Howard's Way - 19 October 2006

Contributed by editor on Oct 19, 2006 - 12:05 AM

HOWARD'S WAY.... a weekly column from Michael Howard MP

October 2006


Last Thursday I attended a meeting with Eurostar to discuss their proposals to reduce their services to Paris and discontinue their services to Brussels from Ashford International station. 

The meeting was also attended by Damian Green, the Member of Parliament for Ashford, the Leaders of Shepway and Ashford Councils, the deputy leader of Kent County Council and the Chief Executive of the South East Economic Development Agency. 

Eurostar justifies its proposals by the opening of the new station at Ebbsfleet. They have conducted a survey which claims to show that most passengers to Brussels who currently use Ashford International would prefer to use Ebbsfleet when it opens. 

I have for some time been asking to see the survey so that it could be analysed in order to test whether Eurostar’s assumptions are indeed justified. At the meeting Eurostar agreed to make this material available. 

We also had a more general discussion in which questions were raised as to whether sufficient account has been taken of the future growth of Ashford and Shepway and the effect of the proposals as the development of the economy of East Kent as a whole. 

Eurostar undertook to reflect on these points and a further meeting is to be held in a month’s time. 

Last week also saw the publication of the Government’s assessment of the performance of NHS Trusts. It did not make good reading either nationally or locally. 

The quality of service offered by the East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust is assessed as only fair and its use of resources assessed as weak. 

After all the assurances I have repeatedly been given about the improving performance of the Trust this was especially disappointing. But perhaps you will not be totally surprised!

Neighbourhood Watch - 18 October 2006

Contributed by editor on Oct 18, 2006 - 09:04 PM



Neighbourhood Watch have reported a scam in which you receive a card or phone call to advise that a company has been unable to deliver a package. 

This is once again doing the rounds and works like this.

A card is posted through your door, or you receive a telephone message from a company called PDS - Parcel Delivery Service - telling you that they are unable to deliver a package and that you need to contact them on a certain number.

This is a premium rate number. DO NOT call this number. If you do, the moment that you start to hear the recorded message your phone account is charged with £15. The longer you stay on line listening to the message so the charges increase.

This is a scam that originated in Belize.

If you should receive either a card or a phone call please would you contact Royal Mail Fraud on 0207 239 6655 or ICTIS, they are the premium rate service regulator, on or your local Trading Standards Office.

This company is currently being investigated and your help would be appreciated.


Sally Coleman, Parish & NHW Liaison Officer 07870 999892 

PC Trevor Moody  07980 770583

Village Warden Tanya Clark 07811 271303

Village Warden news - 18 October 2006

Contributed by editor on Oct 18, 2006 - 12:05 AM




ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR - Complaints have been received from The Meade area over the last week. Youths are congregating in the alleyway from The Meade onto Aerodrome Road. Graffiti has appeared in this area and is being investigated. The Police are also aware. 

CRIME - There has been one burglary at a property in St. Lukes Walk, this is being investigated.

An increase of Satellite Navigation systems being stolen from vehicles across the South East. Police have set up a special operation to target known car criminals and extra police patrols are patrolling hot-spots and car parks. Please remember to wipe away any suction marks left on the windscreen or dashboard after removing any Sat-Nav's, as thieves look for these signs. Please do not leave the equipment in the glove box and security mark your equipment with your postcode , followed by your house number. 

HALLOWEEN - This date is nearly upon us and the Trick or Treater's will soon begin. You do not have to open your door to these callers. If you do not want to be involved in this activity, I have a 'SORRY, NO TRICK or TREATS' sign you can put up at your front door. I have left a few of these signs in the Community Centre, Serendipity and Partnership Office for you to pick up. The school's have informed the children not to call at properties with this sign and has been quite successful in previous years. 

Tanya Clark

Village Warden

Telephone:- 07811 271303 

Neighbourhood Watch - 17 October 2006

Contributed by editor on Oct 17, 2006 - 09:36 PM



Neighbourhood Watch have reported that there was a ten-fold increase in the number of Satellite Navigation systems stolen from cars in the South Kent area during the period from June to September. 

In the same period last year just 5 had been stolen, this year it is 50.
Kent Police state that Sat Navs have now overtaken mobile phones and car audio equipment as the must have items that attract opportunist thieves.

Officers are warning motorists to be wary of people who offer Sat Navs for sale in pubs and other public places, as they could be helping to fuel the criminal market in these systems.

A special operation has been set up to target known car criminals and for extra police patrols in car crime hot spots and car parks.

As I have said on so many occasions those sat navs that are stand-alone are designed as a portable item and should be removed from the vehicle whenever it is vacated irrespective of how short a period of time. The cradle and suction pads should also be removed. Remember to wipe away any suction pad marks left on the windscreen or dashboard as thieves will look out for these and don't leave the equipment in the glove compartment as thieves always check that area first.

Security mark your system with either your postcode followed by your house name or number, your vehicle registration number or your National Insurance number. All of the methods are traceable by the Police.

Sally Coleman


Sally Coleman, Parish & NHW Liaison Officer 07870 999892 

PC Trevor Moody  07980 770583

Village Warden Tanya Clark 07811 271303

Local wind farm can go ahead, Court rules

Contributed by editor on Oct 17, 2006 - 12:10 AM


A controversial wind farm on Romney Marsh, which opponents say will present a hazard to birds, has been given the go ahead after a High Court ruling today (16 October).

Environmental campaigner Philip Merricks attempted to block plans to construct the 26-turbine wind farm at Little Cheyne Court, Walland Marsh, Kent.

Mr Merricks farms at Icklesham, Rye, East Sussex, and manages the Romney Marsh Nature Reserve, which includes the Cheyne Court Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). He challenged last October's decision by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, to approve the scheme.

He argued there had been a failure to take proper account of the danger of birds flying into turbine blades.

Deputy High Court Judge Hamilton rejected the argument and ruled Mr Darling had been entitled on the evidence before him to give his approval.

John Peel's Folkestone days remembered

Contributed by editor on Oct 17, 2006 - 12:05 AM


Almost 40 years since DJ John Peel signed off his final late-night Perfumed Garden show from the pirate ship Radio London moored off Folkestone, listeners will once again be able to experience the dying murmurs of his show when the BBC puts his last programme back on the airwaves later this month.  

Peel would spend two weeks of every three aboard the Galaxy, a former minesweeper moored off the coast of the town, presenting his midnight show. Because the boat was in international waters, it was beyond the reach of British broadcasting restrictions until offshore stations too were outlawed in August 1967.

He was forced off air leaving him high and dry, but luckily within days he was rescued from obscurity, signed as a presenter for Radio 1 and became one of Britain's best-loved and respected broadcasters. 

Peel's final broadcast saw him choosing some of the most popular tracks of his five marine-based months, including then little-known acts Pink Floyd and Captain Beefheart. 

As he told listeners: "Who can tell what's going to happen from now on? I have no job to go to. I'm not unduly concerned about it though, because something good is going to happen. Good things are happening, and a lot of people are realising what is going on and a lot of people are coming over to our side, so to speak - if there is a side to be taken." 

The recording, put together by an anonymous fan has now been squeezed into four half-hour shows to be broadcast by BBC6 Music from Monday 23 October, to mark the second anniversary of Peel's death. 

Producer Hermeet Chadha said yesterday: "We have cleaned up some of the sound but not too much. Listeners will once again be able to hear what it was like to listen to John Peel in 1967 as though he was speaking directly to you. It's incredibly idealistic and at his heart he was a real hippie."

Do you remember John Peel broadcasting from the Galaxy moored off the Folkestone coast? Let us know your memories.

Ralph shouldn't be surprised at the PC's output

Contributed by editor on Oct 16, 2006 - 09:59 AM


Dear Ed, Ralph,

Re: Tit bits

I echo Ralph's comments concerning the Parish Council and the employment land.  Ralph shouldn't be surprised at the PC's output - just look who is o­n it.

By the way, there are more surprises o­n the net when searching for "housewife" or even "Sea King".  The latter needs some explaining.  I was trying to find out performance details of the RAF Sea King helicopter; you just would not believe the number of people who misspell "seeking".



Duke to visit South East Kent

Contributed by editor on Oct 15, 2006 - 12:05 AM


His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh is to visit Dover and Deal on December 1 as Master of the Corporation of Trinity House, and he will open the new site of
The Caldecott Foundation, near Ashford, it has been announced.

The Duke will shown around the Trinity House vessel Alert in Dover, and he will also visit the Trinity Homes in St Clare Road at Walmer.

Alert is a coastal working vessel which maintains bouys, provides a fast response to incidents and carries out emergency wreck marking and hydrographic survey services. She works mainly in the busy shipping routes of the Dover Strait, English Channel and Southern North Sea.

Alert was launched at Gdansk in Poland in October 2005.

Fake designer wear seized at Folkestone market

Contributed by editor on Oct 14, 2006 - 03:41 PM


Large quantities of fake designer footwear and sportswear were seized at the Folkestone market last Sunday (8 October).

Following reports of a surge in the sale of counterfeit goods Trading Standards officers spent several hours at the market checking stock, removing goods and advising traders of their legal obligations. In an associated operation officers seized a van load of counterfeit clothing and footwear including approximately 1,000 pairs of trainers.

Elizabeth Tweed, KCC Lead Member for Trading Standards commented: "Although counterfeiting is a global issue, on a local level it is damaging to legitimate traders and devalues the image of our popular markets. We are committed to tackling the problem and our recent prosecutions have resulted in offenders receiving significant fines".

Brand counterfeiting costs UK companies over £4 billion per year, with the direct loss of over 4,000 jobs. Worst affected are footwear and clothing companies, who lose £727 million every year.

The quality of fake designer clothing and shoes tends to be inferior but surveys show that over 50% of consumers would willingly buy these items.

Tit Bits - 14 October 2006

Contributed by editor on Oct 14, 2006 - 02:49 PM

Christina opens the page for glamorous former Playboy centrefold......

Its hard to believe, or not, as some have said, that the Parish Council decided they were not going to help the villagers to comment and put forward their ideas on the future of the employment land off Spitfire Way and Haven Drive. The land which has been looking to be developed for more than 10 years is ripe for a complete re-think after only two businesses, Lidl and the Mayfly pub have moved in. 

My idea for the land would be to have a pedestrian village centre, with shops, health centre, sports and youth facilities, cafes,  hairdressers, restaurants, which would all generate jobs for a community so lacking in local employment. In my vision there would be piazzas and open spaces, and car parks surrounding the new village area, in fact all the things you would expect of a town/village with the population of  Hawkinge.

But the parish council will probably be another six months discussing the proposed footpath next to the village hall, rather than spending a couple of days arranging for the consultation document on the future of the employment land, to be exhibited in the village. Experts could have been at the exhibition ready to answer residents' questions and to compile their ideas for the future of the community. 

Parish Councillors must realise that bureaucracy is difficult for many people to get their heads around, especially if they are not familiar with council matters. It is therefore up to the them to help their parishioners understand in plain English what these reports and consultation documents are all about. Something which they have so far  failed to do, and their lack of action could cost us dear in the future. Its not good enough expecting villagers to make their own arrangements to obtain and  read a copy of these wordy documents. That is just the Parish Council dodging its responsibilities.

Browsing through that well known online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia under the Hawkinge topic I followed the links for our three esteemed district councillors, Smith, Smith and Callahan. Although they sound like a firm of Solicitors, Estate Agents or even Undertakers, their links bear no connection to what would have sounded like a splendid business name. Reality is that David Callahan is linked to a page in 'Failure' magazine, which for some reason fails to open for more than half a second, before disappearing back into the ether. Peter Smith's link is blind and gives absolutely no insight into the bloke and Christena Smith, spelt incorrectly as Christina opens the page for a glamorous former Playboy centrefold. So be careful, not just when surfing the net, what you see is not always what you get.

Would you like to contribute to my page of tit bits?