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

Help build up plans for Victoria Park

Ashford Borough Council have secured initial funding to develop a £3.7m restoration and improvement project. They are looking to make the park an even better place to visit, with thanks to support from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery
Fund and Big Lottery Fund.

21st April 2018

9:30am – 3:30pm

Get involved

Come along and take part, we’d love to hear what you think about the park and what changes you would like to see.

Fun activities for all the family to enjoy featuring:

  • Mini sports day
  • Giant board game
  • Fantasy spending

Activities will take place by the fountain in the park.


Archive Search Room Opening Hours Consultation

Archive Search Room Opening Hours

Kent County Council

Opens: 5 Feb 2018
Closes: 12 Mar 2018

Kent County Council is seeking your views on proposed changes to the archive search room opening hours at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone.

More information on our proposal is available in the consultation document, which can be found in the ‘Consultation Documents’ section below.

Have your say

No decisions have been made on the proposal at this stage and we are keen to hear all your views. Please fill in the online questionnaire, which is available in the ‘Respond to this Consultation’ section below.

Alternative formats: If you require any of the consultation material in an alternative format or language please email alternativeformats@kent.gov.uk or call 03000 421553 (text relay service number: 18001 03000 421553). This number goes to an answering machine, which is monitored during office hours.

Privacy: Kent County Council collects and processes personal information in order to provide a range of public services. Kent County Council respects the privacy of individuals and endeavours to ensure personal information is collected fairly & lawfully. We will follow our Data Protection Act guidelines to keep your information secure and confidential.

We recommend using Google Chrome if viewing and downloading consultation documents from mobile devices.

Consultation Documents

Consultation Summary

Name Archive Search Room Opening Hours
Description We are seeking your views on proposed changes to the archive search room opening hours.
Dates From 5 Feb 2018 at 09:00 to 12 Mar 2018 at 23:59.
Consulting Organisation Type Kent County Council
Consulting Organisation Name Kent County Council
District / Borough areas affected by the consultation Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Shepway, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge & Malling, Tunbridge Wells
Consultation Topic General interest, Libraries and archives
Consultation Methods Online survey / questionnaire / forms, Other survey / questionnaire / forms
Contact Details Email: libraries@kent.gov.uk

Emergency Care improvement in east Kent

Ashford Clinical Commissioning GroupThe NHS in east Kent has begun a 12-month plan for improvement in emergency care, which includes immediate action for ensuring NHS services can meet the needs of a challenging winter period.

“Ensuring patients can access the care they need in the community, seeing patients more quickly in hospital emergency departments and improving the experience for patients is the priority for the NHS in east Kent,” said Simon Perks, Accountable Officer for NHS Ashford and NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCGs. “We are focussing on ensuring that the entire local NHS is caring for patients in the right place at the right time, whether that’s in a hospital bed, in a community setting or at home.”

Amongst the immediate actions in the plans are:

  • Identifying patients who are frail or at risk of developing pneumonia earlier, so they are less likely to need hospital care.
  • Expanding the service that allows many patients to receive hospital treatment without the need for an overnight stay.
  • 24/7 mental health teams working in the emergency departments to ensure patients have fast access to appropriate services.
  • Ensuring people don’t stay in hospital longer than they need, by further investing in therapies staff, who ensure patients have the support they need to be able to leave hospital safely, for example, with specialist equipment at home.
  • Expanding services in the community so that rapid response teams are seeing patients within two hours of a referral from the emergency department.

The NHS is also increasing information to the public about the services minor injuries units and pharmacists provide, and information on how to stay well. A vaccination programme starting in October will also protect staff and patients from catching flu.

East Kent Hospitals Acting Chief Executive Liz Shutler said: “Patients attending the emergency departments are assessed soon after arriving and critically ill patients are prioritised and treated quickly. However, this means that people attending with non-life threatening illnesses and injuries can wait for a long time and this is not the standard we want for any of our patients.

“We are carefully monitoring our services to ensure that patients are receiving safe standards of care. A wide range of doctors, nurses, therapists and other clinical staff make up the teams in our emergency departments and are working extremely hard to care for patients but it is challenging as we are still covering vacant posts with temporary staff.

“We have been successful in a bid for £800k to expand the departments at Ashford and Margate hospitals. This refurbishment work to increase the space available and provide a better environment for sick or injured patients, has begun and will be completed in October.

“We are continuing to work hard to recruit staff and have recently recruited 10 permanent emergency doctors that are joining East Kent Hospitals in the next two months.

“Every member of staff is working extremely hard to care for patients, and improving standards for emergency patients is our top priority.”

NHS Ashford and NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCGs 06 October 2017

KCC Consults on Infant Feeding Services

Kent County CouncilInfant Feeding Service

Kent County Council

Opens: 17 July 2017
Closes: 3 September 2017

Families across Kent are being asked their views on proposed changes to infant feeding services, including breastfeeding support.

KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark explained: “The current contract is coming to an end and we have been investigating what service users and providers need – the consultation runs until the beginning of September and considers timely support, more joined up services and more information about the peer support teams with rapid referral to a lactation consultant when needed.

“As part of the development of the Health Visiting model, there have also been discussions with PS Breastfeeding CIC, Early Help and KCHFT. As a result of these conversations, we are consulting on transferring responsibility for community infant feeding support to the Health Visiting Service and are inviting people’s views.”

He adds: “We expect that this proposal will enable all families to access nutrition advice as part of a comprehensive infant health service that links to Children’s Centres and maternity services, making best use of the existing professional skills and resources in the Health Visiting Service. (more…)

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.

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.


Parks face threat of decline with severe consequences

The Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee report on public parks warns that parks are at a tipping point and face a period of decline with potentially severe consequences unless their vital contribution to areas such as public health, community integration and climate change mitigation is recognised.

Councils should publish strategic plans

The Public parks report highlights considerable challenges for the sector including reduced council spending, with parks management budgets cut by up to 97 per cent, the need for parks to compete with other services for funding, and planning policy not giving them enough weight, particularly as a result of pressures to increase housing supply.

The Committee call on councils to publish strategic plans, which recognise the value of parks beyond leisure and recreation and set out how they will be managed to maximise their contribution to wider local authority agendas, such as promoting healthy lifestyles, tackling social exclusion and managing flood risk. It is hoped these plans will open up parks to support and funding beyond their usual budgets and service areas.

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has included improvement to parks and open space in its corporate plan

The Victoria Park and Watercress Fields Masterplan was adopted by ABC’s Cabinet on 10 March 2016 

Future of public parks inquiry launched

Victoria ParkThe Communities and Local Government Committee launches an inquiry into public parks to examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on these open spaces and consider concerns that their existence is under threat.

Public parks inquiry

The Committee looks at how parks should be supported now and in the future. This includes studying alternative management and funding models, such as a mutual or a trust.

Send a written submission

The Committee invites submission of written evidence to its website on the following issues:

  • Who uses parks and open spaces, how often and for what
  • The contribution of parks to the health and well-being of communities
  • The impact of reductions in local authority budgets on parks
  • What the administrative status of parks should be in light of declining local authority resources for non-statutory services
  • How new and existing parks can best be supported
  • What additional or alternative funding is available and what scope is there for local authorities to generate revenue from park users
  • What the advantages and disadvantages are of other management models, such as privatisation, outsourcing or mutualisation

The Committee would be grateful to receive written submissions by 30 September 2016. (more…)

Launch of Ashford’s Heritage Trail

Heritage Trail MapA brand new, exciting trail highlighting Ashford Town Centre’s heritage sites will be launched on Sunday 5th June, in conjunction with Ashford Farmers’ Market.

The Heritage Trail takes visitors on a journey through history as they discover many of Ashford’s significant sites. Visitors can see the beautiful Edwardian architecture in North Street, Victoria Park’s Grade II* listed Hubert Fountain and much more.

Three tours will take place on the day led by Blue Badge guides at 10.30am, 11.30am and 12.30pm. The meeting point will be on the Lower High Street at the Heritage Trail stand.

Starting from the High Street, the tour will meander through the Town and finish at Ashford Borough Museum. The walk takes approximately half an hour, is free to enjoy and is suitable for all ages. (more…)