Create Festival Scoops Kent Culture Award
Ashford Borough Council's Arts and Cultural Industries Manager, Chris Dixon
The Create Music Festival scooped Cultural Event of the Year at the 2017 Kent Creative Awards last month.
The gala ceremony, hosted at Ashford School, recognises creative individuals, projects and organisations for their worthwhile contribution to Kent Culture. Upon receiving the Kent Culture award, organiser and council officer, Chris Dixon, gave thanks to all those who have contributed to the festival over its 22 year history.
Create is now one of the South East’s biggest free music festivals, taking place every July in Victoria Park, and is set to get even bigger! This year, Create will be like no other year, as it branches out to launch Create Platform, a new week-long programme of events across Ashford that leads up to the big day.
Create Platform promises uniquely themed exhibitions, concerts and street entertainment in spaces you would least expect them. Prepare to Dance in the Streets with Bowie, Take the Ska Train with Teflon, picnic with Mr Harper, get arty with a latte, and get scribbling with The Doodle Man!
Other Ashford award winners and successes on the night were Revelation Ashford who achieved Cultural Venue of the Year, and Derek Himsley, based at Evegate Art Gallery, who received a special mention for producing outstanding work and for having a particular impact within the community.
Find out more about the Create Festival and the new Create Platform programme.
A new Mayor for Ashford
Cllr Winston Michael
Last month saw the inauguration of a new Ashford Mayor. Cllr Winston Michael dedicated his position towards ensuring the borough’s young people know that they are valued and encouraging them to reach their true potential.
The new Ashford Mayor said; “I am passionate about helping young people who may have struggled against misguided preconceptions about what they are capable of, regardless of their background and regardless of their disability.
“I believe our young people are exceptional and very much the future of Ashford, Kent and Great Britain.”
A keen sportsman from an early age he represented his school and district in football, running and javelin and Winston’s plans include his Kent Challenger Games on 14th July.
He intends that the games will “show these young people their true inner strengths, encourage them to be the best they can be, show that what they thought impossible is entirely possible for them, and give them self-esteem and self-worth.”
His chosen charities are Wyvern School Trust Foundation and the Ashford branch of Uprising. He hopes that businesses throughout Ashford see the importance of encouraging young people to thrive and will support these worthwhile charities wholeheartedly.
Download your new refuse, recycling and garden recycling calendars
Residents can find their new refuse, recycling, and garden recycling calendars on the Ashford Borough Council website. The calendars are available to download and print off for free. Why not print off your calendar and stick it to your fridge, or download it to your phone or tablet so you’ve always got a copy to hand?
Ashford has a recycling and refuse collection service for every home in the borough. Our waste collection service is run in partnership with Maidstone Borough Council and Swale Borough Council. We contract Biffa Municipal Ltd, who works with the top recycling authorities in the country.
You can also sign up for the optional, fortnightly garden recycling service. The service runs from 1st June until 31st May, and you will pay a pro-rata rate depending on when you sign up.
The service allows residents to recycle grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, prunings, weeds, leaves and dead plants in their brown wheeled bins. Biffa collect the bins every fortnight except over Christmas and New Year.
The garden recycling service is optional and if your subscription is not renewed, your bin will not be collected.
As an alternative to our garden waste service, residents are encouraged to compost their garden waste at home. You can produce your own compost by using organic kitchen waste and waste from the garden. Ashford residents can access deals on composting equipment via www.getcomposting.com
Making a positive contribution to communities across the borough
Kestrel Park opened this month
As the Ashford borough grows so does the need for more, or improved, community facilities, buildings and infrastructure. This is where section 106 (s106) payments come in and make a big difference to the borough.
The contributions, from developers, are an important revenue source that helps to support the sustainable growth that Ashford has, while at the same time improving community life.
At June's Cabinet meeting, members heard that in the 2016-17 financial year £3.3m of s106 money had been spent by Ashford Borough and Kent County Council (KCC). This includes £705,000 that has been spent by KCC on new schools, libraries, adult social services and funding the local primary care trust.
Projects that have either been funded by, or made possible as a result of s106 agreements include a range of affordable housing schemes in rural areas (The Spires, in St Michael's Tenterden and Quarry House in Aldington) as well as Kestrel Park, which is a play facility in south Ashford that opened in June and is already proving hugely popular.
The Repton Community Centre, which is currently under construction, the proposed Bridgefields Sports and Leisure scheme and the multi-use games area at Kingsnorth have also been funded in this way.
The council signed s106 agreements totalling £114m in the 2016-17 financial year though this figure is inflated on the normal level due to the value of the complex s106 agreement signed in relation to the outline planning permission granted for Chilmington Green.
Unique agreement delivering Ashford’s strategic priorities
One year ago the leaders of Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council formally signed a document that set out how the two authorities would work more closely together on a number of specific projects.
At June's Cabinet meeting, Ashford’s cabinet members re-committed to the principles of the District Deal, underlining their intent to:
- Deliver key regeneration projects
- Realise Ashford’s potential
- Synchronise the way it works with KCC to deliver the strong economy needed by its businesses in the borough
Ashford's Cabinet also agreed to look at delivering a protocol to ensure joined-up working by officers at all levels in both organisations who are working on the Chilmington Green project and the creation of its Community Management Trust. Additionally, members committed to prioritising the delivery of broadband across the borough and the need to work with town centre investors and developers to integrate infrastructure requirements and create pleasing public spaces around the many new developments coming forward.
Commenting on the positive impact of the District Deal, Ashford Borough Council Leader, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, said: “I am pleased that progress is clearly being made as a result of the greater collaboration between councillors and officers here at Ashford and at KCC. The District Deal was always a statement of intent to seek fresh ways of achieving project delivery. The matters it has sought to resolve simply cannot be done by one organisation alone and we have managed to unpick the lock on several projects vital to the future success of the borough.
“The landscape for local government is ever-changing. Demands on our services are increasing and it is incumbent on the council to be the catalyst to bring inward investment into the borough. Therefore, it is pleasing to me that we have been the joint architect of the first Delivery Deal in Kent, which is building on the strength between Ashford and Kent County Councils and seeking to deliver better results for our communities in the future.”