News

Plan to remove Maypits phone box

We have posted a copy of a notice that has bee uploaded to the Ashford Borough Council planning website regarding the removal of thelephone boxes.

One of the boxes that it is proposed to remove is that in Beaver Lane close to its junction with Maypits. This telephone box was used once every four days during the year over which data is given; compared with most of the boxes listed which weren’t used or were used once in the year.

To comment on the proposed removal use the comment tab on the ABC planning website:
Case Ref: 19/00971/AS 
https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112888

BT consult on removal of telephone boxes

British Telecommunications plc

Programme of intended public payphone removals

Opened: 28 June 2019
Closes: 26 September 2019

Dear Chief Planning Officer,

Further to our previous letter, we are writing to you as part of a formal consultation process regarding our current programme of intended public payphone removals. This letter formally starts our consultation with you and the local community.

There are currently 11 public payphones in your area [Borough of Ashford] which have been identified and proposed for removal by BT under the 90-day consultation process and details of these payphones are shown below.

To ensure that the local community are fully informed, we have placed consultation notices on the relevant payphones,and a sample notice is enclosed. We have also included the date we posted these notices on
the payphones. The consultation period will close on 26 September 2019. Unless you contact us to agree otherwise, responses received after this date will not be accepted.

This consultation process gives your local communities the opportunity to adopt a traditional red ‘heritage’ phone box and make them an asset that local people can enjoy. It’s really simple to do and it costs just £1-
http://bt.com/adopt

Overall use of payphones has declined by over 90 per cent in the last decade and the need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is diminishing all the time, with at least 98 percent of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage. This is important because as long as there is network coverage, it’s now possible to call the emergency services, even when there is no credit or no coverage from your own mobile provider.

You may also want to consider the recent Ofcom affordability report which found that most people do not view payphones as essential for most consumers in most circumstances –
https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/affordability/affordability_report.pdf

On the 14th March 2006 the Office of Communications (Ofcom) published a statement following their 2005 review of universal service in the Telecommunications market, which includes a requirement for payphone
provision to meet reasonable needs. Part of that statement amended our obligations with regard to the removal of payphone service
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/34266/statement.pdf
As stated in Ofcom’s 2005 review,it is the responsibility of the local authority to initiate its own consultation process to canvas the views of the local community. They would normally expect these consultations to involve other public organisations such as the Parish or Community councils and work within the terms of the Communications Act 2003. This means that you must be able to objectively justify your decisions.

Full guidance on the removal process can be viewed at:
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/uso/statement/removals.pdf
and a summary is available at:
https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/uso/statement/removing_callboxes.pdf
The guidance also details the appeals process we must follow in case of unreasonable objections.

To comment

To respond to this consultation comment via the Ashford Borough Council planning website:
Case Ref: 19/00971/AS
https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112888

Telephone NumberAddressPost CodeNumber of calls in last 12 monthsPosting Completed Date
101227 730243JCN SOLESHILL RD PCOl SOLESHILL ROAD SHOTTENDEN CANTERBURYCT4 8JR024/06/2019
201227 730327O/S VILLAGE HALL LONG HILL PCOl LOWER LEES ROAD OLD
WIVES LEES CANTERBURY
CT4 8AS 124/06/2019
301233 503787ADJ BUS LAYBY PCOl MOATFIELD MEADOW KINGSNORTH
ASHFORD
TN23 3LU1725/06/2019
401233 632569O/S POST OFFICE GREAT CHART PCOl THE STREET GREAT
CHART ASHFORD
TN23 3AN 325/06/2019
501233 642908JCN LENACRE ST PCOl SANDYHURST LANE ASHFORDTN25 4PF025/06/2019
601233 643156JCN MAYPITS PCOl BEAVER LANE ASHFORDTN23 5PA8925/06/2019
701233 732336PCO PCOl WOODCHURCH ROAD SHADOXHURST ASHFORDTN26 1LF125/06/2019
801233 756339OPP PUBLIC HOUSE PCOl THE STREET EGERTON ASHFORDTN27 9DJ024/06/2019
901233 840211O/S VILLAGE HALL PCOl THE STREET LITTLE CHART
ASHFORD
TN27 0QB024/06/2019
1001303 813180JCN THE WARREN PCOl LEES ROAD BRABOURNE LEES
ASHFORD
TN25 6QE025/06/2019
1101580 762370JCN WITH CRANBROOK RD PCOl ROLVENDEN ROAD
TENTERDEN
TN30 6TY125/06/2019

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Beware the BBQ-bandits

Tips to keep your garden safe:

  • Lock valuables away: in the event of a theft claim your insurer will want to know if the item was locked in an outbuilding and will usually ask for proof of forced entry.
  • Defend your property: make sure gates have locks fitted and use security lights to deter thieves. Shrubs and plants along borders may put intruders off scaling walls.
  • Secure your bike: always keep bikes locked in an outbuilding. Some policies may even stipulate that bikes themselves should be locked to an unmoveable object within.
  • Know your policy: check what your policy covers. Insurers often limit claims for garden items.

Homeowners planning barbecues and garden parties this weekend are being urged to keep their properties secure, as the number of garden thefts soar.

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales the number of garden thefts rose by 23% to 595,000 in 2018, up from 483,000 the previous year.

Amongst the most frequently stolen items were barbecues, lawnmowers, play equipment, garden furniture, plants and strangely even garden gnomes.

During the same period thefts from inside properties fell by 2% to 669,000.

Commenting on the figures, Steve Gibbon, a former police detective who now runs his own security consultancy says: “Garden gadgets are an increasingly attractive prospect for thieves. A high-end barbecue or a robotic lawnmower can cost a lot of money these days – but we do not treat them with the same care as other valuables.

“We leave them outside and unlocked in a way we would never do with a laptop or a mobile phone worth the same value.

“We feel garden equipment is safe within the grounds of our house, but it is not hard to move a lawnmower or even a barbecue on wheels.

“It might be an inconvenience, but people should keep their garden equipment under lock and key when they are out – in a garden shed or fixed to something with a decent padlock to reduce the risk.”

(more…)

Friends of Victoria Park Meeting

Hubert Fountain

The next meeting
of the Friends of Victoria Park will be heldat 7.30 pm

on Thurday 4th July 2019

at Ashford Indoor Bowls Centre
Victoria Park, Jemmett Rd, TN23 4QD

The agenda for the meeting is

  1. Apologies
  2. Welcome and Update
  3. Minutes of Previous meeting
  4. Matters Arising
  5. Election of new committee member
  6. Logo
  7. Finance
  8. Events and Activities
    • Summer Series
    • Create/Mr Harpers Birthday
    • Butterfly Count
    • Family Fun Run
  9. Any Other business

Download a printable copy here

Avoid Holiday Fraud

Each year, fraudsters target unsuspecting holidaymakers and travellers conning them out of millions of pounds. Not only are people losing substantial sums of money but many holidays are being ruined, with people unable to afford a replacement. Over the past four years, we’ve joined forces with the City of London Police, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online to raise awareness of different types of holiday booking fraud and how you can avoid becoming a victim.

What is holiday booking fraud and how to avoid the common types?

Holiday booking fraud is when people hand over money only to discover the holiday, accommodation or flight they paid for doesn’t exist.

Fraudsters are conning unsuspecting holidaymakers and travellers out of millions of pounds each year or leaving them stranded with nowhere to stay.

The most common types of booking fraud are: 

  • Holiday Accommodation: Fraudsters are making full use of the internet to con holidaymakers by setting up fake websites, hacking into legitimate accounts and posting fake adverts on websites and social media. 
  • Airline tickets: Where a customer believes they are booking a flight and receives a fake ticket or pays for a ticket that never turns up.
  • Sports and religious trips: A popular target for fraud due to limited availability of tickets and consequently higher prices. 
  • Timeshares and holiday clubs: The sums involved with this form of fraud are particularly high with victims losing typically thousands of pounds. 

Top tips to help avoid holiday booking fraud

  • Don’t reply to unsolicited emails, texts, social media or calls with holiday offers. Links and attachments in emails may lead to malicious websites or download viruses.
  • Stay safe online: Check the web address is legitimate and has not been altered by slight changes to a domain name – such as going from .co.uk to .org.
  • Do your research: Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to ensure the company is credible. If they’re suspect, other people may well have posted their experiences warning people off.
  • Look for the logo: Check whether the company is an ABTA Member. Look for the ABTA logo on the company’s website and if you have any doubts, verify membership by visiting our ABTA Member search. If you’re booking a flight and want more information about ATOL protection, or would like to check whether a company is an ATOL holder, then please visit the CAA website.
  • Pay safe: Never pay directly into an private individuals bank account. 
  • Check the paperwork: You should study receipts, invoices and terms and conditions, and be very wary of any companies that don’t provide any at all. When booking through a Holiday Club or Timeshare, get the contract thoroughly vetted by a solicitor before signing up. 
  • Use your instincts: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Get free expert advice: For further advice on how to stay safe when booking or researching travel online, go to Get Safe Online.

How to report it

Report it to Action Fraud online or call 0300 123 2040. If they’re a member of the Association of British Travel Agents, report to them too.

ABTA
https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/planning-and-booking-a-holiday/how-avoid-travel-related-fraud

Action Fraud
https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/a-z-of-fraud/holiday-fraud

#scamaware

Don’t let a scammer enjoy your retirement

Find out how pension scams work, how to avoid them and what to do if you suspect a scam.

Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing. Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them or to release funds from it. It is then invested in unusual and high-risk investments like overseas property, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units, or simply stolen outright.

Scam tactics include:

  • contact out of the blue
  • promises of high / guaranteed returns
  • free pension reviews • access to your pension before age 55
  • pressure to act quickly

Four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams

  1. Reject unexpected offers
    If you’re contacted out of the blue about your pension, chances are it’s high risk or a scam. Be wary of free pension review offers. A free offer out of the blue from a company you have not dealt with before is probably a scam. Fortunately, research shows that 95% of unexpected pension offers are rejected.*
  2. Check who you’re dealing with
    Check the Financial Services Register (www.register.fca.org.uk) to make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is FCA-authorised.
    If you don’t use an FCA-authorised firm, you also won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. So you’re unlikely to get your money back if things go wrong. If the firm is on the FCA Register, you should call the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 to check the firm is permitted to give pension advice.
    Beware of fraudsters pretending to be from a firm authorised by the FCA, as it could be what we call a ‘clone firm’. Use the contact details provided on the FCA Register, not the details they give you.
  3. Don’t be rushed or pressured
    Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’.
    Be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true and don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.
  4. Get impartial information and advice
    The Pensions Advisory Service (www.thepensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk) – Provides free independent and impartial information and guidance.
    Pension Wise (www.pensionwise.gov.uk) – If you’re over 50 and have a defined contribution (DC) pension, Pension Wise offers pre-booked appointments to talk through your retirement options.
    Financial advisers – It’s important you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances, so you should seriously consider using the services of a financial adviser. If you do opt for an adviser, be sure to use one that is regulated by the FCA and never take investment advice from the company that contacted you or an adviser they suggest, as this may be part of the scam.

Financial Conduct Authority
The Pensions Regulator

#scamaware

Report

Scam Awareness Campaign

You might be able to stop others from being scammed if you report a scam.

You should report the scam to more than one organisation – report it to:

  1. the Citizens Advice Consumer Service first
  2. Action Fraud – or Royal Mail if you’ve been scammed by post

Give as much information as you can – for example, dates, names and email addresses.

Get help if you’ve shared your bank details. Your bank might be able to refund some of the money or block your cards.

If you’ve been threatened with violence, report it to the police on 101.

Report a scam to Consumer Service

Report the scammer to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service online or by phone.

They will:

  • give you advice on what to do next
  • report the scam to Trading Standards – they might investigate to see if the business has acted illegally or unfairly

Report a scam to Action Fraud

You should report the scam to Action Fraud – the national fraud reporting centre.

They might get the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau to investigate the scam further. You’ll usually get a police crime reference number. 

It’s easiest to report scams online – either:

It’s best to fill in the form on a computer, not a mobile or tablet. It takes about 20 minutes to fill in.

You can also report the scam by phone.

Action Fraud
Telephone: 0300 123 2040
Textphone: 0300 123 2050
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm

Website: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Calls usually cost up to 40p a minute from mobiles and up to 10p a minute from landlines. It should be free if you have a contract that includes calls to landlines – check with your supplier if you’re not sure.

Reporting a postal scam

You can report postal scams to Royal Mail – they investigate scams and work to stop them.

Post the scam mail to FREEPOST SCAM MAIL – include the envelope it came in and a completed ‘scam mail report’. You can download the scam mail report from Royal Mail’s website – or you can ask Royal Mail to send you a scam mail report and a pre-paid envelope to send it in.

Royal Mail

Telephone: 0800 011 3466 – leave a message with your name, address and phone number.

Email: scam.mail@royalmail.com

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

#scamaware

Response to East Stour Park development

Satellite image of site

South Ashford Community forum has drafted its response to the planning application for the proposed East Stour Park Development.

We are aware that a petition has been started against the development. Petitions cannot be presented at meetings of the Planning Committee so will have no effect on the decision. All who wish to object to this development should submit their comment using the process set out on the Ashford Borough Council website: https://www.ashford.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/making-planning-applications/comment-on-applications/

South Ashford Community Forum will include the issues listed below in its comment. You may include these issues in your own comment but need to formulate them into suitable paragraphs.

  • Site is in Green Corridor
  • Development would add further severe restriction to the Green Corridor and movement of wildlife in an area adjacent to which such movement is already constrained by the station, railway and roads round it.
  • The proposed ‘enhancement’of the Green Corridor does not adequately mitigate the loss of Green Corridor.
  • The exit of traffic onto Norman Road so close to the Kimberley Way Roundabout will create a hazard
  • Site is not allocated in local plan; development not required to meet 5y  housing need.
  • Developments of the proposed size on greenfield sites should go through the SHEELAA selection process and not be considered as windfall sites.
  • The sequential test does not include the Homeplus site.
  • The claim that properties in Riversdale Road would flood before the site is incorrect as experienced in 2014.
  • There is no mention in the current Green Corridor Action Plan of a Wetland Country Park in the South Willesborough Dykes.
  • Development of the South Willesborough Dykes, or part of it, as a country park would have a severe negative impact.

Ashford Bourough Council Case Reference: 19/00709/AS
http://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112528

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