Local News

Council-Owned Housing Company Ready To Go

Council-Owned Housing Company Ready To Go

Rainbow Homes is preparing its first project to deliver new affordable homes in Swale.

The new council-owned housing company is planning to deliver more than 170 new properties at three sites in Sittingbourne and has appointed Counties & Capital Consulting Ltd (C&CC) to oversee the project.

The new homes are planned for Cockleshell Walk, East Street and Fountain Street and will be the first built by Rainbow Homes.

C&CC will manage and advise on all stages of works, from concept designs, to securing planning permissions, sourcing all project professionals and overseeing the build process through to the successful letting of the new high-quality homes

Emma Wiggins, director at Rainbow Homes told SFM News “Rainbow Homes is a wholly council-owned venture that has been set up to deliver new, affordable homes in Swale. We will be working with our partners to provide local people with a home of their own, built to a good standard and offering a mix of affordable tenures. Our focus will be on creating sustainable communities which make a real difference to the lives of those who live there. Our plans for these three sites are still being finalised, and we’re getting ready to submit planning applications in the next few months. This is the first project we’re hoping to deliver, and we’re already considering plans for other locations around the borough to give as many local people as possible the chance of moving into an affordable home of their own.”

The managing director of C&CC, Neill Tickle, has previously worked with Swale Council and within the borough for more than 15 years as the development director for local housing association, Optivo. During this time he was responsible for successfully delivering many property developments including the Regis Gate Extra Care scheme and the Wild Ash Croft regeneration project.

Neill told SFM News: “We’re over the moon to have been selected from the many companies who entered into the procurement process. We’re most excited to assist Rainbow Homes in delivering these transformational regeneration projects that will continue to improve Sittingbourne town centre and benefit local people and the community. It’s refreshing to see that despite the wide range of political parties and views represented withing Swale, the one factor that everyone agrees with is that they must do their part to help with the housing crisis in delivering more affordable housing for the local community and the people who need it the most – we are delighted to be able to help them achieve this, every step of the way!”

Mohammed Parekh, the development and investment consultant at C&CC who is taking the lead role in delivering these projects told SFM News: “Due to our exceptional commercial awareness and management of internal stakeholders – we have the right balance in managing client’s requirements whilst also understanding the key issues that are so often faced during the stages of a development. We also possess good knowledge and experience of modern methods of construction which is an important consideration for all development clients these days.”

Bedroom Fire In Sittingbourne

Bedroom Fire In Sittingbourne

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) were called to reports of a bedroom fire at a home in Sittingbourne earlier this afternoon (Saturday 28th May). 

The KFRS were contaccted at 14:08 hrs and three fire engines attended the house in Jade Close.

Crews wore breathing apparatus while using hose reel jets to extinguish the flames. 

The residents were alerted to the incident by their working smoke alarms and no casualties were reported. 

It's believed the fire started accidentally due to an electrical fault. 

RNLI Lifeguards Back On Sheppey Beaches

RNLI Lifeguards Back On Sheppey Beaches

People visiting Sheerness and Leysdown beaches this weekend will see the start of this summer’s lifeguard service.

The six-week Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) weekend and bank holiday Lifeguard service starts this weekend (Saturday 28th May) at Sheerness and Leysdown beaches ahead of the summer season.

The seven days per week summer service covering Sheerness, Leysdown and Minster beaches starts on Saturday 9th  July through to Sunday 4th September.

Cllr Monique Bonney, committee chair for regeneration and property, told SFM News: “We’ve just received blue flag awards for all three of our bathing beaches and it’ll be fantastic to see people starting to use them more as the weather warms up. Every year we start with a part time weekend and bank holiday lifeguard service at our busiest beaches - Sheerness and Leysdown - before we move on to the seven days per week summer service for Sheerness, Leysdown and Minster beaches. We are delighted the RNLI continue to provide lifeguarding on our lovely Blue Flag beaches. We want you to have a great summer on our beaches.  We encourage you, where possible, to visit a lifeguarded beach, know the risks, understand the flags, leave inflatables at home and stay safe. Finally, please take your rubbish home so it does not endanger other beach users or the environment.”

Cllr Sarah Stephens, vice committee chair for regeneration and property at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “Please remember, being able to see a lifeguard isn’t an excuse for taking risks, and even though a beach has lifeguards, people should always be careful in and around the water. There’s lots of information and advice on the RNLI website, and I’d urge everyone to have a look at their float to live advice. If you’re visiting the beach with the kids, don’t forget you can grab an armband from one of our lifeguards, write your phone number with waterproof ink and give to the little ones to wear just in case you get separated. In the case of an emergency at the beach, seafront or sea, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”

For more information about Swale's beaches visit their website: swale.gov.uk/seafront.


Appeal After Woman Dies After Collision In Yelsted

Appeal After Woman Dies After Collision In Yelsted

Witnesses are being urged to come forward after a woman died in a single-vehicle collision in Yelsted, near Sittingbourne.

The incident happened on Yelsted Road, near the junction with Yelsted Lane, at around 1.20pm yesterday (Friday (20th May) afternoon.

The woman, in her 20's, died after the silver Kia Sorrento she was driving, in the direction of Sittingbourne, left the road and collided with the embankment. A child passenger was also injured and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Officers from Kent Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit attended the scene and would now like to hear from witnesses or anyone with dashcam or CCTV footage of the vehicle in the moments leading up to the incident.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the appeal line on 01622 798538 quoting reference HW/VS/056/22.

Kent Police Launches New Domestic Abuse Hub

Kent Police Launches New Domestic Abuse Hub

Victims of domestic abuse in Kent will now be provided with an enhanced response, additional support and safeguarding through a dedicated Domestic Abuse Hub.

Tackling domestic abuse is a priority for Kent Police and they day they are "constantly seeking new ways to ensure victims receive the best possible service". The Domestic Abuse Hub, launched on Wednesday (18th May) and will provide innovative support for victims using video technology to virtually respond to specific calls. This will enable victims to immediately speak with an officer via video, enabling fast-time crime recording, statement taking and capture of evidence including the scene of the incident and any visible injuries.

By having instant contact with a victim an officer can also implement immediate safeguarding and referrals to partner agencies to provide protection to vulnerable people. 

This is a completely optional service for victims and is not a replacement for a traditional call back or officer visit. Officers will always attend an incident or victim when needed. This method has been independently tested in a controlled trial with over 500 cases, which found very positive results for victims.*

The Domestic Abuse Hub will also be supported by highly motivated Proactive Domestic Abuse teams who will be working to identify, target and relentlessly pursue domestic abuse offenders. They are focused on those who pose the greatest harm and bringing them to justice, whilst also supporting those who are repeatedly targeted.

The concept of a new Domestic Abuse Liaison Officer (DALO) role is also being piloted in Medway, and will be assessed fully before further roll-out across Kent is considered. These officers will provide consistent and coordinated support to safeguard victims most at risk, responding swiftly to incidents to secure vital evidence and providing a first-class service.

Detective Chief Superintendent Sam Price told SFM News: ‘In 2021, the force control room received over 40,000 calls relating to domestic abuse but we are also aware that this crime type is under-reported. Our key priority has always been on protecting the most vulnerable members of society and tackling domestic abuse. By making these changes, officers can respond swiftly, robustly and compassionately to any reports of domestic abuse. ‘There is never an excuse for domestic abuse, no matter what the circumstances, and I urge victims to come forward, confident in the knowledge they will receive the best possible service from Kent Police."

Statistics show that domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, or social background.

If you are suffering from physical, sexual, psychological, or financial abuse, or are being threatened, intimidated or stalked by a current or previous partner or close family member, it is likely you are a victim of domestic abuse. You are not to blame for what is happening. You are not alone. You can report it directly to Kent Police or, if you are not ready to speak to the police, you can contact local support organisation SATEDA (Swale Action To End Domestic Abuse) by emailing: admin@sateda.org or by calling 01795 417251. Please note this is not an emergency service and is only open during regular working hours. so If you need immediate assistance, please call 999.


Swale To Celebrate The Queen’s Jubilee Weekend

Swale To Celebrate The Queen’s Jubilee Weekend

Street parties, BBQs, parties in parks, tree planting and beacon lighting are just some of the events happening around Swale on The Queens Jubilee long weekend.

Local celebrations are being held across the country during a four-day bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd June to Sunday 5th June.

Councillor Richard Palmer, the cabinet member for community at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News:  “We’re planning a brass band at Faversham Rec on Sunday afternoon for the Big Jubilee picnic and residents can get involved by making bunting for us to decorate our parks and green spaces. We’ll also be planting the winner’s design of The Queens Crown from Sittingbourne in Bloom’s school competition. We had a huge response to our Jubilee grants earlier this year, contributing more than £30,000 to community groups all over Swale for local events.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, deputy cabinet member for community, said:  “There’s a fun day at the Ship Inn in Conyer and a teddy bears picnic at the Sittingbourne and Kemsley light railway over the long weekend, and Faversham Pool swill be hosting a ‘Duckingham Palace’ family swim session. Sheerness Town Council will be holding a celebration at Beachfields Park from 11am to 3pm on Sunday (5th June), there’ll be a beacon lighting ceremony at Crundalls Wharf in Queenborough at 9.15pm on Thursday, and there’s something on every day at The Spinney in Leysdown including fairground rides, kids disco, parade, steel band and afternoon tea. This extra-long bank holiday weekend to celebrate The Queen’s 70-year reign will give everyone the chance to relax and reconnect with friends and family after a difficult few years.”

For more information you can visit: www.visit-swale.co.uk/find-out-whats-on-in-faversham-sittingbourne-and-the-isle-of-sheppey/anniversaries/celebrate-the-queens-platinum-jubilee-in-swale for a full list of what's going on throughout the borough.

All Three Of Swale’s Beaches Awarded Blue Flags

All Three Of Swale’s Beaches Awarded Blue Flags

Leysdown, Minster Leas and Sheerness beaches have all received blue flags again this year.

After meeting the highest standards for cleanliness, facilities and water quality, all three beaches have been awarded with a blue flag.

Leysdown beach has also received the Seaside Award from Keep Britain Tidy presented to England’s best beaches.

Cllr Julian Saunders, the Cabinet Member for Environment at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We have to meet a lot of criteria to be awarded a Blue Flag, so this is a fantastic achievement. Our beaches have lifeguards throughout the summer and the high quality bathing water our visitors expect.

Cllr Monique Bonney, the Cabinet Member for Economy, told SFM News: “Our blue flags have arrived in time for summer at Leysdown, Minster Leas and Sheerness beaches and we’re looking forward to welcoming tourists down to visit our award-winning coastline. The blue flags show visitors that our beaches are clean and safe, and that they meet the highest environmental and bathing water quality standards.”

To find out more about your local Swale beaches, visit: www.swale.gov.uk/seafront.

Two Arrested During Vehicle Checks In Swale

Two Arrested During Vehicle Checks In Swale

Joint working by Kent Police's Rural Task Force and Road Safety Unit in Swale saw one arrest for drug driving and two arrested for theft offences.

On Monday (9th May) the two teams, along with the DVSA and Environment Agency, spent the day on the A249 on the Isle of Sheppey and in Mill Way, Sittingbourne checking vehicles carrying all types of waste.

In total, 25 vehicles were inspected with waste carriers’ licenses and documentation checked.

Officers arrested two men for theft and handling stolen goods after they checked their vehicle and found a number plate linked to a stolen vehicle. The 18-year-old from Faversham and 26-year-old from Herne Bay were questioned and released on bail while enquiries continue.

A 29-year-old from Tunbridge Wells was also arrested for drug driving offences and has since been released from police custody pending further investigation.

Officers also issued four Traffic Offence Reports (TOR) for insecure or dangerous loads, another two TORs for seatbelt offences, one for tyre offences, one for mobile phone offences and another for going through a red light.

Other offences included, two vehicles being seized for having no tax, one Graduated Fixed Penalty Notice issued for excess weight and a driver reported for summons for excess weight.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw from the Rural Task Force told SFM News: "Operations like this are really important to ensure people are not disposing of waste illegally. We work closely with our local authority partners to tackle the issue and send a message to those intent on illegally disposing of waste that it will not be tolerated. By carrying out these operations we are also able to identify other offences as we were in this case and we will continue to do so to protect our communities from not just fly-tipping but from all criminality."

Motorist Arrested After Short Pursuit

Motorist Arrested After Short Pursuit

A motorist has been arrested within four minutes after a vehicle failed to stop for Kent Police patrols in Sittingbourne.

Officers from the Swale Local Policing Team were travelling on the Old Sheppey Way towards Iwade when they noticed a car that they believed to be uninsured, at around 1.50pm on Tuesday (3rd May).

They used their lights and sirens to request the driver to stop but instead the vehicle continued to be driven at speed, putting other road-users at risk as it weaved in and out of traffic over the Sheppey Crossing.

At 1.54pm the car pulled over on the Sittingbourne side of the A249 near the Iwade turn-off, and inside officers located a small quantity of cannabis.

A 44-year-old man from Sittingbourne was subsequently arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, failing to stop, driving whilst disqualified and without insurance, and possession of a class B drug.

He has since been released from custody pending further enquiries.

Teynham Fatal Collision Witness Appeal

Teynham Fatal Collision Witness Appeal

Witnesses are being sought following a fatal collision near Faversham in the early hours of this morning (Monday 2nd May).

A black VW Polo car was travelling along Lower Road in Teynham, towards the village, when it was involved in a collision with a green Barracuda bicycle.

The collision took place at around 12.30am and the cyclist, aged in his late teens, sustained injuries and was confirmed deceased at the scene.

An 18-year-old man from Faversham, a 19-year-old man from Sheerness and a 20-year-old woman from Chatham were arrested in connection with the collision and taken into custody.

The Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are investigating the incident and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Anyone who has CCTV or dashcam footage taken in the area is also asked to come forward.

Witnesses should call the SCIU appeal line on 01622 798 538 or, alternatively, they can email sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk quoting reference KH/COJ/51/22.


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