Panda completes channel crossing

Contributed by editor on Jul 24, 2006 - 12:35 AM


morning (21 July), saw  a special breed of nautical Panda slip into the sea at
Folkestone in a bid to reach the French coast and continue its journey by
road  back to Italy.

After just six hours, the well greased vehicle shocked French holiday makers who saw the Panda Terramare 4
drive out of the water and up the beach at Cap Griz Nez in France.

The Panda Terramare 4 is  no stranger to water,  having already sailed
in the great Italian lakes, the River Po, the sea off Sardinia, and from Naples to Capri and back before
it attemped the English Channel. 

Training for the Channel crossing took place on Thursday evening, (20 July), in Battersea Park Lake, where surprised lakeside party-goers found themselves sharing Terramare’s snug cockpit with the owner as he checked out all the machine’s systems prior to its cross-Channel ‘dash’.

Panda Terramare’s creator is Milan born engineer Maurizio Zanisi. His self-built amphibian is based on a Panda 4x4 chassis, but with an inflatable flotation belt, and
water jet propulsion driven off the rear axle.

Sporting chance for holiday youngsters

Contributed by editor on Jul 24, 2006 - 12:05 AM


With the school holidays upon us, Shepway District Council is helping children to make the most of their time and beautiful weather by organising a range of sporting activities.

The Fit 4 Sport activity courses, previous called Valley Sports, are open to children agreed between eight and 13 and provide a wide range of activities including cycling, football, squash, volleyball, basketball, trampolining, swimming, tennis, cricket and Ultimate Frisbee.

The sports sessions are being held at Pent Valley Leisure Centre in Folkestone and Southlands Leisure Centre in New Romney. Swimming sessions will be held at Hythe Swimming Pool.

The weekly courses, which are run by fully qualified PE staff and coaches, start o­n Monday 31 July and run daily from 10am to 4pm, until Friday 25 August. They cost £55 for o­ne week, £90 for two weeks or £160 for four weeks.

Cllr Carole Waters, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Tourism said Fit 4 Sport was well geared to help youngsters try their hand at something new or develop and enhance skills in their chosen sport.

“This will be a fantastic opportunity for young people to keep fit, have fun and make new friends. We may even see some young Olympic hopefuls emerging during the four weeks!”

Places are limited and early booking is essential. For more information and application forms contact Jane Cusine o­n 01303 853331 or email her at  Alternatively, visit

Inspectors critical of council's failing benefits service

Contributed by editor on Jul 23, 2006 - 12:10 AM


Shepway Council is working to improve the way it deals with benefits claims following a critical inspection of its benefits service.

More people have now been recruited to the benefits team, fully trained agency staff have been taken o­n and a backlog of claims is being handled by an outside agency.

The steps are part of a package of measures to improve the way the council handles benefits claims and tackles the backlog.

The results of an independent inspection by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) released this week show that although staff were able to clear the volume of incoming claims, a backlog of around 1,000 cases was outstanding.

Inspectors found that the benefits service had failed to keep its claim processing work up to date since 2003. Between April 2005 and February 2006 the average time taken to process new claims was 56 days and the average time to process details about changes of circumstance was 36 days.

Since the inspection, processing times have been cut to 44 days and 26 days respectively and the council says it is working to reduce these times even more.

“The inspection highlighted the weaknesses we have already identified and are working hard to address,” said Cllr Brian Copping, Cabinet Member for Housing.

“We have recruited new staff, are providing further training for existing staff and have taken o­n agency staff to help bring us up to date.  The backlog is being handled by an agency outside the council and we hope to have it cleared by September."

Graffiti buster busy on the streets

Contributed by editor on Jul 22, 2006 - 12:05 AM


A  new graffiti-busting machine has been out and about in Shepway getting rid of not just unsightly scrawl, but grime and chewing gum.

The machine was bought by Shepway Council in partnership with Ashford Borough Council and clean-ups in Shepway take place very Wednesday and Thursday. It is run by the Probation Service, with offenders o­n community punishment orders given the job of cleaning unsightly graffiti.

Since it started operating at the end of April it has carried out 70 clean-ups, and Shepway District Council hopes that it will continue to make its mark in the keeping the district clean.

Any sort of building or premises that can be safely washed will be tackled - even private premises, where owners will be asked to make a donation towards the running costs of the project.

The machine uses a high-pressure water jet, with hot, cold and steam settings to remove graffiti, grime, grease and chewing gum.

The Shepway Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership contributed towards the cost of the graffiti buster with the most of the money coming through a grant from Kent County Council’s second homes programme from local KCC Councillor, Roland Tolputt.

Cllr Hugh Barker, District Secretary for Community Services said, “The district is already looking cleaner and brighter as the worst examples of graffiti are removed.  It will take time to clean everywhere but we ask residents to continue to report local problems, to help us identify patterns of graffiti and the culprits.  Our partnership with the Probation Service is a great success.”

Graffiti can be reported to or calling 01303 858 660

Police concern for missing young woman

Contributed by editor on Jul 21, 2006 - 05:28 PM


Police in Folkestone are concerned about the welfare of an Ethiopian woman who has been missing since last Sunday (16 July).

31-year-old Tarikkua Kassa Telila has been working as a housekeeper at a home in Lucy Avenue, Folkestone for the past couple of months.

She left there at 3.00 pm on Sunday (16 July) to go shopping at Morrisons in Cheriton Road, but has not been seen or heard of since.

She is described as black, of slim build, 5ft 5in (165 cms) tall of slim build, with dark pony-tailed hair. She was wearing grey jeans with a white T shirt and a light grey short length jacket

Anyone who has seen Miss Telila is asked to contact Kent Police on 01303 850055.

Over 700 vehicles a day would use Mill Lane

Contributed by editor on Jul 21, 2006 - 12:30 AM


Dear Ed,

On Thursday 6th July 2006 a count carried out by myself and an independent witness on vehicles using Mill Lane during the proposed surgery opening hours,

as stated on the planning application for the doctors surgery,  revealed that 569 vehicles used the lane during that time. 

Add that to the 160 vehicles that the surgery is forecasting, and we can expect a total of 729 vehicles a day during those hours.

I ask each and everyone of you to remember that Mill Lane is a busy mostly single track lane that has hardly any footpath and very little street


Children use this lane to go to school. In the winter pedestrians have to stand in mud to allow vehicles to pass, and in the summer it is knee high stinging nettles.

The developer for this site claims that there is no other land suitable in the village for a surgery.

This is absolute rubbish as there is land near Lidl and the Mayfly, which has had outline planning for a surgery.

There is also room in the under-used Community Centre and there is the piece of amenity

land behind Tesco.

All of these sites are in or near the centre of the village with space, and not tucked down some unlit overused single track lane.

Tony Hutt

Top council boss suspended after audit

Contributed by editor on Jul 21, 2006 - 12:05 AM


It has been reported in this week's edition of the Folkestone Herald that Andy Jarrett, Shepway District Council's regeneration officer has been suspended from duty following alleged 'procedural irregularities'

picked up by an auditor.

The paper says he was sent home at midday on Monday (17 July)

Shepway's Chief Executive Alistair Stewart confirmed in a statement that a senior officer of the council had been suspended.

The Folkestone Herald's story claims that the suspension stems from information that was allegedly not passed to members of the cabinet.

Howard will fight KCC school plans "every inch of the way"

Contributed by editor on Jul 20, 2006 - 07:28 PM


Folkestone and Hythe MP Michael Howard is hoping to meet with all local KCC councillors in his continuing fight to keep both Selsted and Harcourt schools open.

In this week's Howard's Way column he states: "My contacts with the County Council continue and I am in the process of convening a meeting of all Shepway’s County Councillors to discuss the issue.

"I continue to believe that the County Council’s proposals have no merit and cannot be justified and will do all I can to fight them every inch of the way."

Chairman of Swingfield Parish Council, Cllr Colin Tearle said: "Mr Howard's support for Selsted school has been most welcome and extremely helpful.

"I am very pleased to know he is continuing to put his full support behind the Save Selsted School campaign."

Swingfield Parish Council minutes 30 May 2006

Contributed by editor on Jul 20, 2006 - 06:50 PM


Minutes of a meeting of Swingfield Parish Council held at
Swingfield Village Hall, o­n Tuesday 30 May 2006

PRESENT:  Councillor C D Tearle (in the Chair), Councillors R D Curd,   S Lee and A Nichol
Apologies for absence:  Councillors Mrs A Harmer, V Harmer and H O’Grady

        Officer in Attendance:  Mrs T Wiles, Clerk and Treasurer


There were no declarations of interest.

Proposed by Councillor R D Curd

Seconded by Councillor   A Nichol and

RESOLVED:  To appoint Councillor C D Tearle as Chairman of the Parish Council for 2006/07.


It was agreed to defer this item to the next meeting of the Parish Council. 

   The minutes of the meeting of the Parish Council held o­n 25 April 2006 were submitted, approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.  

5047.  A260 PROBLEMS

   The Chairman introduced the background to this item and referred to complaints and letters which had been made to the police in respect of the many problems mainly relating to speeding o­n the A260.

   PC Graves was in attendance and introduced himself by advising that he was responsible for traffic management issues and County Councillor Susan Carey was also in attendance.  P C Graves spoke to the Parish Council asking what the police can do to assist it.  He went o­n to explain that hand held devices were used in 30/40 mph speed restricted areas and that static cameras were limited as to where they can go and were operated centrally.  The placing of these static cameras was dependent o­n accident statistics for the past 3-5 years. He went o­n to say that it was expected that the relief road running through Hawkinge currently under construction would have a significant impact o­n the A260 and any proposed actions relating to the A260 could be premature. 

   Questions from Councillors were then invited. These related to motorcyclists using the A260 o­n Sundays mornings as a race track, and speeding in general being a major issue. PC Graves responded that his role was a monitoring role and the problem was policing the speed limits that were in place.  He explained that the accident statistics were made up of o­nly those which involved injury.

County Councillor Susan Carey advised that Kent County Highways had confirmed that the right speed limits were in place and that any review should be undertaken after the impact of the new road had been assessed to ensure that appropriate adjustments are made.

The Parish Council asked that a school sign be put in place o­n the A260 by Kent Highways and Susan Carey agreed to assist with this.

PC Graves advised that the police would undertake the following actions:
To continue to carry out speeding checks, to enquire about the relocation of the speed camera at White Horse Hill Hawkinge and to undertake speed checks over the weekends for a period of two or three months and to let the Parish Council have an update o­n the data collected.

The Chairman thanked PC Graves and County Councillor Susan Carey for attending.

   Proposed by Councillor C D Tearle
 Seconded by Councillor A Nichol and

 RESOLVED:  To write to Kent Highways requesting a school sign be placed o­n the A260 in the vicinity of Stockham Lane.

The Chairman introduced the item and invited County Councillor Susan Carey to join in.  The debate was opened Councillor Curd who gave a resume of the strength of feeling that prevailed at the Public Meeting held o­n 22 May 2006.  Overwhelming support was given by over 120 people attending, that the school should remain open, o­ne of the main reasons being the school’s high achievement in the area of special needs. 

County Councillor Susan Carey advised that at this stage the County Council was listening to consultees before reaching a decision o­n the closure of the school.  Dwindling numbers of pupils meant that the school’s budget would perhaps be too small to offer the full range of services to its pupils.

   Proposed by Councillor C D Tearle
 Seconded by Councillor R D Curd and

 RESOLVED:  To close the meeting to allow members of the public to speak. 

   After members of the public had put forward their points of view the Parish Council resumed it meeting.

  Proposed by Councillor R D Curd 
  Seconded by Councillor S Lee and

1. To vigorously support Selsted School and the Action Group to ensure the Schools remains open.
2. The Chairman of the Parish Council to attend the meeting o­n 28 June 2006 as the Parish Council’s representative and to authorise him to take any action as appropriate to pursue the Parish Council’s policy. 


 Councillors considered the Financial Report and Accounts for Payment, which was circulated at the meeting. The Clerk and Treasurer presented the Parish Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2006 for approval to be submitted to the Audit Commission.
Proposed by councillor A Nichol
Seconded by councillor S Lee and 


1. To approve the accounts a copy of which is attached to these minutes as Appendix 1, and to make the payments due.
2.  To approve the Parish Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2006 for submission to the Audit Commission.


A schedule of representatives o­n Outside Bodies was considered.

Proposed by Councillor A Nichol
Seconded by Councillor S Lee and


To approve the schedule of representatives o­n outside bodies for 2006/07 which is attached to these minutes as Appendix 2.


A schedule of meeting dates circulated for 2006/07 was considered and approved and is attached as appendix 3.


 The Chairman reported that o­ne planning application had been received since the last meeting of the Parish Council and two further applications were considered at the meeting. Details of the applications are included o­n Appendix 4.

The Clerk reported a letter which had been received regarding proposals for the development St Peters Church, Swingfield from the redundant Churches Uses Committee.

It was agreed to write to the Committee supporting the proposed action to be taken.


No issues apart from the School sign were raised. 


No issues were raised. 


Correspondence which had been received since the last meeting would be circulated to all members.  Details are contained in Appendix 5 to these minutes.

Hawkinge crime update 20 July 2006

Contributed by editor on Jul 20, 2006 - 12:04 PM


Milk was stolen from a  milk float at 3.00am on 11 July in Kettle Drive, Hawkinge. A person has been  arrested.

During the night of 11/12 July a vehicle was damaged in St. Luke's Walk and the following night 12/13 July, the Pentland homes site in the Terlingham area of the village was broken into and bathroom equipment stolen.

A motorcycle was stolen from a property in Woodcock Gardens and was found abandoned nearby.

Speed checks were carried out last week in the areas surrounding Hawkinge. The vast majority of those stopped were local residents.

PC Moody would like to hear from residents of all areas in the village where speeding vehicles are a problem.

During the hot spell, local police advise that upstairs windows are not left open, if the property is empty.

Always be on your guard leaving doors and windows open even if the house is occupied as there are opportunists about. It is very important not to leave car or house keys close to the front or back doors as these can be quickly and easily stolen.

PC Trevor Moody can be contacted on 07980 770583.

To report a crime which has already occurred please ring the Central Crime Reporting Unit 01622 690690.