Local News

Matthew Scott Re-Elected As Kent's PCC

Matthew Scott Re-Elected As Kent's PCC

Conservative candidate, Matthew Scott, has held onto the position of Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent. 

He beat Labour’s Lola Oyewusi and the Liberal Democrat’s Graham Colley, with 56% of the vote. 

This will be Mr Scott’s second term as the PCC for the county, having been elected in 2016.   The results, declared this lunchtime (Monday 10th May) in Dartford were:

Matthew Scott (Conservative): 237,278
Lola Oyewusi (Labour): 103,807
Graham Colley (Lib Dem): 69,464

There were 420,422 votes cast, with 9873 spoilt papers.

Turnout was 31.8%

Mr Scott told SFM News that he reiterated his commitment to making Kent safer and recruiting more police officers.  Since 2016 there are nearly 800 more police officers in the county and he hopes to see the total number rise to 3,970 by March 2022.

Kent Local Elections: Sittingbourne Results

Kent Local Elections: Sittingbourne Results

Here are the results from the local Kent County Council Elections here in Sittingbourne:-

Turnout: 42.5%

RICH LEHMANN (Green): 3,067
CHARLOTTE WHITNEY-BROWN (Conservative): 2,443
FRANCES REHAL (Labour): 420

Turnout: 31.9%

MIKE BALDOCK (Swale Independents): 3,018
MIKE WHITING (Conservative): 2,367

Turnout: 24.45%

MIKE DENDOR (Conservative): 1,695
STEVE DAVEY (Labour): 1,021
JAMES HALL (Independent): 912
MARY ZENG (Lib Dem): 164

Turnout: 32.7%

JOHN WRIGHT (Conservative): 1,868
RICHARD PALMER (Swale Independents): 1,500
LOLA OYEWUSI (Labour & Coop): 765
DAVID WALTON (Green): 309


Sailor Dies In Lower Halstow Boating Accident

Sailor Dies In Lower Halstow Boating Accident

The Lower Halstow Yacht Club is remembering a "well-respected member and experienced sailor" who died in a tragic accident after he fell from his boat at the weekend.

In a released statement, following the tragedy in the early hours of Sunday (2nd May) morning, the club said: "We can confirm a club member who had been staying overnight on his boat, which was on its mooring just off the club’s jetty and slipway, fell from his boat on to the soft mud of Halstow Creek. We understand a local resident heard shouting and alerted the police at around 2am. At the time the tide would have been approaching the moored yacht. We understand the police recovered him from the water some time later using a dinghy from the club. Both Sheppey Coastguard and Sheerness lifeboat were tasked at around 3.30am, some one-and-a-half hours after the initial report to the police. The casualty was a well-respected member and experienced sailor and our thoughts go out to his wife and family."

Kent Police confirmed that officers were called just after 2.00am on Sunday (2nd May) morning and that "a man was recovered and taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The man’s next of kin have been informed and a report will now be prepared for the coroner."

It's believed that SECAmb (The South East Coast Ambulance Service) and The KFRS (Kent Fire and Rescue Service) were also asked to attend the scene, to try and save the man.

Council Hosts Compost Giveaway For Local Residents

Council Hosts Compost Giveaway For Local Residents

Swale Borough Council will be hosting a free compost giveaway this coming Saturday (24th April) from 10am to 2pm.

To help local gardeners feed their flowerpots, gardens, allotments and vegetable patches, the council has teamed up with partners Blaise Farm and Steve Pack Agricultural Services for the free giveaway. Blaise Farm takes the garden and food waste collected from around Swale and turns it into soil conditioner and compost for farmers to use to help grow crops.

The giveaway, running in Sittingbourne, Faversham and Sheppey on Saturday 24th April, and to ensure it is Covid safe, will be run as pre-booked slots between 10am and 2pm where residents can arrange to pick up 25 litre reusable hessian bags filled with compost. Each resident booked can collect up to two bags.

To book, call the booking line on 01795 417044 between 10am-1pm Monday-Friday to book a 10 minute time slot at one of the three locations. You will then be given a unique reference number which you will need to bring with you when you come to collect the free compost.

You will have the option of picking up bags of compost from:

• Sittingbourne – Milton Rec, along Vicarage Road, next to the tennis courts

• Faversham – Faversham rec, in the car park area

• Isle of Sheppey – Marine Parade, on the open space/car park fronting Barton’s Point Coastal Park (opposite the Shingle Bank car park).

Once all of the slots are booked, all the bags are gone, so you will need to call and book quickly.

Martyn Cassell, head of commissioning, environment and leisure, told SFM News: “We are doing this giveaway to show the many advantages of residents doing their bit through recycling their food and garden waste. By recycling, residents are helping the environment, reducing the amount of general waste they are putting into their green wheelie bins and creating a reusable product. Using the compost to help grow plants or food will also help to improve air quality and reduce carbon, plus provide a habitat for our wildlife. We encourage people to sign up for a food waste caddy free of charge if they are not currently using one by contacting us on 01795 417888. Residents can also pay for the garden waste service which provides regular kerbside collections of your waste, taking the hassle out of taking it to the tip.”

You will also be offered a free wild flower seedbom at the sites to help encourage pollinators and wildlife into more gardens.

To find out more about food waste collections, visit www.swale.gov.uk/bins-littering-and-the-environment/bins.

To subscribe to garden waste collections, visit www.swale.gov.uk/garden-waste.

Statement Regarding HRH Duke of Edinburgh

Statement Regarding HRH Duke of Edinburgh

Following the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh earlier today (Friday 9th April), a Statement has been released by Cllr Paul Stephen, The Mayor of the Borough of Swale.

The Worshipful Mayor said: "It is with enormous sadness that we learned of the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, and I would like to express our sincere condolences on behalf of Swale Borough Council and the people of the Borough of Swale to Her Majesty The Queen, and the entire Royal Family. For so many people here in Swale, across the United Kingdom and around the world, it is impossible to imagine the Royal Family without His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. To us, he has been The Queen’s constant companion since the middle of the last century, but in reality, he was much more than that".

"He was a husband, a father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather. Our own sadness at his death is nothing compared to the sense of loss felt by his loved ones. As a mark of respect, flags are being flown at half-mast across all council buildings, and arrangements are being made for people to share their condolence messages to allow them to pay their respects."

Books of Condolence

There is an online book of condolence if you wish to pay your respects, which can be found at www.royal.uk.

Alternatively, you can write to Swale Borough Council with your condolences to: Book of Condolence, Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne ME10 3HT.

A book of condolence is being opened at Swale Borough Council's offices at Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday.

They will close for archiving at 5pm on the day after the funeral.

The condolence books will be archived at the Kent History and Library Centre, once they have closed.


Tributes can be laid at:

Tributes will be removed on the day after the state funeral. Any written cards or messages will be added to the official books of condolence and flowers will be recycled.

Other items, including soft toys, photographs and artificial candles will unfortunately have to be disposed of. If people want to keep them they should collect them by the end of the day of the funeral.

Flag Flying

As a mark of respect, flags are being flown at half-mast across all council buildings during the period of mourning before the state funeral , when they will be returned to full mast for 1 day after the state funeral.

Swale Borough Council flags are located at Swale HouseSheppey GatewayQueenborough Town HallQueenborough Park and on Swale Borough Council's Blue Flag beaches.

Driver Cut Out Following Bell Road Collision

Driver Cut Out Following Bell Road Collision

(Stock Picture)

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called out shortly after 1:30pm this afternoon (Wednesday 31st March) to a collison.

The KFRS Emergency Cail Centre received reports of a crash involving two cars on Bell Road here in Sittingbourne.

Two fire engines attended and crews used hydraulic cutting equipment to remove a door from one of the vehicles to safely release the driver. 

Sittingbourne Named Third 'Most Resilient' Town

Sittingbourne Named Third 'Most Resilient' Town

Sittingbourne has been rated as the country's third 'most resilient small town' during the pandemic, in new research by London-based retail consultancy CWM.

222 towns were analysed in the study by retail consultancy CWM, with Yate (near Bristol) scoring the highest rating followed by Spalding (in Lincolnshire) and then Sittingbourne closely followed by Tonbridge here in Kent.

Jonathan De Mello, who leads CWM's retail consultancy team said Sittingbourne had come out well in the research as it had "lots of professionals nearby" and "more essential retail than most and was less exposed to decline".

All retail centres had suffered during 2020, with the worst annual sales performances on record, more than 16,000 store closures and nearly 180,000 retail jobs lost in the UK over the past year.

The Leader of Swale Borough Council, Cllr Roger Truelove, told SFM News: "It is always welcome to see one of our towns near the top of a league table. Nobody would suggest all is wonderful but this is us compared with 221 other small towns, all suffering from the economic impact of the pandemic. I am not surprised that we are in a more resilient state than most. It is nothing to do with the Spirit of Sittingbourne project. More relevant is the strong concentration of supermarkets in Sittingbourne and the fact they have been well used over the last year. An added factor, too, is the fact that so many people are working from home and likely to spend more in the town than when they were travelling to London to work. In this there is great opportunity for the future with people working from home and buying their lunch in town and using the improved opportunities for leisure".

Council Stickers On Bins To Reduce Contamination

Council Stickers On Bins To Reduce Contamination

Swale Borough Council will be placing stickers on household waste and recycling bins over the coming weeks to help residents cut down on recycling contamination.

The stickers will be going on all bins across the borough to ask residents to think about what they are putting in each bin to reduce recycling contamination.

The council say that they see a lot of food waste, used nappies, textiles, garden waste and black bin bags being incorrectly placed in to the blue bin with recycling.

If the levels of these contaminants are too high, the entire load may be rejected and everyone’s recycling on that collection round is lost.

With more people working from home there has understandably been an increase in weights for kerbside collections. This means it is even more important than ever that the right materials are going in the correct bins.

Councillor Julian Saunders, Cabinet Member For Environment at the council, told SFM News: “We want every resident to think carefully about what they are putting in each of their bins. We need residents to be part of the solution and help us ensure we can recycle what’s in our recycling bins, instead of having bin loads rejected from the recycling facilities for too many contaminants. The stickers will show what can and can’t go in our recycling and household waste bins, and if everybody makes a small improvement in how they allocate their waste, we can make a positive impact across the borough.

Cllr Saunders went on to add: “Every resident can make a difference when it comes to how they dispose of their waste. Whether it’s washing food waste from recyclables before placing them in the blue bin, opting to start home composting or asking for a food caddy for food waste, even small changes will help us recycle and tackle climate change.  It will also help create a circular economy where more products are re-used and recycled rather than new raw materials being used to create more waste.”

If you are unsure of what bin something should go in, Swale Borough Council's website now includes a handy Waste Wizard search tool at:– https://swale.gov.uk/waste-wizard

County Line Drug Dealer From Sittingbourne Jailed

County Line Drug Dealer From Sittingbourne Jailed

A drug dealer who supplied class A substances in Chatham has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Christopher Tregunno supplied heroin and crack cocaine on behalf of a county line named ‘Trigger’ and was twice arrested by Kent Police officers in 2020. 

The 30-year-old, of Tonge Road in Sittingbourne, admitted four drug supply offences and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday (9th March).

Tregunno first came to Kent Police’s attention on Monday 16th March 2020, when officers, on a routine patrol of Manor Road, observed him selling drugs to a known user.

The constables approached Tregunno and requested he open his clenched fist. He refused to do so and instead moved his hand behind his back, dropping two plastic cases in the process.

He then opened his hand to reveal two wraps of a class A substance, with the plastic cases later found to contain further wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.

Due to the need to carry out additional enquiries, including a forensic analysis of the substances seized, Tregunno was initially released under investigation. Despite being under investigation, he continued to offend and was arrested for a second time on Wednesday 16th September 2020, after officers carried out a warrant at his home.

A mobile phone was seized and the handset’s data revealed it was being used to coordinate the supply of drugs for a county line called ‘Trigger,’ which was active between July and September. Numerous communications which discussed drug supply were sent during this time period.

Tregunno was charged with possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of both drugs.  He has been held on remand since the arrest.  

Detective Constable Stuart Clayton, from Kent Police’s County Line and Gang Team, told SFM News: "Tregunno first came to our attention thanks to the vigilance of our patrols, who are continually attending areas known for drug supply, gathering intelligence and acting upon it. His determination to make money from supplying illicit substances is shown by his willingness to continue supplying drugs despite knowing he was already under investigation. I am pleased that a custodial sentence has now been imposed."

Council’s Waste And Street Cleansing Survey Underway

Council’s Waste And Street Cleansing Survey Underway

Swale Borough Council are currently undertaking a waste and street cleansing survey in which they are asking local people to participate.

The survey gives residents the opportunity to tell the council how the waste and street cleansing service can be improved before the current 10-year contract ends in October 2023, and will help guide the council’s future contracts.

The service is responsible for how residents’ bins are collected, how often the streets are cleaned, and how littering and fly-tipping offences are tackled. The survey asks whether people prefer mixed or separated recycling, if the streets are being cleaned often enough, and if vehicles that reduce the impact on the climate are important to them.

Cllr Julian Saunders, cabinet member for environment at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We want to know what we can do to improve the waste and street cleansing service we offer to residents. We want to know if residents are happy with their bin collection, if the roads are being cleaned enough, and if we’re tough enough on fly-tipping and littering offences. One of the questions we’re asking is if residents could pick one thing that is the most important for us to improve on - what would that be? With the contract coming up for renewal in the next few years, this is the perfect time for us to look at what’s going well and what we can improve on".

Cllr Saunders went on to add: “Possible improvements were discussed at the latest area committee meetings, so now it’s important that we hear from residents and understand their priorities as we put together the new service contract. Ultimately our goal is to offer a green and energy efficient service that helps us meet our climate and ecological emergency obligations, while delivering a consistent and reliable service for residents in the most affordable and cost-effective way possible.”

The waste and street cleansing survey is open until Monday 19th April and can be found here: www.swale.gov.uk/waste-and-cleansing-survey.


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