Local News

Have Your Say On Local Heritage Assets

Have Your Say On Local Heritage Assets

People are being asked how to decide which local buildings and green spaces make a positive contribution to the character of the borough.

Swale Borough Council is consulting on the criteria for a new local heritage list to promote awareness of the area’s local heritage assets and highlight their importance.

As part of its heritage strategy the council committed to creating a local heritage list and wants to work with the community to identify local assets that are valued as distinctive elements of the local identity. If a building, structure or green space is designated as being of local interest, it will be given the status of heritage asset. This makes its conservation a material consideration in any planning applications. To decide if an asset can be added to the local heritage list, the council needs to agree the criteria they must meet.

The criteria being proposed are:

  • Historic interest – buildings/structures/spaces that are of special social, cultural or economic interest to Swale, and/or have proven affiliation with important local people or events, or other community associations.
  • Architectural interest – buildings/structures/spaces that are of special architectural interest to Swale for reasons of their vernacular, aesthetic, type, form, style, plan technology, townscape, unity, or association with important architects.
  • Age or rarity – buildings/structures/spaces that are: legibly pre-1700 in interest; of appreciable interest from between 1700–1840; of a high level of interest post-1840; of an outstanding interest and less than 30 years old.

Cllr Mike Baldock, Deputy Leader at Swale Borough Council and Cabinet Member for Planning told SFM News:- “We have such a rich and diverse range of local heritage assets, and we want to make sure we formally recognise their importance to the borough. They might not reach the nationally set benchmark for grade I or II listing, but they do have special interest or value to the local area. Any local heritage listing needs to be fairly and consistently applied across the borough, so we need as many people as possible to help us decide the criteria heritage assets will be judged against. Being on the list will not only be taken into account when considering planning applications but will also – for the first time – create an accurate record of our local heritage assets.”

The consultation will be asking people for their views on the criteria being suggested and is running until Friday 9th July.

To take part, and find out more, visit: www.swale.gov.uk/lhl-criteria

Bedroom Fire Tackled In Sittingbourne

Bedroom Fire Tackled In Sittingbourne

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called to reports of a bedroom fire at a house in Samuel Drive, in Kemsley last night (Monday 31st May).
Three fire engines attended at around 6:00pm and crews wore breathing apparatus while using hose reel jets and water from a hydrant to extinguish the flames, before using a high pressured fan to clear the home of smoke. 
No casualties were reported. 
It’s believed the fire was electrical and was started accidentally.

'The Light' Cinema Officially Opens It's Doors

'The Light' Cinema Officially Opens It's Doors

The Light Sittingbourne officially opened its doors today (Friday 28th May) after the Mayor of Swale, Cllr Paul Stephen, cut the ribbon at the formal opening event on Thursday evening. 

The Mayor was joined by The Lady Mayoress, Cllr Sarah Stephen and Cllr Monique Bonney in declaring the leisure venue open following a presentation where The Light Co-founder Keith Pullinger and CEO James Morris thanked the local council for their support.

Cllr Monique Bonney, cabinet member for property and economy at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “I am delighted to have a really good quality scheme opening in the town. The last year hasn’t been easy for anyone, but I am confident people will think it was worth the wait and will enjoy it for years to come.”

The opening of The Light, as part of the Spirit of Sittingbourne development at Bourne Place, will be home to an eight-screen cinema, a nine-lane bowling alley, a retro arcade and diner with three resident vendors providing pizzas, burgers, hotdogs, sides and desserts.

MP Welcomes Ultrafast Full Fibre Broadband

MP Welcomes Ultrafast Full Fibre Broadband

Gordon Henderson MP has welcomed ultrafast broadband being introduced to thousands of additional properties here in Sittingbourne and on the Isle Of Sheppey.

Today’s (Friday 28th May) announcement by Openreach shows it intends to rollout ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to 8,320 premises in the constituency and is part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to connect three million homes and businesses in some of the UK’s hardest to serve communities.

The figure is in addition to existing coverage and what it is already planned from other Openreach programmes, Community Fibre Partnerships or funded schemes creating 7,000 new jobs across the network.

Mr Henderson told SFM News: “Being able to connect to the internet is a modern day essential and I am delighted Openreach has shown its continued commitment to connecting some of the most remote communities. Businesses and homes are more reliant on the web than ever before and it is encouraging to know more people in my constituency will be able to benefit from the positives of getting online sooner, whether by streaming, selling products or accessing services. In a time where many more people will be working from home, I think it is extremely encouraging to know people will be better off as a result of this initiative. This move will help to level up those in the most disadvantaged areas and give them the equal opportunities which are so important in 2021.”

A study from the Centre for Business and Economic Research shows the national rollout could enable a million people to access or return to employment through flexible working. It will also help to cut emissions by reducing the need for commuter journeys as well as boost rural economies.

Openreach is working on timings for when the project will begin in the area.

Avenue Of Remembrance Consultation Underway

Avenue Of Remembrance Consultation Underway

People are being asked how Sittingbourne’s Avenue or Remembrance should be maintained, so future generations can continue to remember those who died in the First and Second World Wars, by Swale Borough Council.

The avenue was inaugurated in 1923 with 181 name plaques of local men who had died in the First World War, together with trees. A further 94 plaques were added to commemorate those who died in World War Two. The avenue is believed to be the last remaining monument of its kind in the country that remains a roadway.

Swale Borough Council is part of a working group with Kent County Council, the Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne, Sittingbourne Society, Royal British Legion and Veterans Breakfast Club. Together the group is looking at how the Avenue is managed and maintained in future and have launched a survey to get local people’s views.

Cllr Richard Palmer, cabinet member for community, told SFM News: “The centenary commemoration of the First World War highlighted the significance of this tree lined memorial, and we are committed to working with the community to preserving its importance to the town. Over the years, plaques have been damaged and replaced, but in different styles, so we want to know what people think about their replacement. Should we carry on replacing as and when necessary, or perhaps consider replacing them all at once so they are consistent? Should we look at how we can use technology – such as QR codes – to allow people to interact with them more, and find out about the stories of those we are commemorating?

Cllr Palmer added: "I am immensely grateful to The Historical Research of Sittingbourne for their work in putting together the survey, which will help support key decisions about the avenue. This is an important commemoration to those who fell in both world wars, and we want to make sure it is maintained and managed for the benefit of future generations.”

The survey is running until 5pm on Friday, 25 June and can be completed at www.swale.gov.uk/avenue-of-remembrance. Anyone who wants a paper copy of the survey can request one by calling 01795 417420 or can email: lynnewton@swale.gov.uk.


Witnesses Sought Following Fatal Collision

Witnesses Sought Following Fatal Collision

Kent Police's Serious Collision Unit investigators are appealing for witnesses after a motorcyclist died in Sittingbourne last night (Wednesday 12th May).

The fatal road collision happened at around 9.44pm on Swale Way when a Honda CBR1000 motorbike collided with a blue Citroen C4 Picasso.

The driver of the motorbike, a 26-year-old man from Whitstable, was riding along the road when the two vehicles collided near the entrance of Milton Creek fishing lakes and Swale Way. 

Following the incident the motorcyclist was pronounced deceased at the scene and the pillion passenger was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, not believed to be life threatening.

Three men aged 18, 23 and 32 years old and all from Sittingbourne, have each been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

A woman, aged 34, from Sittingbourne, has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the cause of justice. All four people remain in custody while enquiries continue.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are keen to talk to anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or who saw the car in the moments prior to the collision.

In particular, officers would like to talk to anyone who was at the Milton Creek fishing lakes who may have information about the occupants of the car.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has dash cam footage which could assist officers with their investigation is asked to call the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 01622 798538.

Footage, photos and CCTV can also be directly submitted online via this link or emailed to sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting ref: CM/DH/042/21.


Woman Freed After A Two Car Crash On The A249

Woman Freed After A Two Car Crash On The A249

Stock Picture.

A woman in her 70s had to be cut free from the car she was travelling in, after it was involved in a crash with another car on the Sheppey-bound carriageway of the A249 earlier this evening (Tuesday 11th May).

The Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to the incident and the crews used cutting gear to remove the roof of her car to gain access to her, as she was trapped by her injuries.

Firefighters and paramedics worked together to carefully transfer the woman into the ambulance.

Crews made the scene safe.

It's believed her condition is stable but not serious.

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.


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