Council must do better

Contributed by editor on Mar 30, 2006 - 10:24 PM


Shepway Council’s efforts to improve services to local people are encouraging, but must be sustained, says a report by an independent watchdog.

The Audit Commission says the strategic management of the council is strengthening, stronger processes have been developed and the council is investing for the future. There was a strong emphasis o­n improvement that was shared by councillors and senior managers and very recent signs of improvement were ‘encouraging’.

But the report says the improvements are not spread across the council and there was still a long way to go.

“The council’s efforts are o­nly beginning to be felt by the public and although this is encouraging, the council knows it must sustain improvement to deliver consistently good services,â€? said Stephen Mead, Audit Commission senior manager.

Cllr David Monk, Deputy Leader of the Council, said that the council had made significant progress which has improved some services.

Cllr Monk continued: "But we acknowledge that there is still work to do and we know that we must continue our efforts to spread those improvements so that even more local people benefit from better services.�

Local crime 30 March 2006

Contributed by editor on Mar 30, 2006 - 10:02 PM


Neighbourhood Watch have reported the following crimes.

An Audi A6 was stolen from Reinden Woods, Hawkinge yesterday lunchtime (29 March).  The owners had parked their vehicle and went for a picnic further in the woods.

An otter garden ornament was stolen from a garden in Winter Drive o­n Sunday afternoon (26 March).  A young male approx 6' tall and wearing a sky blue hooded top, black faded jeans and white trainers was seen to remove it from the garden.

Watch out and watch your windows

Contributed by editor on Mar 30, 2006 - 09:55 PM


Dear Ed,

Watch out and watch your windows.

I was disheartened to see that ball bearing guns (BB Guns) were o­n sale today in Folkestone Market.

Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to suffer at the pointed ends of these devices will know what is meant by the above.

Regards as ever,


Howard's Way 30 March 2006

Contributed by admin on Mar 30, 2006 - 08:26 AM


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

30 March 2006<IMG height=195 hspace=10 src="images/michaelhoward3.jpg" width=130 align=right vspace=10 border=0>

Last Friday I performed one of the most pleasurable, if difficult, duties of the year. Together with the Community Warden for Lyminge I judged the Annual Easter Bonnet Parade at Lyminge Pre-School Nursery. The entries reached a very high standard and the result was very close. I succeeded in becoming the most unpopular man in Lyminge for another year!

Later Sandra and I went to the opening of Moda Ceramics at 43 Tontine Street. This is just one of a number of new shops opening in a part of Folkestone which badly needs regeneration. That regeneration is clearly underway and I am increasingly excited at the area’s prospects.

From this I went to Shorncliffe Barracks to do an interview for British Forces Broadcasting Services Ghurkha Radio. Did you know that the Headquarters of this lively global station is here at Shorncliffe?

I certainly didn’t. But I was delighted to be able to talk to Ghurkhas all over the world. 

I have recently written to the Secretary of State for Defence asking him to look again at some of the terms and conditions under which the Ghurkhas serve, including pensions.

The Ghurkhas are very valued members of our local community and serve our country outstandingly well. We need to make sure we show our appreciation in the proper way.

Two items of news caught my eye this week.

First, the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers has said we should have a unified Border Police Force. Welcome to the club! This was something we proposed at the last General Election. What a pity he didn’t say so then.

Secondly, we learn that recent figures show that the number of smokers in Ireland, which has banned smoking in public places, has gone up. What a pity we didn’t know this before Parliament voted to impose a ban here just a few weeks ago!

Is the Leisuredrome still being sold?

Contributed by admin on Mar 30, 2006 - 08:22 AM


Dear Ed

The latest saga from Hawkinge Parish Council has just arrived through my door neatly wrapped within the pages of the monthly copy of the Roundel, and what an example of muddled and mistaken thinking it is! 

The words, 'collective responsibility' come to mind when reading this little gem about the Spitfire Leisuredrome being an ideal place for an indoor sports and facility centre. Correct me if I'm wrong but is it not in the process of being sold? 

It then confesses not to know what is happening to the bollards in Webster Way. I ask, why not? What have they been doing, apart from jacking up the parish portion of the Council Tax by 34%? 

Next it is claimed the Council are providing litter and dog waste bins. But I thought the Partnership contributed nearly 90% of the funding. 

And finally a committee has been formed to fill holes and build a fence in the village hall car-park. Why? Is this yet another example of, if in doubt form a committee? 

Is there not a village hall management committee already in place? If not, why can`t it be dealt with smoothly and efficiently by the Council itself? 

No wonder meetings take so long! 


Standard of new homes falls

Contributed by admin on Mar 30, 2006 - 08:20 AM


People who buy brand new homes are getting a raw deal because of increasing numbers of faults, according to a report out today and homes in Kent top the list of homes with defects.

Research has found that, on average, a new three-bedroom house in 2005 had 84 defects,  a 29 per cent rise on the previous year. 

In some extreme cases, ceilings had collapsed from water leaks, and one developer had sold units as two bedroom properties even though they were only one bedroom with an open mezzanine. 

The study was carried out by Inspector Home - a company that inspects new homes to check for defects - and Glasgow Caledonian University.

Inspector Home says it uncovered confusion amongst buyers over correct standards, and many said they felt pressured into buying a sub-standard home. 

The areas with the highest average number of faults per property were Kent and the South Midlands, while London remained the area with the lowest. Scotland showed the best improvement with a 10 per cent reduction in defects on the previous year's figure.

Join in the village spring clean

Contributed by editor on Mar 27, 2006 - 10:17 PM

The big village clean-up is taking place o­n Saturday 8 April and everyone is welcome to give a hand.

If you can spare just 3 hours, come along to the Hawkinge Community Centre at 9.00am and join the happy band of volunteers

All the organisers ask is that you bring gloves and wear suitable clothing. Refuse sacks will be provided.

Contact  Clean-up co-ordinator Cyril Trice o­n 01303 893499 or email

New born baby critical after head-on crash

Contributed by editor on Mar 27, 2006 - 09:45 PM


Police are appealing for witnesses following a serious accident near Dover o­n Saturday (25 March) which left a newborn baby critically ill in hospital.

The mother of the child went into labour following a head o­n crash, and the baby was delivered by Caesarian section at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

The woman was driving a Ford Fiesta which collided head-on with a Peugeot 106 o­n the A258 near Dover. An 18-month-old child travelling in the rear passenger seat of the Fiesta escaped unhurt.

The 51-year-old woman driver of the Peugeot suffered serious injuries and had to be cut free from her vehicle. She was flown by air ambulance to the same hospital.

The driver of a third car which crashed into the rear of the Peugeot was not seriously injured.

Kent Police said the accident happened when the Fiesta, which was travelling from Dover to Deal, overtook a bus.

One down but still unbeaten

Contributed by editor on Mar 26, 2006 - 07:14 PM


By Cyril Trice

The Sunday morning team were away to Harveys Wine Bar this week but with Hawkinge only managing to field ten players, the village team still put on a spirited show.

In an easily forgettable scrappy match where the lost hour of the night before no doubt played its part, a draw was probably a fair result.

Harveys Wine Bar 1 Hawkinge 1

Hawkinge scorer Rob Knott

To visit the Hawkinge Football Club website click here

Local voters back Lib Dems

Contributed by editor on Mar 25, 2006 - 08:43 PM



Tim Prater

The Lib Dems have swept to victory in the Cheriton by-election for Folkestone Town Council on Thursday (16 March), with a majority over the Tories of 210 votes

The result was as follows:

Trevor Buss - People First - 262 - 21.69%

Roy Edey - Impeach Blair, Troops out of Iraq - 18 - 1.49%

David Johnson - Conservative - 294 - 24.34%

Tim Prater - Liberal Democrat - 504 - 41.72% - Elected

Andrew Whitworth - Go Folkestone - 126 - 10.43%

Spoilt papers 4

Percentage Turnout 28.6%

Delighted Lib Dem candidate Tim Prater firstly thanked the voters of Cheriton for their support.

He said "It's a real honour to be elected to represent Cheriton, and I plan to do so to the best of my ability. I look forward to working with my fellow Town Councillors for Cheriton and the Lib Dem group to get the best for the area.

"Talking to people on their doorsteps over the last few weeks, I know what local people are calling for, and I will work to deliver them. Better priced parking in Folkestone. Better street cleaning. Better facilities. A feeling of security in local streets. A bit of pride in Cheriton and Folkestone."

Local Conservative Party Agent Bob Davidson said, "I would like to thank David Johnson and the many members who worked on the campaign.

"At first glance you would have thought the Shepway Liberal Democrats did quite well until you think back to 2003, the last time the Liberal Democrats won anything other than the odd Town Council seat, when the Liberal Democrats got 84% of the vote in this seat. This time they only got half that figure - hardly something they can be proud of."