Local News

Council Concerned Over KCC HWRC Proposals

SBC Raise Concerns Over KCC Recycling Centre Proposals

The leader of Swale Borough Council and the chair of the council's Environment Committee have raised concerns about the potential borough-wide impact of the closure of the Faversham Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC).

Kent County Council have proposed three options for saving £1.5m from their HWRC’s and every one of those options includes the closure of Faversham HWRC. Two of the three options would also see Sheerness HWRC close for two days a week.

Cllr Tim Gibson, the Leader of Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “I clearly understand the need for all local authorities to look at how to save money against a background of increasing costs and inadequate funding. But it is difficult, if not impossible, to make any informed judgement on the impact these proposals will have on our residents, given the lack of data available to us. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be much clarity on any options appraisals that have been carried out. This is of course a major concern to many of our residents who are looking for the rationale behind the proposals".

Cllr Gibson went on to add: “However, what is blindingly obvious is that there will be a significant impact on the air quality management areas (AQMA’s) along the A2 with increased journey rates for residents travelling from Faversham to Sittingbourne. At the other end of the borough residents from Leysdown will be travelling along the Lower Rd and A249 to deposit their waste in Sittingbourne, all against a backdrop of increasing heavy congestion on our road network.

"There are many questions that remain unanswered, what is the likely cumulative effect on the AQMAs? Will recycling tonnage rates fall? At a time when many residents are struggling with day to day living costs, are the extensive journeys to alternative HWRC going to be affordable? Will the proposed closures see the scourge that is fly tipping increase to even higher levels? And how will the potential hundreds of tons of additional carbon being emitted be offset?

“Kent is saying that 6,000 additional homes would now be more than 20 mins drive from their nearest HWRC, but this figure is based on optimum traffic conditions and round trips would likely be in excess of an hour for most users from Faversham if travelling at the weekend".

Cllr Rich Lehmann, Chair of the  Environment Committee, has conducted his own research into the proposals. He told SFM News: “The proposed Faversham closure would mean more than 11,000 households losing their nearest tip. There would be an extra 10,500 miles of traffic a week – more than half a million extra miles a year. This would be costing people in Faversham at least £150,000 a year in fuel. The proposed closures could generate around 600 additional cars in and out of Sittingbourne each week, primarily at weekends and of course tens of thousands of journeys through the AQMA’s on the A2 Ospringe and Teynham where air quality is already a concern. An estimated 123 tons of carbon will be generated assuming an average engine size of 1.6L and the road network being free from traffic. These proposals must be revisited, and transparent data provided.”

Kent County Council are due to open a Public Consultation to the proposals next month (Jult 2023) and we will bring you the latest developments here on YOUR local - 106.9 SFM.

Police Appeal Following M2 Serious Collision

Police Appeal Following M2 Serious Collision

Officers are seeking information following a collision on the M2 which led to a motorcyclist being seriously injured.

The collision happened at around 11:00am on Saturday (10th June), on the coastbound carriageway at a location close to junction 5. It involved a black Kawasaki motorcycle and a silver Ford Mondeo Estate. Police and ambulance crews attended and the rider of the motorcycle, a man aged in his 50s, was airlifted to a London hospital.

Officers from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit are working to establish the full circumstances of the incident. They are urging witnesses, including those who saw the vehicles in the moments leading up to the collision, to contact them. Drivers are also asked to check dashcams for any footage which may assist the investigation.

Anyone with any information should call the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 01622 798538 quoting RY/DC/061/23, or they can email: sciu.td@kent.pnn.police.uk. Dashcam footage can be uploaded via the online portal: Evidence Request from Kent Police and Essex Police

Another 'Dispersal Order' In Place For This Weekend

Another 'Dispersal Order' In Place For This Weekend

A dispersal order is in place to tackle anti-social behaviour in Swale for the second weekend running.

It started at 6pm yesterday (Thursday 1st June) and will remain in place until 6pm on Sunday (4th June) and will again cover Sittingbourne Retail Park as well as the High Street areas. The order has been implemented again to ensure a swift response to any reports of anti-social behaviour.

Inspector Vanessa Foster, from Swale’s Community Safety Unit, told SFM News: "Residents and business owners continue to raise concerns about nuisance behaviour in the area, including the reckless use of bikes and e-scooters. We are determined to respond to these concerns and Sittingbourne will see additional patrols this weekend. The dispersal order gives our officers additional powers to move on anyone causing a nuisance and, if necessary, arrest those who return to the area once dispersed. Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and those responsible will be held to account."

The police say if anybody wishes to report instances of anti-social behaviour they should report it online via the Kent Police website or, if a crime is in progress, they should immediately call 999.

More Council Help With 'Cost Of Living Crisis'

More Council Help With 'Cost Of Living Crisis'

A programme to support people struggling to feed their families and pay their bills has reopened across the borough.

Swale Borough Council has received more than £500,000 from Kent County Council’s (KCC) Household Support Fund to help households access food boxes, get vouchers to pay their electric, gas and water bills, and buy items needed to keep warm until March 2024.

The money is being used to support organisations within the local community who have been on the ground helping people navigate the cost-of-living crisis.

Swale Food Bank, Children and Families in Sheerness, Faversham Food Bank and Sittingbourne's Diversity House will all be providing emergency food parcels.

West Faversham Community Association will be providing meals to the young people visiting their youth hub and Age UK will be delivering hot meals and shopping to pensioners.

The council’s fuel and water home advisor and Citizens Advice Swale will be providing Fuel Bank Foundation fuel vouchers to people with pre-paid meters as well as advice and support. Children and Families will be providing Mastercard vouchers for people with billed utility accounts.

Cllr Richard Palmer, chair of the community committee at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We were able to support almost 6,000 local households with the previous round of funding over winter. Unfortunately, just because the weather has improved it doesn’t mean people are finding it any easier to make ends meet. We’ll be continuing to work with our partners in the voluntary and community sector who have been doing a tremendous job of reaching those who need the help most.”

Cllr Elliott Jayes, vice chair of the community committee at the council, told SFM News: “The local organisations have done an amazing job reaching out to find and support people who are struggling with the cost of living. We can’t thank them enough for the work they’re doing, and we’re lucky to be working with such committed and hardworking partners. We’re committed to continuing the great work that has already taken place and supporting those most in need.”

To find out how to access the support available, visit www.swale.gov.uk/hsf.

'Anti-Social Behaviour' Dispersal Order In Place

Dispersal Order In Place To Tackle Anti-Social Behaviour

A dispersal order is in place to tackle anti-social behaviour in central Sittingbourne.

It started at 2pm yesterday (Thursday 25th May) and will remain in place until 2pm on Sunday (28th May), covering Sittingbourne Retail Park as well as the High Street area.

The order has been implemented due to an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour in the district at weekends. It allows officers to stop anyone involved in disorderly behaviour and move them on from the area.

Inspector Vanessa Foster from Swale’s Community Safety Unit told SFM News: ‘There has been a recent increase in nuisance behaviour in the area, which is negatively impacting on the local community’s quality of life. This weekend, Sittingbourne will see increased patrols to tackle the issue.

‘The dispersal order gives our officers additional powers to move on anyone causing a nuisance and, if necessary, arrest those who return to the area once dispersed. Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and those responsible will be held to account.’

Anybody who wishes to report instances of anti-social behaviour should report it online via the Kent Police website. If a crime is in progress you should immediately call the 999 service.


Local Age UK Branches To Merge

Local Age UK Branches To Merge

Local senior citizen's charity, Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne, has decided to merge with Age UK Medway to ensure it can still run its vital services for elderly people locally in the future.

It's understood that funding from Kent County Council is coming to an end soon and the board of trustees have taken the decision to merge with the nearby Medway branch following the news that their Chief Executive Clare Burgess was leaving.

In a Press Statement, they told SFM News “We are very sad to lose Clare’s skills and expertise from the charity and we wish her every success in her new chapter. Clare successfully led the charity through the Covid pandemic, indeed joining right at the start of lockdown one.

“She was instrumental in redesigning services to enable the charity team to support our community through the worst of the pandemic and through her leadership the team were kept safe and not one case of Covid was identified during the successive lockdowns.

“More recently, Age UK Faversham and Sittingbourne had their grant funding of £350,000 withdrawn from KCC, but thankfully with Clare’s income generating experience and partnership skills the charity has managed to work with a number of funders and partners to successfully plug some of this gap.

"Clare’s resignation from the charity has given the Board of Trustees of Age UK Faversham and Sittingbourne some time to reflect on the best way forward for the charity, our team, and our beneficiaries. The current climate is not a positive one, our local authority is unlikely to be in a position to give any future funding and charities all over the country are shutting their doors.

“Working in collaboration, partnerships, and creating income generation are the ways that charities will survive the next few years and many funders wish to ensure their funding is given to charities who are sustainable and less fragmented. To this end the Board of Trustees have unanimously agreed to merge Age UK Faversham and Sittingbourne with Age UK Medway.

“This decision, we feel, is a hugely positive step and will give further sustainability to ensure the longevity of the charity’s ability to continue to support our beneficiaries and reduce the postcode lottery of services in the areas of Medway, Sittingbourne, Faversham and surrounding areas.”

It is understood that Clare Burgess will be leaving the organisation in July with the merger due to be completed in August.

Police Give Young People Safety Advice

Police Give Young People Safety Advice

Advice about the dangers of carrying knives and taking drugs has been given to young people during a safety event in Swale.

‘Swale Safety in Action’ took place between Tuesday 16th and Thursday 18th May and saw 350 Year Six students from across 10 primary schools invited to take part.

During the event, which was held at Swallows Leisure Centre, they were also told about hate crime, healthy relationships, online safety and road, fire and electrical safety.

The multi-agency event was run by family group Salus, and supported by Kent Police, British Transport Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent County Council and UK Power Networks.

Swale Council helped to fund the project, along with funding from the Community Safety Partnership from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott.

Sergeant Carli Deacon, of Swale’s Community Safety Unit, told SFM News: "Becoming more independent and starting secondary school is exciting but also daunting and the aim of this event was to help young people learn about some of the dangers they may face as they embark on this transition. Our officers work across the community and are dedicated to supporting, listening and educating young people. I hope the pupils gained a lot from attending the workshops and that it helps them in making informed positive decisions going forward."


Dispersal Order To Tackle Nuisance Vehicles

Dispersal Order To Tackle Nuisance Vehicles

A dispersal order will be in place over the weekend to tackle nuisance vehicles in Swale. It will operate from 7pm this eveining (Friday 19th May) until 7pm on Sunday (21st May) evening and includes Ridham Dock, Sheppey Way, Old Ferry Road, Swale Way, Barge Way, Neats Court Retail Park, Rushenden and Rushenden Marshes.

Kent Police say the enforcement "is due to an increase in reports of nuisance vehicles and, in some cases, dangerous driving at weekends. It allows officers to stop anyone involved in anti-social behaviour and move them on".

Inspector Ryan Chase, of the Swale Community Safety Unit, told SFM News: "Residents and visitors to the area have reported concerns about the dangers posed to other road users and the impact on the quality of life of the local community.The order gives our officers additional powers to require anyone causing a nuisance to leave the area and, if necessary, arrest those who return once dispersed. Those who persist in this behaviour also risk having their vehicles seized."

Anybody who wishes to report instances of antisocial behaviour should report it online via the Kent Police website at www.kent.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/

Witnesses Sought To Stockbury Collision

Witnesses Sought To Stockbury Collision

Local Kent Police officers are appealing for witnesses to a serious collision in Stockbury.

The incident was reported to have happened at around 2.50pm on Saturday (13th May) afternoon on the A249 at the junction with Chalky Road.

During the incident the driver of a white van was in collision with the driver of a red, white and blue BMW S1000 motorbike.

The van did not remain at the scene and the motorcyclist sustained serious injuries and remains in hospital.

Anyone with information, private CCTV, or dashcam footage who was in the area at the time of the incident, is urged to call the Kent Police appeals line on 01795 419 119, quoting reference 13-0856.

Alternatively information can be submitted online via the Kent Police evidence portal by clicking here.

You can also call Crimestoppers FREE and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or complete their online form.

Week Of Action Against Knife Crime

Week Of Action Against Knife Crime

Yesterday (Monday 15th May 2023) marked the start of Operation Sceptre, an initiative to tackle knife crime across the UK which brings together all 43 police forces and the British Transport Police in a week of intensified action.

Throughout the week, Kent Police has planned activity to target knife crime from its root cause right through to enforcement. 

The operation will see officers engaging with local communities, working with young people to dispel myths around knives, or carrying out test purchases with retailers. Operation Sceptre showcases the many varied and impactful ways in which policing is working to reduce knife crime and tackle violence.

The officer leading Kent Police’s efforts in the campaign, Police Sergeant Jamie Edwards, told SFM News: "Each of the county’s districts has a tailor-made plan for the week responding most appropriately to the differing demands of knife crime in their area. Members of the public can expect to see high visibility patrolling, weapons sweeps, the use of knife arches at public houses and bars, and even engagement with local schools and youth associations. Officers will also be holding knife amnesties for those in possession of bladed weapons to forfeit them in knife boxes."

Commander Stephen Clayman is the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s knife crime lead. He told SFM News: "Introduced in 2015, Operation Sceptre has galvanised activity, dedicating a week to intensified activity twice a year. This doesn’t mean we only look at this twice a year, but Sceptre is an opportunity to really focus on our efforts to tackle knife crime at a number of levels – from engaging with young people in schools to proactive patrols and knife sweeps. As ever, partnership working is integral to our approach and this week will also shine a spotlight on the many initiatives where policing joins charities, local organisations and government to bring real change for our communities. This is an ongoing mission and one which needs collective ambition, energy and patience."

Operation Sceptre will also highlight the Home Office consultation on new knife legislation proposals to tackle the use of machetes and other bladed articles in crime. The consultation is the result of partnership working between the NPCC National Knife Crime Working Group and the Home Office with proposals developed to support policing in targeting knife crime at a number of stages from retailers to offenders.

The consultation is open to everyone and closes Tuesday 6th June. To take part please click here: Machetes and other bladed articles: proposed legislation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


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