Railway alert man charged

Contributed by admin on Mar 19, 2004 - 05:51 AM


The man  arrested o­n the Dover to Folkestone railway yesterday (18 March), sparking off the huge security alert has been charged with 
<FONT size=2><FONT face=Arial> trespassing o­n a railway.

Armando Mofat-Mohammed, a Spanish national with no fixed address in the UK, is due to appear before Folkestone Magistrates Court today (19 March).

Mr Mofat-Mohammed was originally arrested at about 1100 GMT o­n Thursday under the Terrorism Act.

Postmaster appointed for Community Centre office

Contributed by admin on Mar 19, 2004 - 04:33 AM


The man who plans to open a sub Post Office in the Hawkinge Community Centre has been appointed Postmaster.

Subject to planning application approval, Baz Basra who operates the Foord Road Post Office in Folkestone hopes to be up and running in the new premises by the beginning of June.

The Post Office Rural Transfer Advisor Peter Wilkinson has said that the sub Post Office in the o­neStop shop is now to continue operating until 3 July.

This will give an extra breathing space and it is expected there will be no break in Post Office services for the residents, he said.

Top award for Dover Cruise Port

Contributed by editor on Mar 18, 2004 - 09:17 AM


Cruise lines have voted Dover the Most Efficient Terminal Operator in the annual Dream World Cruise Destinations industry awards.

The award winners were announced in Miami yesterday o­n the eve of the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention.

"We have featured prominently in these awards ever since we opened our first dedicated cruise liner terminal in 1996," says Kate O’Hara, Head of Commercial and Marketing, Port of Dover.

This is a measurement of how we are doing in an industry where service standards are of the highest order. I am delighted the contribution that staff make is recognised."

Local trains stopped after Terrorism Act arrest

Contributed by editor on Mar 18, 2004 - 08:44 AM


Trains o­n the line from Dover to Folkestone which travel through the tunnels under chalk cliff have been cancelled after a man found walking along the live railway line was arrested under the Terrorism Act.

The 35-year-old man was discovered walking along the tracks at 11 o'clock this morning (18 March) near Samphire Hoe between Folkestone and Dover.

He was arrested and is currently being questioned by Kent Police.

Officers are conducting a full security check of the area and a section of track has been closed off.

Buses are replacing trains o­n the line which is part of a domestic route running from Folkestone to Dover. It is hoped to re-open the line later this evening

Eurotunnel and Eurostar services were not affected but a security alert near Paris caused delays earlier in the day.

Biker seriously hurt in crash

Contributed by admin on Mar 17, 2004 - 03:37 PM


A motorcyclist is being treated in hospital for serious injuries after a road crash o­n the A2 near the Whitfield roundabout Dover today (17 March).

The Kent Air Ambulance was took the motorcyclist, who is believed to have been the o­nly person involved in the crash, to hospital.

Police said the road had to be closed as a result of the crash.

Credit card budget from credit card Chancellor

Contributed by editor on Mar 17, 2004 - 02:52 PM

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<TABLE width=150 align=left border=0><TABLE class=lightbg cellPadding=4 width=145><TD class=mcblack align=middle> <TD width=5><IMG height=1 alt="" src="" width=5>Michael Howard has warned that Gordon Brown's "credit card Budget from a credit card Chancellor" will mean inevitable tax rises if the Labour Party wins a third term in power.

After Mr Brown unveiled his 8th Budget in the traditional Commons statement, announcing more cash for health and education coupled with proposed jobs cuts in Whitehall, the Conservative Leader focused a ferocious attack o­n the way the Chancellor is resorting to another massive rise in public borrowing to finance his ambitious spending programmes.

And he left no doubt that the people of Britain will pick up the bill in further tax levies after the next general election.

Delivering a dynamic performance which was cheered o­n by his MPs, Mr Howard calculated that government borrowing has rocketed from Mr Brown's own forecast of £30 billion over five years in 2001, to £72 billion in 2002, and up to a staggering £140 billion now.

"He is o­n course to borrow this year alone four times as much as he forecast at the time of the last election. And this is at a time when he claims the economy is doing well! How much would this Chancellor be borrowing if the economy went into a downturn?" he asked.
And with the nation already paying through the nose in higher Labour stealth taxes, he protested: "This is a credit card budget from a credit card Chancellor. It's a borrow now, tax later Budget, from a borrow now tax later Chancellor."

Mr Howard went o­n to target Mr Brown as the Chancellor who has wrecked Britain's savings culture, reducing the level of money saved from income from 10 per cent in 1997 to o­nly 5 per cent today. "Their policy o­n savings is a mess, and it will take years to repair the damage," he warned.

And while the Budget was broadly accepted by commentators as neutral in terms of overall taxation, the Opposition Leader pointed to the huge increase in tax levies that have hammered families and working people since 1997, and declared: "This government has increased taxes and increased borrowing. Nothing can disguise that. The new borrowing announced today is unsustainable. And if Labour get a third term, tax rises will be inevitable. It's a borrow now tax later Budget, from a borrow now tax later Chancellor."

Mr Howard said that despite the Chancellor's glowing account of the economy, in fact business investment has fallen for two years in a row; the trade deficit stands at its highest level since the seventeenth century; while manufacturing output is lower than it was in 1997 and the number of people employed in manufacturing falling by 6,000 a month.

Insisting that real reform of public services is the o­nly way to end Labour's endless cycle of tax, spend, and fail, Mr Howard stated: "This Government will never deliver real reform of the public services. All it offers is more of the same. Higher spending. Higher borrowing. And ever higher taxes. This Budget will go down in history as the borrow now, tax later Budget. This Chancellor will go down in history as the borrow now, tax later Chancellor. This Government will go into oblivion as the borrow now, tax later Government. And the sooner they go the better it will be for our country."

Cllr Anthony Baker Resigns the whip

Contributed by admin on Mar 17, 2004 - 11:41 AM


Dear Ed,

I didn't think that there would be a day when I would actually have some respect Cllr Anthony Baker until his very recent resignation from the LibDems over the latest hike in council tax.

There was never any love lost between ourselves when I was councillor, in fact o­n o­ne occasion he accused me of "selling my soul to the devil" as my politics were at odds with his. It was little quips like this that made me think of him as immature and unprofessional even though he was such a senior councillor. Even when I resigned as councillor he branded my reasons as "putting money before the people of Hawkinge". This, in some respects was true, but as I am in the same boat as other people in the village, in so far as I needed to earn a living to keep my head above water, they were a litle unfair and I didn't take my decision to resign lightly.

Last year I met him again at the Cat and my opinion improved slightly as you could actually have a reasonable debate with him without resorting to name calling or sniping. He described himself as being "more left than Karl Marx" and I think his recent resignation has highlighted this.

This is why I now have respect for the guy. He has resigned the whip because of his principles that were at odds with the party line over the 39% increase in council tax. It takes a lot of guts to do that, and dare I say it "balls", so well done Tony.

Of course this begs the question of whether or not anyone else in the Lib Dem administration will also have the guts to do the same? I wonder if any of the "named and shamed" will follow suit and stick to their principles, assuming they have any of course?


Matt Nixon

P.S. If he acquires the whip again I will retract everything I have said about him of course.

What a rude awakening

Contributed by editor on Mar 17, 2004 - 08:56 AM

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There I was slumbering the winter away behind a woodshed, when I was blasted out of my nest by a loud collective wail, which seemed to echo throughout the District. 

Turned out to be the agony of a huge hike in something called council tax, which you humans have to pay to your local council. 

I wanted to check it out, so went back to my little niche in the wall of the council chamber last Thursday to listen in o­n the emergency council meeting.

I couldn’t get over the change in atmosphere since I was last there just after the elections in May.  What a difference a year makes - then, it was a carnival atmosphere with much crowing and back slapping going o­n by the winning team.

This time it was more like a bad tempered football match between a premiership club sliding alarmingly down the table, and last year’s losers sensing a chance to narrow the gap. 

Wow, I could hardly contain myself - but had to keep my excited buzzing to a minimum, as I could have been swotted by Manager Peter Carrollovitch who wasn’t too far away, encouraging his team - Libdemski, o­nto the pitch with much waving and grimacing.  I thought he looked a trifle anxious - after all, he has poured a lot of money into his local team and has his eye o­n a delectable shiny new office in a place called Westminster, and the below-par performance of his players could put that in serious jeopardy! 

The first upset was when o­ne-time defender Cllr. Baker, who had walked out o­n his team rather than vote for the offending budget, left the bench to which he had been banished and positioned himself in the middle of the opposition!

I also noted that Cllr Peter Smith had, most oddly, decided to wear the blue shirt of the opposition.  Was this just forgetfulness, or is there a cunning plan here to trick the opposition - watch this space! 

Anyway, Captain Cuffley kicked the proceedings off by blaming the whole mess o­n the Government, and a mysterious thing called a ‘black hole’ and giving an impassioned plea o­n behalf of the budget.  This resulted in a lone clap from the gallery, but otherwise the crowd seemed very subdued. 

I must say the mood of the Libdemski team seemed bad tempered and almost physical - star striker ‘boggy’ Marsh personally attacking Tory Cllr Bunting so severely that the poor man almost needed to be carried off for attention, and Marsh practically had to be restrained from doing a circuit of the pitch waving his shirt in the air! 

Cllr Carey for the Tory team deplored the behaviour of the Libdemskis would probably have been happy with a few sending-offs!   In fact the game got so rowdy that referee Dickinson had to allow 1 minute extra injury time for Captain Cuffey to speak. 

The main complaints by the Tories were axing the tourism offices and shutting all the public lavatories. At o­ne point Cllr. Ellis, who plays for Labour, must have forgotten where he was and ran o­nto the pitch!  He thought there was a nasty culture of blame pervading the game, and that the budget favoured Folkestone at the expense of the rural areas.  He temporarily left the pitch after 2 hours - probably to visit the loo before it was closed! 

Cllr Bliss (Tory) deplored the cutting of the tourism budget in what is a tourist area, and said it would have a devastating effect o­n the new Conference Centre, also, in as many words, said that any chance of getting Blue Flag beach awards would go down the toilet! 

And in the middle of all the shouting and breast-beating, this fly did notice that Cllr. Smith - he of the blue shirt, abstained from voting for his team’s budget.   Well well!

The final score was a win for Peter Carrolovitch’s team, but I have to say that winning o­ne match in such a manner may not bode well for their chances in the premiership.  I couldn’t help noting that the crowd applauded the Tory opposition’s play a lot more than the Libdemski home side. 

Interesting times ahead!

Well, I’m off back to my own personal ‘black hole’ behind the wood shed for some more shut-eye before spring arrives. 

Fly o­n the wall

Businesses in bid to save toilets from closure

Contributed by editor on Mar 16, 2004 - 02:31 PM

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Shepway Business leaders are to meet to discuss the closure of all of the district's public toilets.

The council's decision to close the conveniences was o­ne of a number of measures announced last week to keep its council tax increase to a minimum.

Joanna Ames, of Discover Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh, which runs the Folkestone Visitor Centre, said private cash could be found to keep them open.

Standard school year from 2005

Contributed by editor on Mar 16, 2004 - 02:11 PM


Kent County Council has today announced a change to the pattern of the school year.

KCC plans to introduce a school holiday in the first two full weeks in April each year, while Good Friday and Easter Monday will become school holidays when they do not fall within that two weeks.

This new calendar will start in all community, community special and voluntary controlled schools from September 2005.

Headteachers believe that standardising the school year will mean it is easier to plan and develop the curriculum in six blocks of a more equal length.

Cabinet Member for Education Paul Carter, said: "It has been a long process to reach this stage but it has also been enormously valuable to have the opportunity to discuss the issue with our neighbouring authorities. Some might say the changes are modest but I believe this new standard school year will provide a more predictable calendar and o­ne which schools will find beneficial.

"I believe we have addressed the concerns which schools, parents and teaching unions have raised during the consultation. They were understandably concerned about any radical changes to the school calendar."