Local News

Swale To Celebrate The Queen’s Jubilee Weekend

Swale To Celebrate The Queen’s Jubilee Weekend

Street parties, BBQs, parties in parks, tree planting and beacon lighting are just some of the events happening around Swale on The Queens Jubilee long weekend.

Local celebrations are being held across the country during a four-day bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd June to Sunday 5th June.

Councillor Richard Palmer, the cabinet member for community at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News:  “We’re planning a brass band at Faversham Rec on Sunday afternoon for the Big Jubilee picnic and residents can get involved by making bunting for us to decorate our parks and green spaces. We’ll also be planting the winner’s design of The Queens Crown from Sittingbourne in Bloom’s school competition. We had a huge response to our Jubilee grants earlier this year, contributing more than £30,000 to community groups all over Swale for local events.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, deputy cabinet member for community, said:  “There’s a fun day at the Ship Inn in Conyer and a teddy bears picnic at the Sittingbourne and Kemsley light railway over the long weekend, and Faversham Pool swill be hosting a ‘Duckingham Palace’ family swim session. Sheerness Town Council will be holding a celebration at Beachfields Park from 11am to 3pm on Sunday (5th June), there’ll be a beacon lighting ceremony at Crundalls Wharf in Queenborough at 9.15pm on Thursday, and there’s something on every day at The Spinney in Leysdown including fairground rides, kids disco, parade, steel band and afternoon tea. This extra-long bank holiday weekend to celebrate The Queen’s 70-year reign will give everyone the chance to relax and reconnect with friends and family after a difficult few years.”

For more information you can visit: www.visit-swale.co.uk/find-out-whats-on-in-faversham-sittingbourne-and-the-isle-of-sheppey/anniversaries/celebrate-the-queens-platinum-jubilee-in-swale for a full list of what's going on throughout the borough.

All Three Of Swale’s Beaches Awarded Blue Flags

All Three Of Swale’s Beaches Awarded Blue Flags

Leysdown, Minster Leas and Sheerness beaches have all received blue flags again this year.

After meeting the highest standards for cleanliness, facilities and water quality, all three beaches have been awarded with a blue flag.

Leysdown beach has also received the Seaside Award from Keep Britain Tidy presented to England’s best beaches.

Cllr Julian Saunders, the Cabinet Member for Environment at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We have to meet a lot of criteria to be awarded a Blue Flag, so this is a fantastic achievement. Our beaches have lifeguards throughout the summer and the high quality bathing water our visitors expect.

Cllr Monique Bonney, the Cabinet Member for Economy, told SFM News: “Our blue flags have arrived in time for summer at Leysdown, Minster Leas and Sheerness beaches and we’re looking forward to welcoming tourists down to visit our award-winning coastline. The blue flags show visitors that our beaches are clean and safe, and that they meet the highest environmental and bathing water quality standards.”

To find out more about your local Swale beaches, visit: www.swale.gov.uk/seafront.

Two Arrested During Vehicle Checks In Swale

Two Arrested During Vehicle Checks In Swale

Joint working by Kent Police's Rural Task Force and Road Safety Unit in Swale saw one arrest for drug driving and two arrested for theft offences.

On Monday (9th May) the two teams, along with the DVSA and Environment Agency, spent the day on the A249 on the Isle of Sheppey and in Mill Way, Sittingbourne checking vehicles carrying all types of waste.

In total, 25 vehicles were inspected with waste carriers’ licenses and documentation checked.

Officers arrested two men for theft and handling stolen goods after they checked their vehicle and found a number plate linked to a stolen vehicle. The 18-year-old from Faversham and 26-year-old from Herne Bay were questioned and released on bail while enquiries continue.

A 29-year-old from Tunbridge Wells was also arrested for drug driving offences and has since been released from police custody pending further investigation.

Officers also issued four Traffic Offence Reports (TOR) for insecure or dangerous loads, another two TORs for seatbelt offences, one for tyre offences, one for mobile phone offences and another for going through a red light.

Other offences included, two vehicles being seized for having no tax, one Graduated Fixed Penalty Notice issued for excess weight and a driver reported for summons for excess weight.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw from the Rural Task Force told SFM News: "Operations like this are really important to ensure people are not disposing of waste illegally. We work closely with our local authority partners to tackle the issue and send a message to those intent on illegally disposing of waste that it will not be tolerated. By carrying out these operations we are also able to identify other offences as we were in this case and we will continue to do so to protect our communities from not just fly-tipping but from all criminality."

Motorist Arrested After Short Pursuit

Motorist Arrested After Short Pursuit

A motorist has been arrested within four minutes after a vehicle failed to stop for Kent Police patrols in Sittingbourne.

Officers from the Swale Local Policing Team were travelling on the Old Sheppey Way towards Iwade when they noticed a car that they believed to be uninsured, at around 1.50pm on Tuesday (3rd May).

They used their lights and sirens to request the driver to stop but instead the vehicle continued to be driven at speed, putting other road-users at risk as it weaved in and out of traffic over the Sheppey Crossing.

At 1.54pm the car pulled over on the Sittingbourne side of the A249 near the Iwade turn-off, and inside officers located a small quantity of cannabis.

A 44-year-old man from Sittingbourne was subsequently arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop, driving whilst disqualified and without insurance, and possession of a class B drug.

He has since been released from custody pending further enquiries.

Teynham Fatal Collision Witness Appeal

Teynham Fatal Collision Witness Appeal

Witnesses are being sought following a fatal collision near Faversham in the early hours of this morning (Monday 2nd May).

A black VW Polo car was travelling along Lower Road in Teynham, towards the village, when it was involved in a collision with a green Barracuda bicycle.

The collision took place at around 12.30am and the cyclist, aged in his late teens, sustained injuries and was confirmed deceased at the scene.

An 18-year-old man from Faversham, a 19-year-old man from Sheerness and a 20-year-old woman from Chatham were arrested in connection with the collision and taken into custody.

The Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are investigating the incident and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Anyone who has CCTV or dashcam footage taken in the area is also asked to come forward.

Witnesses should call the SCIU appeal line on 01622 798 538 or, alternatively, they can email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting reference KH/COJ/51/22.

New Swale Borough Council Leader Elected

New Swale Borough Council Leader Elected

Cllr Mike Baldock has become the new leader of Swale Borough Council.

Cllr Baldock was elected at an extraordinary council meeting held last night (Wednesday 27th April) and he replaces Cllr Roger Truelove, who announced he was stepping down as leader last month.

Cllr Mike Baldock, told SFM News: “It is a great honour to be elected as leader of Swale, as I care deeply about the whole borough. Roger has set a very high standard to follow but he also showed that differing groups could work constructively together. The move towards a new committee system is an exciting opportunity to make sure that every elected councillor - regardless of party-affiliation, or location in the borough - can be genuinely involved in issues affecting their residents".

He went on to add: “We all have serious challenges ahead, and I believe the best way for us to approach them locally is by working together and making sure that our debates and decisions are fully informed and focussed on supporting local people and our local communities. I look forward to now working with my fellow councillors to drive forward further improvements across the whole borough.”

The Leader confirmed his deputy will be Cllr Monique Bonney, and the cabinet will be as follows:

  • Climate – Cllr Tim Valentine
  • Finance – Cllr Roger Truelove, with Cllr Derek Carnell as deputy
  • Health – Cllr Angela Harrison, with Cllr Hannah Perkin as deputy
  • Housing – Cllr Ben Martin, with Cllr Ghlin Whelan as deputy
  • Planning – Cllr Mike Baldock, with Cllr Alastair Gould as deputy
  • Community – Cllr Richard Palmer, with Cllr Elliott Jayes as deputy
  • Economic development – Cllr Monique Bonney, with Cllr Sarah Stephen as deputy
  • Environment – Cllr Julian Saunders, with Cllr Eddie Thomas as deputy

More information can be found at: www.swale.gov.uk.

Overturned Lorry On M2 Lorry Causes Travel Chaos

Overturned Lorry On M2 Causes Travel Chaos

An overturned lorry on the M2 caused commuter chaos during this morning's rush hour.

The HGV crashed at around 7.40pm last night (Wednesday 27th April) and shed its load across the London-bound carriageway between Junction 5 (Sittingbourne) and Junction 4 (Gillingham) and the road remained closed for 10 hours.

Kent Police were on the scene throughout the morning with diversions in place via the M20 at Maidstone and the A2 up in to the Medway towns. At one point the National Highways website said: "Due to the complex nature of the recovery we have no time for reopening at this stage. Motorists are advised to follow the 'solid square' diversion symbol on signs".

Kent Police confirmed: "officers were called at 7.45pm last night after a lorry overturned and there were no serious injuries. The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol and after also failing a roadside drugs test."

There were long delays on the A249 all morning and the 106.9 SFM Jambuster Line took lots of calls from frustrated motorists. Delays at one point were up to an hour on the road.

National Highways confirmed that the London-bound carriageway was re-opened at 8:00am but that the junction 5 entry slip from the A249 remained closed for the clean-up operation. National Highways warned that long delays remained.

Tune in to 106.9 SFM for the latest or follow us for updates on Twitter @SFMRadio.

Up to date information from National Highways can be found by calling: 0300 123 5000.

Appeal Following Fatal A249 Collision

Appeal Following Fatal A249 Collision

Investigators are appealing for witnesses and dashcam footage following a fatal collision on the A249.

At around 3.20pm Yesterday (Saturday 23rd April) afternoon, a collision involving a grey BMW, a blue Vauxhall and a Harley Davidson motorbike took place on the northbound carriageway of the A249 near Danaway.

Kent Police attended along with South East Coast Ambulance Service and the motorcyclist, a man in his 50s, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are investigating and urge anyone who witnessed the collision, or who has dashcam footage, to contact them.

Anyone with information should call the SCIU on 01622 798538 or, altyernatively, they can email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting reference AH/SC/047/22.

Primary School Offers Sent Out Today

Primary School Offers Sent Out Today

Families in Sittingbourne will find out today (Tuesday 19th April) which primary schools their children have been offered to join in September 2022, with nine out of ten being offered their first preference.

The parents and carers of 17,592 children who applied for a place at a Kent school will receive their offers via email or online. Of the 17,175 Kent applicants, 16,787 (97.74%) will receive one of their three named schools and 15,486 (90.07%) will be offered their first preference.

Shellina Prendergast, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, told SFM News: “I am delighted to see that we have managed to offer first-preference places to 90 per cent of our children, which shows the broad selection of fantastic schools that Kent offers. The number of children who did not receive any of their preferences is under 2.5 per cent and, in many cases, this is because parents named fewer than three schools, which limited the options KCC could consider before assigning them an alternative. We appreciate this will be a disappointing and concerning time for those pupils and their families, but we would urge them not to be discouraged as this is only the first stage in the applications process".

She went on to add: “Many pupils will secure places through waiting lists and reallocation, and I would like to reassure parents and guardians that a specialist KCC team is on hand to help them make the most of the options available to them. I hope that those in that situation will arrange to visit the school where they have been offered a place and speak to the staff, so they can then make an informed decision about whether or not it is appropriate for their child.”

Parents and carers who applied online will receive an email after 4pm today (Tuesday 19th April), indicating which school they have been offered; the timing of the email will depend on the email service provider. Parents and carers can also log in after 5pm to view the offer online. Those who did not provide KCC with an email address will be sent notification by first class post today.

Details of what to do if you are not happy with the allocation can be found at: www.kent.gov.uk/primaryadmissions or via the email primaryadmissions@kent.gov.uk

Parkrun Supports Swale Foodbank At Easter

Parkrun Supports Swale Foodbank At Easter

Over the last three weeks, Sittingbourne parkrunners have risen to the occasion and donated a cracking 60 Easter eggs and other chocolate treats to Swale Foodbank. 

Young volunteer Henry who is usually out on the course as a 'mini' marshall, collected a staggering 27 by encouraging family and friends to donate to the good cause.

Yvonne Crawford, Sittingbourne Parkrun Event Director, told SFM News: “As always when we support Swale Foodbank, our parkrun community doesn’t disappoint."At Christmas, we donated three food hampers for Hampers for Hope, so families could enjoy a festive treat. We also collected over 30 advent calendars which were distributed to Swale Foodbank too. Young Henry did us proud too with his collecting. When the foodbank coordinator came to collect the eggs, he explained they had run out so our collection was very welcome and would mean more people getting a treat this Easter weekend.

Yvonne went on to add: “Saturday (17th April) was our first Easter Parkrun since 2019 due to the pandemic. We encouraged people to dress up and there were goodie bags for the younger runners and spot prizes.”

Sittingbourne Parkrun is a 5k community event which takes place every Saturday at 9:00am at Milton Creek Country Park. Everyone is welcome and you can run, jog or walk the two-lap course. With a tailwaker at the end, no one comes last. If you fancy volunteering they have a wide range of roles including marshals, scanners and timekeepers. You can find out more by visiting: www.parkrun.org.uk/sittingbourne.

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