Stepping out at the festival

Contributed by editor on Aug 06, 2004 - 12:04 PM


You can get fit and have fun in the countryside at Kent Walking Festival next month.

The South East Kent area is hosting many of the walks including, Samphire Hoe, St. Margarets near Dover and the Royal Military Canal.

There are still some places left o­n the walks which have something for everyone.

Call 01622 696403 for a festival brochure or browse the website,

KCC is hosting the festival from Saturday 4 to Sunday 12 September. At least o­ne walk each day will be suitable for parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users, novice walkers and families, but there are hikes of up to 27 miles for those who like a challenge.

Special events and entertainment will be provided during the festival, and French visitors will make the trip across the Channel to join local walkers.

There will be two centres providing accommodation and free transport links taking walkers to and from the start and finish. The first half of the festival is based at the University of Kent in Canterbury and the second half at the Friars, Aylesford.

KCC Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport Richard King said: "The festival is a wonderful opportunity to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the health benefit of walking in Kent's glorious countryside. I hope people will make the most of it."

Bliss for Shepway

Contributed by editor on Aug 06, 2004 - 09:17 AM

<FONT color=black size=4>BLISS FOR SHEPWAY

<FONT color=black>Council leader Linda Cufley, who came under pressure to step down as leader of Shepway District Council after a proposing a 39% tax rise has been replaced at last night's extraordinary meeting of the council.( 5 August )

<FONT color=black>The new council leader will be Conservative councillor Robert Bliss who will work with Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

<FONT color=black>Cllr Cufley  is now leading the breakaway Independent Liberal Democrat party.
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The Tories were the o­nly party to put forward a candidate for the post of leader.

It was reported that the Liberal Democrats abstained in the vote for leader and the majority of Independent Liberal Democrats voted against.

New Shepway District Leader Robert Bliss said: "It is clear that a large amount of damage has already been done.  The previous Liberal Democrats policy of axe, cut, terminate, eliminate and tax, tax, tax is going to be difficult to reverse. 

"We saw our toilets threatened, our bandstand fenced off, our Airshow grounded for good, our tourism promotion go, the possibility of the plug being pulled o­n Hythe swimming pool, our Venetian Fete sunk and the Metropole Arts Centre under review. 

"We also saw a threatened tax hike of 39% which turned out to be 29% which has now been capped by the government at 19%.  I o­nly wish it could have been below 10% just as it had been every single year of the last Conservative administration. 

"It is clear that we have a difficult task ahead.  We o­nly accepted this role because someone must take this district forward."

Kent Police shortfall could lead to cuts

Contributed by admin on Aug 05, 2004 - 01:24 PM

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<FONT color=black>Kent Police  face a funding shortfall of millions of pounds, according to a survey for the Conservative Party.

In the study it revealed that the Kent Constabulary is looking at a deficit of £19m which may lead to cuts.

Shadow home secretary David Davis has blamed Government targets and bureaucracy, saying police authorities increasingly find their hands tied.

Dog was 'cooked alive'

Contributed by admin on Aug 04, 2004 - 11:39 PM


The RSPCA is warning pet owners after a dog was "cooked alive" in a hot car while its owner visited Howletts Wild Amimal Park near Canterbury last week.

<FONT color=black>The charity says dozens of other pet owners across the South East also left their animals trapped in vehicles during the warm weather at the weekend.

<FONT color=black>"A dog can die an agonising death from heatstroke," an RSPCA spokesman said.

Local windmills "in safe hands"

Contributed by editor on Aug 03, 2004 - 07:04 PM


<FONT color=black>Kent's windmills are in safe hands with the county council, says the Chairman.

<FONT color=black><IMG alt="The windmill at Stelling Minnis" hspace=10 src="images/stellingminnismill.jpg" align=left vspace=5 border=0>Chairman Kent Tucker told an invited audience at Cranbrook o­n Friday (30 July) that the council remained committed to securing the future of its mills.

<FONT color=black>Guests were shown around Cranbrook's landmark Union Mill to see repairs carried out as part of a £1 million restoration programme o­n seven of the mills, largely paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund and KCC over the last few years.

<FONT color=black>"We are putting in place a programme for caring for the mills in the future and we still have signs and publicity work to do before the HLF project is totally complete. Long may our windmills remind us of Kent's past."

<FONT color=black>The other mills are Chillenden near Sandwich; Draper's Mill, Margate; Herne near Herne Bay; Meopham, near Gravesend; Davison's Mill at Stelling Minnis and Wittersham near Tenterden.

No overall control at Shepway District Council

Contributed by editor on Aug 03, 2004 - 06:44 PM

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Statement from Chief Executive, Brian McAndrew

<FONT color=black>I have now had confirmation that a new group has formed which has chosen the title of Independent Liberal Democrats. The group consists of 12 councillors who were formerly members of the Liberal Democratic Group. The new group is led by Councillor Mrs Linda Cufley.

<FONT color=black>The effect of the formation of this new group is that there is now no o­ne group in overall control of Shepway District Council. The Conservatives are now the largest single group o­n the council.

<FONT color=black>The composition of the council is now: Conservative - 17, Liberal Democrats - 15, Independent Liberal Democrats - 12, Labour - 1, Independent - 1.

<FONT color=black>I have also been told that Councillor David Dickinson is the new Leader of the official Liberal Democratic Group and the effect of this is that he will cease to be the Chairman of the Council.

<FONT color=black>This afternoon (Monday) there will be a meeting of the three Leaders for the first discussion o­n what new arrangements will be made to cover a situation of no overall control. The council meets o­n Thursday, 5 August and early items of business will be the appointment of a new Chairman and a new Leader of the Council.

<FONT color=black>Further announcements will be made when a new executive is formed and arrangements for a period of no overall control are determined.

Dog patrols in Police crackdown

Contributed by editor on Aug 02, 2004 - 10:35 PM


Police are to use dog patrols to help tackle anti-social behaviour.
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Handlers will take to the streets o­n Friday and Saturday nights and will focus o­n areas where there has been violent crime and criminal damage.

<FONT color=black>The summer patrols are part of Kent Police's Operation Excalibur, which was launched by Chief Constable Mike Fuller to combat anti-social behaviour.

House fire victim critical

Contributed by editor on Aug 02, 2004 - 10:29 PM


An elderly man is in a critical condition in hospital following a  fire in his home in Ottawa Crescent, Dover.

<FONT color=black>Firefighters were called to the semi-detached house just before midday today (2 August) and rescued the man from an upstairs bedroom window.

He was rushed to hospital suffering 50% burns.

<FONT color=black>The victim had discovered the fire in the downstairs of his home and made his way upstairs to the bedroom. 

A neighbour went to his aid after hearing shouting and saw smoke coming from next door.

<FONT color=black>He fetched  a ladder and broke the window but the man had collapsed before he could reach him.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service have said that there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.

Community fire safety Partnership Manager Brian Wash said: “Without a doubt, a working smoke alarm in the property would have alerted the man to the fire before it took hold, enabling him to get out sooner.�

<FONT color=black>Officer in Charge Victor Thorogood said: “We urge every household to fit working smoke alarms o­n each floor of their homes and check the batteries regularly. This may save your life or prevent serious injury in the unfortunate event of a fire in your home.â€?

<FONT color=black>The cause of the blaze, which destroyed the kitchen and the hallway and caused smoke damage to the rest of the property, is now under investigation.

<FONT color=black>If you have any concerns about fire safety issues in your home, or require any further advice please call your local fire safety office or Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Fire Safety Team o­n  01622 698360.

Council hung in Shepway

Contributed by editor on Aug 01, 2004 - 09:33 PM


<FONT color=black>Former leader of the Shepway Council  Liberal Democrats Linda Cufley has formed a breakaway group, a Liberal Democrat source disclosed to the Hawkinge Gazette today ( 1 August).

<FONT color=black>Cllr. Cufley resigned last week after pressure from party members.

The new group named the Independant Liberal Democrats has twelve members, including the Liberal Democrat Cabinet members serving when she was leader.

<FONT color=black>The split in the Liberal Democratic ranks means no party has overall control.

<FONT color=black>Their are now 17 Conservative,15 Liberal Democrats, 12 Independant Liberal Democrats, one Labour and one Independent sitting o­n Shepway Council.

£14m to be spent on council housing

Contributed by editor on Aug 01, 2004 - 08:56 PM


<FONT color=black>Dover District Council has announced major plans for a multi million pound investment in Council housing across the district - between now and 2010 it has plans to spend more than £ 14.4 million improving the homes of its 5,000 tenants.

<FONT color=black>By 2010 all tenants will have central heating and double glazed windows. As well as these improvements money will be spent to upgrade the wiring of many homes and replace defective or worn out roofs.

<FONT color=black>As part of the same package, an additional £ 1.35m will be spent in the next three years making adaptations to the homes of disabled or elderly tenants. This will mean providing ramps, walk in showers and stair lifts for people who have mobility problems.

<FONT color=black>In the current year the council will be spending around £ 4.9m o­n improvements to tenants' homes. This will include installing new central heating in parts of Deal, Dover, Aycliffe, Elvington, Kingsdown, Aylesham, Sheperdswell, St Margaret's, Walmer, Worth and Alkham. Window replacements will take place in parts of Aylesham, Deal, Eastry, Elvington, Eythorne, Preston and Woodnesborough. Since April, the Council has carried out adaptations to the homes of 194 tenants. The waiting time to have showers installed has halved during this time.

<FONT color=black>Councillor Mrs Sue Nicholas, Cabinet Member for Community said: "This is great news for tenants and will make a real difference to people's lives. During the next nine months we will be consulting our tenants about what they want for the future of their homes. We will then consider the various options available to ensure that we can meet their aspirations."