Managing freight vehicles through Kent


Over recent decades, the number of lorries crossing the English Channel has increased seven fold. Nearly 90% of all UK roll-on, roll-off international freight goes through the Strait of Dover and that puts 11,000 lorries per day on Kent’s roads1. There are projections that by 2025 the number of these lorries could double.

Usually the road network copes well. But unexpected events cause problems, as there is little slack in the system.

Extra parking has recently been provided at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, but we expect that severe weather, security threats or industrial action will still mean that queues of lorries have to be held on the M20 using a procedure known as Operation Stack. This happened on 32 days in 2015.

Operation Stack can cause significant problems as it shuts the M20. Kent residents struggle to get to work or school, to medical appointments or to carry out everyday tasks. People from further afield get held up or delayed and businesses are affected.

This consultation is about plans to alleviate the problems caused by Operation Stack by designing and building a dedicated lorry holding area at Stanford, near Folkestone. In almost all cases, this will keep Kent residents moving and get rid of traffic congestion caused by cross-Channel disruption. Businesses keep investing in the area and jobs can be created, leading to greater prosperity both in Kent and internationally. (more…)

Have your say on new council ward boundaries for Ashford

Proposed ward arrangement

Ward boundaries proposed by SACF

South Ashford Community Forum (SACF) want to know the views of residents of South Ashford on a draft proposal that they have prepared for submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). The proposal is in response to a request from LGBCE for help in drawing up a new pattern of council wards for Ashford Borough Council.

The LGBCE is the independent organisation that provides electoral arrangements for English local authorities that are fair for voters and keeps the map of English local government in good repair.

The consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across the borough.

The Commission has also announced that it is minded to recommend that the council should have 47 borough councillors in the future: four more than the current arrangements.

The Commission now needs information from people and groups across Ashford to help it to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate 47 councillors.

In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across Ashford.

SACF’s proposal can be viewed on the South Ashford website, under Local Information / Representation / Electoral Review,

Have your say on getting around in the county

Local Transport PlanThe people of Kent are being asked whether they agree with Kent County Council’s priorities for the future of transport in the county.

A public consultation of the Local Transport Plan launches today (Monday) and runs until October 30.

The plan is broken down into five main sections:

  • Transport in Kent – sets out KCC’s achievements so far, anticipated growth in the county and the background to transport issues.
  • Strategic priorities – sets out KCC’s priorities which include A2 Bean and A2 Ebbsfleet junction upgrades and Crossrail extension, a new Lower Thames Crossing, splitting Dover port traffic between the M20/A20 and M2/A2 routes as well as expansion of the port, journey time improvements in Thanet and a parkway rail station, Ashford International Station signalling, and general rail and bus improvements.
  • Kent-wide priorities – sets out KCC’s approach to road safety, highway maintenance, home to school transport, and its policy on aviation.
  • District priorities – sets out district transport schemes that have been identified as necessary in each district.
  • Funding Sources – sets out what funding sources are available and alternative funding strategies.


SACF responds to Local Plan

Help shape our Local Plan

South Ashford Community Forum have submitted five representations to the Draft Local Plan published by Ashford Borough Council.

Extracts from the Local Plan have been included on the website under Local Information / Planning and Development / Local Plan. Each section is a separate post allowing you to make comments. A link is provided to open the relevant part of the Plan online so that you have access to the full text. You can, of course, make your own submissions via the Council’s Consultation Portal but comments need to be in the form of an objection with justification showing that the part of the Plan concerned is not ‘sound’.

Ashford Borough Council’s consultation on the plan closes on Wednesday,10th August, after which no more comments can be submitted.

The representations SACF have submitted relate to the following parts of the Plan:

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…)

Share your experience of East Kent Hospitals with CQC

cqclogoCQC is inspecting East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust Starting on the 5th September 2016. Whether they have received good care or poor care they are asking patients to tell them their experience of care in the hospitals. The information provided helps them decide when, where and what to expect.

You can share your experience:

You don’t have to give your name.

Alternatively you can share your experience with Healthwatch Kent in confidence for free:

KCC Waste Disposal Strategy Consultation

Kent County CouncilKent County Council (KCC) is consulting on its draft Waste Disposal Strategy 2017-35 ➚, which sets out their current position, identifies the future pressures and presents the Ambition and Priorities for the household waste disposal service.

They are keen to know what you think about the overarching ambition of the Strategy, the key priorities involved and the specific objectives they have set out.  KCC welcome any comments or concerns that will help us improve the Strategy before KCC moves forward to implementation, supported by further public consultation in 2017.

It is recommended that the draft Strategy is read in conjunction with the detailed evidence base ➚. (more…)

Domestic Abuse Service Integration Consultation

Kent County CouncilBackground:

Domestic Abuse Support Services in Kent are currently funded through a mixture of commissioned services, grant funding and charitable funds. The landscape of service provision varies across the county with different levels of support available in different areas of Kent.

The three largest commissioned services are Women’s Refuges, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) and Floating Support. Refuges and Floating Support are commissioned by Kent County Council, and these contracts come to an end in 2016. The IDVA service is partnership funded, with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) holding the contract. This contract is also due to end in 2016.


We are proposing to integrate these existing services into a single service, to be delivered by service providers working together within partnership and subcontracting arrangements to improve client journeys and provide clarity on where to go for support.  This will ensure consistency of support available wherever a client is living.  The proposal includes the introduction of a central referral process to ensure those accessing the service can be referred appropriately at their first contact.

Have your say:

Please have a look at the Consultation Document, the summary of the proposed service and the draft service specification.

You can have your say by using the online questionnaire or by sending in a paper version which may be downloaded below.

The consultation closes on the 15th of July 2016


Do you find it difficult to get an appointment with your GP?

Healthwatch Kent

You won’t be surprised to know that Healthwatch Kent hear a lot from people who struggle to get an appointment with their GP. So they are going to look into it further and they need your help.

Please share your stories with them and help them to understand what people are really experiencing in Kent.

They have invited three GP practices in South Kent Coast to work with us on this project.

Call them anytime on 0808 801 0102 or email

Healthwatch Kent 03 June 2016

KCC Active Travel Strategy Consultation

28.13 - (REV4) Active Travel Strategy Consultation A6 postcardKent County Council’s (KCC) Active Travel Strategy aims to make active travel an attractive and realistic choice for short journeys in Kent. By developing and promoting accessible, safer and well-planned active travel opportunities, this Strategy will help to establish Kent as a pioneering county for active travel.

Active Travel means walking or cycling as a means of transport in order to get to a particular destination such as work, the shops or to visit friends. It does not cover walking and cycling done purely for pleasure, for health reasons, or simply walking the dog. Active travel can be for complete journeys or parts of a journey.

More people travelling actively can lead to a range of positive outcomes. These include improved health, reduced traffic congestion, reduced pollution and financial savings.

Have your say

KCC want to know what you think of their draft Active Travel Strategy, and the ambition and actions outlined within it. (more…)