Carey's support for Selsted School challenged

Contributed by editor on Sep 06, 2006 - 12:04 AM


Kent County Councillor for Elham Susan Carey will be wearing the local member hat when the report of the public consultation on the proposal to close Selsted School is discussed at the School Organisation Advisory Board (SOAB) meeting in Maidstone on Thursday, 7 September.

But Cllr Carey has confused supporters of the school, and a comment o­n the Gazette Chatterbox  "WOT, did I read right! Susan Carey in favour of keeping Selsted School open. Bit like Saul on the way to Damascus" challenged her over the alleged change of view.

However when we asked Cllr Carey about the report on the public consultation of Selsted School where she is stated to be supporting the case against closure, she denied an about turn.

She wrote saying: "I'm not changing my position!   I still support the primary strategy and the need to reduce surplus places.  I've done my best to explain the strategy and the reasons why some schools are being consulted on for closure.

"You can't make a good case against if you don't understand the reasons for.

"There's no doubt that Selsted is a school that needs to be considered for closure - falling rolls, teaching in less than four classes, empty places at nearby schools etc.- I said I would wear a local member hat at the SOAB meeting and speak o­n behalf of the parents so that their view was heard."

In the public consultation report, the views of the local member are stated as follows : " Miss Susan Carey, Local Member for Elham Valley, supports the Primary Strategy and the need to replace surplus places. As local member, she is supporting the case against closure as made by the parents and children currently at Selsted."

Crunch time for Selsted School

Contributed by editor on Sep 04, 2006 - 10:16 AM


The Kent School Organisation Advisory Board (SOAB) meets this Thursday 7 September to consider the future of Selsted Church of England Primary School.

The proposed closure has been almost universally opposed. Residents, parents, governors and pupils as well as Swingfield Parish Council, Shepway District Council, MP Michael Howard and KCC 's Lead Member for Education and Local Member for Elham Valley, Cllr Susan Carey are all supporting the case against closure.

The report of the consultation held over this summer has been released in advance of the meeting, and shows the massive opposition to the proposals.

Of 1747 responses received and listed in the report, 2 were in favour of the proposal and 1745 were against. 

The report will be considered and the SOAB committee will make their recommendation on the future of the school.

The meeting is on Thursday 7 September from 10.00am in the Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. It is open to the public and can be viewed live on the KCC website.

Read the consultation report

Tit Bits - 4 September 2006

Contributed by editor on Sep 04, 2006 - 12:05 AM

Luckily there is more than one way to skin a cat.....

As soon as I heard about the report instigated by the Hawkinge Partnership about the problems at the Hawkinge Community centre I banged off an email to them to get myself a copy. That was last Monday and still it has not arrived. Email is fast, very fast, so what is the problem? Surely they are not that busy. If I didn't know better I would have said they didn't want me to see it. Luckily there is more than one way to skin a cat and I managed to acquire a copy elsewhere. 

The schools go back this week and we can look forward to the usual traffic chaos outside the Churchill. The school's efforts to solve the problems continue, including the possibility of at last starting a walking bus. But is it really their problem to solve? Why not take a step back and look at the root cause. How many parents really do need to drive their children to school? 

Are people seriously interested in putting themselves up for the parish council, as the Chatterbox suggests? The Parish Council is presently as popular as a traffic warden in Canterbury Road, so maybe this is a good time for those interested, to get together and formulate a strategy for the village, ready for when they could take over. Who knows, all the old guard on the council could retain their seats in a Parish election, but if they don't then at least you would be ready.

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


Men invented everything

Contributed by editor on Sep 03, 2006 - 09:10 PM


If you don't believe me  - click here


Great cash prize at Dance Challenge

Contributed by editor on Sep 03, 2006 - 04:01 PM


The 2006 Kent Dance Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for Dance School students to expand upon their performing experience and the school to win a great cash prize. 

Kent Dance Challenge 2006 is open to all schools in Kent and will enable dance students to experience the spirit of dance in an encouraging and enthusiastic atmosphere.

The event is staged by Frances Metcalfe, proprietor of Media Modelling and Casting Agency, and the Principal of Franze Academy of Modelling and Commercial Dance.

Dancers at the recent Pure Dance summer workshop

The Franze Academy dancers meet in Hawkinge Village Hall and were part of the England Dance Team that went to Hollywood in 2005 and returned to Kent with the award of excellence in Jazz. The selection was made after the judging panel had seen thirty States and nine other countries perform. "it was a life changing experience for our dancers and chaperones," said Frances.

Performers taking part in the Kent Dance Challenge may also enter a Modelling Competition in association with Media Modelling and Casting Agency and award winning photographer Ian Turner who has been commissioned by the Royal family and has worked for Hello and Vogue Magazine.

The competition will be held on Saturday 7 October 2006 at Mote Hall, Maidstone, Kent

More details:


Internet Explorer 7 gives a lot more

Contributed by editor on Sep 03, 2006 - 11:47 AM


If you have are using Internet Explorer browser, have you seen the latest Internet Explorer 7.

Internet Explorer 7 provides improved navigation through tabbed browsing, web search right from the toolbar, advanced printing, easy discovery, reading and subscription to RSS feeds, and much more.

Click here to get your free version of Internet Explorer 7


What a way to run a village!

Contributed by editor on Sep 01, 2006 - 06:04 PM


Dear Ed,

Having attended the special parish council meeting regarding the Community Centre o­n Wednesday, I must say I came away fairly depressed. 

The Chairman, David Callaghan did at least try to sound positive about its future, but there was a pervading atmosphere of negativity over the whole proceedings. 

Much was made about the Centre being 'far too large', but having thought about it, I can't help feeling that, as Hawkinge has grown enormously in the past few years and is set to grow even more, we do need a large, vibrant and well run Community Centre, preferably with a kitchen you can cook in and a bar area. 

I strongly feel that, whatever the inefficiencies of the present management, there would not have been such severe revenue problems for the Centre had it not been constantly undercut by the Village Hall. 

I was always under the impression that the new Community Centre was to take the place of the outdated and run-down Village Hall - which is certainly too small!  Instead of which we now have a Community Centre in severe difficulties, with a very patronising and hostile Parish Council deigning to help out whilst barely concealing its glee over the mess. 

What a way to run the Village!

Jean James

Lots of questions

Contributed by editor on Sep 01, 2006 - 05:51 PM

Monthly gardening tips - September

Contributed by editor on Sep 01, 2006 - 12:05 AM



It is still important to keep on top of the weeding even though the
season is coming to a close. If weeds can be prevented from seeding there will
be many fewer problems next season.

As beds and borders are vacated, dig them over and prepare for planting.
Those areas that are to remain vacant until the spring should have the soil
turned over in as large lumps as possible in order that they might weather
properly during the winter.


Apply a moss killer to the lawn before scarifying. Do not scarify if the moss
has not been treated as the problem will only be distributed across the turf.
Keep an eye open for turf disease like fusarium and fairy rings. There are
treatments for these problems which will not become too severe if dealt with

Aerate the lawn to relieve compaction using an aerator or hollow tined fork.
Brush coarse sand into the holes. A new lawn from turf or seed can be
established this month, although neither will be usable until next year.

Repairs to broken edges and the levelling of humps and hollows can be
satisfactorily carried out now.


Cut back faded marginal aquatics. Do not cut hollow stemmed varieties below
water level as they often "drown". Remove the pump and replace with a
pool heater. Net the pond or around it to prevent falling leaves from blowing
into the water.


Spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus can
all be planted. Remember that bulbs are excellent for planters, containers and
window boxes as well as the open garden.

As summer bedding plants fade these should be removed and the soil prepared
for the next planting. Fuchsias, geraniums and other tender perennial and
shrubby plants which will not survive the winter outdoors should be lifted and
prepared for over-wintering indoors.

Chrysanthemums in pots which have spent the summer months outdoors should be
removed to the protection of the greenhouse. Cut back the fading vegetation of
early flowering herbaceous perennials.


Most vegetables can be harvested now and stored. These include carrots,
beetroot, swedes, turnips, potatoes and onions. Winter hardy lettuce can be sown

Protect the rows with pea guards as birds find the young seedlings very
attractive. Lambs lettuce, perpetual spinach and winter spinach can be sown now
but should be protected from birds by pea guards.


The apple and pear harvest is in full swing. Pick as they ripen. An
indication of this is by placing a hand under a fruit and gently lifting. If it
detaches from the stem easily it is ripe.

Prune and tie in all cane fruits, especially blackberries, tayberries and
wineberries. Remove any unwanted suckering growths.


Clear out the old tomato and cucumber crop. Remove all plants outside and
give the greenhouse a thorough cleaning with a strong disinfectant, before
taking them back inside.

Plants which have spent the summer stood outside, like winter cherry and
Christmas azalea, should be brought in and given protection.

Pot up amaryllis for winter flowering.

Howard's Way - 31 August 2006

Contributed by editor on Aug 31, 2006 - 05:51 PM

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

31 August 2006


This week saw the anniversary of the dreadful hurricane which inflicted death and damage on the city of New Orleans, and neighbouring areas of the American Gulf Coast, last year. The images of the hurricane and its consequences filled our television screens for days afterwards.

A year on, it is clear that more should have been done, and still needs to be done, to repair the damage. One of our newspapers said this week that the city has been ‘left to rot’. It is not necessary to agree with that description to recognize that the plight of the city and its inhabitants remains acute.

Would we have done any better here? I’m sure we all hope it is never put to the test. But the aftermath of the failed conspiracy to detonate bombs on aeroplanes crossing the Atlantic does not inspire great confidence. Days after the arrests were made there was still confusion at many of our airports and there is a widespread feeling that some of the dislocation to people’s travel plans which occurred was unnecessary.

Of course it is far better to be inconveniences on the ground than to be killed in the air and most people accepted the consequences with good grace. But there are obviously lessons to be learned from recent events.

One of the other consequences of the New Orleans hurricane is the argument about whether or not it was caused by global warming. That is still a matter of dispute but on global warming itself the evidence becomes stronger with each day that passes.

What is to be done? Much of the remedial action has to be taken by governments. But individual behaviour is just as important.

Here is one example.

There is a great deal of controversy about air travel. Is it a sin, as the Bishop of London recently suggested? Should it be taxed? The truth is that we can all take voluntary action to offset the damage caused to the environment by the trips we take.

If you contact they will tell you how much carbon emission your journey has caused and how much it will cost to plant trees or take other action to remedy those emissions. Sandra and I have just returned from a week in the sun in Spain. Our flights to and from Malaga cause .77 tonnes of CO2 emission. We paid Climate Care £5.79 to make good the damage. I think it is cheap at the price.