Local News

Kent MPs Win £3.9M Extra Social Care Funding

Kent MPs Win £3.9M Extra Social Care Funding

Kent MPs have welcomed the news of an extra £3.9 million for social care here in Kent, announced today (Tuesday 6th February) by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid.

The announcement follows a series of meetings between Kent MPs and Ministers, pressing for rising costs to be addressed in the forthcoming Local Government Finance Settlement. Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, has also argued vigorously for a more generous funding settlement for the county.

In recognition of the growing need for Social Care, the Government is providing an extra £166m Social Care Grant to Local Authorities across England for 2018/19. Kent's share of that Grant will be £3.9 million.

In addition, Kent is one of just 12 authorities piloting the retention of Business Rates, which this year is expected to generate £25 million for the county.

Today Mr Javid released details of this year's Local Government Funding Settlement which will see Kent's core funding increase by 2.5%, which equates to an additional £25 million.

Local MP, Gordon Henderson, told SFM News: "I have been working with the Leader of the KCC, Paul Carter, and other Kent members of Parliament to lobby the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to get more funding for adult social care in our county. Kent MPs met with the Secretary of State yesterday and I was able to highlight to Mr Javid the unique nature of Kent's problems, because of its proximity to London and the English Channel, and the pressure that geography places on the county's roads, housing, schools and social care. I am delighted that Mr Javid appears to have listened to our concerns and has increased support for Kent. However, this is just a start. We need to ensure that Kent's problems are taken into account when future settlements are made. I was able to raise with Mr Javid also the problem Kent is facing in getting from the Government the millions of pounds owed to the county for looking after unaccompanied minors who have made their way to this country via Dover."


Appeal Following Mass Tyre Dumping

Appeal Following Mass Tyre Dumping

Swale Borough Council are appealing for any information following the dumping of 118 tyres last week on the roadside in Bobbing, Hartlip, Iwade, Lower Halstow and Upchurch.

Cllr Nicholas Hampshire, Deputy Cabinet Member For Safer Families And Communities, told SFM News: "Cleaning up any fly-tipped waste is time-consuming and expensive - and the cost of collecting and disposing of these tyres is ultimately paid for by council tax payers, money that could otherwise be spent in ways that directly benefit residents. As well as trying to track down the offenders, we are also encouraging people to think about how they dispose of their waste, including old tyres".

He went on to add: "Anyone - households or businesses - producing waste has a duty to make sure they know who is taking their waste away, and that it will be disposed of appropriately. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine. Anyone offering to take waste away must be registered to carry it, or it might end up dumped and you could be prosecuted for failing to take reasonable steps in preventing a fly tipping incident."

To check whether someone is licenced to carry waste visit the Environment Agency website or call 03708 506 506.

For more information about fly-tipping, and what the council is doing to tackle it, visit www.swale.gov.uk/fly-tipping.

Anyone with any information, in confidence, is asked to contact Swale Borough Council on 01795 417 850.

Sittingbourne FC's Interim Manager Appointed

Sittingbourne FC's Interim Manager Appointed

Aslan Odev, has been named caretaker boss at Sittingbourne FC following Nick Davis' resignation at the weekend.

A committee meeting on Monday (29th January) evening unanimously agreed to give Odev the chance to step up from his role as coach. Odev is a chief coach at Soccer Elite and will now be in charge for the first time when Sittingbourne visit South Park on Saturday (3rd February) and will be taking training on Thursday. It is expected that the majority of players will remain with the club and the other backroom staff have all stayed. 

Club Secretary, John Pitts, told SFM News: "Given the strength of the candidates who've applied there's a lot of pressure on Aslan and he knows that. A number of applications for the vacant managers job were received, even though the vacancy was not formally advertised. Aslan is caretaker manager and for how long for depends on results but we're looking at the rest of the season. He's on probation. If he loses every game then obviously we'd have to consider it again but we really don't want to disrupt things too much".

Sittingbourne FC have a long tradition of giving people their break in management - Richard Brady (former Manager and now chairman of Leatherhead), Gary Abbott, Mark Beeney (ex-Leeds Utd and Brighton goalkeeper and now a full time coach at Chelsea), Matt Wyatt and, latterly, Nick Davis.

Father And Son Jailed Following Sittingbourne Robbery

Father And Son Jailed Following Sittingbourne Robbery

A father and son, who robbed a security guard whilst he was collecting cash from a Sittingbourne store, have been jailed for a total of eight years.

Shaun Howard, aged 55 and Charlie Howard, aged 21, both of Jutland House, Little Brights Road, Belvedere, were charged following an investigation by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

On Thursday 28th December the duo approached the driver of the cash transit van on Gadby Road, Sittingbourne at around 8.30am. After collecting money the driver was pushed from behind and a security box containing approximately £10,000 was taken.

Both men fled the scene in a white Mercedes sprinter van that was registered to Shaun Howard. ANPR technology tracked the van to a holiday park in Leysdown where Shaun owned a caravan. Both men were arrested on the same day. A search of the caravan and bin bags directly next door recovered all but £123 of the money.

Both Shaun Howard and Charlie Howard pleaded guilty to the charge of robbery and were sentenced to 5 years and 4 months and 2 years and 8 months respectively at Woolwich Crown Court on Friday 26th January.

Detective Inspector Gary Scarfe, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, told SFM News: "This appeared to be a spontaneous and opportunist incident set into motion by this father and son team who made a decision to steal the money and flee the scene as quickly as possible. They showed no regard for the impact their action would have on the victim who was going about their job. It was with the help of the public that the partial details of the van were obtained and the fantastic work of our Divisional officers who were able to track them down so quickly, make the arrests and recover most of the money that was taken."

Kitchen Fire In Sittingbourne

Kitchen Fire In Sittingbourne

Firefighters from Sittingbourne were called to a fire in the kitchen of a ground-floor flat in Whimbrel Close in Milton Regis earlier today.

The Kent Fire And Rescue Service were contacted at 12:24pm and several other flats were evacuated as a precaution.

It believed that the occupants were able to return within 45 minutes. There were no reported casualties. The cause of the fire is not yet known but it is not being treated as suspicious.


School Could Get £3.95m For Expansion

School Could Get £3.95m For Expansion

Meadowfield School, on Swanstree Avenue, could receive a boost of £3.95m towards expansion plans.

KCC (Kent County Council) Councillors will decide later this week whether the school, whose pupils are children with severe and complex needs from the ages of 4 through to 19, should increase it's size by an additional 150 pupils.

Cllr Roger Gough, Kent County Council's Cabinet Member For Children, Young People and Education, told SFM News: "Currently the school has gone over 209 and has 282 students. We plan to expand it to 348 to meet the needs of the area. This is part of a general set of expansions for special schools that we have needed to do. This is to meet the demand for places for children with profound, severe and complex needs. Over the last three years there has been an increase in places needed including children who have autism."

A report conducted by KCC shows that children on the Isle of Sheppey are travelling more than 20 miles to Maidstone and Tonbridge to schools due to a lack of places in the Swale area.

Meadowfield has been rated outstanding by Ofsted in every category and has been praised for its "outstanding leadership and management".

Seven Arrested After High Value Metal Theft

Seven Arrested After High Value Metal Theft

Seven men have been arrested in connection with a high value metal theft in Sittingbourne in the early hours of Sunday (14th January) morning.

Officers were alerted to a report of a burglary in the Castle Road area at around 5.24am. Two vehicles, a van and a car, were witnessed leaving the area and were later stopped on the M2 near Gillingham and four people were arrested.

A quantity of metal was found in the rear of the van by officers from Kent Police's Roads Policing Unit.

Following further enquiries, officers searched a home in London and arrested three more people in connection with the incident.

Four of the seven have since been charged with burglary: Ionel Murui, 28, Costinel Tanase, 29, Vader Tanase, 31, all of Revell Rise in Plumstead, London SE18 and Florin Iliuta, 27, of no fixed abode.

All four were remanded in custody to appear at Medway Magistrates Court today (Monday 15th January).

The remaining three, a 22-year-old and a 21-year-old from Plumstead and a 21-year-old of no fixed abode, remain in police custody.

Two Arrests After Report Of Weapon In Sittingbourne

Two Arrests After Report Of Weapon In Sittingbourne

A second man has been arrested following a report of a disturbance in London Road, Sittingbourne in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday 10th January).

Officers were called to the area at 2.53am after a member of the public reported that a man had been seen in possession of a weapon.

Armed officers attended as a precaution and arrested a 33-year-old man from Sittingbourne in connection with the incident.

A second man, a 32-year-old from Chatham, has now also been arrested.

Both remain in police custody.

Appeal After Sexual Assault On HS1 Train

Appeal After Sexual Assault On HS1 Train

Detectives from British Transport Police are appealing for information after a woman was sexually assaulted on an HS1 train to Ebbsfleet International.

The incident happened on 15th August last year and enquiries have been ongoing since the incident but officers are now releasing images of a man they would like to speak to, as he may have information which could help the investigation.

At approximately 9.30pm, a woman, aged 20, joined the Southeastern service at St Pancras, heading towards Dover Priory. A man, who was unknown to the victim, also joined the train at St Pancras and sat opposite the victim.

The man appeared to be intoxicated and started talking with the victim. He began making inappropriate comments to her and then moved to sit next the victim. He sexually assaulted her by attempting to kiss her whilst holding her hands.

The offender then left the train at Ebbsfleet International.

Detectives believe the man shown in the CCTV images may be able to help them investigate.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact BTP (British Transport Police) by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 628 of 15/08/2017. Alternatively they can ring Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Improvements To Kemsley Recreation Ground Unveiled

Improvements To Kemsley Recreation Ground Unveiled

Residents young and old will be able to sharpen their skills after improvements to the Kemsley Recreation Ground were unveiled for the New Year.

The new £19,500 multi-use games area has been installed by Swale Borough Council and gives visitors the chance to enjoy a range of ball games such as football and basketball, alongside the existing pitches at the park.

Cllr David Simmons, cabinet member for environment and rural affairs at the council, told SFM News: "This is a great improvement to the area with a variety of outside recreational spaces that can be used by families and residents of all ages. It's a great space for people to get together for some fun and exercise, and shows our commitment to providing good-quality, accessible areas that everybody can look forward to and enjoy."

There will be further improvements to play areas in the borough being carried out this year including a replacement junior play unit at Nursery Close Play Area, Sheerness - scheduled for spring/summer 2018 and play area improvements at Windermere Road Play Area, Faversham scheduled for spring/summer 2018.

If you want to find out more about parks and open spaces across the borough, please visit www.swale.gov.uk/leisure-parks.


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