News

Covid-19 vaccine update

Over 70s and shielded patients encouraged to book now

Anyone aged 70 and over or on the Shielded Patients List (because they are clinically extremely vulnerable) who has not yet had a first dose vaccine can use the National Booking System to book an appointment. You do not need a letter from the NHS.

Members of the public not in these groups still need to wait for a letter.

You can book for yourself or on behalf of a relative. The person being vaccinated will need to be registered with a GP. You’ll need the name, date of birth and home postcode of the person being vaccinated. The person’s NHS number is helpful but not essential.

You can use the national booking service to arrange an appointment at one of three large vaccination centres or seven community pharmacy-led services in the county.

The nearest vaccination centre is in Folkestone

Pharmacy services are running in:

  • New Romney Pharmacy, vaccinations at New Romney Old School
  • Pharmacy2U, Maidstone, vaccinations at Odeon Cinema, Lockmeadow.

There is no restriction on where you live, you can book at any of these sites if slots are available.

To book visit www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination

If you can’t book online, you can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days-a-week. British Sign Language, text relay and interpreter services are available.

GP-run vaccine services and housebound visits

The national booking service cannot make appointments for GP services or home visits.

GPs and their teams continue to invite people to local vaccination services and are prioritising going out to housebound patients who haven’t already been vaccinated.

If people over 70 or clinically extremely vulnerable, who have not yet had a first dose Covid-19 vaccine, want to use GP services they should now contact their GP practice. 

Members of the public not in these groups still need to wait to be contacted. Please do not call your GP practice at this stage.

NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group
mailchi.mp/ca30565e5ed8/community-bulletin

Covid-19 Vaccinations

Covid-19 vaccine information

Who is being vaccinated?

NHS England and NHS Kent and Medway CCG are currently vaccinating people in the first four priority groups, i.e.:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers 
  • All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers 
  • All those 75 years of age and over 
  • All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals 

Kent and Medway CCG expect all people in these groups to have been invited to be vaccinated by 15th February 2020.

The full Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) list of priory groups is is on gov.uk

How do I make an appointment for my vaccination?

Do not contact NHS or your GP to ask for a vaccination, they should contact you. If you are over 70 years of age and have not been invited by 15th February contact your GP then (please remember that your GP surgery is very busy use the contact methods given on their website).

Where are vaccinations being given?

In Ashford urban area vaccinations are currently being given at:

  • St, Stephens Medical Centre
    for patients of the Ashford Medical Partnership: Willesborough Health Centre, Singleton Health Centre and St Stephens Health Centre
  • Musgrove Park Medical Centre, Ashford
    foe patients of Ashford Stour PCN: Hollington Surgery, Kingsnorth Medical Practice, New Hayesbank Surgery, Sellindge Surgery, Sydenham House Medical Centre and Wye Surgery
    and
  • The Wiliam Harvey Hospital

Other centres are listed on the KMCCG website

Only visit a vaccination centre if you have an appointment.
there is no walk-in service at any centre.

If you are undergoing treatment at another hospital you may be invited to be vaccinated at that hospital. If this involves a substantial journey you can ask to be vaccinated at a local centre.

How will I get the vaccine if I am housebound?

If you are known to be housebound through illness or disability you will be contacted to arrange your vaccination at home, either through your GP or Kent Community Health Foundation NHS Trust (KCHFT).

At the vaccination centre

  • Ensure you are wearing a clean face mask.
  • Do not arrive before the time given on your appointment.
  • Please attend alone unless you are unable to.
  • Follow instructions given on your invitation or at the centre regarding announcing your arrival.
  • You may have to wait – please maintain social distancing from other patients.
  • Before being vaccinated you should be asked some questions about your medical history or to allow the vaccinator to access your medical records.
  • After vaccination you will be given a card with information about your vaccination. It is important to keep this card.
  • You should be given an appointment for your second vaccination within 12 weeks of your first.
  • You should wait at the vaccination centre, as instructed, for 15 minutes after your vaccination.

After vaccination

You must continue to follow current regulations and advice related to Covid-19, i.e.:

  • Hands: wash your hands regularly
  • Face: wear a face covering inside shops and other buildings to which the public have access
  • Space: maintain 2m distance from people not in your household
  • During lockdown:

Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm where the needle went in
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.

If your symptoms get worse or you are worried,

  • call 111.
  • inform your GP
  • inform the centre where you were vaccinated, or
  • submit a report to the MHRA

If you have a high temperature you may have coronavirus or another infection.

Front line workers

All front line health and social care workers should be invited for a vaccination by their employer.

Agency workers on a long term deployment should be vaccinated through the organisation they are working for.

Agency workers on short term deployments should be have their vaccination arranged by their agency.

If you are working directly on the front line in health or social care and have not be invited for vaccination, contact the organisation through which you are working first or KMCCG.

KMCCG are consulting with the government regarding including other key workers in a priority group.

More information

There is more information about Covid-19 vaccination on the KMCCG website: www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/your-health/coronavirus/covid19vaccine

including these answers to Frequently Asked Questions:
www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/your-health/coronavirus/covid19vaccine/covid-19-vaccination-programme-frequently-asked-questions

and on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/

Scam Alert

The Covid-19 Vaccine will always be available free of charge

The NHS will not ask for bank or financial details to confirm your identity

Bus service changes from Sunday

Stagecoach logo

Stagecoach bus services in Kent and East Sussex will change from the Sunday 17 January. New timetables that preserve essential journeys have been agreed with Kent County Council. Full details of services in Ashford are available below, including links to timetables.

Stagecoach has worked very closely with the County Councils and  key sector organisations to ensure essential journey opportunities are available for food shopping, medical appointments, support bubbles, carers, key workers and children still attending school. These lockdown bus services will also help support the COVID vaccination programme by providing access to some vaccination centres on the bus network. Stagecoach welcomes the government and local council support that means these essential bus services are able to operate.

It’s vital that if you need to make a bus journey, you follow the government rules. Face coverings must be worn (unless you are medically exempt) and windows on buses should be left in the open position to allow the flow of fresh air. Capacity is limited to help with social distancing and you should be mindful to keep a safe distance from others (unless travelling with someone from your household bubble). 

Want to know how to travel safely by bus? Stagecoach have taken a range of measures to help protect you when travelling. Buses are clean, safe and ready to go. If you’re planning on travelling and are concerned about what to do, check out this guide. They’ve also put together a ten-point guide to help understand the measures that are in place. Find out more here.  

On Mondays to Saturdays the following timetables will apply from Monday 18 January
  • Route 1/1A    – Special timetable. About every 2 hours between Ashford and Canterbury via Little Burton, Wye, Chilham & Chartham. Additional hourly journeys between Chartham and Canterbury. Additional morning journey on schooldays from Chartham to Spires Academy via Canterbury Bus Station. 
  • Route 2  – About every 2 hours between Ashford and Rolvenden via Tenterden and High Halden. Separate route 2 about every 2 hours between Hastings and Tenterden via Northiam. No through journeys. 
  • Route 2A    – Special timetable running about every 2 hours.
  • Route 10  – Non school timetable similar to what we are currently operating. 
  • Route 10X – Special timetable about every 2 hours. 
  • Route 11/11A/11B    – Normal Mon-Fri (non school) timetable spanning across Monday to Saturday.
  • Route 111    – Normal Thursday timetable continuing. 
  • Route 123    – Normal Monday to Friday non school timetable.
  • Route 666    – Normal Mon-Fri (non school) timetable spanning across Monday to Saturday. 
  • Route A    – Special timetable running up to every 15 minutes.
  • Route B    – Special timetable running up to every 15 minutes.
  • Route C   – Special timetable running up to every 15 minutes.
  • Route D    – Special timetable running up to every 15 minutes.
  • Route A   – Special timetable running.
  • Route G  – Special timetable running hourly.
  • Route S – remains suspended.

Normal Sunday timetables will operate, unless stated otherwise.

Stagecoach UK Bus
https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/south-east/government-coronavirus-measures–changes-to-bus-services

Flood Alert

Upper River Stour

Flood alerts are also active for other areas of the Borough

Flooding is possible – be prepared

River levels are forecast to rise as a result of heavy rainfall overnight tonight. Flooding of roads and low lying land is expected from early tomorrow morning, Thursday 14th January 2021. We believe there is a possibility of flooding of low lying land and roads along the East Stour, Great Stour and tributaries around Ashford. Flooding of properties is not expected at this point. Prolonged rainfall is forecast over the next 24 hours. We are closely monitoring the situation and our incident response staff are prepared to respond if required. Please avoid using low lying footpaths near local watercourses and plan driving routes to avoid low lying roads near rivers which may be flooded. This message will be updated by 10am tomorrow morning, Thursday 14th January 2021, or as the situation changes.

This information was last updated at 7:06pm Wednesday 13 January 2021

Flood alert – Prepare

  • prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents
  • check flood warnings

Monitor the river level feed from Gaugemap.co.uk on our River Levels page

What to do before, after and during a flood:

Environment Agency:
https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/target-area/064WAF6UpStour

Covid vaccine scam

Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, has received a number of reports in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:
“The vaccine is a crucial tool in fighting the coronavirus and keeping people safe. Thankfully, the number of reports into Action Fraud are relatively low but we have seen an increase in the last two months, particularly around scam text messages. 

If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”

Action Fraud has received reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.

How to protect yourself:

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.  

Booking a Coronavirus vaccination

If you have received a letter inviting you to book a coronavirus vaccination, book it directly from the NHS website:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/

Do not use links in emails or texts.

Do not try to book a vaccination if you have not received a letter.

Covid-19 scams

Watch out for other Covid-19 related scams. Visit our Covid-19 scam post

Report Fraud

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

East Stour Park appeal delayed.

Riverside view of proposed development

Update, 05/01/2021: We have received notification that the appeal hearing due to commence on 13th January has been ‘cancelled’. We await notification of a new date for the hearing.

Update, 10/12/2020: We have today receive a letter from Ashford Borough Council confirming the hearing date as 13th January for up to 3 days. The letter is reproduced below. You must register to participate in the ‘informal virtual hearing’

09/12/2020: The hearing of the appeal against Ashford Borough Council’s decision to refuse the planning application for the proposed ‘East Stour Park’ development has been delayed.

The hearing was due to take place yesterday (8th December 2020) with provision for a second day today. Although no change to the timetable had been published a new date of 13th January 2021 had been shown on the ABC planning portal but this has been removed.

Today a statement by the Planning Inspector was uploaded to the portal that the Secretary of State had considered whether an Environmental Impact Assessment was required for the site. The Secretary of State had confirmed that an EIA was not required, agreeing with ABC’s screening decision.

Ashford Borough Council letter:

With reference to the above appeal, the Planning Inspectorate has now confirmed that the appeal is being dealt with by way of an informal virtual hearing which will start at 10.00am on 13 January 2021 and it is anticipated as sitting for 3 days but the duration is not fixed and will depend on how the evidence emerges.

An Inspector has been appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions under paragraph 1(i) of Schedule 6 to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to determine this appeal.As I indicated in my earlier letter, I have forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate and to the Appellants all comments that I have received from you or other people relating to the application for planning permission which has led to this appeal.

If you wish to see the Council’s reasons for refusal of the application and the appellant’s grounds of appeal, proofs of evidence, summaries and statement of common ground, these may be inspected online at: https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112528 Should you wish for any further information, please contact the ABC Case Officer named in the application details.

Anyone wishing to attend the hearing must make that interest known to the Planning Inspectorate Case Officer as soon as possible prior to the hearing either by email or telephone message after reading the Hearing Attendance Information set out below, which you should include with your hearing notification letters; please also include the Case Officer’s name and contact details as per the site notice published on the councils website.

Hearing Attendance Information

Before deciding whether to take an active part in the Hearing, you need to think carefully about the points you wish to make. All written submissions from application and appeal stage will be taken into account by the Inspector and re-stating the same points won’t add any additional weight to them.

If you feel that taking part in the Hearing is right for you in whatever capacity, you can participate in a number of ways:

  • To take part using video, participants will need to have access to Microsoft Teams (via an app or web browser). This link gives further information on how to use this: https://support.office.com/en-us/teams.
  • Alternatively you can take part by telephone. NB Calls would be to an 020 number which will incur charges. https://www.gov.uk/call-charges

If you wish to just observe the event, you should make that clear in your response to the Case Officer. If you wish to take an active part in the discussions, please make clear in your response to the Case Officer if possible, which topic areas you are particularly interested in.

If you want to take an active part but feel unable to for any reason, and/or the points you want to make are not covered in the evidence of others, consider whether someone else could raise them on your behalf.

Registered participants in whatever capacity will receive individual joining instructions, providing details of any requirements, guidance and support whether joining by Teams or telephone.

Stay at Home

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

You should follow this guidance immediately. The law will be updated to reflect these new rules.

Stay at homeMeeting OthersExercise
You must not leave, or be outside of your
home or garden, except for a very limited set of exemptions e.g. to shop for basic
necessities, exercise, go to work if you cannot do so from home, or to escape
risk of harm.
You cannot leave your home to meet
socially with anyone, except with your
household or support bubble (if eligible to
form one). Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.
You may exercise on your own, with your
household or support bubble, or with one
person from another household (when on
your own). Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.
RetailPersonal CareLeisure and Sporting Facilities
Essential shops can open. Non-essential
retail must close and can only run click-andcollect and delivery
ClosedClosed, with limited exceptions.
Bars, Pubs and RestaurantsWork and BusinessEducation
Hospitality closed aside from sales by
takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect,
drive-through or delivery. Alcohol cannot be purchased through takeaway or
click-and-collect from hospitality venues.
Everyone must work from home unless they are unable to do so.Early years settings open. Primary and
secondary schools and colleges move to
remote provision except for vulnerable
children and children of critical workers.
Most university students to move to
remote learning.
TravellingAccommodationOvernight Stays
You must stay at home. If you do leave
home for a very limited set of exemptions,
you should stay local in the village, town,
or part of the city where you live where
possible. Do not travel abroad unless an
exemption applies.
Closed (with limited exceptions)You must not stay overnight away from
home. Limited exceptions apply e.g. to stay with your support bubble.
EntertainmentPlaces of WorshipWeddings and Funerals
ClosedPlaces of worship can remain open and
communal worship is permitted, but you
must not mix with those outside your
household or support bubble
Funerals of up to 30 people permitted.
Weddings up to 6 people permitted in
exceptional circumstances. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events of up to 6 permitted.
MedicalClinically Extremely VulnerableCare Home Visits
You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.Shielding reintroduced across England. You
should not travel to work, school, college
or university and should limit the time you spend outside the home. You should only
go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.
Visits can take place with arrangements
such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak but end of life visits are permitted in all circumstances.
Harm and compassionate visitsAnimal welfare
You can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.

Flood Alert

Upper River Stour

Flooding is possible – be prepared

River levels have risen as a result of persistent rainfall. Flooding of roads and low lying land is expected from 09:45 today, 05/01/21. We expect flooding to affect low lying land and roads along the River Great Stour, particularly around Great Chart. Further light rainfall is forecast over the next 24 hours until tomorrow morning, 06/01/21. We expect river levels to continue to rise until tomorrow evening, 06/01/21. Our incident response staff are actively monitoring the situation and are prepared to respond if required. Please avoid using low lying footpaths near local watercourses. This message will be updated by 20:00 this evening on 05/01/21, or as the situation changes.

This information was last updated at 7:34am Tuesday 5 January 2021

Flood alert – Prepare

  • prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents
  • check flood warnings

Monitor the river level feed from Gaugemap.co.uk on our River Levels page

What to do before, after and during a flood:

Environment Agency:
https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/target-area/064WAF6UpStour

Resilience of Domestic Waste Collection Service

Ashford Borough Council is currently in the process of contingency planning for the possibility that daily bin collections will be adversely affected, due to potential disruption caused by traffic congestion across the borough, following the Brexit EU exit transition on the 1st January 2021.

ABC has been working with both the Government and KCC to ensure that additional waste collection and disposal resources are funded and work closely together. We have agreed longer working hours and priority delivery slots for our collection vehicles at the transfer station, as well as additional operating hours for collections crews. ABC will be taking a number of actions to minimise disruption to collections and to ensure they are completed in a timely manner, whilst keeping residents updated. These actions will include:

  • Residents being asked to present bins, when possible, the evening before collection, if this isn’t possible we will be asking residents to present them no later than 6am on the morning of collection.
  • The contractor will be providing additional collection crews to continue collections after 6pm if needed, to do our utmost to ensure collections are completed. If necessary, additional collection crews will be working late into the evening. Staff from the Street Scene service will be working rotational shifts to ensure service is monitored throughout so that issues that we can resolve (outside traffic congestion) are dealt with promptly. Missed collections can be reported here www.ashford.gov.uk/report/
  • The Council will be highlighting that additional recycling can be placed in clear sacks or cardboard boxes, or held over to place in the recycle bin once emptied.
  • The council will be posting regular updates on social media and on the council website, regarding the status of collections, to ensure residents understand what is happening so they can act accordingly.

ABC will continue working with Kent County Council and their contractor Biffa to ensure we deliver the most effective service possible for our residents.

Flood warning

The area covered by flood alerts has been extended to include the whole of the Great Stour from Lenham to Ashford, the East Stour from Postling to Ashford, Aylesford Stream and the Great Stour from Ashford to Sturry.

The threat on Ruckinge Dyke and Whitewater Dyke has been raised to Flood Warning.

Warnings and alerts are in force elsewhere in the Borough of Ashford

Flood warning – Act

  • turn off gas, water and electricity
  • move things upstairs or to safety
  • move family, pets and car to safety

Flood alert – Prepare

  • prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents
  • check flood warnings

https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings