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No Christmas tree for Folkestone this year

Contributed by editor on Nov 15, 2007 - 11:57 PM

A Christmas carnival featuring Father Christmas and his reindeer is to replace Folkestone's Christmas tree.

Organisers have claimed the 30ft conifer, donated by over-50s company Saga, looks messy after a couple of weeks because litter collects in the leaves and in the surrounding barrier.

They have also admitted to struggling to come up with the £800 maintenance costs.

Members of Town Centre Management are hoping the parade and the town centre lights switch-on, on Friday, November 23 at 5.30pm, will prove just as popular and keep the town's festive spirit alive.

The procession, which starts at 11am on Saturday, November 24, will have at least four real reindeer leading Santa's parade from the Leas Cliff Hall, through Sandgate High Street until it reaches the precinct area in front of the Debenhams store, the former site of the Christmas tree.

Shoppers will be able to meet Santa, stroke his reindeer and enjoy a temporary ice rink which will be set up for the weekend.

Barbara Witham, of Town Centre Management, said: "Christmas is the best time of year for so many people in Folkestone and this year will be no different despite losing the tree.

"November and December will be exciting months for the town with the new Bouverie Place shopping centre opening, the Christmas lights switch on and the Santa Parade.

"The tree will be missed but it gets so littered with rubbish in its leaves and the barriers which surround it."

Mrs Witham added that Santa's parade was a popular event last year and the attraction of reindeers will get shoppers feeling festive.

She said: "Children and adults will be able to meet Santa and pet his reindeer who will be in the town until 3pm on Saturday.

"Folkestone will really feel festive this year."

Village Warden news - 15 November 2007

Contributed by editor on Nov 15, 2007 - 11:47 PM

There is a Boot Fair in the Community Centre on Saturday 17th November between 10am and 2pm.

The former Farmers' Market, now renamed the Village Market has moved to Hawkinge Village Hall, 2pm-4pm every Wednesday. The last 2weeks since it has moved have been very good, with a more friendly community feel to it.

Be aware as the evenings are darker, earlier and to keep your homes and vehicles locked securely. Please as you are starting your Christmas shopping, do keep your presents out of sight and secure. A garage or shed is not ideal, due to previous year's they have been broken into and all presents stolen. Remember to leave a light on or use light timers when you are not home, just as a deterrent to opportunist thieves.

Finally beware of door step callers/ charity collectors at this time of year. Please do not open the door to people you do not know, especially at night and do not buy items over the doorstep, or sign up to anything, take any info and read it through properly. Remember to use your door chain and do not let strangers into your home.

If you would like to talk to me about any security concerns, or feel vulnerable or live alone, please get in touch or visit me at my drop-in surgery on a Wednesday at the Village market, 2.30pm - 4.00pm

Tanya Clark.
Hawkinge KCC
Tel: 07811271303

Golden days of steam return to Folkestone

Contributed by editor on Nov 14, 2007 - 11:41 PM

You will be able to breathe in the nostalgia when one of Britain's most famous steam locomotives returns to Folkestone next month.

"The Golden Arrow," will be arriving at the town's Harbour station on Saturday (1 December)

Battle of Britain class Pacific steam locomotive, No 34067, 'Tangmere,' bedecked in all the ‘Golden Arrow’ regalia, will steaming in at around midday at the soon-to-close Folkestone Harbour station and staying for around an hour .

The famous train will then make its way to Ashford, and head off to Canterbury for a two hour stop before continuing its journey to Ramsgate, Margate, Faversham and London.



Call to honour dead and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan

Contributed by editor on Nov 14, 2007 - 09:55 PM

The Prosser Perspective.... a weekly column from Dover and Deal MP Gwyn Prosser

15 November 2007


I’ve been pleased to take part in our Remembrance Day Services in Dover and Deal for the past twenty years – ever since I was first elected to the District Council in 1987 and for the last ten years, as the MP, I’ve mostly been able to stagger my attendances between Dover for their morning service at the Town Hall and Deal for their afternoon ceremony at the Victoria Hospital.

This year, Deal abandoned its tradition of having separate services and I attended their single combined Hospital ceremony in the morning. I welcome the change but if it continues I’ll have to roster my attendances between Dover one year and Deal the next which is regrettable.

Last week I found myself in another roster when my friends from the St Margaret’s Branch of the British Legion enlisted me to do join their Poppy Appeal Collection in Tesco’s. They’re a great bunch of people, they’ve got dozens of stories to tell and they all seem to share the same wicked sense of humour but there was a serious side to our meeting.

They lobbied me on the Legion’s ‘Honour the Covenant’ project and I was able to confirm that I supported their campaign and tell them that I’d already made written representations to the Minister.

The Covenant campaign seeks to address areas of concern for servicemen such as health, compensation, recognition and support for families. This week I’ve received a reply from the Minister for Defence which stretches to an incredible 13 pages.

The Minister acknowledges the huge debt of gratitude that we all owe to our Armed Services and our Veterans and accepts there’s more to do but points out some of the areas where redress is being made. Their last pay rise was the best in the public sector and uplifted the lowest paid private soldiers pay by over 9 percent. Then there’s the tax free Operational Allowance of £2,320 for a six month tour introduced last year and an improved operational welfare package for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He lists a lot more recently provided benefits - too many to list here - and points out that the British Legion have acknowledged these improvements and the Chief of the General Staff has gone on record to confirm that in his view the military covenant is not broken.

Another of the Legion’s concerns is the apparent lack of public recognition for those who have served with such distinction – and for those who have sacrificed so much. In my view the Ministry of Defence shares in this deficiency and that’s why I am one of the MPs who this week launched the Parliamentary ‘Honour the Brave Campaign’ which is pressing the MoD to honour those who have died or been wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We’ve tabled a motion which calls for the striking of a new medal to honour these brave men and women and I’m confident that we will achieve our goal.


Pier's golden anniversary will light up the sky

Contributed by editor on Nov 14, 2007 - 09:45 PM

The 50th anniversary of Deal Pier is being celebrated in style with free events for the all the family on Thursday 22 November - including a spectacular fireworks display on the pier and a special exhibition marking its 50 years history.

Events to celebrate the pier’s golden anniversary are being organised to combine with the Christmas lights switching on in Deal. They will feature a photographic exhibition on the pier from 9am-5pm, and a special fireworks display from the pier from 8pm.

Deal’s present pier was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on 19 November 1957. The pier is 1026 feet long and was designed by Sir W Halcrow and Partners. It is well used by visitors and local residents and is internationally recognised as an angling venue.

While celebrating its history, negotiations are underway with the selected tenderer for works for the future, with exciting works on the pier-end café bar. It is anticipated work will commence on site in February/March 2008 and that the new café will be opened to the public in August/September 2008.


Shopping Mall to open on 26 November

Contributed by editor on Nov 14, 2007 - 09:35 PM

Howard's Way.... a weekly column from the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC. MP. 

15 November 2007


Memories are short. Last Friday we were beset by flood warnings. The Environment Agency said that the North Sea surge would work its way down the East Coast and that we, in the South eastern corner of the country, were at risk.

Fortunately these forebodings were not fulfilled. But my first call on Friday morning was on Alistair Stewart, the Chief Executive of Shepway District Council, to ask whether we were as fully prepared as we could be. I was assured that we were. Obviously, even on this occasion, it is essential that we are ready to deal with what the elements may throw at us.

Next stop was Folkestone Post Office to meet some of those who, like me, are campaigning against its move to WH Smith and against the proposed closure of other Post Offices in our area. I was presented with a bumper petition which I forwarded to the Post Office – whose consultation exercise ended that day – on Monday.

I was then taken on a tour of the Town Centre development which, I was assured, is on course to open on November 26. I was excited by what I saw and am confident that this will make a really big difference to Folkestone.

After that I attended the AGM of Carers’ Support, an excellent organisation which helps and supports the many carers, of all ages, who are doing such a magnificent job in our community.

I then went to Dymchurch where Damian Collins, the Prospective Conservative Candidate for the constituency and I listened to the concerns of local farmers, both about the failure of the Environment Agency to maintain the vital drainage ditches on Romney Marsh and about the extreme difficulties they face as a result of the restrictions on their ability to move animals. I shall be putting these concerns to the Agency and DEFRA.

Sunday, of course, was Remembrance Day. This year Sandra and I went to Hythe where a large number of residents gathered at the War Memorial to pay our annual tribute to those who have made, and continued to make, such enormous sacrifices on our behalf. It was, as ever deeply moving. The debt we owe is enormous. We must never forget.


I question accuracy of survey

Contributed by editor on Nov 14, 2007 - 05:09 PM

Dear Editor,

Re: Survey shows local people would rather fly from Lydd than London

I would like to question the accuracy of this article.

The referendum held on the position of the airport gave the following results.

"Lydd residents voted 741 in favour and 916 against, while in New Romney 396 were in favour and 1,288 against".

What was the number of people polled and where were they? I now live on the marsh and did not get questionnaire.

Come on Lydd airport marketing team, confess on the basis of this report and don't mislead the local people.



Sports centre needs your vote

Contributed by editor on Nov 13, 2007 - 07:39 PM

Make a difference and vote for the Folkestone Sports Centre.

That's the message from Chris Kirkham of the Friends of the Centre as the time draws closer to the People's Millions competition.

Ninety grants of £80,000 are up for grabs, including awards to the most popular runners-up in each ITV region.

The awards will fund projects that aim to make a difference in their community from creating an urban nature reserve, a wildlife garden or play area to clearing up an over grown waterway or vandalised community building.

Chris said:  "Winning 'The People's Millions' competition would enable the Trust to bring more Children's Fun Exercise activities to Folkestone, to help get our young people fit and healthy for their future – loads of great fun too"

Click on the picture to vote or watch Meridian news on 27 November.

Survey shows local people would rather fly from Lydd than London

Contributed by editor on Nov 13, 2007 - 09:29 AM

London Ashford Airport at Lydd is claiming widespread support from local people and businesses for new air routes.

The airport is awaiting a decision from Shepway District Council on two planning applications; a 294m extension to the runway, and a new passenger terminal building capable of handling 500,000 passengers a year.

Leah Taylor, on behalf of the airport, is reported in a local newspaper saying: "Responding to new research carried out by the airport's marketing team, the majority of those surveyed said they would prefer to fly from a smaller regional airport such as Lydd, where passengers can check in just 30 minutes before departure, than travel from a busy London airport.

"The survey asked people to name the domestic and European destinations they would most like to fly to from Lydd. Paris and Jersey came top of the list, along with Dublin and Amsterdam, while the UK domestic routes in most demand included Newcastle, Exeter, Manchester and Edinburgh.

"Typical holiday destinations such as Malaga, the Canary Islands and Alicante also proved popular.

"We conducted the survey to give residents and businesses the chance to have their say on the destinations they fly to most frequently, and whether or not they feel it's important to have commercial air services available from Lydd. The questionnaire was also available online and proved just as popular as the postal survey."

The airport's managing director, Zaher Deir, said "This enthusiastic response shows there is a huge demand for air travel services in this region. We're in talks with a number of commercial airline operators and the opinions of local travellers are critical in helping us to provide the kind of services and routes that will benefit them the most."

Residents and businesses can add their comments and put forward their preferred destinations.

If you'd like to take part in the survey, contact LAA's Public Relations Executive, Jo Oliver, on 01797 322463 to request a copy or email



Plan for 1,000 homes turned down

Contributed by editor on Nov 12, 2007 - 09:18 PM

Plans for 1,000 homes to be built on a former quarry site in Hythe have been turned down by the town council.

The council rejected the application to build a huge estate at Nickolls Quarry near the town.

It said it is concerned about a lack of road infrastructure, flooding and the impact on wildlife.

A final decision will be taken by Shepway District Council.



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