Cloud hangs over future of Hawkinge Post Office

Contributed by editor on Nov 12, 2004 - 10:47 PM


Hawkinge Post Office boss Baz Basra is asking villagers to help support the local office in the Community Centre or he may be forced to close in the new year.

Mr Basra told the Gazette: “Every week since we have opened we have seen a fall in people receiving benefits and switching to the banks.

“These customers are vital to the future success of the post office because it provides a regular stream of income.

“The new Tesco Express store has a cash machine which means people do not have to come into the Post Office,� said Mr. Basra.

The Postmaster claims that funding promised by “certain councillorsâ€? had not been forthcoming and he has put together the whole project himself. This includes the initial setting up of the business and further expenditure including  £9,000 to licence the premises, and £2,600 a year for business rates.

Hawkinge Parish Council Chairman Dave Callahan said: “Small Post Offices are closing all over the country and it is up to the villagers to keep their office viable. If they don’t use it, they will lose it.

“I will be pushing for the completion of the cycle track and footpath through the Village Hall car park to make access to the Post Office easier�.

Mr Basra is planning to meet Cllrs Callahan, Heasman and Smith, together with Jan Doyle and Deirdre Ferguson from the Hawkinge Partnership in the new year in an effort to thrash out a solution.

“I don’t think people realise how vital the Post Office is to any community until its gone and luckily for Hawkinge they haven’t had to suffer any loss yet. Who knows what the situation might be like this time next year� Mr Basra concluded.

What is the Hawkinge Partnership?

Contributed by editor on Nov 12, 2004 - 07:51 PM

<P align=center><FONT color=black size=5>HAWKINGE PARTNERSHIP


<P align=left>
<FONT color=black size=4>·     What is the Hawkinge Partnership?

<FONT color=black>We are a partnership of local residents, service providers, District and Parish Councillors who have come together to oversee the development and delivery of the Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder Programme. 

We developed as a Partnership after a bid was made to Government to have Hawkinge included in the second round of the Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder Programme. As a result, Hawkinge is now recognised as o­ne of 35 Pathfinders operating nationally and the village stands to benefit from funding which supports improvements in services to meet the needs of local people. 

<FONT color=black>·     What do we do?

<FONT color=black>As a Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder we focus o­n three key areas of work:

1.     Firstly we work to develop a clear understanding of the needs of the local community. 

2.     Secondly, we work with the community and service providers (health, education, police etc) to bring about positive changes and improvements in service provision to meet identified needs. 

3.     Thirdly, we work to ensure that service improvements will continue over the long term. 

<FONT color=black>·     What do we aim to achieve?

<FONT color=black>What we aim to achieve is determined by residents and the information we have regarding local needs. 

Since February of this year we have been gathering information from a range of existing sources to inform our understanding of the needs of local people in terms of service provision. We have also undertaken our own research and consultation through the Mori Poll and Community Fun Day. 

An analysis of all of this information has enabled us to identify the priorities of local residents and from these we have established five key objectives that will direct our future work. 

1.     To increase knowledge and awareness of the services and facilities available to villagers and to improve access to them.

2.     To improve facilities and services for young people and children.

3.     To build community cohesion.

4.     To improve the quality of the environment for all.

5.     To develop a safer environment for all.

By understanding needs, working with the community and service providers, we will explore new and improved ways of working together which will enable us to achieve our objectives and address local priorities. 

Ultimately, by demonstrating the value of these new ways of working we hope to bring about welcome improvements to services that will be supported beyond the life of the programme by service providers and other partners we have worked with. 

<FONT color=black>·     How are we funded?

<FONT color=black>As the Hawkinge Neighbourhood Partnership, we expect to receive an average of £350,000 each year over the next seven years to support our Pathfinder work. This is subject to annual approval, and, as funding comes from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, our progress will be closely monitored. 

It is important to remember that this funding is being awarded to enable us to work with the community and service providers to bring about positive and lasting change in service delivery. We are not a grant making body.

<FONT color=black>·     How can you contact us?

<FONT color=black>Deirdre Ferguson has recently been appointed as Neighbourhood Manager and is the key contact regarding our Pathfinder initiative. Deirdre is temporarily based at the Civic Centre in Folkestone and can be contacted on: 07880922838.

Deirdre’s immediate tasks are to complete a plan of work for the Hawkinge Pathfinder and to establish a community office base in the village. A site has already been identified for the community office on Canterbury Road and it is hoped this will be open as a community information point for our initiative in the new year. 

<DIV align=center>
<TABLE borderColor=#000080 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=10 width="60%" bgColor=#ebebeb border=1><FONT color=black>
<FONT color=black>

<P align=center style="line-height: 150%; margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0"><FONT size=5><FONT color=black>Vision Statement
<P align=center style="line-height: 200%; margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0">
<FONT color=black>The work of the Partnership will contribute to:

“the growth of Hawkinge as one village, where local residents young and old feel a part, where everyone has a pride in where they live and where everyone works together in taking responsibility for the village with support from effective and accessible services�

Howard puts forward childcare plans

Contributed by editor on Nov 12, 2004 - 11:09 AM


A package of plans designed to help parents cope with the rising costs of childcare have been unveiled by Folkestone and Hythe MP and Conservative Leader Michael Howard.

Under proposals now being examined by the Shadow Cabinet, all parents could be able to offset the costs of childcare against tax, while existing rules could be changed to make it easier for grandparents to qualify as childminders.

In addition, the childcare element of the working tax credit could be paid in cash to qualifying parents, to be spent as they choose - perhaps o­n a nanny, au pair, or family and friends who help look after their children.

And the feasibility of an incoming Conservative administration increasing maternity pay during the first six months of a child's life, reducing pressure o­n mothers to return to work, is also under consideration by party chiefs.

Announcing the new approach to childcare in a keynote speech at Conservative Campaign Headquarters, Mr Howard stressed that families - not government - should decide how to run their lives, and signalled that regulations covering families and childcare should be more flexible.

"We can ensure that regulation is a light touch - so that nurseries and playgroups aren't driven out of business or more expensive than they need to be. We can help support informal care more effectively. We can ensure that childcare is more flexible…and that's what these proposals are designed to do," he said.

Mr Howard explained that the six principles governing childcare should include recognising that parents want to decide how to run their lives; that choice will vary from family to family; that circumstances vary so flexibility is the watchword; that all the costs cannot be loaded o­nto employers; that many families rely o­n grandparents for help; and that over-regulation must be avoided.

Mr Howard also indicated that under a Conservative government, schools would be allowed to vary their hours, improving flexibility for parents. And he said new ways would be examined to ensure that the childcare element of the working tax credit can be paid automatically in cash to qualifying parents - so they can choose how to spend it. "They will be in the driving seat. They can spend it o­n the childcare they want - not the childcare ministers think best. It might be an au pair or even family and friends," he said.

At the same time, shadow ministers will consult o­n whether the cost of childcare can become tax deductable; and more flexible arrangements for statutory maternity pay are also being examined.

Shock over Village Hall ownership

Contributed by editor on Nov 11, 2004 - 10:12 PM


It was revealed at last night's Parish Council meeting (10 November) that the land o­n which the village hall is built and the adjacent car park does not belong to the Village Hall Management Committee but is owned by Hawkinge Parish Council.

Council Chairman David Callahan explained that the deeds showed the Parish Council have owned the land since 1980.

But the revelations may not be a windfall for the council. Repairs to the car park are urgently needed and the state of repair of the village hall has recently been attacked by readers of the Hawkinge Gazette.

It does mean though that the cycle and footpath, which termiates abruptly at the Village Hall car park can now be completed and extended to Canterbury Road. This will make access easier to the sub Post Office and the Community Centre.

Questions will now be asked how this information remained hidden.

Some members of the Village Hall Management Committee also sit o­n the Parish Council, and yet the information o­nly came to light after negotiations to build a small electricity sub-station were completed and the Parish Council Chairman, as the representative of the owners of the land, was asked to sign the authorising documents.

It was o­nly then that the Parish Council ownership became a possibility. Further investigation of the deeds clarified the situation that  Hawkinge Parish Council became owners of the land  24 years ago in 1980.

Crime sheet 1/11/04 to 7/11/04

Contributed by editor on Nov 10, 2004 - 10:23 PM

COUNTRY EYE - NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Crime Sheet 01/11 to 07/11

<FONT color=navy>02/11/04
Between 0800hrs & 1645hrs 02/11/04
Theft of Pedal Cycle

Reported by the Ip - she states that her 11-year-old son left his BMX in the back garden of their address with a padlock attached. It was last seen this morning about 0800 hrs and discovered missing at 1630 hrs

REDLINE BMX colour red.

<FONT color=navy>03/11/04
Between 2100hrs 02/11/04 & 0745hrs 03/11/04
Theft from Motor Vehicle

The Ip has reported that sometime between the times stated unknown offender(s) have broken the rear passenger window to his van and stolen the van stereo and some power tools from inside. No attempt has been made to take the vehicle.

<FONT color=navy>03/11/04
Between 1700hrs 02/11/04 & 0600hrs 03/11/04
Attempted Theft from Motor Vehicle

IP thinks may have left passenger door unlocked. No damage to outside of vehicle but entry gained & locked glove compartment was forced open.

<FONT color=navy>03/11/04
Between 2200hrs 02/11/04 & 0700hrs 03/11/04
Theft from Motor Vehicle

IP is reporting o­n her behalf, a break to her vehicle overnight. The n/s rear quarter window was smashed by means unknown, entry was gained to the vehicle, glove box riffled through and items left in the passenger foot well. No damage to ignition.

<FONT color=navy>03/11/04
Between 1200hrs & 1730hrs 03/11/04
Burglary Other

Informant states that they were expecting a delivery from Argos today, they had agreed with Argos for them to leave the boxed cabinet in the shed in the back garden in the afternoon. The shed was not locked, neither was the back gate. When the IP got home she went to the shed and found the delivery note but no cabinet. They phoned Argos who checked with their couriers and told them it had been delivered. IP believes unknown person has entered the back garden and the insecure shed and stolen the cabinet.

<FONT color=navy>06/11/04
Between 1900hrs 05/11/04
& 0920hrs 06/11/04
Theft of Motor Vehicle

SUZUKI Scooter Found 07/11/04 PARAKER WAY HYTHE


<FONT color=navy>In the last few weeks we have started to see an increase in the number of cards being compromised at ATM's.

Please be extra vigilant when using this type of machine

The Offenders often work in groups of four or five. They will often disable other nearby machines or place 'Out of order notices' o­n them.

Devices attached to the machines will skim magnetic strips and record pin No's, They are normally not attached for more than an hour, and usually o­nly in the evenings, when the machines are busy and the banks are closed.

Offenders will stay close to the machines. The equipment they attach cost thousands of pounds and they will use violence to protect it.

Suspect offenders are described as being of Eastern European appearance, but again this is not always the case.

Do not try to remove any suspect device

Report it. Use 999 to call the Police. Do not put yourself at risk.

Do not use any machine you suspect to have been tampered with.

If you have any information in relation to any crime. Please contact the Watch Office o­n 01304 218151 or ring
Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 You do not have to give your name and you maybe eligible for a reward.

To Report suspicious incidents and problems you cannot resolve yourself 01303 850055


To report crime that has happened to you and the offenders have gone 01303 289134

If you would like to help with Neighbourhood Watch or would like to know more about what is involved, you can contact the Neighbourhood Watch & Parish Liaison Office at Dover Police Station o­n 01304 218151

Sheep bring traffic to a standstill

Contributed by editor on Nov 10, 2004 - 09:50 PM


Traffic o­n the A260 was brought to a standstill at lunchtime today (10 November).

A livestock lorry and trailer carrying sheep overturned near to the junction of the Alkham Valley Road and Canterbury Road in Hawkinge and left many of the animals loose o­n the carriageway.

It is understood that four sheep have died following the accident.

A local farmer assisted by his Border Collie sheepdog helped to round up the sheep and prevent them from straying o­nto the busy duel carriageway near the Roundhill Tunnel.

Shipwrecked sailor rows ashore

Contributed by editor on Nov 09, 2004 - 09:25 PM


A German sailor with a broken rib whose yacht  got into trouble in rough seas o­n Tuesday (8 November) rowed to the coast in a dinghy and knocked o­n the door of a house in Greatstone o­n Romney Marsh to ask for help.

The engine of Arthur Friske's yacht broke down in the Channel early o­n Tuesday and he used his dinghy to row to the shore.

Mr Friske, who comes from Auetal, near Hanover chose to row ashore rather than contact the emergency services.

The lucky sailor was taken to hospital with a broken rib and suffering from hyperthermia.

The Dungeness Lifeboat later found the yacht, named Moon Strike, which had run aground o­n the shore. 

Merger brings hope for new jobs at airport

Contributed by editor on Nov 09, 2004 - 09:07 PM


The PlaneStation Group Plc is relocating its Head Office from London to Kent International Airport and EUjet is moving further key posts from Shannon to Manston.

Chief Executive Martin May says the Head Office team will be operating from the Airport by the end of the year.

He said: "Bringing together an airport operating group with an airline operator creates a dynamic business with tremendous potential. We need a unified management structure and integrated operations systems to maximise that potential.

"We are moving quickly to achieve this and the combining of operations teams will be completed in the next few weeks. Moving our Head Office to the Airport will ensure that directors and senior managers remain close to the all important day-to- day operations of the business.

"This is certainly good news for PlaneStation and EUjet and it is also good news for Kent which will now have a strong growth company based in the County with the potential to create new jobs in the short, medium and long term."

Around 30 key posts will move from the London PlaneStation office and EUjet’s offices in Shannon to Manston. The combined PlaneStation and EUjet staff at Kent International will now total around 400. Following o­n from the combining of departments and a review of the staffing of operations there will be a small number of redundancies from the duplication and overlap in responsibilities. The moves will also create a number of new marketing, finance and HR executive roles at the Airport.

EUjet Deputy Chief Executive Stuart McGoldrick said that the benefits of joint operation were clear and there was tremendous enthusiasm for the creation of an entirely new approach in airport and low fares airline operations.

He said: "We are ground breaking and the more we work o­n the project the more we are convinced that this is the right model for success. We now have the passenger numbers we need to grow and develop and with Kent International we offer a unique travel experience that our customers are delighted with and are keen to repeat.

"Our recent fares sale was a great success and exceeded our expectations. As a direct result 50,000 extra passengers will see how easy and convenient it is to fly with EUjet from Kent International."

EUjet is now operating a fleet of five Fokker 100 jets from Kent International to 15 European destinations. Five more routes to winter skiing destinations will be added in December.

Romney Hythe and Dymchurch train derailed by vandals

Contributed by editor on Nov 09, 2004 - 08:41 PM


Just a day after  seven people died when a passenger train ploughed into a car o­n an unmanned level crossing, vandals  struck o­n the Romney, Hythe  and Dymchurch miniature railway.

A  3 metre plank of wood placed across both tracks caused the front two wheels of a train to come off the rails.

Nobody was injured but police have warned the incident o­n Sunday afternoon (7 November) could have resulted in deaths.

The plank was left o­n the rails at the back of Jewsons Builders Merchants in Dymchurch Road, Hythe.

In August 2003 a driver o­n the railway, was killed when his train collided with a car o­n a level crossing.

Kent Police want anyone with information about the incident, which happened at about 1.30pm o­n Sunday, to contact them 01303 850055 or Crimestoppers 0800 555111, who can be called anonymously.

Have your say on local plan changes

Contributed by editor on Nov 09, 2004 - 05:18 PM


People in Shepway have until 17 December to comment o­n proposed changes to the district’s local plan – the blueprint that sets out land use policies for the next 10 years.

Following a public inquiry last year, a government inspector has proposed some modifications to the plan which the council has accepted. These include:

Deleting land at Princes Parade, Hythe, for housing

Allocating new sites for housing o­n the land at the aerodrome and north of Barnhurst Lane at Hawkinge

No new houses for Lympne Airfield

Allocating Herring Hang Field, New Romney, for housing

Identifying land at Linksway, Folkestone, as a housing site

Strengthening shopping polices against out-of-town development

Extending the Ingles Manor housing site in Folkestone to reduce the density of the development.

But the council has not accepted other recommendations made by the inspector including increasing the affordable housing threshold.

The inspector recommended that affordable housing should be sought o­n developments of 25 homes or more.

The council believes that to tackle the serious shortage of affordable housing in the district, affordable housing should make up 30 per cent o­n all sites of 15 homes or more.

The proposed modifications to the local plan can be seen at the Civic Centre, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone, at the o­ne Stops Shops at Hythe, Lydd and New Romney and at public libraries. Anyone who wants to object to, or comment o­n, any of the proposed modifications must send them to:

Andy Jarrett, Head of Partnership and Regeneration
Shepway District Council
Civic Centre
Castle Hill Avenue
Kent CT20 2QY
by 17 December.