Local News

A249 Set To Re-open Tomorrow

A249 Set To Re-open Tomorrow

Highways England have confirmed that both lanes on the northbound A249 should re-open tomorrow morning (Friday 5th February) following the completion of work to repair damage caused by a burst water main last month.

The northbound carriageway has had temporary restrictions since the water main underneath the road burst on Monday 11th January, leaving a large void beneath the road. Following the completion of detailed work to assess and repair the damage, final work to remove the restrictions and resurface a damaged section of the slip road will be carried out tonight and the main carriageway will re-open in time for the peak period tomorrow morning.

The northbound exit slip road at the Bobbing junction will remain closed for a further day and is expected to re-open on Saturday. A clearly signed diversion remains in place directing drivers to the B2005 junction, where they can turn round and approach Bobbing via the southbound A249.

During tonight's work, from 8pm, the northbound A249 will be closed between the A2 and the Bobbing junction with traffic diverted onto the Sheppey Way.

Fire Crew Rescue Man And Dog From Hole

Fire Crew Rescue Man And Dog From Hole

Pic: Google Streetview

A man, believed to be in his 60's, and a dog had to be rescued earlier this afternoon (Wednesday 3rd February) by firefighters from a 20 foot hole in Matts Hill Road, Hartlip.

KFRS (Kent Fire And Rescue Service) were called shortly after 1.20pm this afternoon and had to use a short extension ladder to help both of them to safety.

There were no apparent injuries.

Shed Fire Blamed On 'A Faulty Tumble Dryer'

Shed Fire Blamed On 'A Faulty Tumble Dryer'

Sittingbourne fire crews were called to a domestic shed fire in the back garden of a property in William Street earlier today.

Kent Fire And Rescue (KFRS) were called just after 10.30 am this morning (Tuesday 2nd February) and had to access the blaze using a hose from a fire engine in Park Road.

Park Road was closed to vehicles until 11:15am.

It is thought that a faulty tumble dryer, being used in the shed at the time, caused the blaze which also damaged ajoining fence panels.


Police Appeal Following Fatal Crash On M20 Overnight

Police Appeal Following Fatal Crash On M20 Overnight

Update Kent Police is appealing for witnesses following a fatal road traffic collision on the M20 late last night (Thursday 28th January).

The incident occurred at around 10.03pm on the London-bound carriageway between Junctions 4 (Leybourne) and 3 (M26). A Fiat Ducato van collided with a white DAF truck close to the junction with the M26. The van then caught fire and the driver was reported to have been unable to escape the vehicle.

Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and ambulance crews attended the incident and the driver was declared dead at the scene. Efforts are on-going to establish the identity of the deceased and contact next of kin.

Officers from Kent Police's Serious Collision Investigation Unit are now appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the collision or who saw either of the vehicles in the moments leading up to it to get in touch. If you have any information please call the witness appeal line on 01622 798538.

Following overnight investigations Kent Police were able to fully re-open the M20 in both directions shortly after 6:30am today.

Extraordinary Iwade Resident Receives Award

Extraordinary Iwade Resident Receives Award

Local MP Gordon Henderson has congratulated an Iwade resident who was recently awarded a British Citizen Award for setting up an orphanage in Malawi.

Elspeth Baecke BCAo, a former teacher at Sittingbourne Community College, set up a small charity called Smile Malawi in 2004 after watching children suffering in Africa on Comic Relief. Elspeth began fundraising and construction started on the new children's home in 2005. The doors opened in 2006 and now has 39 children aged between 3 and 20-years old.

Elspeth was nominated for a British Citizen Award by her friends and was invited to an awards ceremony in the House of Lords on 28th January 2016 to collect her medal. Unfortunately, Mr Henderson was unable to attend the presentation and so invited Elspeth to meet him at his constituency office in Sittingbourne.

Elspeth told SFM News "it has been an amazing journey building the orphanage and then being part of the children growing up. I now have to help the older children establish themselves independently and I'm looking forward to seeing their success. I'm really honoured to receive the award and it was great to meet Gordon."

Mr Henderson told SFM News that "the British Citizens Awards recognise everyday people who do extraordinary things for their communities, charities or other causes and I am proud that one of my constituents has won. Elspeth has committed a lot of her time and even re-mortgaged her house to provide funding for her charity. She is an inspirational and selfless woman."

For further information about the charity please visit www.smilemalawi.com. If anyone would like to donate please visit www.justgiving.com/smilemalawi.


Possible Re-Opening Of One Lane On The A249

Possible Re-Opening Of One Lane On The A249

Highways England (HE) has confirmed that it is hoping to reopen one lane on the northbound A249 later this week, following completion of temporary works.

They have confirmed that it is "currently unsafe to reopen the slip road and inside lane as surveys have not confirmed the stability of the ground underneath the road and the adjacent void in the ground is a potential risk to drivers".

Timeline of work carried out so far

  • From Monday 11th to Friday 15th January, Southern Water installed a replacement water main under the A249
  • On Friday 15th January, the old water main was depressurised and as a consequence, a void started to appear.
  • Surveys could not be carried out until the level had receded. Pumping the water out could have made the void worse.
  • An initial pavement condition survey was carried out on the night of Friday 15th January to determine the extent of the void under the northbound carriageway.
  • A second survey was carried out this Monday (25th January) to determine the ground stability underneath lane 2 to ensure that it is safe to reopen.
  • While waiting for the technical teams to analyse the results, plans have been underway to explore other options to manage traffic.
  • Work is now ongoing to fill the void with concrete. HE anticipate that this work will be completed by tomorrow (Thursday 28th January) and this sgould then enable HE to re-open one lane of the northbound carriageway.

Why is it taking so long?

A team of Highways England specialist geotechnical and pavement engineers, and specialist contractors, have been carrying out surveys of the integrity of the carriageway to see if it is safe for traffic to use. These surveys are used to determine the physical properties of the ground underneath the road surface. They are carried out using a combination of non-invasive techniques, similar to an x-ray of the road and taking core earth samples. The results of these surveys will be analysed by a team of specialist engineers to build a profile of the ground conditions. Further surveys will be carried out over the next couple of weeks by specialist engineers to help HE to determine the scope and extent of the full repairs.

Brickies Donate Football Kit To Zimbabwe

Brickies Donate Football Kit To Zimbabwe

The photograph shows Sittingbourne FC secretary John Pitts presenting one of the shirts to Julian Chenery a representative from the foundation.

Sittingbourne FC has donated 18 football shirts to the Thembalethu Foundation, which is a charity based in Zimbabwe. The foundation brings together young people to play football and make them feel part of their community.
-They educate them in HIV/AIDS.
-They help them learn to be strong after losing their parents and loved ones so that they can move forward with their own lives.
-They help them understand the difference between right and wrong so that they can make better choices throughout in life.
-They try to show young people that there are many opportunities in life.
-They encourage young people to go to church.

Their web site is:



The Latest Update On The A249 Closure

The Latest Update On The A249 Closure

Update from Highways England:

A further survey will be carried out on Tuesday 26th January.

We expect to receive a report next Friday 29th January in respect of all the investigations that have been carried out to determine what repairs are necessary. We will then set a timeframe which will take into account what work is required and how long the work will take.

No work will be taking place at the weekend. We will review the situation at the end of next week and I'll provide you with a further update.

The road will remain closed for the foreseeable future until we are satisfied that it can be re-opened safely.


Milton Regis Suspicious Incident Prompts E-Fit

Milton Regis Suspicious Incident Prompts E-Fit

Detectives, investigating a report of a man acting suspiciously in the Milton Regis area several weeks ago, have issued an efit image of a man they would like to speak to.

It is reported that a 12-year-old girl was walking through the graveyard near Green Porch Close at around 7.10am on Tuesday 5th January when a man approached her and reached out towards her arm. The girl ran off.

The man is described as white, aged between 30 and 40, 6ft tall, of large build and had a beard. He was described as wearing a black hoodie, jogging bottoms and woolly hat.

Detective Constable Stuart Tracey, the investigating officer at Kent Police, told the SFM News Team: "We have issued an E-fit image of a man we would like to speak to and are also particularly keen to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident as their information may be able to assist with our ongoing enquiries to establish the circumstances surrounding this incident.'

Witnesses to the incident, or anyone who recognises the man in the efit image, is asked to contact DC Stuart Tracey directly at Kent Police by calling 01795 419119 or they can call free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111 and should quote crime reference: XY/000507/16.

Firefighters Deal With Fire In Milton Regis Home

Firefighters Deal With Fire In Milton Regis Home

Picture: Google Streetview

Three fire engines were at the scene of a fire in a three-storey building in Albion Terrace on Brewery Road in MIlton Regis earlier today (Friday 15th January).

Fire crews in breathing apparatus used two hose reels to put the fire out and special fans and natural ventilation to remove the smoke from the property and neighbouring properties.

The three people who were in the property at the time managed to get out to safety when their smoke alarms sounded.


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