News

Jemmett Road

In 2015 South Ashford Community Forum raised the condition of Brookfield Road and Jemmett Road at one of it’s meetings. We were told “There are jetpatching works scheduled for Brookfield Road in coming weeks and Jemmett Road has been patched in recent months. The specific roads referred to are structurally sound and therefore do not require reconstruction as suggested.”

The County Councillor commented that Brookfield Road is the priority due to the sheer traffic volume which includes heavy vehicles. To ensure a more permanent solution the concrete slabs need to be taken out and new surface laid down. The patching work at Jemmett road is not to satisfactory standards.
We pointed out that when Ashford College move out of their site in Jemmett Road, the demolition and construction works on the site could potentially damage Jemmett Road.

At the time we photographed the defects in Jemmett Road.

As the works on the college site are now well advanced we have raised the issue again with the current County Councillor and carried out a further photographic survey. The photographs have been plotted on a Google Map which can be viewed at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MNtG_QOD6T7E_Huinyni6yierYk

  • Photographs taken in 2019 are shown by red markers
  • Those taken in 2015 are shown by blue markers
  • Green markers have similar photographs taken in 2019 and 2015

The photographs show a severe deterioration in the general condition of the road and that repairs undertaken in or before 2015 are themselves beginning to fail.

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…)

Have your say on how health services are commissioned

STP Logo

Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway

Opens: 11 September 2019
Closes: 23 September 2019

The NHS in Kent and Medway is seeking your views on how health services are commissioned (planned and purchased).

At the moment we are one of eight GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across Kent and Medway, responsible for planning and spending the health budget to meet local needs. 

Although we and the other CCGs have much to be proud of over the last six years, the GPs who chair the CCGs, including our clinical chair, now believe the CCGs should merge to form a new single clinical commissioning group for Kent and Medway, which would also be led by GPs.

A single Kent and Medway CCG would:  

  • provide a ‘bird’s eye view’ of health priorities for people across Kent and Medway based on a detailed understanding of local health needs, so that care can be planned effectively for everyone
  • identify where challenging health problems can be shared and tackled
  • allow the consistent commissioning of some services – such as cancer, mental health, children’s services and prevention – across Kent and Medway
  • focus on the health, wellbeing and care needs of the whole population
  • reduce management and administration costs across Kent and Medway.

There was a survey earlier this summer to get people’s initial views on the suggested changes. They include GP practices working much more closely together, and all the services in given areas (such as east Kent) joining up care for local people. Building on the feedback from that survey, we’d now like to find out your views about the specific proposal to create a single clinical commissioning group (CCG) for Kent and Medway.

In June, we published a leaflet Helping local people live their best life which set outs more details. This included a survey which ran until August, to get people’s initial views on the suggested changes. They include GP practices working much more closely together, and all the services in given areas (such as east Kent) joining up care for local people.

Building on the feedback from that survey, we’d now like to find out your views about the specific proposal to create a single clinical commissioning group (CCG) for Kent and Medway.

The survey is open until 23 September. Please complete it and share with your friends, colleagues and family as your views are important to us.

NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group
11 September 2019
https://www.ashfordccg.nhs.uk/news/blog/?blogpost=11417

Railway timetable consultation

December 2019 Timetable Consultation

London & South Eastern Railway

Closes: 09 September 2019

Southeastern are consulting on proposed timetable changes for December 2019

The proposals will have a positive impact on Southeastern’s passengers, with faster Highspeed services, faster Mainline services, and more reliable Metro services. As a result of the proposals, passengers may see the timings of their regular service changed by a few minutes. Southeastern are consulting with their passengers and stakeholders to get their views on these proposals.

Download December 2019 timetable proposal  

Southeastern are also seeking feedback on some broader proposed changes, further ahead in May 2020. 

Please use the link below to participate. 

Complete the online feedback form (on SurveyMonkey)

Asthma workshop

Do you want to have your say about new asthma services?

KSSAHSN* want to hear from you about your own experiences of healthcare and think about how technology could support you in managing and improving your health and well-being.

This workshop will be one of several, looking at new ways to improve the lives of people living with one or more conditions including asthma, cardiovascular disease, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes.

  • Thursday 26th September 2019,
  • 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • The Kings Studio,
    Aylesford Village Community Centre,
    25 Forstal Road, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7AU

If you would like more information or to book a place, please contact:

  • designandlearningcentre @kent.gov.uk
  • 07920873682

* Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network

Survey: website for adults with Type 2 diabetes

Creating a new website for adults with Type 2 diabetes

NHS England
Closes: 2 September 2019

NHS England and Improvement, Public Health England and Diabetes UK are launching a new online self-management website for adults living with type 2 diabetes.

The website will:

  • Provide education and information about type 2 diabetes and its treatments
  • Offer content on managing your mood and stress
  • Help with adopting and maintaining healthy behaviours (e.g. diet, exercise).

NHS England would love to have your help in making the website as useful as possible.

This survey will take less than five minutes to complete and your answers will help to shape the new website.

Your responses will be completely anonymous and there are no right or wrong answers. They just want the benefit of your opinions and experiences.

Take part in the survey here

Survey on services for children and young people

Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway

Opens: 10 August 2019
Closes: 23 August 2019

The NHS and local councils want to transform health and care services for children and young people and are calling on local people to get involved and help.

A recent Healthwatch survey showed children and young people in Kent and Medway want their voice to be heard when local services are designed, and the NHS has launched a survey to enable this. Dr Bob Bowes, a GP in Tunbridge Wells and Clinical Chair for Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership said: “We want local children, young people and their parents and carers to help us design services which are fit for the future to give children and young people the best start in life.

“They really can make a difference and we want suggestions for how we can improve.

“We need your help to tell us what already works well in the current system, and what doesn’t.”

The survey, which is open to children and young people from birth to 25 and their parents and carers, will help the NHS and local councils decide the priorities for future improvements to children’s services. The survey takes around 10 minutes to fill in and will close on Friday, 23 August.

There is a version for:

The NHS is keen to get feedback from children and young people of all ages as well as their parents and carers.

Kent County Council and Medway Council are working together with the NHS to improve services.

Cllr Josie Iles, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “We are pleased to be working with partners to further develop a collective understanding of the needs of children and young people in Kent and Medway.”

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

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