Herald follows Gazette with their Shepway poll

Contributed by editor on Jan 26, 2006 - 02:50 PM



Local paper, the Folkestone Herald have followed the Hawkinge Gazette with its own poll asking the question, 'Should voters look for another party to run Shepway?'

The Gazette poll was targeted at the beginning of the week by the local Conservatives attempting to influence the result.

The Herald have said that following the controversy it has decided to conduct its own 'truly independent poll'.

We wish them luck, but short of inking voter's fingers the party machines will still be able to conjure up supporters willing to pay 50p for the newspaper in order to vote.

But with more people voting, I can see the Herald sales being the biggest winner in this democratic exercise.


Click here to vote in the Gazette poll

Related story  Tories in Gazette poll tampering claim

Howard's Way 26 January 2006

Contributed by editor on Jan 26, 2006 - 12:18 AM

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

<IMG height=195 hspace=10 src="images/michaelhoward3.jpg" width=130 align=right vspace=10 border=0>26 January 2006

Last week Princess Anne visited Newchurch to address a seminar on affordable rural housing. The Princess is President of the Rural Housing Trust, under whose auspices thousands of affordable homes have been provided in rural areas over the last 15 years.

This is a subject in which I have long taken a close interest. One of the key policy changes which has helped make this development possible is the Exceptional Sites planning policy which I introduced when I was Minister for Housing and Planning in 1989.

It is one of the rare rewards of public life to see a policy which you introduced really make a difference on the ground. Many affordable rural housing developments, such as the houses recently built at Newchurch, would not have been built without this policy change. And if our villages are to remain vibrant local communities it is essential that young local families should obtain access to housing which they otherwise could not afford.

Unfortunately this welcome trend is now under threat. The occupiers of these houses are allowed, and indeed encouraged, to buy part of the equity of the house. But in order to ensure that the properties remain available for use in this way a limit of 80% was agreed to the portion of equity that could be bought in this way. Now the Government intends to abolish this limit.

The Chief Executive of the Rural Housing Trust, Moira Constable, is concerned that this would seriously undermine the scheme. This is because the land on which these houses are built is given for this purpose in the knowledge that planning permission for housing development would not normally be granted for this land. If, ultimately, these houses are to be lost altogether to affordable housing, landowners would be much more reluctant to make the land available in the first place.

So I have written to the current Minister for Housing and Planning urging her to think again. I hope she listens and changes her mind.

Of course the need for affordable housing is not limited to rural areas. As my postbag and advice centres make clear there is a desperate shortage of affordable housing in urban areas, too.

That is why it is so disappointing that the amount of affordable housing built under the present government has fallen sharply.

But that is another story.

There is an army of us all fighting

Contributed by editor on Jan 25, 2006 - 02:04 PM


Dear Ed, Caroline,

Re: I will go it alone

I too have had some successes with SDC; however, I also have some running sores which seem to go unattended no matter what steps I take.  Funnily enough, o­ne of these is with the planning department at the moment; the other is with the environment section and concerns Japanese knotweed.

As you say, you are new to the area and have yet to try and jab a vital organ in that being which is Shepway District Council - I have been at it for many years o­n and off - even going back to when I was a student at the Harvey Grammar School!

I wish you well, dear lady, but do not ever think that you are alone: there is an army of us all fighting in the way we know best.

Yours as ever,


I will go it alone

Contributed by editor on Jan 24, 2006 - 06:48 PM


Dear Lazarus,

Re: A waste of time money and effort

I understand fully what you are saying and you are probably right but I will give it a go over the next few weeks targetting council and the likes to see if I manage to achieve even a small improvement.

I have o­nly just moved to the area so have never had any dealings previously with the Council so do not know how responsive they are to requests but when targetted over the Lidl signs up Spitfire Way they sent me a letter within a day saying they were investigating and if no planning permission had been obtained they would make them remove them - which they did.

I will keep optimistic.

Kind regards


A waste of time money and effort

Contributed by editor on Jan 24, 2006 - 03:47 PM


Dear Caroline,

Re: Achieve a cleaner village

I don't wish to put any sort of negative comments o­n the wish to have the village cleaned up, but alas and unfortunately I fear that the effort would be totally wasted both in terms of the man hours required and the costs incurred.

Not to put too finer point o­n it, much of the rubbish is generated by those irresponsible members of society who have no notion of personal cleanliness, hygiene, or social responsibility.  This group of people also (usually) are the o­nes that have o­ne sort of derogation or another from paying the full amount for local services and so it really matters not a jot to them whether it is cleaned up or not.

The other mass generators of litter are the selfish o­nes among us who just can't be bothered and never see why they should pay for it to be done anyway.

The last grouping are the business organisations who are in the area, including those who are supposed to collect the rubbish,  so that waste is scattered from building sites, stock movements and the like.

So yes Caroline, I would like to see the place tidied up; unfortunately I fear it would be a waste of time, money and effort.

Yours despondently,


Tories in Gazette poll tampering claim

Contributed by editor on Jan 24, 2006 - 12:49 PM


The Gazette was contacted today by a reader asking: "Should the public not be made aware that the Conservative Party high command is seeking to tamper with independent surveys?"

We were told that the local Conservative office had sent out the following Email to drum up support for the local tories sitting on Shepway Council.

<FONT color=navy>Subject: Please Vote
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 14:26:14

<FONT color=navy>A local news website, The Hawkinge Gazette, is currently running an opinion poll o­n its front page in which people can vote to say the current administration at Shepway should go.   

<FONT color=navy>We would like the Conservatives to stay in power and a strong vote o­n this website will help stop dissent.

<FONT color=navy>Please vote "No, give them another chance" today at <FONT color=navy>

<FONT color=navy>Thanks

<FONT color=navy>Bob Davidson

<FONT color=navy>The Conservative Party
4 West Cliff Gardens
CT20 1SP
Tel: 01303 253524
Fax: 01303 251061

We have spoken to the Conservative Party Agent Bob Davidson who confirmed that he had indeed sent out the Email.

Defending his actions he said: "We are not seeking to tamper with an opinion poll.

"It's just a democratic way of  campaigning as political parties would."

Villagers face huge water bill hike

Contributed by editor on Jan 23, 2006 - 09:00 PM


Shepway householders are being warned they will be hit with above-inflation increases in their water bills this year.

The average price hike will be 7% but Folkestone and Dover Water is set to increase its prices by as much as 10.5% even though its customers will probably face water restrictions.

The company has applied to make water meters compulsory for the householders it supplies because of dry conditions in the south east.

<FONT color=red>What do you think?

<FONT color=red>Was it right to privatise the utilities companies?
Do we now get a better service?
Are their prices lower?
Were too much of the early profits paid to shareholders instead of re-investing in the businesses?

Achieve a cleaner village

Contributed by editor on Jan 22, 2006 - 08:00 PM


Dear Lazarus,

Re: A properly cleaned neighbourhood is all I am asking

Apology accepted.

How about working with me to achieve a cleaner village or assisting me in pushing this point to the powers that can make this happen?


More goals than players

Contributed by editor on Jan 22, 2006 - 05:18 PM


By Cyril Trice

It was one of those weekends when you wish you could bury the bad news in the good news.

With only the two senior teams playing, the Saturday side played Fountain in the league but were unable to field a full team and started the match with just nine players.

After sizing up the much depleted side, Fountain pounced on their prey showing them no mercy as goal after goal went into the back of the Hawkinge net.

Who knows but for the brave efforts of the goalie it could have been much higher.

Fountain 11 Hawkinge 0

In contrast the Sunday team were playing away to Nailbox in the quarter finals of the E.Burvill Cup.

The game was neck and neck with a score of one each up to the last 15 minutes, but a goal from Tom Whelam put the Hawkinge side ahead and although Nailbox fought back, it was the visitors who scored again, putting the quarter final nailbox into the coffin.

Nailbox 1 Hawkinge 3

Hawkinge scorers Johny Walker 2, Tom Whelam 1

To visit the Hawkinge Football Club website <A href="" target=_blank>click here

I lay prostrate before you and crave forgiveness

Contributed by editor on Jan 22, 2006 - 03:38 PM


Dear Caroline,

Re: A properly cleaned neighbourhood is all I am asking

Well, that's what I get for supporting someone with higher aims in life and for Hawkinge. 

Unfortunately my sentiments were terribly misinterpreted - In fact I was supporting Caroline concerning the rubbish and I applaud her for helping to clear it up.

Wow, what a reaction.  I lay prostrate before you and crave forgiveness.