Allegiance should be with that of your constituents

Contributed by editor on May 10, 2006 - 11:25 PM


Re: Cllr. Susan Carey comment to :- Are decisions being made behind closed doors?

Dear Ed,

With reference to your quotes above, I note that you state there are no local children from the village of Selsted, surprisingly Selsted o­nly consists of around about a dozen houses. As you are probably aware Swingfield, Wootten, Denton, Densole, Swingfield Street, Acrise to name but a few are all served by Selsted primary school.

I also note that you will not be attending the public meeting with the Parish Council and state that our views can be made at the KCC meeting. Is this because you will not have chance to formulate your responses to any awkward questions that you are certainly going to be faced with?

You are our local Councillor and the interest of the community should surely take priority over cost cutting exercises and I like to think that your allegiance should be with that of your constituents as we are the o­nes who make or break your position in local government 


Annual meeting of Hawkinge Parish Council

Contributed by editor on May 10, 2006 - 08:15 PM

<FONT color=red>We apologise for the late posting of the agenda but it was not received by the Gazette until 2.30pm today (10 May)


TO:  Parish Councillors
You are hereby summoned to attend the Annual Meeting of Hawkinge Parish Council to be held in the Village Hall o­n Wednesday, 10th May 2006 at 7.30 p.m.
Clerk to Council
1            Election of Chairman
            Chairman to sign Declaration of Acceptance of Office
2            Election of Vice-Chairman
3          Committees/Working Groups
       (a) Terms of Reference
To confirm or amend the Terms of Reference of the present working groups.
(copies enc.) and appoint committees if members wish to do so.
       (b) To appoint councillors to serve for the year 2006/07. 
            Councillors serving 2005/06 were as follows:
Community Liaison (Cllr. Brisley)
Planning and Development Group (Cllrs. Avery, Trice, Heasman)
Football Project Group (Cllrs. Avery, Trice, Hodgson)
Finance (Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Cllrs Avery and Trice)
Public Rights of Way (Cllrs. Callahan and Punnett)
4          Other Bodies
            To appoint representatives to serve o­n the following bodies:
Neighbourhood Management Partnership: (Cllr. Hodgson)
Village Hall Management Committee (Cllrs. Brisley, Punnett)
Fixed Term of Office
Hawkinge Community Centre (Executive Committee) Cllr. Hodgson
(Trustee appointed by PC to serve o­ne Term of Office).
5            Apologies
6          Minutes
To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held o­n 12th April 2006 (already circulated).
7            Declarations of Interest
Councillors should disclose personal or prejudicial interest/s in any item/s o­n this agenda.  Councillors with a personal interest must describe and give details of the interest.  Unless the personal interest amounts to a prejudicial interest, he/she may participate fully in the meeting.   A prejudicial interest is o­ne in which a member of the public, with knowledge of the relevant facts, would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice a Councillor’s judgement of the public interest.   Anyone with a prejudicial interest must, unless an exception applies or a dispensation has been issued, withdraw from the meeting room.
Whenever possible, and if in doubt, advice should be sought from the Clerk prior to the meeting.
8          Matters arising out of the Minutes
       (a) Village Hall Car Park [min. 277]
             Mr De Ste Croix, Secretary, VHMC, copies of recent correspondence enclosed.
9          Reports
Community Liaison Group 
Planning and Development Group
Finance – no meeting
Public Rights of Way
10            Hawkinge Football Ground
The Football Project – Cllr. Trice
            Management of the Ground – Cllr. Hodgson
11        Finance
       (a) Clerk to report.     
       (b) Audit 2005/06
To approve and sign the Council’s Balance Sheet 2005/06 (enc.).    The Income & Expenditure and VAT Control were circulated at the last meeting.   
To approve and sign the Statement of Assurance that forms part of the Annual Return (copy enc.).   
To receive the report from the Internal Auditor that forms part of the Annual Return (the audit will take place o­n 8th May).   Copies of the Asset Register and Risk Assessment that will be up-dated at the audit will be given to councillors.
The Audit Commission must receive the Annual Return before 12th June the date of audit.     If you have any queries please speak to the Clerk before the meeting.
       (c) Children’s Entertainment
To authorise the Clerk to book entertainers for August 2006 if the Council wishes to provide entertainment.
       (d) Payments
            To approve payment of the accounts presented at the meeting (list enc.)  
Would councillors please contact the Clerk before the meeting if they have any queries concerning the accounts.
12        Correspondence
       (a) Planning Policy Manager, Ashford Borough Council.   Ashford Local
Development Framework: Notice of pre-submission public participation of the Ashford Town Centre Area Action Plan (enc.). o­ne copy received (52 pages)
13        Plans
A list of planning applications received since the last meeting is attached.
Please contact Cllr. Trice if you would like to see the plans before the meeting.

            To resolve that because publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by
Reason of the confidential nature of business to be transacted the public (including the Press) be excluded from the meeting pursuant to the provision of sub section 100 & 102 of the Local Government Act, 1972.
15        Matters referred to the confidential section during the course of the meeting.

Hawkinge cyclist dies

Contributed by admin on May 10, 2006 - 04:27 PM


A 73 year old cyclist was killed in an apparent hit and run near Hythe .

Pensioner John Williams from Hawkinge was found by a passing motorist in Sandling Road, Postling yesterday afternoon (9 May)

He was taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford but did not regain consciousness

Police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward

Line up for Selsted School closure meeting (updated 10 May)

Contributed by editor on May 10, 2006 - 12:07 PM



Swingfield Parish Council Chairman Cllr. Colin Tearle has invited the following
guests to the public meeting over the proposed closure of Selsted School.

Kent County Council Lead Member for Education, Cllr. Susan Carey 
Area Education Officer for Ashford and Shepway, David Adams
Chair of Selsted School Governers, Mr A Hayes
Chairman of the Friends of Selsted School, Mandy Smith
Diocesan member

Cllr Tearle will be chairing the meeting which will take place o­n 22 May 2006 at 7.30pm in Swingfield Village Hall.


County Councillor Susan Carey will not be attending the meeting and has sent her apologies to Swingfield Parish Council Chairman Colin Tearle.

Please refer to the comment  to this story (below)

World title hopes for local dancers

Contributed by editor on May 09, 2006 - 10:05 PM



The Franze Academy dancers hope to represent England again in America next year after bringing back the World title in 2005.

They are the only school in the country to be invited to Hollywood in 2007 to take part in the World Champions in Dance Excellence.

The local dancers who now meet at  the Hawkinge Village Hall were kicked out of the Hawkinge Community Centre in 2004.

The expulsion  followed an alleged incident at the academy’s Christmas show held at the Centre on the evening of December 20th, 2004. click for more details

The Franze Academy is as busy as ever and recently held auditions for a semi professional dance troupe. 

The standard was very high and after making the difficult decision it was announced that the successful members would be, Sarah Saull from Ashford, Jessica Metcalfe from Maidstone and an ex Astor School student, Sasha Buckingham from Hawkinge who was also a student at the Astor School, Kirsty Morford from Hawkinge, Laura Ballard, Louise Collins and Zoe Coldicott from Folkestone and Laura Hewlett from Dover.

If you would like to book the troupe for events as backing dancers to singers/cabaret shows, dance display (Kent Dance Team) please call Frances on 01622 220320

County councillor Susan Carey replies over school closures

Contributed by editor on May 09, 2006 - 09:18 PM


Dear Ed,

Re: Are decisions being made behind closed doors?

The fall in the number of children means that almost all primary schools in the country have empty places.  In Kent there are over 14,000 empty places with about 900 in the Shepway area.  This is a big problem for schools as they are funded per pupil so less pupils means more money is proportionately spent o­n overheads and administration and less o­n education. 

No school o­n its own can solve this problem which is why Kent County Council is reviewing every district in the County.  This is not being done behind closed doors but openly through the Schools Organisation Advisory Board which has already looked at schools in Dover, Sevenoaks, Ashford and Gravesham and started the consultation process.  By closing or merging a few schools we help the remaining schools fill their places. 

The Shepway area is the next o­ne due for review by the Schools Organisation Advisory Board after which there will be a public consultation period of six weeks.  Plans are by no means finalised and this is when parents and the community can have their say.  I have seen proposals changed or dropped as a result of such consultations.  However, the fall in the number of children is so big that if we do not take action every school will suffer. 

What about the new houses being built in our area?  The new homes are in the forecasts but new homes produce very few children.  Every 100 flats produces less than 3 children of primary school age, every 100 2 bedroom house less than 14 and every 3 bedroom house less than 17 children.  We are looking to reduce the number of surplus places but around 5% will be kept to allow for an unexpected upturn in numbers of children.  The inescapable fact is that there are less children this year than last year and that birthrates are at an all time low.

Some people have said this is an ideal time to reduce class sizes.  Smaller class sizes would be welcome but the Government funds education o­n a per child basis.  Less children means less money.  Schools with falling numbers would have to cut their teaching staff not run smaller classes.

A group of 50 headteachers drew up Kent County Council's policy for school organisation called the Primary Strategy and it can be downloaded from the Kent website This document sets out the principles by which KCC is dealing with the problem of falling numbers.

The Primary Strategy says the ideal size for primary schools is either 210 pupils or 420 as this allows class sizes of 30.  No new school would be designed for less than 100 pupils because small numbers of pupils mean that there often has to be mixed ages in classes and the teaching team is so small that it is destabilising for the school whenever a teacher leaves.  Small schools can be and often are very good but parents should consider the downsides associated with a school of less than 100 pupils when deciding where they want their child to be educated.

In rural areas it is often impractical to have schools of the ideal size and Kent is committed to supporting genuine village schools which serve their immediate area.  Education is about the children not the buildings and a school that is in a village but has no local children is not a genuine village school.

KCC will hold its own public meeting about any school where there is a proposal for closure or merger and this is when parents will be able to have their say.

Susan Carey
Member Elham Valley
Kent County Council

Motoring crime still rising

Contributed by editor on May 09, 2006 - 09:04 PM


Dear Ed,

Re: Crime is down in Hawkinge

It is good to hear that crime is down around here.

However, what a pity it is that motorists speeding, driving whilst using the mobile telephone, and not putting o­n seat belts continues with increasing frequency.


Public meeting on possible closure of Selsted School

Contributed by editor on May 09, 2006 - 12:06 AM

Are decisions being made behind closed doors?

Contributed by editor on May 08, 2006 - 02:54 PM



Dear Ed,

I am writing with regard the to possible closure of Selsted school.

After spending a morning on the phone to several schools in the area it seems unclear about the fate of Selsted's pupils.

Neither Hawkinge school nor The Churchill, both apparently with surplus places, could offer my child a place. Yet we are led to believe that the Churchill has an unused classroom. 

Are decisions being made behind closed doors that we are later to be made aware of? 

For the present time I am uncertain about what choices are available to me, or what effect planned action will have.

I was informed this morning by a local county councillor that parents should be wary of sending their children to any schools with under 210 pupils; it's a shame that our Local Education Authority do not see the need to highlight this information to us when parents are choosing schools. 

It also indicates the precarious situation of not only our village schools, but also some of the smaller town schools.

Name and address supplied

Are charities too choosy?

Contributed by editor on May 08, 2006 - 10:58 AM


Dear Ed,

Re: Don't kill the goose which laid the golden egg

I support J Cullen's comments, but from another angle. 

I have recently tried to interest several charitable agencies in good, clean items (blankets, cots, high chairs - that sort of tackle); all of this was turned sown since the condition was considered not to be of "marketable quality". 

There must be hundreds of people, in circumstances much worse than mine, who would just love to have the sort of gear that we can't (apparently) give away. 

The most surprising response was from the Salvation Army who seem to have given up with any direct help of the needy, channeling all donations o­nly through the shop.