Community Centre ban under 18's

Contributed by editor on Nov 24, 2006 - 01:50 PM


A notice posted in the Hawkinge Community Centre banning under 18's from the centre has angered residents and parish councillors.

The Gazette was told the ban stemmed from an incident involving some rowdy behaviour.

Young people who attend clubs at the centre will be unaffected.

The Chairman of Hawkinge Parish Council, David Callahan said he was shocked. The council had recently thrown the ailing centre a £5,000 lifeline to keep the building open.

"I can't believe they have done it. It was an arbitrary decision. That is no way to run a trust," he said.

"You cannot ban all young people, they should not all be tarred with the same brush."

An angry Cllr Callahan continued: "Are they saying everyone under 18 is a vandal?

"I don't understand the logic behind throwing out a whole group because of the perceived action of o­ne person.

"The Community Centre is for the use of everybody in the village and the same rules should apply to everyone.

"I shall be speaking face to face with the trustees for a full explanation."

A disgusted Cllr Peter Smith said that putting up notices in the Community Centre banning the youth did not help bring the community together.

" The centre was built for everybody and the youth are a part of that community. I am disgusted." said Cllr Smith

The Gazette has been unable to speak to any  trustees of the centre.

"Marvellous" Dave scoops award

Contributed by editor on Nov 24, 2006 - 12:28 AM


Dave the Folkestone Dolphin has scooped a prestigious tourism award for helping to attract visitors to the Shepway coast this summer.

The mammal, who has been seen swimming between Folkestone and Seabrook since April, was attracting up to 150 visitors a day throughout the summer months.

Even last month as the warm weather began to cool, Dave was still proving popular among tourists, helping to extend the town's holiday season.

'We would have expected a drop in trade by now but it hasn't happened,' a spokeswoman for the Channel Chamber of Commerce told the BBC. 'Along with the mild weather, Dave has been a real boost for Folkestone.'

Peter Hobbs, chief executive of the Chamber, added: 'He's marvellous. People are coming from far and wide to see him.

'Viewed against the beautiful blue sky and calm seas, he's very attractive,' he told The Sun.

In recognition of his services to tourism, the dolphin was honoured with an outstanding achievement award from Kent Tourism Academy in Hythe this week.

Probe into soldier's death on Shepway firing range

Contributed by editor on Nov 24, 2006 - 12:15 AM


An investigation has begun following the death of a soldier during an exercise at a Shepway firing range yesterday (23 November).

Police were called to the Lydd ranges at 7.00am o­n Thursday.

A Kent Police spokesman said the soldier's next of kin have yet to be informed.

A pathologist is conducting post-mortem tests.

The range is o­n a stretch of coastline o­n Romney Marsh. The ranges have been used by the military for more than 100 years.

Although Kent Police will lead the inquiry, MoD police will be available if needed.

Leisuredrome is a badly needed facility

Contributed by editor on Nov 24, 2006 - 12:00 AM


Dear Ed,

I am writing in response to some of the councillors' statements regarding the proposed sale of the leisuredrome thus removing a badly needed facility.

A survey carried out prior to the Hawkinge Youth and Community Sports Council taking the lease did not result in such a large estimate for repair.

It is agreed by everyone that the youth of Hawkinge needs more investment if the parish council are not challenged this appears to mean football.

If we are experiencing youth problems from youngsters who really just want to play football then we need do nothing we have football pitches and the sports centre has 5 aside space as does Channel and Pent valley school.

However it is more likely that the youth need somewhere to go with activities they have a say in.

The leisuredrome can provide this, if of course it remains and is repaired.

Can these councillors remember that they represent the people not just parents of footballing children.

As a resident living close to the football ground I can confirm it is a fabulous facility for the youth of Hawkinge and can't wait for my children to be old enough to join.

But what about those children who don't like football there's probably a few.

The use of the leisuredrome for the youth of Hawkinge is supported by both head teachers in the village and the police.

We all know what is the main agenda for selling the leisuredrome is, and that's to bail out the community centre which has significant debts resulting from bad management.

Thanks for reading.

Concerned Parent and resident, parish council tax payer.

(Name and address supplied)

Lift inspires poet

Contributed by editor on Nov 23, 2006 - 10:03 PM


Our thanks go to Leas Lift  campaigner, Robert Mouland for sending us this poem written by Ann Houghton and inspired by the Leas Lift 1890 Carriage Restoration project. We hope you enjoy it

A Gauge of Time

Out with the old, in with the new
Call it modern philosophy, is that what we do
Not so long ago, there was value and repair
Age to respect of things to love and share

Down by the sea, things of great design
Fagg's bathing carriage, ladies so refined
Trolley o­n a switchback, riding an undulating course
Amusing and exciting, like a strong and gallant horse.

Up and down the cliffside, little cars to ride
Lifts balanced by water, tiered seats built inside
Busy, busy how those steel rails had shone
Breaking to 4 miles per hour, bearing to 40 tonne.

Now standing o­n the shoreline a hundred years hence
All that I find is a crippled railway inside a modern fence
Why should I feel sad, when I wasn't there
History's not even my subject, but feelings I still bear.

Who am I but a resident respecting the past
Knowing someone made something, intending it to last
I'm not doing a lot but others certainly are
Looking to the lift, now where is that car

There are still two others riding up and down
But o­ne built in 1890, must surely 'wear the crown
A chap called Bob Mouland more than loves it a bit
He's vowed to return it, where weeds now do sit

He's gathered some friends with a like minded view
Away o­n a crane, the car to renew
Down at the bottom we'll wait by the lift
For something repaired and valued, how proud it will sit.

Anne Houghton
November 2006

11-year-old injured in fun park accident

Contributed by editor on Nov 23, 2006 - 10:33 AM


An investigation is under way after a cable slide at a children's adventure playground in Folkestone snapped, injuring an 11-year-old boy .

The accident happened on Tuesday afternoon (21 November) at the Lower Leas Coastal Park Fun Zone. 

The youngster was taken to hospital with injuries to his face.

Police said it appeared the zip line's metal cable snapped. Shepway District Council, which runs the park, said the Health and Safety Executive had been informed.

A council spokeswoman said: "We had our health and safety officer and the park manager down there after the accident, and we will be speaking to the equipment manufacturers."

New Years Day safari

Contributed by editor on Nov 23, 2006 - 12:40 AM


Come on a winter New Years Day Safari  around the Port Lympne Wild
Animal Park and have a guide to talk you through your journey and answer all your questions about the park's animals and our conservation projects. 

Afterwards enjoy a meal in the restaurant to celebrate the New Year. 

For more information or to book please call 01303 234111 or email

Howard's Way - 23 November 2006

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

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

November 2006


The Queen’s Speech marks the start of the Parliamentary year. It is a magnificent piece of theatre, symbolising the monarch’s continuing role in our constitution. The debate which follows is usually the only debate in the whole year when Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition both speak. It is also the longest debate in the Parliamentary year, lasting for 5 days.

I spoke on Wednesday, after the Party Leaders had made their speeches. There were things I wanted to say about Iraq and Afghanistan, the two greatest challenges that our country faces today. I wanted to talk about the future, not the past. Many different views are held about our intervention in both countries and what followed intervention. But the burning question we face, in both countries, is what now?

The goal of achieving a peaceful, stable and democratic Iraq is a noble one. But can it be achieved? In my judgement there is one step, above all others, which must be taken if there is to be any chance of success. The continuing existence of independent, armed militias owing their loyalty to political parties, Cabinet Ministers or other leaders, is quite unacceptable. It is completely inconsistent with any notion of law and order and the impartial administrations of justice.

So the Iraqi government really must confront these militias and ensure that the only armed forces in the country are those loyal to the government as a whole.

If they need help in achieving this very difficult objective, every effort should be made to provide that help. But if they cannot, or will not, make a start on dealing with this fundamental problem then I fear we shall not succeed in achieving our objective of a peaceful, stable and democratic country. If that is indeed the case we need to ask some very searching questions about whether we are justified in continuing to ask our servicemen and women to risk, and perhaps, give their lives.

Similar considerations arise in respect of Afghanistan. Here the problem is bribery and corruption. There is now abundant anecdotal evidence that it is, for example, impossible to travel along any main road in the country without being stopped at an official checkpoint and asked for money. This, too, is completely unacceptable and is certainly one of the reasons for the resurgence of the Taliban.

President Karzai and his government really must tackle this problem. Again if they need help, every effort should be made to provide it. But if he cannot, or will not, confront this evil, then some searching questions must be asked.

Were we not to do so we would be failing in our duty to those men and women who are serving so magnificently on our behalf.

Leisuredrome report estimates £200,000 outlay

Contributed by editor on Nov 22, 2006 - 08:28 PM


Dear Ed,

This is a copy of the latest survey on the Spitfire Leisuredrome carried out for the Parish Council

At last night's planning meeting (21 November), Shepway Councillors disregarded this document but did consider the protestors arguments about the building needed for the youth. 

Who is supposed to pay to get the building useable and then pay for its continuing upkeep?

The Parish Council has not got the funds to do it

Cllr Cyril Trice






November 2006 Ref: ISM/tk/2805

The property is as described in our original report with the accommodation unchanged. However, there have been various works, which have been undertaken, and the condition of the property has changed over the past 6 years.

This inspection was undertaken on 10 and 13 November 2006 when the weather was dry, but overcast.



Photographs: 1 -4

The south high level windows have internally been sealed with glass blocks, externally though the metal windows have been retained.

NOTE – there is no means of ventilation to the room. The north windows have been sealed externally.


Photographs: 5 - 7

The water closets have been renewed.

There are no lavatory basins.

Water ingress has occurred at roof level.

Dampness to walls and at floor level, wet rot to skirting.

Ceramic tiles missing from walls.

Windows – not functional.

Flooring inappropriate – not slip resistant.


Photographs: 8 - 9

Fittings removed

Flooring inappropriate – not slip resistant.


Photographs: 10 - 17

New domestic fitted kitchen provided

Defective plaster adjacent to ladies lobby.

Water ingress from roof abutment.

Floor tiles missing.

Flooring inappropriate – not slip resistant.


Photographs: 18 - 24

The general condition has deteriorated since the first visit in April 2000.

Water ingress to ceiling, dampness to walls and floor.

Ceramic wall tiles missing.

Flooring inappropriate – not slip resistant.


Photographs: 25 - 26

Old water ingress.

Defective ceiling finish.


Photographs:27 & 30

Damage to ceiling.



Photographs: 28 - 29

Exposed brickwork has now been rendered and decorated over.

Upper panels still defective.

Slate roof, been repaired using tingles (metal clips).

Roof requires recovering.

Gutter broken and downpipe missing.


Photographs: 31 – 32 & 37

Flat roof abutment with the main wall incorrectly formed and leaking. Past repairs to render at this abutment.

General render to piers affected by water.

No gutter at high level.

Metal windows retained and glass blocks internally.

Rotted joinery to fascia.


Photographs: 34 - 35

All maintained – some redecoration necessary.

Ramp up but access blocked internally.


Photographs: 36 - 38

Areas have been rendered and the wall decorated.


It is evident that some work has been undertaken to:

§ Provide a new roof. We are not aware of the details or whether any insulation was included.
§ External rendering and decoration.
§ New kitchen fittings.
§ New WC’s to the ladies toilets.
§ Provision of emergency lighting.
§ Providing glass blocks to south (rear) windows.

However, there is still a good deal of work required to the facilities to comply with and satisfy the Environmental Health Department, to remedy defects and generally upgrade the building, these will include at least:

§ Ensuring a watertight building – single storey flat roof renewal and dealing with the weatherings at abutments.

§ Reproofing of the entrance porch.

§ Dealing with rotted timber to fascias

§ Overhauling and replacement of missing and defective rainwater goods.

§ Repair of defective external rendering.

§ Dealing with all dampness and damp affected surfaces: ceilings, walls, floors, skirtings etc. 

§ Providing adequate toilet facilities, both ladies and gentleman.

§ Providing toilet facilities for the disabled and adequate sized door openings for wheelchair users.

§ Improvement of the insulation values for the building. ie. Roofs, windows and walls.

§ Providing hot water and central heating.

§ Adequate lighting to the hall for functions and ball sports.

§ Lighting for stage

§ Providing integrated smoke and heat detection system/fire alarm system.

§ Probable rewiring.

§ New windows

§ Providing means of ventilation/air conditioning system.

§ New floor finishes through out.

§ Removal of all redundant fittings.

§ Providing adequate car parking to comply with current standards.

We would advise that you should budget for costs in the order of £130,000 –£150,000 excluding professional fees to undertake the works. With an additional cost of some £40,000 – £50,000 to provide car parking facilities, this will of course be dependant upon surface finishes but these figures assume a grasscrete

These costs are of course budgets and would be subject to a detailed specification and competitive tenders.

We would suggest that if the building is to be used for activities such as music and sports that the following at least should be considered:

§ Ensuring that that the acoustic qualities are sufficient, (the building is within a predominantly residential area) providing acoustic linings to walls and ceilings.

§ Providing suitable floor and wall finishes (fibreboard to walls liable to damage) to the hall.


PHOTOGRAPH SCHEDULE (Sorry, no photos available)

1 – 4 General view of main hall internally.
5 Ladies toilets – no lavatory basins
6 Lobby to ladies toilets
7 Lobby to ladies toiletsDamp and rot to skirting
8 ‘Disabled’ toiletNo fittings
9 ‘Disabled’ toilets lobbyNo fittings
10 Ceiling to ladies toilets lobby
11 – 14 Kitchen walls and ceilingWater penetration/dampness
15 Kitchen floor
16 – 17 Kitchen – general views
18 – 19 Gents urinal
20 Gents WC
21 Gents ceilingWater ingress
22 Gents WC
23 – 24 Gents lobby
25 – 26 StageSalting and old dampness
27 & 30 Porch internally
28 Entrance porch
29 Side elevation
31 – 32 Rear elevation
33 ‘Overgrown garden’ area to rear
34 Front elevation view to Aerodrome Road
35 Access ramp to Aerodrome Road
36 – 37 Side elevation
38 – 39 Rear and side elevation

Community Centre could close after Leisuredrome vote goes against council

Contributed by editor on Nov 22, 2006 - 05:39 PM


Following last night's (21 November) Shepway Development Control committee's vote to turn down the outline planning proposal for the Spitfire Leisuredrome by Hawkinge Parish Council, a council spokesman said they plan to appeal against the decision.

Parish Council Chairman David Callahan said: "There is now sadly a possibility the Community Centre could close if we are unable to secure funds quickly from the sale of the Leisuredrome.

"We are continuing our efforts to sell the building for the best price to benefit the village, but without planning permission we may find it more difficult to sell and realise less much needed cash from its sale."