Local News

Pizza Hut Confirm Closure Of Sittingbourne Branch

Pizza Hut Confirm Closure Of Sittingbourne Branch

Pizza Hut UK have confirmed that their branch, on the Sittingbourne Retail Park in Mill Way, has permanently closed.

A Pizza Hut Restaurants spokesperson told SFM News:"Unfortunately the Sittingbourne closure has been beyond our control and we are doing everything we can to redeploy our team members to other Pizza Hut Restaurants in order to minimise the impact to our workforce. We understand this is a difficult time for everyone involved and are supporting our team members as much as we possibly can."

Pizza Hut, like other restuarant and hospitality venues, was forced to close all its branches temporarily on 23rd March 2020, in line with the COVID-19 government guidelines in the initial Lockdown with the vast majority of its UK restaurants reopening in August last year when Pizza Hut took part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Prior to the pandemic Pizza Hut, which trades in the UK under franchise from its US-based owner Yum Branchs, had 244 restaurants in the UK and employed around 5,450 people.

Landslip Near Newington To Affect Train Services

Landslip Near Newington To Affect Train Services

Train services between Sittingbourne and Rainham will be stopped from 9pm tonight as Southeastern carries out emergency repair work following a landslip on an embankment in the Newington area.

A number of other trains will also be affected, including the high speed service which will now operate between St Pancreas and Rainham. London Victoria services will only run between Gillingham and London Victoria and services from Ramsgate and Dover Priory will terminate and start back from Sittingbourne.

The Sittingbourne to Sheerness-On-Sea service will run as normal, following work to the Kingsferry Bridge part of the line earlier today.

Southeastern are advising customers to make their journey through the area before 9pm, if they can, as journeys will take longer and social distancing on replacement buses "may not always be possible".

As always, stay tuned to 106.9 SFM for the latest information.

Leader Says Brenley Corner Upgrade Urgently Needed

Leader Says Brenley Corner Upgrade Urgently Needed

Swale Borough Council's Leader, Roger Truelove, has responded to questions from Cllr Julian Saunders at the council meeting  on Wednesday 6th January about the much-needed upgrade of Brenley Corner in Faversham.

Cllr Saunders asked the leader about his view of the strategic importance of improvements to Brenley Corner and to outline Kent County Council’s position.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader at the council, told SFM News: “Improvements to Junction 7 of the M2 must be a principal infrastructure priority for us, Kent County Council (KCC), and the Government. It is essential for local, domestic, and international transport and trade now that we find ourselves in the position of coming to terms with new economic norms. Planners and politicians have spoken for the last decade about having two strategic transport corridors through Kent, but the delivery of this has been constrained by the inadequacies of Junction 7. It has been said to be a strategic priority for some time and has direct impact on the A249 corridor, yet progress is glacial. The current design that mixes strategic and local traffic is inadequate and causes it to operate below capacity.

Cllr Truelove went on to add: “Brenley Corner was included in the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy (RIS2) for a study in the period 2020-2025, however that does not guarantee any funding for the project. We are pressing for an urgent upgrade to Brenley Corner for economic and infrastructure reasons, but also for clarity and certainty for our revised Local Plan. Highways England have stated that local development should make sufficient contributions to fund the upgrade needed but this is not good enough. It would not meet the need to serve the growth of strategic national and international traffic flows, or for any future housing which neighbouring districts will have to deliver in response to Government targets. The government must provide more certainty about improvements at Junction 7. Without this, the strategic route, to and from Dover, will remain substandard and the growth opportunities available to Swale and East Kent will be severely limited.

To sum up Cllr Truelove said:  “In terms of KCC’s position, they support Highways England and collaborate with them on design work, however it seems they accept the serious funding delay until after 2024 – or maybe longer. This isn’t a Swale issue; it’s a Kent issue, particularly for East Kent. Historically infrastructure developments such as Junction 5 of the A249 have been a distraction from the issues at Brenley Corner but these now need to be raised up the political agenda as a matter of urgency.”

COVID-19 Vaccination Centre Opens In Sittingbourne

COVID-19 Vaccination Centre Opens In Sittingbourne

Today (Saturday 16th January) saw the opening of Sittingbourne's COVID-19 Vaccination Centre.

The centre is located in Heather House, the Age UK charity's building, on the Avenue Of Remebrance in the town centre.

Shortly after 8:00am this morning the first Pfizer vaccination was given to an 88-year-old local lady, the first of 352 people to be seen today.

Dr Shaun Potter, Practice Manager at The Chestnuts Surgery on East Street, spoke to Tony Weaver on The Saturday Breakfast Show at 7:30 this morning, to tell our listener's more:-

Pensioner Targeted By Bogus Council Officials

Pensioner Targeted By Bogus Council Officials

Kent County Council (KCC) Trading Standards have advised that a local elderly resident has been targeted by bogus council officials into paying £4,000 for urgent home repairs.

Here's what happened:-

  • Cold called by two men claiming to be from Swale Borough Council
  • Told occupant that they needed urgent repairs to be carried out on their house
  • The work would cost £4,000 but that they would be able to claim the money back

If this happens to you here's what to do:

  • Do not respond to cold callers
  • Check the identity by calling your local council on a number you have. Do not use any phone number the cold callers give you - it may not be genuine.
  • Report to Kent Police on 101, or if you feel threatened call 999.
  • Please warn vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours.
  • Report it

Find out about how scammers may be trying to target you and your family during the Coronavirus pandemic. We can all be vulnerable to these criminals and the best way to protect yourself is to make sure you are aware. KCC Public protection have created a page that lists scams that are using the Pandemic to target you. Please visit: https://www.kentpublicprotection.info/covid19alerts.

Met Office Issue Yellow Warning For Snow And Ice

Met Office Issue Yellow Warning For Snow And Ice

The Met Office have issued a Yellow Warning regarding a band of heavy snow that may bring disruption, as it moves eastwards across the county, tomorrow (Saturday 16th January).

They warn that people should prepare for:

  • Possible delays or cancellations to rail and air travel
  • Possible travel delays on roads stranding some vehicles and passengers
  • Some rural communities could become cut off
  • Power cuts may occur and other services, such as mobile phone coverage, may be affected

Stay tuned to 106.9 SFM for the latest.

Fines Issued During First Weekend Of Lockdown 3

Fines Issued During First Weekend Of Lockdown 3

Kent Police officers have issued 30 fines across the county over the weekend, which included breaches at the ports, people failing to isolate, gatherings outside and indoors and unnecessary trips into the county.

Locally on Saturday (9th January) a woman, in Regis Crescent, was fined £200 for leaving her home to visit someone outside of her bubble and household and another woman was fined £200 for being outside of her home without a valid reason at Sittingbourne Railway Station.

On Sunday (10th January) a man was fined £200 for being out, on his way to friends and in breach of the restrictions with no valid reason in Sittingbourne.

Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable, Claire Nix, told SFM News: "The vast majority of Kent residents continue to do the right thing and are following the rules, helping to protect the NHS and ultimately save lives. Unfortunately, there are still some people who think it is acceptable to throw parties, gather outside in large numbers or commit other serious breaches of Covid-19 regulations. Holidays within the UK and abroad are also prohibited unless for permitted reasons and, despite this advice, 7 people attempted to cross the Channel at the weekend without valid reasons and were fined as a result.

"The Government has been very clear that the best way to protect everyone is to stay at home as part of this third national lockdown and no one should be attempting holidays or breaching other rules, not just for their own protection but to prevent the spread of the virus. I am urging all Kent residents to visit the government website and know what is acceptable at this time. Anyone who is permitted to travel abroad should also obtain a negative Covid-19 test prior to departure. Anyone who turns up at the ports without one will also be turned away.

"It is also unacceptable that officers around the county are still finding some individuals organising or attending house parties with no regard for the seriousness of this pandemic.

"In these situations we will have no choice but to take enforcement action. People doing this are not only putting their own lives at risk but that of anyone they meet, some of whom will be extremely vulnerable. Anyone who flagrantly or repeatedly breaks the rules at a time when there is so much pressure on Kent’s health services should be left in no doubt that action will be taken against them."

Council Replaces Fleet With New Electric Vehicles

Council Replaces Fleet With New Electric Vehicles

Swale Borough Council say that they will now save more than 30 tonnes of carbon every year with a fleet of nine new electric vehicles.

The zero-emission vehicles "will help to improve the air quality in Swale". The council’s say that their fleet "regularly travels though the borough’s air quality management areas (AQMAs) where vehicle pollution contributes to poor air quality".

The council’s fleet of diesel vans has been replaced with nine Nissan Env200 vans that will be charged at the Swale House council offices in Sittingbourne via eight new EV chargers. Three environmental warden vans, three green space vans, two dog warden vans and a parking services van are now out on the road alongside the Mayor’s car which was upgraded to an electric vehicle in December.

The new electric vans join the two Nissan Leaf electric cars already used by the council’s civil enforcement team.

Cllr Tim Valentine, cabinet member for the environment at the council, told SFM News:  “We’re delighted to reach this milestone. Replacing the council fleet with electric vehicles is part of our Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan. It will help us reduce our carbon emissions and improve the air quality in Swale. Each vehicle saves 3.38 tonnes of carbon every year, so the new fleet will save more than 30 tonnes of carbon and help us tackle climate change. The new vehicles will emit no nitrogen dioxide which causes poor air quality in our AQMAs along the A2. Not only will we save a huge amount of carbon, but we’ll also make long-term cost savings thanks to the lower running and maintenance costs of the electric vehicles. We hope our example can show local firms that the benefits of going electric are not only environmental but will help to reduce the costs of running vehicles.”

For more information on air quality around the Swale borough please visit: www.swale.gov.uk/air-quality.

Details Of Local COVID-19 Testing And Vaccinations

Details Of Local COVID-19 Testing And Vaccinations

The Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have confirmed that COVID-19 vaccinations will be given to people in Sittingbourne from this coming Saturday (16th January).

Age UK's Heather House Day Centre, on the Avenue of Remembrance, will be providing vaccinations for: The Chestnuts Surgery, London Road Medical Centre, The Memorial Medical Centre, Grovehurst Surgery, Iwade Health Centre, The Meads Medical Practice, Milton Regis Surgery, The Surgery in Teynham and The Lakeside Medical Centre.

The CCG have advised that people will be contacted when the vaccine is available for them and are asking residents not to phone GP surgeries, the CCG, or any other NHS service with general queries about when they will be able to get the vaccine.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: "This will be a great relief to local people, many of whom have been contacting me in recent weeks concerned about the lack of any service in our town. The NHS concern, here and elsewhere, was that the fragile Pfizer vaccine would have to be dispensed at one central site, not around several GP surgeries. Swale Borough Council met with the NHS before Christmas and a suitable site was agreed and a prospective start date. As a Council we have been anxious to inform the public, to allay their natural anxiety. We have been continually pressing for progress as has the local MP. However, the NHS have put an embargo on information until all aspects of the arrangements were fully confirmed. In due course, the Astra/Zeneca Oxford vaccine will come on stream and this can be administered at a number of sites, so we look forward to acceleration as the Government seeks to reach its ambitious target. The management of this, including the commissioning of sites, will be in the hands of the NHS.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT: https://www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/your-health/coronavirus/covid19vaccine

A new Asymptomatic (symptom-free) Test Centre has opened at The Kemsley Community Centre, Ridham Avenue, Kemsley, Sittingbourne ME10 2SF

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT: https://kcc.healthit.org.uk/.


UK Inquest Concludes Carl Davies Was Murdered

UK Inquest Concludes Carl Davies Was Murdered

An inquest has found the death of former Sittingbourne teacher, Carl Davies, whose body was found on an Indian Ocean island almost 10 years ago, was "unlawful killing".

The coroner ruled today (Wednesday 6th January) that  the cause of death was "serious cranial injuries" following a “vicious assault” on the 33-year-old, whose body was found in a storm drain near Lambert Barracks on the Island Of Reunion on the morning of Wednesday 9th November 2011.

The inquest heard how Carl, of Harrier Drive in Sittingbourne, had completed tours of both Northern Ireland and Iraq whilst in the British Arm and has been tipped for a commander's role before venturing into teaching.

Concluding the inquest coroner Patricia Harding said: "Carl was subject to a vicious assault, with the assault carried out by a blunt instrument and screwdriver. Sadly we will never fully know what happened to poor Carl Davies on that fateful night. I want to the family to know how very sorry I am for their loss."

Speaking to SFM News after the conclusion Carl's father, Andy Davies, emotionally thanked the continued work of Kent Police saying: "I just want to express our gratitude and thanks to them for their work. When everyone else around us was failing they remained excellent and professional at all times."

The verdict concludes investigations here but the family are still campaign for justice on Reunion Island following two previous criminal trials. 

For more information on their campaign for justice please click the You Tube links below:-


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