Big Energy Saving Week

Despite the high atmospheric pressure we are currently experiencing the temperature is expected to remain low so we’ll all be using more energy.

We all have the power to save energy, money and the environment through everyday actions. Simple changes such as switching energy supplier or tariff, accessing discounts or grants, and making homes more energy-efficient can make a big difference.

During Big Energy Saving Week we will post some ideas that you can use to save at home.

KCC Draft 5 Year Plan

Kent County Council

Opens 6 January 2020
Closes 17 February 2020

The 5 Year Plan (Kent County Council’s [KCC] strategic statement) is their flagship strategy. It unites the council with clear outcomes and objectives.

Tell them what you think and help make Kent the best place to live, work, play, learn and invest in.

The Leader, Roger Gough, talks about the importance of your views on the draft 5 Year Plan.

Read the video transcript.

Over the past 5 months KCC have been listening to:

  • Kent residents
  • young people
  • businesses
  • voluntary and community sector organisations
  • its staff
  • its partners across public services.

They have heard about what is important to quality of life in Kent and what people’s priorities are.

Based on what they have heard, they have developed a draft plan. The plan shapes what they will do, what they will prioritise spending money on and how they will work together with their partners over the next 5 years.

The plan sets out 7 draft outcomes for Kent:

Enterprise and investment

Making Kent an ambitious and successful county, with high quality jobs, skilled workers, enterprising businesses and thriving town centres and rural areas.

Securing sustainable infrastructure

As Kent grows, working with partners to put in place the infrastructure that communities need, including roads, school places and utilities.

Connected transport and communities

Keeping Kent’s roads and pavements well maintained and safe, keeping traffic flowing and improving public transport so everyone can get around the county.

A cleaner and greener Kent

Keeping our streets, towns and parks tidy and clean, protecting the green areas and coasts that make Kent so special and leading the way on tackling the climate emergency.

Stronger and safer Kent communities

Continuing to bring communities together so everyone feels involved and supported and working with partners to make sure everyone feels and stays feeling safe.

Opportunities for children and young people

Giving children the best start in life, providing effective early help when families need it and making sure every young person gets the education, skills and experiences they need for a successful future.

Quality health, care and support

Helping people to live well, working with partners to improve people’s physical and mental health and resilience and providing quality social care when people need it.

Each outcome has a set of more specific objectives that KCC will work with partners to deliver. We will also stand up for Kent’s interests with government.

Now they are keen to hear your thoughts about it so we can make changes before publishing the final version.

Tell them what you think

They recommend that you read their 5 Year Plan consultation document (PDF, 678.4 KB) before responding to the consultation questionnaire.

They’d like to hear your views on:

  • how well the 7 draft outcomes reflect what is important to your quality of life
  • how well the draft objectives will help them to deliver each of these outcomes.

The consultation will close on 17 February 2020.

Respond to the draft 5 Year Plan consultation questionnaire

If you can’t complete the questionnaire online, use the Word version of the questionnaire (DOCX, 175.7 KB)

Consultation documents:

Alternative formats

If you need any of the consultation materials in an alternative format or language please email or call 03000 42 15 53 (text relay service number: 18001 03000 42 15 53). This number goes to an answering machine, which is monitored during office hours.

Christchurch manse conversion

Christchurch manse with scaffolding

Work to convert the manse at Christchurch into short term accommodation is progressing.

Following the amalgamation of parishes in Ashford, the building was no longer required by the Church of England. Ashford Borough Council bought the home in Beaver Road for £430,000 and is investing around £500,000 to convert it into eight homes, capable of accommodating up to 25 people. An extensive refurbishment programme is underway to add facilities like a communal kitchen, dining room and laundry room.

Christchurch Lodge, as the building has been renamed, follows the same blueprint adopted by the council when it created Christchurch House, a rundown property bought at auction for £278,000 in 2013. It was transformed into good quality short-stay accommodation and was so successful that the money saved on placing homeless people in costly B&Bs meant that Christchurch House payed for itself in four years.

Cllr Bill Barrett, portfolio holder for housing, said tackling homelessness was a huge priority for the authority. He said both the prevention of homelessness and using the council’s own stock to house homeless people, rather than using costly B&Bs, made financial sense.

“Following the blueprint of Christchurch House represents a win-win strategy. For five years it has offered households a better solution than the upheaval of living out of a B&B. It is also good news that the council has saved considerable sums of money it would have had to pay in B&B costs. We are proud of the proactive approach we take to delivering new housing projects.”

Kent-based Jenner Contractors is carrying out the Christchurch Lodge conversion and a feature of the project is the commitment to using high-quality products and materials to ensure maximum build quality, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

Ashford Borough Council 08 January 2020

Doorstep Crime – Loft insulation

'Surveyor in hi-vis jacket

Kent County Council Public Protection have had reports of doorstep criminals targeting residents in the Ashford area for loft insulation work.

What happens

  • Residents are cold-called
  • The doorstep criminal claims to be from the Council
  • The resident is offered a ‘free’ survey for loft insulation
  • Once a price is mentioned by the criminal they then use pressure tactics including telling the resident their property value will decrease if they do not have the work done

What to do

  • NEVER agree to work from someone who knocks on your door uninvited
  • Don’t allow anyone to pressure you into having work done
  • If you ask them to leave and they don’t, contact the police on 999
  • Use reputable traders who are members of the KCC Trading Standards approved trader scheme, run in partnership with Checkatrade
  • Get a minimum of 3 quotes in writing

Please warn vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.

If you loft needs insulation you may be eligible for funding check the Warm Homes scheme


KFRS Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2020

You have probably never spent much time considering how your fire and rescue service works to reduce the likelihood of an emergency happening to you. We hope this brief guide gives you a reassuring insight into the depth of the planning and work that goes on to help you stay safe. 

We need and want to tell you about what we think the issues are, and consult you on any proposals we want to make which change the service you receive. This plan is mostly to tell you how we do this, what we think about and what we then do with the information. It also covers some investments for the future we are making, and where we want to set the Council Tax for 2020/21. 

All fire services, by law, have to assess risks in their areas. In Kent and Medway we want to get the best possible understanding and assessment of public safety across Kent and Medway, and all the things that we think could reasonably predict happening that could cause injury or loss of property. This is best done with your help so we understand the issues which could make you more vulnerable, and the needs you have from us. We can then develop ways to help change behaviour to reduce harm, through our prevention work, or our emergency response service.

It’s all about you…

We focus on people and how their individual needs can best be served. For example:

  • People living with some forms of dementia, or physical or mental disabilities may be more vulnerable to fire and may need tailored support in the event of an emergency.
  • People may be at risk because of the nature of buildings in which they live.
  • People could be impacted by risks in their local area, such as grass fires, coastal flooding or similar risks within their community. 

We look at these alongside broader issues in society such as how populations change and how a warmer climate might affect fires. 

Bringing all these risks together we work out the blend of fire stations, firefighters and specialist equipment and teams that we need, in order to get to you as quickly as possible within the money we have available to us. We look at what work we can do to prevent fires and road traffic collisions by helping people change to safer behaviours, and also what we can do to make buildings safer.

The first part of this plan is a summary of the eight elements we bring together to understand how best to serve you. We are very happy to give you a more in-depth explanation should you wish by emailing

Nick Chard, Chairman of Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority

Flood Warning lifted

The Flood Warning affecting parts of South Ashford was lifted on Monday Morning and the Flood Alert for the Lower Stour was lifted thisMorning (Christmas Day) but the whole of the Upper Stour area remains at Flood Alert

Updated at 7:42pm Wednesday 25 December 2019

Upper River Stour

Flooding is possible – be prepared

River levels have fallen significantly throughout the Upper Stour catchment but some low lying land and roads may still be affected by flood water, particularly in the area around Great Chart. The Aldington and Hothfield flood storage areas are still impounding water from the recent heavy rainfall last week but water levels are falling steadily. The weather conditions are expected to remain dry overnight but further rainfall is forecast on Boxing Day, 26 December 2019 which is likely to cause further localised flooding of low lying land.   We are continuing to monitor the situation as the catchments remain very responsive to further rainfall.    This Flood Alert message will be updated tomorrow morning, 26 December 2019.

This information was last updated at 7:42pm Wednesday 25 December 2019

River levels are falling through the catchment. We are storing water at Aldington and Hothfield Flood Storage Reservoirs and they are emptying slowly. Today is forecast to be dry but the occasional shower cannot be ruled out. Weak frontal systems are forecast on Monday/Tuesday night with blustery showers embedded, a second system is forecast for Thursday. The current expectation is that these are not likely to be as disruptive as last weeks rainfall. We are monitoring conditions. Residents should remain vigilant as catchments are saturated.

This information was last updated at 12:33pm Monday 23 December 2019

South Ashford on the East Stour River, Aylesford Stream, Whytewater Dyke and Ruckinge Dyke

Last time in force: 8:57am Monday 23 December 2019

After a period of drier weather, river levels have fallen and the risk of flooding has now passed.

This information was last updated at 8:57am Monday 23 December 2019

Upper River Stour

Flooding is possible – be prepared

River levels are high following recent heavy rainfall. The weather forecast is for less rainfall over the next few days, which will allow river levels to reduce. The ground remains very wet, and river levels will rise again if there is further heavy rain. We continue to monitor the situation closely, This message will be updated in the morning on Monday 23/12/19, or as the situation changes.

This information was last updated at 7:05pm Sunday 22 December 2019

Flood warning

South Ashford on the East Stour River, Aylesford Stream, Whytewater Dyke and Ruckinge Dyke

Flooding is expected – immediate action required

River levels remain high in Ashford following rainfall over the last few days. We expect river levels to fall through Sunday 22 and Monday 23 December. No further heavy or prolonged rainfall is forecast, and we expect the situation to improve. We will update this message by 9am on Monday 23 December, or as the situation changes.

This information was last updated at 9:54pm Sunday 22 December 2019

River levels remain high in Ashford following rainfall over the last few days. We expect river levels to fall through Sunday 22 December. No further heavy or prolonged rainfall is forecast, and we expect the situation to improve. We will update this message by 3pm on Sunday 22 December, or as the situation changes.

This information was last updated at 5:06am Sunday 22 December 2019

Heavy showers have held river levels high and they remain at their peak level. This warning remains in force. We are continuing to monitor conditions in the catchment and are clearing blockages where they are identified. We are storing water at Aldington and Hothfield upstream of Ashford . Residents are recommended to remain vigilant. A few heavy showers are forecast throughout the day before a band of frontal rain passes through overnight from saturday to sunday 21st to 22nd December 2019. River levels will respond to this but given the forecast it is not thought that conditions will be any worse than they were on Friday

This information was last updated at 1:14pm Saturday 21 December 2019

River levels remain high but steady following prolonged rainfall, especially in Ashford. Flooding of properties, including The Stour centre, roads and farmland is possible. We believe there is a possibility of flooding for properties along Tannery Lane. Further rainfall is forecast through Saturday 21 December which may cause levels to rise again. We are closely monitoring the situation. Please plan driving routes to avoid low-lying roads near rivers, which may be flooded. This message will be updated on Saturday afternoon 21/12/2019

This information was last updated at 5:05am Saturday 21 December 2019

Know what to do

The best way to protect yourself from flooding is to know what to do in advance.

We issue 3 levels of flood warning:

Image of flood alert symbol
Flood alert – Prepare
  • prepare a bag that includes medicines and insurance documents
  • check flood warnings

Image of flood warning symbol
Flood warning – Act
  • turn off gas, water and electricity
  • move things upstairs or to safety
  • move family, pets and car to safety

Image of severe flood warning symbol
Severe flood warning – Survive
  • call 999 if in immediate danger
  • follow advice from emergency services
  • keep yourself and your family safe

Council hours

We list below the hours of council services during the Christmas Period.

Ashford Borough Council

Services at the Civic Centre

Monday 16 December9.00am to 5.00pm
Tuesday 17 December9.00am to 5.00pm
Wednesday 18 December9.00am to 5.00pm
Thursday 19 December9.00am to 5.00pm
Friday 20 December9.00am to 5.00pm
Monday 23 DecemberClosed
Tuesday 24 DecemberClosed
Wednesday 25 DecemberClosed
Thursday 26 DecemberClosed
Friday 27 DecemberClosed
Monday 30 December9.00am to 5.00pm
Tuesday 31 December9.00am to 5.00pm
Wednesday 1 JanuaryClosed
Thursday 2 January9.00am to 5.00pm

ABC Fast Track Desk at the Civic Centre
(for copying and scanning of documents)

Monday 16 December9.00am to 4.00pm
Tuesday 17 December9.00am to 4.00pm
Wednesday 18 December9.00am to 4.00pm
Thursday 19 December9.00am to 4.00pm
Friday 20 December9.00am to 4.00pm
Monday 23 DecemberClosed
Tuesday 24 DecemberClosed
Wednesday 25 DecemberClosed
Thursday 26 DecemberClosed
Friday 17 DecemberClosed
Monday 30 December9.00am to 4.00pm
Tuesday 31 December9.00am to 4.00pm
Wednesday 1 DecemberClosed
Thursday 2 December9.00am to 4.00pm

Kent County Council

Ashford Household Waste Recycling Centre

Monday to Saturday: 8am to 4:30pm
Sunday and bank holidays: 9am to 4pm
Closed: Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

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