Local News

CCTV Sought In Connection With Thefts From Cars

CCTV Sought In Connection With Thefts From Cars

Local residents in Sittingbourne and Iwade are being asked to check their doorbell and CCTV camera footage after a man was arrested in connection with thefts from cars.

CCTV is sought from people living in the areas of Meadow Rise and Kingfisher Close in Iwade and Newlands Avenue, Sittingbourne. Residents are being urged to check footage relating to the early hours of today (Sunday 31st October).

Sergeant Daniel Pronger, who is investigating the thefts, told SFM News:"I would like to appeal to residents in Iwade and Sittingbourne and ask them to check their doorbell and CCTV footage for suspicious activity in the early hours of Sunday 31 October. Unfortunately there have been a number of thefts from cars reported in the Sittingbourne area recently and I would ask people to be vigilant and do all they can to prevent being targeted by a thief. Whenever possible remove all items of value from your vehicle when leaving it unattended, taking particular care to empty your car overnight."

Earlier today (Sunday 31 October) at 5:10am officers arrested a man in his 30s in the Key Street area of Sittingbourne in connection with nine counts of theft from a vehicle. All but one of the incidents are reported to have happened in the Sittingbourne area.

If anyone can help police with this investigation, please contact Kent Police on 01795 419119, quoting reference number 46/XY/8792/21.

You can also contact Crimestoppers, free and anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or by using the online form via this link: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-ano...

Council Leader Calls For Urgent Public Health Measures

Council Leader Calls For Urgent Public Health Measures

The Leader of Swale Council, Cllr Roger Truelove (Labour) is urging the government to introduce public health measures to deal with the winter threat of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses as soon as possible.

Speaking to SFM News Cllr Roger Truelove said: “Though Swale is now one of the least infected parts of the country, rates are rising, across the country deaths are too high and there is growing pressure on the NHS, which risks other serious acute conditions being delayed for treatment. We all understand that there is a balance to be found with the economy and individual hopes of normality, but there are measures that ought to be introduced that do not affect these considerations to the same extent that growing rates of illness will do. It is no good government just saying “get your booster. There is a strong body of opinion that there has been too much delay hitherto, especially at this time last year. I do not understand the motive for this, especially when both public health and scientific advice is calling for urgency.”


Daytime Sexual Assault In Sittingbourne

Daytime Sexual Assault In Sittingbourne

Swale officers, investigating allegations of a sexual assault in Sittingbourne, have issued a CCTV image of a man they would like to identify.

At around 1.40pm on Thursday (21st October) afternoon a woman reported that an unknown man grabbed her from behind while she was walking along Charlotte Street. It is alleged the suspect touched her over her clothing. The victim was able to get away and the suspect left the scene.

As part of their enquiries, officers would now like to speak to the man pictured. Anyone with information is urged to call Kent Police on 01795 417119, quoting reference 46/211600/21. You can also contact Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously by calling 0800 555 111, or using the online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-ano....

2021 Civic Service Of Remembrance Details Released

2021 Civic Service Of Remembrance Details Released

Whilst we still navigate our way through the pandemic, Swale Borough Council will this year deliver a scaled back Civic Service of Remembrance at the Sittingbourne War Memorial on Sunday 14th November.

Individuals and organisations wishing to attend the service are asked to arrive by 10.45am and gather in the vicinity of the War Memorial and in Central Avenue car park, which will be closed all morning for the service.

Alternative parking, which will be free in all Council car parks on Remembrance Sunday, is available nearby in Albany Road, Swallows Leisure Centre and other town centre car parks.

The Mayor of Swale Cllr Paul Stephen will be supported by Reverend David Ridley, Team Vicar for St Michaels Church Sittingbourne and Reader Mrs Pat Tatchell, Benefice of Tunstall and Bredgar together with the Salvation Army (Sittingbourne Corp).

Service and community organisations are asked to minimise the number of representatives attending to manage the risks arising from the pandemic.

There will be an opportunity for all to lay wreaths and personal tributes at the end of the formal service but there will be no parade.

A road closure will be in place on Central Avenue from the police station down to the High Street from 9:00am onwards, to prepare for the service, and it will re-open at 12:00 noon, once the service has ended.


Council Welcomes Wheelabrator Expansion Decision

Council Welcomes Wheelabrator Expansion Decision

The High Court has rejected an appeal by Wheelabrator to overturn a decision by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to refuse permission for its new Kemsley North energy from waste (EfW) plant here in Sittingbourne.

Welcoming the decision, Cllr Tim Valentine, cabinet member for the climate and ecological emergency at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “Whilst incinerating waste with energy recovery forms an important part of the waste strategy, we must recognise that it low in the hierarchy. It is much better to produce less waste in the first place and recycle more of the waste that does arise. In Swale we are working to divert more food waste from the general waste bins. Collected separately, food waste goes to an anaerobic digester which feeds methane into the national gas grid and produces a fuel conditioner used in local agriculture.”

The Court ruled (on Friday 8th October) that the extra capacity of the proposed plant is not required under Kent County Council’s revised Minerals and Waste Local Plan and could have provided a disincentive to recycle more waste.

Wheelabrator, which has been acquired by First Sentier Investors and rebranded ‘enfinium’ — was granted permission to increase the capacity of its Kemsley K3 plant to process an additional 107,000 tonnes of waste per year, giving a maximum capacity of 657,000 tonnes.


Bricks Thrown At Motorists From Motorway Bridge

Bricks Thrown At Motorists From Motorway Bridge

Increased local patrols are taking place after bricks are reported to have been thrown at motorists from bridges.

Last Sunday (3rd October), at around 5.40pm, officers received three reports of vehicles travelling on the M2, below the Sawpit Road bridge (pictured), having their windscreens and windows damaged. On this occasion, witnesses have not reported seeing anyone on the bridge.

At around 4.41pm on Wednesday (6th October), two further reports were received and on this occasion witnesses said that they had seen a man throwing bricks from Ruins Barn Road, Sittingbourne, into the path of lorries. One lorry driver’s window was smashed.

Kent Police told SFM News: "Enquiries to establish the full circumstances are ongoing and anyone with information, or dash cam footage that captures the offending, is asked to contact Kent Police". 

Chief Inspector Joel Mitchell, Kent Police’s District Commander for Swale, told SFM News: "These reports are really concerning, and this type of behaviour is very reckless and has the potential to cause fatalities.  Not only can those responsible cause serious injuries to innocent people but they also risk obtaining a potential prison sentence. Anyone with information about the incidents can call Kent Police on 01795 419119 quoting reference 46/197053/21."

You can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete an online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Councillors Approve Change In Governance

Councillors Approve Change In Governance

At last night’s (Wednesday 6th October) Council meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to change the way Swale Borough Council makes decisions by moving to a committee system.

Councillors have agreed that the council’s current leader-and-cabinet led structure, where most decisions are taken by fewer people, will be replaced with a committee system, which will come into effect at the annual council meeting in May 2022.

The new system will mean decisions are made by politically balanced committees representing all councillors.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of the Council, told SFM News: “This will be more democratic. It ensures that when people go to vote they will know that their elected members will no longer be excluded from major policy decisions. Swale is a diverse borough with diverse politics and the cabinet system does inevitably exclude both communities and members. Cabinets belong at Westminster but are not appropriate to local councils, with more intimate contacts with different communities. This will not prevent the Coalition delivering on its agenda. We will have a majority on the committees. But going forward, beyond the elections of 2023 the committee system will lead to a more consensual approach to local politics, which in my long experience, is what most local voters want.”

Cllr Mike Baldock, Deputy Leader with responsibility for constitutional change, told SFM News: "This is a huge decision for the us to have taken, and I am delighted we have taken the whole council with us on this journey. Good politics is about listening and working together to support our residents and our communities. The committee system will help ensure everyone's voice is heard better."

Cllr Alan Horton, Leader of the Opposition, told SFM News: “The Conservatives have worked constructively with the Coalition to bring about this important change as it gives all Councillors an opportunity to speak for their communities and be involved in decision making. This is a fundamental change in how ward councillors are able to represent their residents​ and how the council makes decisions. We believe it is important that all voices are heard and we are looking forward to being able to better serve our residents from May next year.”

For more information about the change in governance and what it will mean for Swale Borough Council please click here.

Major Power Cut Affecting Kemsley And Bobbing

Major Power Cut Affecting Kemsley And Bobbing

Thousands of residents are currently without power in the Kemsley and Bobbing areas.

UK Power Networks have told SFM News: "Several thousand customers are impacted by a power cut in the Sittingbourne area at 6.42pm. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience the power cut has caused. An underground electricity cable faulted on our high voltage network, causing an area wide power cut."

Stay tuned to 106.9 SFM for the latest.


Power was fully restored by 7:30pm.

New Draft Planning Enforcement Strategy Agreed

New Draft Planning Enforcement Strategy Agreed

Councillors have approved a new draft planning enforcement strategy and service charter outlining how breaches of planning permission are handled.

Swale Borough Council sought approval of the new draft strategy and charter at last month’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday 22nd September. The strategy sets out how the council protects the borough’s built and natural environment from unauthorised developments. It includes identifying priority issues for the service and explains what action can be taken.

The charter explains how the planning enforcement process works, to help people and partners like parish councils understand how investigations are carried out.

Cllr Mike Baldock, cabinet member for planning at the council, told SFM News: “We’ve been working on an improved enforcement strategy and service charter since the beginning of the year, and following a successful, eight-week consultation earlier this summer, cabinet has approved our plans. It’s important that we protect the borough against unauthorised developments now and into the future. The strategy will help us do this, as well as provide a more transparent planning service for residents and give a clearer picture of what the planning process entails".

He went on to add: “It will also provide a more consistent and effective communication between us and local parish and town councils. We made a commitment to renew local democracy and make the council fit for the future in our corporate plan, and the updated strategy and charter are just one of the ways we’re sticking to our priorities".

The full report can be found here.

Rugby Club Raises Funds For A Community Defibrillator

Rugby Club Raises Funds For A Community Defibrillator

Photo: James Hobson (left) and Phil Whymark, SRUFC Club President

The collapse of Denmark’s Christian Eriksen during the Euro 2020 football match against Finland bought home to everyone that no matter how fit we are, illness can strike at any time.

The above events focussed Sittingbourne Rugby Club to consider the purchase of a defibrillator to try to safeguard the wellbeing of their playing members and, given their desire to engage with the local community, that of members of the public.

A team of cyclists from the club, led by James Hobson, undertook a fundraising cycle ride on Sunday 4th July with the proceeds being split between the Wooden Spoon rugby charity and the remainder towards the defibrillator.

They then applied for the Community Grants from Swale Borough Council members and received positive responses and funding from local councillors Mike Whiting (Teynham and Lynsted), Tony Winckless (Milton Regis), James Hunt (The Meads), Ken Rowles (Roman) and Derek Carnell (Kemsley).

The club also received a generous donation from Rotary Club Of Sittingbourne Invicta.

The defibrillator is now placed on an external wall at the Gore Court clubhouse and is registered with the local ambulance service and can be accessed by a code (which is obtained by ringing the telephone number on the unit).


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