Local News

Dashcam Appeal After Stones Thrown At Cars On M2

Dashcam Appeal After Stones Thrown At Cars On M2

Dashcam footage is being sought after a stone thrown from a bridge in Borden struck a motorhome travelling on the M2.

The incident happened at around 4.30pm yesterday afternoon (Monday 24th January) in the Oad Street area of Borden.

The driver, who was unharmed, told police that she saw three boys on the bridge prior to the incident. The stone hit the roof of the motorhome before colliding with the windscreen. The vehicle remained driveable and she reached a place of safety before calling the police.

Local patrols will now be paying particular attention to bridges in the area whilst carrying out their duties to prevent further incidents.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information, or dash cam footage that captures the incidents should contact Kent Police.

Chief Inspector Joel Mitchell, District Commander for Swale, told SFM News: "It is fortunate that no one was seriously injured in the incident. This behaviour is thoughtless and reckless, and we will not hesitate in taking action against those responsible. This may seem to be a few minutes of excitement and fun to those responsible, but they are risking lives and their actions could result in a prison sentence."

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Kent Police on 01795 419119 quoting the reference number 24-0898 or, alternatively, they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form on their website: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-ano... .

Council Issues A Highsted Park Statement

Council Issues A Highsted Park Statement

Swale Borough Council has confirmed that it will be sending an update on the Highsted Park planning applications to parish councils and local groups.

The council states that the two planning applications for the development are "currently not lawful as they needed to include an environment statement setting out the significant effects of the proposals on the environment".

The council say they have taken expert evidence on the sufficiency of the statement and has issued notices seeking further information. "The application is unlawful until the required information on issues such as archaeology and the impact on nationally important habitats is received" the council say.

The update also includes a summary of legal advice received on the application for a new motorway junction for the M2. This advice says that a planning application is not the correct procedure for a new junction. The legal view is that it should be pursued though a development consent order as it would be a nationally significant infrastructure project. These are determined by the Secretary of State, not the local planning authority.

The applicant is also required to consider alternatives to a new motorway junction and demonstrate the strategic need for one as national policy aims to minimise junctions on safety grounds.

The implication of this advice is that the junction should be removed from the planning application, and the two current planning applications should become three. The strategic case for a new junction would need to be established before the planning applications could be determined.

The council is required to ask that alternatives to, and alternative routes for, the two relief roads be considered. It is also asking for options and alternatives for the location of any new motorway junction, a no interventions option, and an option that gains access off the new junction 5 of the M2.

This will require a new round of traffic modelling to inform consideration of strategic planning applications and the local plan, as well as meeting the concerns of Natural England.

Natural England has expressed two concerns about the proposals. Firstly, the scale of further recreational pressure from additional population will need to be mitigated over and above the proposals in the current scheme. They are seeking what are known as “sites of alternative natural green space” to divert pressure away from the coastal special protection areas which include internationally important sites.

Secondly, they have concerns about the effect of air pollution from additional traffic along the A249 which could affect local bird populations. This affects not only this scheme, but other developments being promoted through the local plan process.

"All this means that the strategic need for infrastructure, alternative options for the infrastructure, and mitigating impacts on the important wildlife sites must be resolved before any detailed consideration of any specific planning application" the council says.

We will, of course, keep you up-to-date with the latest on this story on 106.9 SFM.

Over 2,000 Rural Properties Without Mains Water

Over 2,000 Rural Properties Without Mains Water

Southern Water have been dealing with a incident for most of the day today (Saturday 22nd January) following a burst water main in the Hartlip area.

In a statement Southern Water confirmed to SFM News: "We are continuing to work on a burst in the Sittingbourne area and apologise to customers in some ME8, ME9 and ME10 areas who may be experiencing low pressure or loss of supply. We have re-routed the network and most homes should now have water again. We will be delivering bottled water to those on the Priority Service Register in the next few hours. If you or anyone you know needs support please call 0330 30 30 368."

It's believe that up to 2,000 are affected by the loss of supply.

Mike Whiting, local Newington resident and a Swale Borough Councillor told SFM: "it is unacceptable that residents have been left without a fresh water supply for most of the day so far. I have heard from other local residents looking after younger and older family members being left without the basic human right of a water supply. Some residents but not all received some water bottles earlier today but I think Southern Water should be looking at setting up Water Stations locally".

Affected residents can get the latest information at: https://www.southernwater.co.uk/help-advice/incidents-page.

We will keep you up-to-date with any further information as and when we receive details.

New Warmer Homes Initiative Launched In Swale

New Warmer Homes Initiative Launched In Swale

People across Swale are being encouraged to check if they are eligible to receive help under a new scheme being launched to help local householders be warmer in their homes, lower their carbon emissions, and save money on their fuel bills this winter.

Under the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme, delivered by Warmworks on behalf of Swale Borough Council and through funding from the UK Government, householders can apply to receive improvements to increase the comfort and warmth in their home. The scheme offers a wide range of insulation measures, and renewable heating technologies, such as air source heat pumps, which are designed to reduce the impact of heating homes upon the environment. 

The Green Homes Grant scheme is open to homeowners with a low energy rating and a low annual income. Each home that meets the criteria is eligible for a £10,000 grant that is distributed by Warmworks and is available until  Thursday 31st March 2022.

Warmworks will arrange a survey in the homes of eligible householders to agree what work will be carried out. Then, a local accredited and registered sub-contractor team completes the installation of the agreed heating and energy-efficiency measures before an independent inspection assesses the completed work against rigorous quality standards.

Where required, Warmworks will also then arrange for a full annual service to be completed 12 months later.

Cllr Ben Martin, cabinet member for housing at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: "As we move further into winter and we depend on our heating systems more, families are facing increasing energy bills. A recent report by the Resolution Foundation found that 1 in 4 households will find their energy bills unaffordable this year due to price rises. The Green Homes Grant scheme offers vital improvements which could help people who are on low incomes and who find it hard to heat their home benefit from measures which could see them being warmer, reduce their bills, and decrease their home’s impact on the environment.”​

Cllr Ghlin Whelin, deputy cabinet member for housing at the council, told SFM News: “Warmworks have a strong track record of delivering schemes to more than 25,000 homes, which have helped their customers improve their heating. I’d encourage everyone in Swale who is on a low income and struggling to pay their energy bills to check if they are eligible to receive help from the Green Homes Grant scheme.”

Ross Armstrong, Warmworks Managing Director, told SFM News: “On the back of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, I’m delighted that Warmworks is working in partnership with Swale to deliver the Green Homes Grant scheme. Not only does the renewable heating technology available under it offer local people an opportunity to reduce their carbon emissions and support the transition to Net Zero, but as the colder weather hits, one of the most important benefits we can offer through the scheme is to help people across Swale to feel warmer, healthier and happier in their homes during these winter months. A few minutes to complete our short application could help your home stay warmer for years ahead.”

You can find out if you are eligible for the scheme by completing the short application form at: https://www.warmworks.co.uk/greenhomesgrant/ or by calling Warmworks, free of charge, on 0808 196 8255.

Police Speed Enforcement On Old Sheppey Way

Police Speed Enforcement On Old Sheppey Way

Kent Police have confirmed that patrols have been targetting speeding motorists in the Danaway and Chestnut Street areas, after residents raised road safety concerns.

In response, officers from the Swale Community Safety Unit completed speed checks on Monday (17th January). In total, eight vehicles were stopped and six people reported for driving in excess of the 30 mph limit. Two additional motorists were given words of advice about the manner of their driving and also for failing to update their driving licence with a current address.

Further checks were completed by police community support officers two days later and of the 70 vehicles that were observed, 22 were exceeding the speed limit and will be receiving warnings in the post.

Police Sergeant Carli Deacon told SFM News: "Residents have noticed an increase in vehicles using this area to avoid congestion caused by roadworks on the A249. They were concerned about the number of motorists who appeared to be driving dangerously and asked their local officers to take steps to improve safety for the elderly and children when crossing the road. Motorists should remember they have a responsibility to keep other road users safe. The enforcement this week should send a clear message to those who fail to slow down sufficiently, that the manner of their driving has consequences."

 

Police Appeal Following Fatal Collision In Faversham

Police Appeal Following Fatal Collision In Faversham

Collision investigators are appealing for information following the death of a motorist in Faversham.

At around 8.50am this morning  (Wednesday 19th January), a collision between a silver Toyota Yaris and white Volvo skip loader took place at the junction of The Western Link and Bysing Wood Road.

The Yaris was joining Western Link from Bysing Wood Road and the lorry was travelling along Western Link Road, towards London Road.  

The driver of the Yaris, a man in his 90s from the local area, died at the scene.

Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit has completed enquiries at the scene and are appealing for anyone with information to get in contact. They are particularly keen to speak with anyone who has dashcam footage, or CCTV, which captures the collision or either of the vehicles travelling in the moments leading up to it.

Anyone with information is asked to call Kent Police on 01622 798 538 quoting DS/DC/9/22. Alternatively, email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk

CCTV Images Following Sittingbourne Disorder

CCTV Images Following Sittingbourne Disorder

Officers investigating a report of disorder in Sittingbourne have released images of four men they would like to talk to.

The incident happened outside a nightclub on Sittingbourne High Street, between 3.20am and 3.30am on Saturday 1st January.

It is alleged a number of people were assaulted during the disturbance.  

Investigators have examined CCTV footage in the area and are now releasing images of four men who may be able to assist with their enquiries.

Officers are also seeking to identify a teenage boy who was also in the area. He is described as being white with short blonde hair and was wearing a black jumper and black jeans.

Anyone with any information is urged to call Kent Police on 01795 419119, quoting crime reference 46/4228/22.

Alternatively they can also call Crimestoppers, FREE and anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or complete their online form on the website: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-ano... .

 

Sittingbourne Man Used Social Media To Groom 'Child'

Sittingbourne Man Used Social Media To Groom 'Child'

A Sittingbourne resident, who used social media apps in attempts to groom a child for sex offences, has been jailed.

Michael Smith repeatedly sent indecent images and videos of himself to another user who he believed was only 13 years old.

Smith, aged 54, accessed the apps to seek out and contact a child, between 10th March and 15th April last year. Despite receiving several replies, stating she was a child and at school, Smith made repeated attempts to entice her into sexual activity. His own online account displayed a false image of a teenage boy and it was used to instigate lengthy conversations of an explicit nature, urging the child to engage in sexual activity and to send him indecent images.

Unbeknown to Smith, the child did not exist – her profile was part of a fictitious account. He was arrested at his home in Canterbury Road, Sittingbourne on 15th April 2020. During police interviews, Smith admitted he was responsible for the online activity but claimed he didn’t know he was talking to a child and that his judgment was impaired because he had been using cocaine.

He was charged with attempting to sexually communicate with a child, two counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and a further count of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act. Smith pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court and was sentenced on Monday (10th January), to three years and six months’ imprisonment. He received an additional two weeks for a bail violation and was also placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

Detective Sergeant Shona Ross, of the Paedophile Online Investigation Team, told SFM News: "Smith made persistent and repeated efforts to contact a child for the purposes of his own gratification. He has displayed a clear desire to sexually abuse a child and the graphic detail and demands he included in his messages were hugely concerning. This case also acts as a reminder to parents of children who have mobile phones and tablets to speak to them and help them understand the precautions they should take when using the internet, or the many instant messaging services that are available. Children should only communicate with people that they know personally and report any suspicions or inappropriate advances from strangers to their parents, schools or the police."

Police Recover Tools Following Sittingbourne Theft

Police Recover Tools Following Sittingbourne Theft

A suspected burglar has been arrested after a victim of crime provided key information to police soon after a theft in Sittingbourne.

Kent Police were called at 12.30pm on Tuesday (11th January) following a report that the window of a vehicle had been smashed in Gadby Road and power tools stolen.

Following some detective work of his own, the owner suspected the stolen tools were being kept in the Wentworth Drive area and called the police.

Officers were quick to respond and arrested a man in his twenties on suspicion of theft from a vehicle. A box of power tools was located and seized.

The man was further arrested in connection with the theft of two push bikes in December, as it was reported that the suspect had been advertising the stolen bikes for sale on social media.

The suspect, who is in his twenties, has been released under investigation whilst enquiries continue.

 

Bowls Club Grant Helps Keep Members Active

Bowls Club Grant Helps Keep Members Active

Bowls players with mobility challenges will be able to continue playing thanks to a grant of more than £2,000 from Swale Borough Council.

Borden Short Mat Bowls Club applied for the funding to have a special bowling wheelchair made to provide players experiencing mobility challenges the opportunity to continuing playing.

Norman Smith, treasurer at Borden short mat bowls club, told SFM News: “We’re delighted with the funding. We’ve wanted a bowls wheelchair at the club for a while. The wheelchair will help our players who are having trouble bending. We have a couple players who are waiting for hip replacements so this will help them continue to play and stay active while they wait. The wheels on these specialist chairs are underneath making them narrower and easier to use while playing bowls. The wheels are also much wider than your average wheelchair. We’ve ordered our chair and it’s being made so we hope to have the chair early next year.”

Cllr Richard Palmer, cabinet member for community at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We made a commitment to make leisure and sporting activities accessible to each age group and ability, so when Borden bowls club approached us, we were pleased to help. This specialist bowls wheelchair will help promote wellbeing and enjoyment for our residents who are facing mobility challenges and that’s exactly what this funding is for".

Cllr Mike Baldock, Deputy Leader at the council, added: “This funding is from our special projects fund, which gives us the opportunity to support local projects that are important to you. It’s been a tough few years and we’re pleased to be able to provide the equipment needed for people facing mobility challenges to keep active.”

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