Seminar tackles community safety

Contributed by admin on Jul 03, 2004 - 06:21 PM


<FONT color=black>More than 200 delegates involved in initiatives to reduce crime in the county attended a major conference o­n Community Safety yesterday (2 July).

<FONT color=black>At the River Centre in Tonbridge, the conference both celebrated the achievements of the last five years and looked ahead at identifying the priorities for tackling anti-social behaviour in the future. The seminar also looked at the community safety issues linked with the huge projected expansion of homes in Kent in the next 20 years, particularly in Ashford and North West Kent.

<FONT color=black>The day was organised by Kent County Council, Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

<FONT color=black>Opening the conference, County Council Leader Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart told delegates that o­ne of the Council's highest priorities is to work with the Police and the Fire Service to ensure Kent people feel safe, both inside their homes and in their neighbourhoods.

<FONT color=black>He said: 'I wholeheartedly congratulate the work of Police, Fire and the Districts in working to make Kent a safe place. KCC has built o­n the success of our Community Warden Scheme and will have a total of 100 wardens deployed in both rural and urban fringes within the next year. Our Trading Standards department has been very successful in addressing stolen goods, bogus and rogue trading incidents. The Handyvan schemes have already installed more than 5000 security kits and smoke alarms in the homes of vulnerable elderly people and the number of vans is set to double to 12 over the next two to three years.

<FONT color=black>'Taking into consideration all our other day-to-day work that impacts o­n community safety, we estimate that KCC's overall contribution to safety in Kent is in excess of £20 million a year. We have now, together with our partners, set a new and challenging target to work to reduce anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime. This is not easy but we are determined to make Kent a safer place.'

<FONT color=black>Chief Constable Mike Fuller said: 'This conference is a clear example of the willingness and commitment of different agencies to work together in order to reduce crime, tackle anti-social behaviour and address the public's fear of crime. This partnership approach can o­nly serve to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors to our county.'

<FONT color=black>Chief Executive and Chief Fire Officer, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Peter Coombs, who chaired the event said: "We are pleased to be working with partners such as Kent County Council and Kent Police in order to positively affect the lives of the people of Kent.

<FONT color=black>'There is a clear link between anti-social behaviour and deliberate fire setting and o­ne of our key priorities is to continue working with partners to reduce this problem."

<FONT color=black>Deputy Director of the Anti-social Behaviour Unit, Home Office, Joe Tuke also gave a presentation o­n the government's Together programme for dealing with anti-social behaviour.

Cabinet Councillor resigns saying "Shepway have lost touch."

Contributed by admin on Jul 03, 2004 - 06:13 PM

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<P class=news><FONT color=black>Councillor John Hughes yesterday (2 July) wrote to the Leader of Shepway District Council to tender his resignation as a member of the Cabinet.

<P class=news><FONT color=black>In his letter Cllr Hughes said "I am deeply sorry that matters have escalated to this point but I no longer believe that the Cabinet is acting in the best interests of the people of Shepway."

<P class=news><FONT color=black>"As I have explained to you, since I no longer feel comfortable with the direction that the Cabinet is taking, it would be inappropriate for me to continue in post."

<P class=news><FONT color=black>Commenting o­n his decision Cllr Hughes said "I am sad that this day has come, but I truly feel that the current leadership at Shepway have lost touch with local people."

<P class=news><FONT color=black>Cllr Hughes also made clear in his letter of resignation that the Liberal Democrat Party and the people of Park ward will still get his full support. He has no intention of resigning from the Party or from his position as a Liberal Democrat District Councillor.

Audit report says Council is 'weak'

Contributed by admin on Jul 02, 2004 - 06:18 PM

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<P align=left>Shepway District Council has been rated as a ‘weak’ local authority following an inspection by the Audit Commission.

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<P align=justify>The council scored 30 out of a possible 60 when it was judged under the government’s Comprehensive Performance Assessment programme – part of a wider plan to ensure that local councils deliver improved services for local people. Under CPA, councils across the country are rated excellent, good, fair, weak or poor.

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<P align=justify>Council Leader, Cllr Linda Cufley, said: "I am not surprised by this report, but it is obviously disappointing news. My own analysis o­n taking control, and the work we did in preparation for this report, told me that there was much to do if Shepway was to reach a good standard.

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<P align=justify>"We have begun the process of improvement and are pleased to note that we are highly rated in our ability to improve.

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<P align=justify>"We had a poor inheritance, particularly neglect in key areas such as housing and homelessness. We are putting things right as the report acknowledges, but a very tight financial situation gives us very limited choice.

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"Whatever the difficulties, we have the will and, as the report says, the dedicated staff who will ensure that we do improve to a level that satisfies not o­nly me but, more importantly, our citizens and service users."

<P align=justify>The assessment looked back over the last three years.

The report’s summary says that although the leadership of the council had been undermined by poor relationships between councillors and councillors and between councillors and officers in the past, relationships had improved following the May 2003 elections.

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<P align=justify>"Relationships are now positive. Councillors and officers share a strong willingness to take the council forward and progress has been made o­n some fronts over the past year."

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A full copy of the CPA report is available from the District Council (e-mail <FONT size=2> or phone 01303 852422)

Tunnel link increases passenger traffic

Contributed by admin on Jul 02, 2004 - 09:12 AM

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<FONT color=black>The opening of the first part of the Channel Tunnel high-speed rail link in Kent helped boost Eurostar passenger numbers in the first half of 2004.

Eurostar said trains carried more than 3.4m passengers in January-June 2004, 19% more than the same time last year.

The new fast rail link was opened between Folkestone and north Kent in September last year.

Thumbs up for the big top

Contributed by admin on Jul 01, 2004 - 09:50 AM


<FONT color=black>Following the success of the Fair in Pencester Gardens in May, Dover District Council has given a thumbs up to the return of big tops to the area

<FONT color=black>At a meeting of Cabinet o­n Monday (28 June), it was agreed to consider applications to hold circuses locally. This overturns  the previous policy that said the Council would not allow circuses o­n its land.

<FONT color=black>Cllr Paul Watkins, Leader of Dover District Council, said: "We are delighted to be able to make this change that will allow circuses o­nto Council land, where this is considered appropriate. It was good to see people enjoying the fair in town in May, and encouraging events such as circuses to come to the area will help us to continue our o­ngoing commitment to work to make the district o­ne in which we can all take pride."

Fears over 'prefab' homes

Contributed by admin on Jun 29, 2004 - 06:11 PM

<FONT color=black size=4>FEARS OVER 'PREFAB' HOMES

<FONT color=black>Problems with prefabricated homes are "being stored up for the future" as the Government bids to boost the South East housing supply, MPs have been warned.

An inquiry has revealed worries over the quality and design of prefabs, according to a Commons committee.

MPs said the Housing Corporation has been "under pressure" to create the maximum number of homes from funding.

A number of  prefabricated homes have recently been built in Hawkinge.

Local police launch charity calendar

Contributed by admin on Jun 28, 2004 - 09:46 PM


<FONT color=black>Police officers and staff in Dover and Folkestone have posed for a charity calendar being launched this week.

Each month o­n the 2005 calendar features a police employee in a "special pose", accompanied by a socially responsible caption.

The models and photographer gave their services for free, with money raised by the calendar going to Cancer Research.

Trust helps rural crime plan

Contributed by admin on Jun 27, 2004 - 11:57 PM

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<FONT color=black size=4>TRUST HELPS RURAL CRIME PLAN<FONT color=black>

<FONT color=black>A neighbourhood-watch style network for rural communities in south east Kent is getting extra help from the National Trust and Rights of Way Officers.

The Trust - which owns the famous Langdon Cliffs near Dover - has signed up to the Country Eye project.

The scheme means that their staff will report any suspicious activity in the area to the police.

Five four three two One Stop

Contributed by admin on Jun 26, 2004 - 07:49 PM

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<FONT color=black>The o­ne Stop convenience store finally shuts its doors o­n Sunday 4th July and will re-open as Tesco Express on 2nd August.

<FONT color=black>During that period newspapers will be available at the Hawkinge Village Hall between 8.00am and 10.00am daily.

Work is due to be completed shortly  on the footpath between Canterbury Road and the Post Office in the Community Centre.

Shepway scheme to protect foreign students

Contributed by admin on Jun 26, 2004 - 06:28 PM


<FONT color=black>Police and schools in Folkestone have been working to make sure hundreds of young overseas students have a safe and successful stay in the area.

Large numbers of foreign students visit every summer to improve language skills and experience a different culture.

A number of "safe havens" have been set up in the town's retail outlets so that students can seek help if they need it.