Local News

Arrest Following Suspicious Fire In Faversham

Arrest Following Suspicious Fire In Faversham

A man has been arrested as officers continue to investigate a fire in Faversham.

Kent Police were called in to assist Kent Fire and Rescue Service at the scene of a fire in St Mary's Road at aroung 4.05am yesterday (Thursday 6th July).

The fire was extinguished and two people were taken to a local hospital with injuries.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown and remains under investigation, however it is being treated as suspicious.

A man in his 50s has been arrested in relation to the incident and remains in custody while enquiries continue.

Officers are appealing to anyone who has any information, or CCTV, doorbell or dashcam footage from the area, to call 01634 792209, quoting reference 06-0165 or, alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete their online form.

Grant Scheme Launched By SBC To Boost Town Centres

Grant Scheme Launched By SBC To Boost Town Centres

Swale Borough Council is making grants of up to £5,000 available to support activities to improve local town centres.

The council has set up the Town Centre Action Grant (TAG) scheme to help boost the borough’s principal towns of Faversham, Sittingbourne and Sheerness, as well as the smaller historic centres of Milton Regis and Queenborough.

The council wants interested groups to come together to develop co-ordinated action plans and projects for the towns, with grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to schemes that focus on:

  • local arts, cultural, heritage and creative events and activities in and around the town centres that create interest and promote footfall and usage
  • promotional campaigns to encourage visits and people to explore the town centres, increasing interest and footfall
  • projects that enhance the existing cultural, historic & heritage offer, helping re-enforce a sense of place and encourage visitors.


The deadline for applications to the first round of funding will be Wednesday 26 July 2023.

Cllr Monique Bonney, chair of the council’s regeneration and property committee, told SFM News: “We want to help support our town centres by providing groups with financial support for new plans for projects. The grant has been set up to help kickstart new projects that will improve footfall and increase visitor numbers. We’re hoping to receive applications from a range of different stakeholders in town centres who have new ideas that will directly benefit the area for local people, businesses and visitors.”

To find out more about the scheme, and to apply for a grant, visit www.swale.gov.uk/tag.

The Town Centre Action Grants scheme has received funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.


Couple Sentenced Following Fatal Collision

Couple Sentenced Following Fatal Collision

A couple from Sittingbourne have been sentenced after they claimed their car had been stolen before it was involved in a fatal collision with a motorcyclist.

Stuart Powell was behind the wheel of his wife’s car on Wednesday 12th May 2021 when he pulled out in front of a motorcyclist on the B2005 Swale Way inKemsley, near the Milton Creek Fishing Lake.

Powell, aged 34 and of Miller Close in Kemsley, only held a provisional driving licence and was found to have been using his mobile phone at the time of the collision.

The motorcyclist was left fatally injured while his pillion passenger also suffered serious injuries.

Two passing Police Community Support Officers witnessed the aftermath of the collision and told Stuart to remain at the scene, however instead Powell left the area and contacted his partner, Carly Powell.

Shortly after the call ended, Carly, 36, also of Miller Close in Kemsley, falsely reported that her car had been stolen.

The following day Powell handed himself into a local police station and admitted he had been involved in the collision but continued to lie and claimed he had lost his mobile phone.

This was later found by officers and it was discovered he had conducted a factory reset just a few days prior to it being found. It was later confirmed that the phone had been used at the time of the collision.

Powell was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving. He was also charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving and two counts of perverting the course of justice. He admitted all the charges.

Carly Powell admitted to the charge of perverting the course of justice.

At Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday (5th July) Stuart Powell was sentenced to five years and 10 months in jail, of which he will have to serve half.

He will also remain disqualified from driving for seven years once he is released from prison.

Carly Powell was handed an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable David Holmes of Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit, told SFM News outside the court: "Stuart Powell should never have been behind the wheel, let alone driving and using his mobile phone. His actions caused a man to lose his life leaving his family to mourn the loss of their son, brother and uncle. Collectively the Powells lied to Kent Police and sought to distance themselves from any involvement or blame, claiming the car had been stolen, when in fact Stuart was wholly responsible. Nothing can bring back the victim, but I hope this sentence can offer some justice and help the family to gain some closure."

Local Park Tennis Courts Set For Renovation

Local Park Tennis Courts Set For Renovation

Swale Borough Council and the LTA have today (Monday 3rd July) announced a partnership to invest in and refurbish public park tennis courts in Swale.

In total, park tennis courts at Milton Recreation Ground and Kind George’s Playing Fields in Sittingbourne, will be renovated, with additional investment of £124,578.54 helping provide quality facilities for the local community. 

The project is part of a nationwide investment by the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, delivered by the LTA, to refurbish public tennis courts across Great Britain and open the sport up to many more people.

The LTA say: "park tennis courts are vital in giving children and adults the opportunity to get active and benefit their physical and mental health. Accessible facilities in parks are particularly important to opening the sport up to a wider range of people. This investment will see thousands of existing park tennis courts in poor or unplayable condition brought back to life for the benefit of communities across the country through renovation works, and improved court accessibility with new gate-access technology and booking systems".

In addition to investment of £124,578.54 from the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation, £32,413 will also be invested by Swale Borough Council.

Swale Borough Council and local tennis providers will also work with the LTA to deliver a range of activity across the park sites.

This will include weekly organised free park tennis sessions for all ages, playing levels and experience where equipment is provided, meaning that people will not need someone to play with or their own racket. Local Tennis Leagues will also provide friendly, sociable, opportunities to get active through local competition. 

All courts and sessions at all sites will be available to book online via the LTA website making it far easier to find and book a court or activity. 

Work on sites is expected to start this summer and be completed by early autumn 2023.

Cllr Richard Palmer, chair of the community committee at Swale Council, told SFM News: “The refurbishment of Milton Rec and King George’s tennis courts offers a great opportunity for local people of all ages to get out to have some healthy fun. The weekly free sessions will give more people the chance to try the sport and meet new people without having to worry about the cost of equipment. This investment in local sports facilities is very much welcomed, and I’m looking forward to seeing the courts being enjoyed for years to come.”

Julie Porter, chief operating officer at the LTA, told SFM News: “We are delighted to be working with Swale Borough Council to improve their park tennis facilities and provide more opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and get active. This investment is part of the UK Government and LTA’s Parks Tennis Project and will mean that courts will be available for people to use for years to come. We will also be working closely with Swale Borough Council to ensure that the local community have a range of accessible opportunities to get on court and open up our sport to many more people.”


Two Charged And Drugs Seized Following Burglary

Two Charged And Drugs Seized Following Burglary

Around 70 cannabis plants have been seized and two men have been charged after officers were called to a burglary in Sittingbourne.

Patrols attended Charlotte Street during the early hours of  yesterday (Thursday 29th June) following reports of a break-in at a residential address.

One man was arrested at the scene whilst officers chased another on foot through several gardens and over fences before a second man was detained. It is alleged that during the incident a suspect was running along roof tops and caused damage to tiles.

Officers found knives at the address along with several bags of newly-harvested cannabis and evidence of a cannabis cultivation inside the home.

Earlier today (Friday 30th June), Elton Martini, 34, of no fixed address was charged with producing cannabis. Eduart Skenderi, 46, of no fixed address was charged with burglary whilst in possession of a bladed weapon and with intent to steal along with criminal damage.

Both men have been remanded in custody and are due to appear at Medway Magistrates’ Court.

Police Remind Dog Owners Of Responsibilities

Police Remind Dog Owners Of Responsibilities

Dog owners are being reminded of their responsibilities by Kent Police following recent dog-related incidents in the county and a predicted rise with the summer months upon us.

It is against the law to allow your dog to be dangerously out of control. This includes the dog injuring someone, or just making someone worried that they might be injured and where the handler has no control of the dog. The owner is also liable for the same offence even if not present.

Historically, Kent Police see the highest number of reported incidents between May and August. In 2022 there were 98 reported in July, with just 44 in February the same year.

May 2023 saw 124 reported incidents including dog bites and dog-on-dog attacks, with 44 so far in June (up until 12 June).

Inspector Ian Warner told SFM News: "Whilst the majority of people are responsible there is still a small minority who are not. Preventing anti-social behaviour and ensuring everyone remains safe is part of the force’s Safer Summer initiative. Earlier this month officers received a report that a dog had injured a child while in the owner’s garden in Charing. And another report was received that a dog was attacking other dogs in Margate. The dog was seized, two dogs were injured with one found deceased. Two people were also injured during the incident. Both of these incidents are being investigated and we will carry out a full and thorough investigation. They also serve as a timely reminder that dogs can be unpredictable when confronted with unexpected situations and incidents can lead to the harming of livestock too".

‘Under Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act a person in charge of a dog, and/or the owner, commits an offence if the victim fears that the dog’s actions will lead to them being injured, whether or not they actually are injured.Insp Warner went on to add: "This can be from a dog running up to a person, jumping up at them and causing fear or doing the same thing but then also causing an injury. It’s also important to ensure children in the home are safeguarded. As we have seen dogs can be unpredictable so should be closely supervised around children. We want everyone to ensure they take responsibility for their actions.’

You can find more information about dogs, and what constitutes a dangerous dog by visiting Controlling your dog in public: Overview - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

More information about how to keep children safe around dogs can be found here Dogs and Children | Top tips to keep them safe and happy together (capt.org.uk)

Here's some further advice from Kent Police:

·       Owning a dog is a big responsibility and people have a duty to both their dog and the public to keep their pet under control at all times.
·       Ensure your gardens are safe and your dog cannot easily escape, and manage your dog when someone calls at your home.
·       If you know your dog reacts to the doorbell then ensure steps are taken to keep your dog away from the front door, particularly when deliveries are being made to avoid injury.
·       If you know your dog is particularly jumpy, anxious or has a tendency to bite, keep it on a lead when you take it out and consider using a muzzle.

Overnight Roadwork Closures For A2 In Teynham

Overnight Roadwork Closures For A2 In Teynham

Resurfacing work will close part of the A2 London Road in Teynham overnight for 11 nights, from today (Tuesday 20th June), meaning a lengthy diversion via the M2 for motorists travelling between Sittingbourne and Faversham.

A section of A2 London Road in Teynham, between Cellar Hill and the Fowler Welch Distribution Centre, will be inaccessible between 8pm and 5am with a diversion in place.

The official diversion route is via the A249, M2, A251 Ashford Road and finally back onto the A2 London Road with the reverse in the other direction (Londonbound).

A letter to local residents, from Kent County Council (KCC), tells them: “During the whole process, audible warning reversing sirens will be heard along with flashing beacons, this is a health and safety requirement and cannot be turned off but will be kept to a minimum. It is inevitable that residents and businesses near the works will experience some disruption and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused, but we will try to keep this to a minimum. We need your help to make sure the work is done as quickly as possible and to the best possible quality. If your vehicle is usually parked on the carriageway, please make sure you park it somewhere else.”

Tune in to 106.9 SFM for the latest information on this closure and all your local traffic and travel information.

Railway Station Machete Wielding Man Jailed

Railway Station Machete Wielding Man Jailed

A machete wielding man who chased two people at two train stations in Swale has been jailed.

During the early evening of Monday 31st October 2022, Joe Tubb was seen brandishing the weapon at Sheerness Train Station while chasing the victim down the platform.

The victim was able to escape Tubb by boarding a train before the 22-year-old ran from the area.

At 11.17pm on the same evening, Tubb went to Sittingbourne Train Station where he was seen having an altercation with a second man.

Again he used the machete to threaten the victim before the man ran down the platform with Tubb chasing after him. The victim was able to get away from Tubb who then ran from the station.

Following the incident officers searched the area and Tubb, of Gillingham Road, Gillingham, was arrested a few hours later.

He was subsequently charged with two counts of affray and two counts of possession of a bladed article in a public place.

He appeared at Maidstone Crown Court last Thursday (15th June) where he was sentenced to three years in jail.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Daniel Bister of the Kent Crime Squad, told SFM News: "This was a frightening incident for Tubb’s victims. The first affray happened during rush hour when the station was busy with commuters and seeing a man with a machete would have alarmed a lot of people. The level of injury Tubb may have inflicted he if had caught up with these victims is unthinkable. His sentence is deserved, and I hope it leads to some justice for the victims."


Witnesses Sought To Fatal A249 Collision

Witnesses Sought To Fatal A249 Collision

Officers are appealing for information following a fatal collision involving a car driver on the A249 near Stockbury earlier this morning (Monday 12th June).

The single-vehicle collision happened on the Sittingbourne-bound carriageway at around 4.25am and involved a silver Ford Fiesta.

The driver, a man in his 20s, was pronounced deceased at the scene. His next of kin has been informed.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are carrying out enquiries. They believe there were several witnesses and are urging anyone with information or relevant dashcam or mobile phone footage to contact them.

Anyone with any information which can assist the investigation, should call the SCIU appeals line on 01622 798538, quoting reference RY/HG/062/23, or can email: Sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk

Dashcam footage can be uploaded via the online portal: https://kep.uk.evidence.com/axon/community-request/public/12062023a249

Council Concerned Over KCC HWRC Proposals

SBC Raise Concerns Over KCC Recycling Centre Proposals

The leader of Swale Borough Council and the chair of the council's Environment Committee have raised concerns about the potential borough-wide impact of the closure of the Faversham Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC).

Kent County Council have proposed three options for saving £1.5m from their HWRC’s and every one of those options includes the closure of Faversham HWRC. Two of the three options would also see Sheerness HWRC close for two days a week.

Cllr Tim Gibson, the Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “I clearly understand the need for all local authorities to look at how to save money against a background of increasing costs and inadequate funding. But it is difficult, if not impossible, to make any informed judgement on the impact these proposals will have on our residents, given the lack of data available to us. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be much clarity on any options appraisals that have been carried out. This is of course a major concern to many of our residents who are looking for the rationale behind the proposals".

Cllr Gibson went on to add: “However, what is blindingly obvious is that there will be a significant impact on the air quality management areas (AQMA’s) along the A2 with increased journey rates for residents travelling from Faversham to Sittingbourne. At the other end of the borough residents from Leysdown will be travelling along the Lower Rd and A249 to deposit their waste in Sittingbourne, all against a backdrop of increasing heavy congestion on our road network.

"There are many questions that remain unanswered, what is the likely cumulative effect on the AQMAs? Will recycling tonnage rates fall? At a time when many residents are struggling with day to day living costs, are the extensive journeys to alternative HWRC going to be affordable? Will the proposed closures see the scourge that is fly tipping increase to even higher levels? And how will the potential hundreds of tons of additional carbon being emitted be offset?

“Kent is saying that 6,000 additional homes would now be more than 20 mins drive from their nearest HWRC, but this figure is based on optimum traffic conditions and round trips would likely be in excess of an hour for most users from Faversham if travelling at the weekend".

Cllr Rich Lehmann, Chair of the  Environment Committee, has conducted his own research into the proposals. He told SFM News: “The proposed Faversham closure would mean more than 11,000 households losing their nearest tip. There would be an extra 10,500 miles of traffic a week – more than half a million extra miles a year. This would be costing people in Faversham at least £150,000 a year in fuel. The proposed closures could generate around 600 additional cars in and out of Sittingbourne each week, primarily at weekends and of course tens of thousands of journeys through the AQMA’s on the A2 Ospringe and Teynham where air quality is already a concern. An estimated 123 tons of carbon will be generated assuming an average engine size of 1.6L and the road network being free from traffic. These proposals must be revisited, and transparent data provided.”

Kent County Council are due to open a Public Consultation to the proposals next month (Jult 2023) and we will bring you the latest developments here on YOUR local - 106.9 SFM.


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