News

KCC to test Selsted School's history of survival

Contributed by editor on May 01, 2006 - 07:16 PM

 

KCC TO TEST SELSTED SCHOOL'S HISTORY OF SURVIVAL

Dear Ed,

Selsted Primary School was built in 1871 by the churches of the Parishes of Denton, Wootton and Swingfield, but is Kent County Council (KCC) Education Department now about to close the school?


In the past the school has been strongly supported by parents because it has offered an `alternative` primary school education for their offspring, but it too has recently fallen victim to the county dilemma of a falling roll.

This has undoubtedly been compounded in the case of Selsted with the arrival of a new school in Hawkinge (Churchill Primary School). Both the Churchill and the older Hawkinge Primary School are apparently not running to maximum capacity, so the question is being asked by KCC, ` do we need three schools so close to each other`.

A clue to KCC`s current thinking could be ascertained by the fact that the current head teacher retires at the end of this term and his vacant post has yet to be advertised.

After a long history of survival which includes a Zeppelin raid in World War 1, and a lightning strike which killed one pupil, is KCC now about to sign the school's death certificate.

Colin Tearle
Chairman of Swingfield Parish Council


Council has the land for allotments

Contributed by editor on May 01, 2006 - 03:42 PM


COUNCIL HAS THE LAND FOR ALLOTMENTS

Dear Ed,

Yes folks, this month's edition of the Roundel has now been published, and once again Cllr.Joan Brisley has come up trumps.

Without fail for the past few issues she has been banging on about the Parish Council wanting someone to give them a 'spare piece of land` for allotments instead of selling the sites off for housing.

Come off it Cllr. Brisley it's like the pot calling the kettle black, especially in the light of the recent development of Hawkinge Parish Council submitting a planning application for houses on the Spitfire Leisuredrome site.

Land is available there for allotments and land could also be made available at the site of the new football pitch, also owned by the Parish Council. Both sites are designated in the local plan for leisure and recreation.

In the past Hawkinge Parish Council has sold off other parcels of land to developers,  some of  which could surely have been used with a little foresight. Why not spend some of that money to purchase a piece of land for the Allotment Association.

As ever with the current state of Hawkinge Parish Council, I'm afraid its a case of, physician heal thyself.

VERITAS


Top TV star joins Dover MP in live exports fight

Contributed by editor on May 01, 2006 - 01:49 PM

 

TOP TV STAR JOINS DOVER MP IN LIVE EXPORTS FIGHT

Joanna Lumley

Dover can expect more animal rights demonstrations following news that Joanna Lumley and local MP Gwyn Prosser will be spearheading a protest calling on the Government to keep a ban on live veal calf exports, 10 years after the practice prompted angry demonstrations across Britain. 

Campaigners are now preparing to fight the reinstatement of the trade, as bans on the export of British beef are dropped next week. 

The former model and star of the BBC comedy Absolutely Fabulous will present a giant postcard to the animal welfare minister Ben Bradshaw tomorrow (2 May) calling for last-minute action to save the calves.

Speaking to the Independent, Miss Lumley said: "It is simply unacceptable to treat living creatures this way."


Monthly gardening tips - May

Contributed by editor on May 01, 2006 - 12:07 AM


GARDENING TIPS - MAY

P<FONT class=pn-normal>lace the garden furniture and barbecue in their positions for the summer. Although cleaned before being put away they will need attention before being used.

Everywhere seedling weeds are appearing. Work regularly with a hoe around all established plantings. Where appropriate a mulch can be applied.

This is a good time to apply a general organic fertilizer to all established plantings.

LAWN

Watch new lawns carefully for drying out. Freshly turfed lawns are susceptible to shrinkage if they become dry and this can also impair the germination and growth of seedling grass where a lawn is being created from seed.

Where weeds like daisies and dandelions are troublesome, they can be treated with a broad-leafed lawn weedkiller. This kills the weeds but leaves the grass untouched.

POND

Established aquatic plants can be fed with a specialist aquatic plant fertilizer tablet or sachet placed in the compost next to each plant.

If the pond is continually green with suspended algae introduce more submerged plants to mop up excessive nutrients. Also increase the shading of the surface of the pool to reduce light beneath by introducing another waterlily or deep water aquatic like water hawthorn.

FLOWERS

As the spring flowering bedding fades it should be removed and the soil prepared to receive summer flowering bedding.

Tulips and other bulbs which are part of a bedding scheme and can be kept for planting for next spring, should be carefully removed with as little disturbance as possible and placed in an open sunny position in another part of the garden. They can then be allowed to die back slowly and naturally.

Any prominent groups of spring flowering bulbs that are seen to be developing seed heads should have them removed. However, foliage should always be allowed to die back naturally.

Continue to monitor climbing and wall plants and where necessary tie them into their supports.

Check roses and other grafted plants for suckers and remove them immediately they are spotted. Never cut suckers off, but tear them away from the roots.

VEGETABLES

Weed all young vegetable plants and keep o­n top of thinning the seedlings of those such as carrots, parsnips and spinach.

Plant out marrows, courgettes, ridge cucumbers and sweet corn.

Plant out leeks and celery. With leeks make sure that the "flags" or leaves which are arranged in a single plane all lie in the same direction to assist future cultivation.

Sow beetroot and garden swede directly into the open ground, along with dwarf French and runner beans.

FRUIT

Prepare the strawberry bed. As soon as any fruits show signs of colouring place a layer of straw around the plants and protect the strawberries from birds and squirrels by erecting a small netting structure.

Tie in the shoots of any wall fruits as they develop. Remove any that are unwanted along with any suckering growth.

GREENHOUSE

Harden off all bedding plants and tender vegetable plants prior to planting out.

Any bedding plants that cannot be planted out when they have filled their allocated place in seed tray or pot should receive a general liquid feed.

Shade the greenhouse and ensure that it is ventilated as necessary. In warm weather "damp down" the floor with water in order to produce humidity.

Biological controls for whitefly and mealy bug can be introduced. Alternatively try sticky traps.

As tomatoes, peppers and aubergines start to flower begin feeding with a high potash liquid feed.


Swingfield annual parish meeting 25 April 2006 - Chairman's report

Contributed by editor on Apr 30, 2006 - 09:12 AM


CHAIRMAN`S REPORT  25/04/06

People often remark to me of how quickly we get through our meetings. My answer is always, `Well that’s because usually our Councillors usually know what they are doing, don’t keep repeating themselves, keep to the subject and we have an efficient Clerk`.

I recently had to attend another Parish Council Meeting, and after 2½hrs. of incoherent wrangling, another observer and myself were at a loss as to what had been achieved or the perpose of what had been discussed.

The reason I am recounting this tale is to say, `Thank-you to the Councillors and the Clerk for making the job of Chairman a pleasure.

For me nothing more typifies what I have just said than how you dealt with the highly controversial planning application for the Black-horse meadow, and o­n top of that, got Shepway`s Cabinet to remove some of the permitted development rights, thus for the time being, effectively blocking any development o­n this land. Seven minutes those decisions took, in front of 75 parishioners. And our electors left that meeting with the knowledge that those they had entrusted to be Councillors knew what they were doing.

At this time may I take the opportunity to o­nce again record the Councils` thanks to Cllr.R.Curd, the previous Chairman for all the work he had done over the last 5½ years.

Last year saw the unfortunate spoiling of part of the village green, which was quickly repaired with no long-lasting damage, when necessary works were being carried out to the church and church-yard to try and give it a long term future, rather than watch it fall down. For many years we have maintained the church-yard with the assistance of the concurrent services grant from SDC, however since its removal, with the advent of The Friends of Swingfield Church and with the fact that this is now administered by an other PPC(Acrise) I feel the time should be taken between now and the next budget to carefully review the situation. The new PPC has contacted me and when I have something to report, I will do so. Incidentally we did get £2000 for an Easement across the Village Green for the laying o­n of essential services which was most welcome to the Council coffers.

Although it is like watching paint dry, progress is being made o­n the Council`s Affordable Housing Scheme with negotiations currently o­ngoing with the landowner and a site investigation shortly to be done. Last January I attended a seminar in Newchurch organized by the Rural housing Trust in the presence of HRH Princess Anne. It was refreshing to note Shepway`s new co-operative stance o­n this issue especially in the light of hurdles put in our way last year.

The A260 is as always a problem with regards to the speed of the traffic and its associated footpath problems between the Selsted bends and Densole. Nothing as usual has happened. Even in January as Councillors are aware, we received an offer of co-operation from the Chairman of Hawkinge PC, but as yet nothing has materialized from Hawkinge.

In the past the KAPC has always been good for a yawn. I don’t believe that is true anymore. More and more I begin to see how by co-operating we can begin to have an effect o­n Shepway Council policy and indeed o­n policies elsewhere in the county.

When not a single member of the Cabinet showed up at the Joint Consultative Meeting for the second time last December, such was the strength of the letter that was sent to them ,it produced a very quick apology from both the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council, and the Deputy Leader was given the task of always attending.

Anyway, what has been discussed and progressed?

Shepway will resume the collection of refuse from Village halls again after it was terminated by an Officer without the authority to do so.

Parish/Town Councils will have a greater say in the selection of their Standards Board Representatives, or so we thought and with good reason, because both Cllr. Monk and Mr. Wignal indicated that they thought their would be NO problems. However last Wednesday their was, because the proposals where voted down.

The inequity of Sandgate PC contributing equally per household to the Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Ground Charity has been aired and hopefully will be resolved by 2008.

More clarity to be given to Planning Applicants o­n ALL the procedures.

The larger Authorities like Folkestone are to pay more for membership of the KAPC rather than be subsidized by the smaller Authorities like Swingfield.

I believe that due to continual pressure over the last 3 years. The standard of the reports written by the Planning Officers has dramatically improved. o­n top of that, the public are now getting responses to telephone calls and enquires. However we have recently discovered  that Planning Authorities are supposed to give Parish Councils 21 days to respond to Planning Applications, and not the current 14, and that where the District council makes a decision contrary to the wishes of the Parish Council it `SHALL NOTIFY THE `PARISH` COUNCIL OF THE TERMS OF THE DECISION`.

It has now been fairly well established that Planning Officers do not have the right to refer any application to GOSE if granted by the Development Control Committee.

As Members will recall last year I was elected to the KAPC Executive. It turns out to be a very useful source of information about changes to legislation and regulations, which eventually will eventually have an impact o­n our own Council. It is also a place where o­ne can learn how other Council’s (District and Parish) conduct themselves. Let’s just say, it has its advantages.

A Council can be as proactive as it likes and to this end we decided back in1997 to twin with Aviron, France. To this end it set up a twinning committee to administer its policy.

Last year there were 4 main areas of activity.

Last summer pupils and staff from our school spent 5 days o­n an exchange visit to Aviron Primary School. By any criteria all judged it to be a resounding success. This year pupils from Aviron are scheduled to come to Swingfield.

July saw us pay host to a party from Aviron, whilst in September a 20+ party went to Aviron, Saturday being spent in Amblois, and o­n the Sunday English culture was seen at their village fete in the form of a light hearted cricket match.

In November I attended their Armistice Day commemorations at the invitation of the Major of Aviron, deputising for Cllr R.Curd.

This year plans are already in hand for them to attend our Remembrance services, as well as us spending 3 days in Aviron in June, whilst they will visit us in September.

Last year financially the Village Hall held its own, leaving it with reserves of about £2K.A far cry from the days when it was dependant o­n a subsidy from this Council, or indeed in receipt of loans. The Trustees had hoped to be able to replace the  windows with the help of a KCC grant thanks to our County Councillor. That unfortunately fell through as. But very recently we have just been asked to apply for funds through the KCC Second Homes Community Charge Scheme. this we will be doing, again my thanks to Cllr. Carey.

Cllr Colin Tearle - Chairman Swingfield Parish Council


Swingfield annual parish meeting 25 April 2006 - KCC report

Contributed by editor on Apr 30, 2006 - 09:12 AM


KCC REPORT TO SWINGFIELD ANNUAL MEETING 25 APRIL 2006

I am very sorry to miss the Swingfield Annual Meeting which took precedence in my diary for the evening of the 25th April.  Unfortunately a family emergency has arisen and I cannot be with you.
 

I start my report to you with a thank you for electing me.  Turnout in the Elham Valley Division was 75.6% which is exceptionally high and my share of vote was 60%.  This gave me a vote of nearly 6,000 and a majority of nearly 4,000.  As you can imagine, this sort of thing gets you noticed at County Hall and it means that people listen to what I had to say o­n your behalf.

Elham Valley is a special place which is still largely rural in its character and much of it lies in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  In an increasingly urbanised world there is a real need to speak up for rural areas and to strike the right balance between economic growth and protecting the countryside.  I have been very encouraged by the policies and projects that KCC have in place to help rural regeneration and Kent’s farmers such as Produced in Kent, Farmers Markets and the biofuel trials.

The state of our roads and the speed of the traffic o­n them was a big concern to the electorate and I was therefore very pleased to be appointed to the Highways Advisory Board and the Strategic Planning Policy Overview Committee which dealt with transport matters.  In October I was appointed Lead Member for Education supporting the Cabinet Member for Education.  This brought with it appointments to the Schools Organisation Advisory Board, Kent Schools Organisation Committee, SACRE (overviewing Religious Education) and the Walking Bus project.

I have now visited about 30 of Kent’s 615 schools including both Hawkinge schools and Selsted as well as three of the new children’s centres which deal with 0 to 4 year old children and their parents.  I have planted trees and cut ribbons and sat in o­n classes and taken part in all sorts of school activities.  I have been impressed with the work that is being done in the schools by teachers, pupils and governors.

The big drop in the number of children means that there are around 14,000 empty desks in primary schools across the County.  As schools are funded per pupil this is a major problem for them and the more vacancies they have the less they have to spend o­n children’s education.  Kent County Council is therefore reviewing all areas to merge and close schools so that the number of empty places is reduced.  Schools are merged, closed and opened all the time and this is part of the normal work of the Schools Organisation Advisory Board but the scale of the surplus places is such that we have doubled the number of meetings for the next 6 months and will be looking at two to three areas every meeting.  By merging or closing a few schools in each area the remaining schools will o­nce more be viable.

The Shepway area will also be reviewed but does not have quite such a problem as other areas because the Ghurkha soldiers are being allowed to have their families with them and this is expected to bring around 400 children into Shepway’s schools. 

Shepway has also done very well in securing two of the five new Academies planned for Kent with o­ne in Folkestone sponsored by Roger de Hahn and o­ne o­n the Romney Marsh sponsored by Microsoft.  And the George Spurgeon Primary School in Folkestone is to benefit from £3.5 million capital and over £½ million in extra revenue when it is closed at the end of this year to re-open as a ‘Fresh Start’.

I have spoken at County Hall about the problems caused to our area by Operation Stack, I have secured funding for a pilot study o­n removing sign clutter from our roads and I have assisted individuals with various problems concerning Highways, Schools and Social Services.

Council tax has risen sharply in the last few years.  Kent County Council has argued that Kent’s share of grant from central government is too low particularly compared with the level of grant paid to councils in the Midlands and the North.  This year the increase in grant for schools was a generous 6.9% but for all other services just 0.3%.  We already know that next year’s settlement from central government will be even lower.  We at KCC will continue to do our best to put the case for fairer funding for Kent and to look to deliver services more efficiently.

Despite the financial pressures, Kent County Council is rated 4 stars (the top mark) and ‘improving strongly’ by the Audit Commission.  o­nly three county councils in the country were awarded 4 stars and of these KCC had the lowest B and D council tax for 2005/06.

It is a great privilege to be the County representative for Elham Valley and I look forward to working with your parish council in the year ahead.

Susan Carey
Member for Elham Valley, Kent County Council


Spies to check up on Shepway Council

Contributed by editor on Apr 29, 2006 - 12:14 AM

 

SPIES TO CHECK UP ON  SHEPWAY COUNCIL

Services offered by Shepway Council will be coming under the scrutiny of
‘secret shoppers’ during the next two months.



Shepway is one of a number of councils in Kent taking part in the mystery
shopping programme during May and June. Council staff across the county will
call or visit other councils to test the way they look after their customers and
provide services.



The results will be produced later in the year and given to all the councils
that took part so that they can judge their services and enhance them were
necessary.



Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr David Monk, said ‘secret shoppers’ were a
good idea – and the collaboration with other councils meant that Shepway could
monitor its services inexpensively.



“This is a cost-effective way of gathering information about the way we
perform and is another initiative to measure level of service satisfaction for
our customers. “



Hawkinge annual parish meeting 26 April 2006 - Hawkinge Partnership report

Contributed by editor on Apr 28, 2006 - 05:23 PM


HAWKINGE PARTNERSHIP REPORT

Hawkinge Partnership Report to the Annual Parish Meeting, Wednesday 26th April 2006

We are a Partnership of residents, public service providers and Councillors and are 1 of the 35 Neighbourhood Management Pathfinders nationally that work to improve people’s quality of life through enhancing public service delivery at a very local level. 

These are just some of the Partnership’s achievements of last year:

· The Partnership has now fully established a Neighbourhood Management Team to support their work.

· The Partnership Board has also been strengthened over the year and following elections at our AGM in March.  There are 10 residents who take part in decision-making and we also have a housing service provider o­n our Board from Coast & Countryside.

· The Partnership established a Community Office in Hawkinge, which has received 1,000 visitors since opening. Connexions, JobCentre Plus, the Children’s Centre, Social Services, PC Trevor Moody, Tanya Clarke and Coast & Countryside now provide services to Hawkinge from the Office.  It will shortly be the base for Councillor and Occupational Therapy surgeries.  Residents also use the Office as a source of information for local clubs, groups and services and many use the public computer for job searches and email.

· Earlier this year, the Partnership supported the Parish, District and County Councils by facilitating discussion between them regarding litter and dog bins.  The Team supported these partners by undertaking resident consultation to highlight areas of priority need and pathfinder funding was approved to help the Parish Council to purchase 20 bins for these areas.   The bins are due to be installed shortly and the Partnership will continue work with the Councils to monitor the success of this project.

· The Partnership supported a Hawkinge Youth Feasibility Study that was undertaken in December 2005.  The recommendations from this study are to be taken forward by a youth steering group, which Cllr Brisley has shown an interest in, and our Board have just given their approval to a youth provision proposal, which includes employing a full time Youth Worker for Hawkinge.

· The Partnership established a Youth Forum for Hawkinge. 11 young people regularly attend the weekly meetings and they have just come back from a residential weekend, where they learnt planning and communication skills to help support their work in the Forum. 

· The Community Chest supported 16 local clubs and groups over the year.  Over 1,250 residents benefited from community chest grants in various activities, from being able to set up the Hawkinge Angels, which is a new support group for parents of children with special needs, to enabling the Craft Group, Scouts and Yoga Group to purchase equipment.  This year,  £10,000 in Pathfinder funding has been allocated to the Community Chest for local projects, which will benefit the Hawkinge community.  Please contact the Community Office for more information o­n how to apply.

· The Partnership supported the Community Centre by helping to identify a source of funds and support to undertake a strategic review.  In February, the Centre benefited from Pathfinder funding to install a noise limiter and successfully renew their entertainments licence. 

· The Partnership established the Hawkinge Community Events Group, which put o­n a successful Fun Day last year and attracted 2,000 people to the Community Centre, Village Hall and green.  Many local clubs and groups had the opportunity to run a stall o­n the day and a number have reported an increase in their membership as a result.  The Group have just been granted Pathfinder funding to hold another Fun Day again this year, the date being 16th September 2006.

· The Partnership produced its new delivery plan for 2006-07 as a reader-friendly brochure and sets out all of our agreed actions for the year.  The brochure has been hand delivered to every address in Hawkinge and further copies are available from the Community Office.

The following are just some of the challenges ahead for this year:

· Partnership work will continue this year with the Community Centre to set up an IT café in the foyer.  The IT café steering group have agreed a phased approach to the work and is aiming for completion in September.

· The Partnership will take o­n new challenges of establishing a steering group to take forward actions from the Youth Feasibility Study and recruiting a Youth Worker. 

· Best Kept Street –we will be looking to our partners to lead o­n this action and will be approaching the Housing Forum for their support.

· Connecting Hawkinge – the steering group will continue to work with consultants to produce a realistic action plan for improving travel, access and safety around the village based o­n the resident consultation that was carried out earlier this year.  The group now needs to focus o­n finding solutions to the issues that were identified in the consultation.

· Community Buildings Improvement Fund – a newly formed group, which is currently setting criteria for the Fund and will soon be publicising it.  The group will meet to consider applications in September.

· Delivery plan 2007-08 – discussions will commence with service providers later o­n this year to determine our actions for 2007-08. 

Jenny Hanna, Acting Neighbourhood Manager, and Emily Barrett, Research & Monitoring Officer, for and o­n behalf of the Hawkinge Partnership

Tel. 01303 858663 Email info@hawkingepartnership.org.uk


Mansion music at Port Lympne

Contributed by editor on Apr 28, 2006 - 01:19 PM

MANSION MUSIC AT PORT LYMPNE

Port Lympne Events would like to invite you to their newest event Mansion Music at Port Lympne. Two days of classical concerts in the beautiful surroundings of the Mansion grounds. Please go to www.portlympneevents.co.uk for more details or for tickets call the Marlowe Theatre on 01227 787787 or go to www.marlowetheatre.com 

Port Lympne Events can accommodate your every need, including corporate events, team building/fun days, conferencing, outdoor events, birthday parties, private dining occasions and weddings as well as monthly events. Please contact us to discuss your requirements and to make reservations on 01303 234111.


Man-o-War to visit Folkestone

Contributed by editor on Apr 28, 2006 - 12:16 AM

 

MAN-O-WAR TO VISIT FOLKESTONE

Le Grand Turk

Folkestone harbour is to receive a visit by the sailing ship the Grand
Turk in June this year.



The ship will shortly be sailing from Whitby to Antwerp in Belgium to work for the Belgian Royal Family as part of the anniversary of the Royal Belgian Yacht Club.

It is then planned for the ship to visit Folkestone during the ninth leg of the Round the World Yacht Race in June when it will be open to the public.



Grand Turk is a replica 18th century man-o-war based on historical drawings of a sixth rate frigate named 'Blandford'.


The ship which has appeared in numerous films was used in the Hornblower TV series.