Grey refuse bin

  • Tinsel
  • Polystyrene
  • Broken decorations
  • Foil wrapping paper
  • Bubble wrap, plastic packaging
  • Champagne and wine corks

Food caddy*

  • Leftovers
  • Turkey carcass

*Visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for handy recipes for those festive leftovers!

Don’t forget!

Put those broken Christmas lights or any electrical decorations or items in a plastic carrier bag on top of your refuse bin, and we will take them away!

Ashford’s Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Brunswick Road, Cobbs Wood Industrial Estate wil be open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Christmas tree recycling

Support Pilgrims Hospices by signing up to their Tree Recycling fundraising campaign?

Their service will cover the whole borough on 13 and 14 January, when residents can have their tree collected in return for a donation of their choice. What better way to support your local hospice this festive season!

To register, visit www.pilgrimshospices.org/treecycling or call 01233 504111.

Garden recycling and bulky item collections

Please note, as stated on your garden recycling collection calendars there will be NO garden waste or bulky item collections over the festive period; week commencing 25 December 2017 and 1 January 2018.

These collections will resume on Monday 8 January 2018.

Clinical collections

During the festive period, your clinical collections will take place on different days.

Please refer to the calendar.

Normal collection Revise collection
Mon 25 Dec Wed 27 Dec
Mon 1 Jan Wed 3 Jan
Mon 8 Jan Tues 9 Jan

 

Ashford Borough Council
www.ashford.gov.uk/the-environment/recycling-and-refuse-service/christmas-collection-dates-201718/

ABC Property Company to invest in Travis site

Ashford Borough Council has announced that its property company ‘A Better Choice for Property’, is to buy apartments to be built on the Travis Perkins site on Victoria Crescent.

The purchase, the company’s biggest yet, represents a multimillion-pound investment in the town.

Tracey Kerly, Ashford Borough Council’s Chief Executive, said: “The property company demonstrates another innovative way that the Council is supporting the complex and various housing needs of a growing population.”

She added: “We are delighted to be working with Leath Park Developments on this exciting development which will be built to the council’s lifetime homes and strict space standards that go further than national prescribed space standards. We look forward to growing the business further in the coming years, with the aim of generating more revenue to maintain and enhance overall service provision.”

Darren Welch, Managing Director of Leath Park Developments (a Jenner Group Company) said: “This is another example of Ashford Borough Council’s proactive approach to providing local housing in the area and we look forward to working closely with the development team to deliver 28 high quality apartments at Victoria Crescent.”

A Better Choice for Property effectively operates as a buy-to-let investment company, targeting people in work in Ashford who can afford to rent. They are given one-year tenancies that can then be extended by further yearly increments or on a monthly rolling contract, affording flexibility to the tenants, while enabling communities to develop. The emphasis is on providing a high-quality customer experience to tenants from start to finish.

The property company has carefully grown a portfolio of 24 two, three and four-bedroom properties in the borough, ranging from flats to detached houses. The company paid interest to the council of £129,000 in the 2016-17 financial year. This money has been put towards the provision of services across the borough.

It is anticipated that in the next three years the company’s portfolio will grow to around 400-500 properties that are either in its ownership or that it is committed to owning off-plan.

Ashford Borough Council 18 December 2017
www.ashford.gov.uk/whats-on/news/property-company-expands-with-off-plan-purchase-18th-dec/

Details of the planning application can be found in our post of 6 July 2016
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2016/07/06/former-travis-perkins-trading-co-ltd-victoria-crescent-tn23-7hp/

Discretionary Rate Relief Consultation

ABC CrestDiscretionary Rate Relief – Autumn 2017

Ashford Borough Council

Opens: 25 September 2017
Closes: 6th November 2017

The revaluation of business rates by the Valuation Office Agency took effect on 1st April 2017. This has led to some businesses, including some in the Ashford borough, seeing large increases in the rateable value of the premises they occupy.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has now stated that the government has put in place a £300m fund to enable local authorities to put in place a discretionary rate relief scheme. This is intended to help businesses apply for assistance if they have suffered from the impact of the first revaluation for seven years.

Ashford Borough Council has been allocated a share of the £300m funding pot to cover a four-year period, with £350,000 funding confirmed for year one and £175,000 for year two.

The government has issued guidance for local authorities and the council has put together a proposed scheme to help those business ratepayers who have suffered significant increases following the recalculation of the rateable value of the premise they occupy.

We are now consulting on our proposed scheme and invite you to comment. Please read the information in this summary document and then comment via this consultation portal.

You can respond to this consultation before 11.59pm on Monday 6th November 2017. Once the consultation has closed, an ‘output report’ showing all the responses received will be available on the council’s website from Friday 10th November.

Cabinet will meet on Thursday 9th November 2017 and consider the responses to the consultation. Full council will then consider the cabinet’s recommendations on 14th December 2017 and agree how the scheme will work for the remainder of the 2017-18 and then the 2018-19 financial years.

Consultation Documents

Respond to this Consultation

Consultation Links

Consultation Summary

Name Discretionary Rate Relief – Autumn 2017
Description The council is consulting on its proposed discretionary rate relief scheme, following announcement of a funding allocation from government to help businesses adversely affected by the Valuation Office Agency’s revaluation that came into effect on 1st April 2017.
Dates From 25 Sep 2017 at 00:00 to 6 Nov 2017 at 23:59. The results will be published by 10 Nov 2017.
Status Open

Ashford Borough Council 25 September 2017
https://haveyoursay.ashford.gov.uk/consult.ti/Discretionary_Rate_Relief/consultationHome

ABC Draft Open Space Strategy

Draft Open Space StrategyABC Crest

Ashford Borough Council

Opens: 8 August
Closes: 20 Sep 2017

Open spaces enrich the quality of our lives and contribute towards a healthy lifestyle. They help define and add to the character and history of a place as well as provide vital green infrastructure for wildlife, biodiversity, water, tranquillity, recreation, play, food production and safe off-road pedestrian and cycling routes.

Ashford borough currently enjoys a wide range of open spaces across its urban and rural environment. The borough has the benefit of existing wildlife sites, protected landscapes and a network of accessible countryside. It also has the benefit of having many organisations and groups of people active in the community who take great interest in their current and future green environment.

This Open Space Strategy attempts to focus on what’s important for Ashford’s open space provision up to 2030 in consideration of previous studies and strategies, recent audits, consultation and the emerging Local Plan.

The consultation is open until 20th September. Please comment using the online questionnaire here, or by printing out a comment form and returning by post to: Cultural Services, Place and Space, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL or by email to culture@ashford.gov.uk

You can respond to this consultation

Consultation Documents

Respond to this Consultation

You can respond to this consultation using any one of the options presented below.

Consultation Links

Consultation Summary

Name Draft Open Space Strategy
Description The Open Space Strategy will provide a robust framework to help strengthen Ashford’s open space provision by providing a series of interrelated actions that are all working towards the same goal. These are to protect, enhance and provide an open space network across the borough to create a thriving landscape of well-located and well-connected open spaces, which supports our existing and future community.
Dates From 8 Aug 2017 at 15:00 to 20 Sep 2017 at 23:59.
Status Open

Local Plan Changes

Help shape our Local PlanLast year We reproduced extracts from some of the sections of the Draft Local Plan published by Ashford Borough Council that relate to or will affect South Ashford.

We have now updated these pages to reflect the changes proposed under the Council’s July 2017 consultation on Main Changes to Local Plan 2030. The updated extracts can be viewed under Local Information>Planning and Development>Local Plan
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/category/consultations/local-plan/

If you wish to submit your own comments to Ashford Borough Council, you can do so from their consultation portal
https://haveyoursay.ashford.gov.uk/consult.ti/local_plan_2030/consultationHome. The consultation is open until 31 August 2017

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.