Ashford Voice

Welcome

Welcome to June's issue of Ashford Voice

Welcome to June's issue of Ashford Voice!

This summer is shaping up to be exciting indeed and Ashford Voice has all the latest local news and events for our readers.

We are delighted to announce that the Create Music Festival scooped the award for Cultural Event of the Year at the 2017 Kent Creative Awards. In addition, readers can find out about Create Platform, a new week-long programme of events across Ashford that leads up to the big day!

We’ve also got news on the inauguration of the new Ashford Mayor. Cllr Winston Michael, who has dedicated his position towards supporting the borough’s young people.

June’s issue also has the low down from June’s General Election including Ashford’s results and photos from the count.

If you love Ashford as much as we do, we’ve got a feature on the new businesses we are welcoming to the town including Timeless and East Kent Mobility. You can also keep up with all the latest town news via Loveashford.com

You can also download and print for free your refuse, recycling and garden recycling collection calendars for 2017/18.

We can’t believe it’s been three years since our first Ashford Farmers’ Market and we’re celebrating in style on Sunday July 2nd. Read all about all the wonderful traders and entertainment lined up for our special birthday market.

Residents in Ashford are one step closer to benefitting from even better sports and recreation facilities. Find out about how you can take part in the public consultation, which aims to provide communities with an excellent range of quality sporting facilities

Want to know what’s happening in the borough this month? Got a great event or meeting you want to promote? We’ve got plenty of events in our What’s On section.

Don’t forget to share any articles you like on Facebook and Twitter, and let Voice know of any great local events happening near you.

 Happy reading!

Our News

Latest news

Create Festival Scoops Kent Culture Award

chris
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

mayor
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

 recycling

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
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

civic centre

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.”

Focus On

Election results from Ashford

election
In Ashford 80 counters were busy counting votes from 73 polling stations across the borough

On Thursday 8th June, a vote was held for the parliamentary constituency of Ashford in the 2017 General Election. The candidates and the number of votes cast were as follows:

Ashford constituency results

Name of candidate

Party

Votes

Sally GATHERN

Labour

17,840

Adrian GEE-TURNER

Liberal Democrat

3,101

Damian GREEN

Conservative

35,318 (Elected)

Gerald O’BRIEN

UKIP

2,218

Mandy ROSSI

Green

1,402

The turnout was: 68.69%

Damian Green is therefore re-elected as MP for the Ashford constituency.

Additionally, there were two by-elections for the borough council on Thursday 8th June. These two elections were held in Victoria ward, where sadly Cllr Harold Apps sadly passed away recently, and in Bockhanger ward, where Cllr Luke Powell stood down. Both were conservative party councillors.

damian
Damian Green was re-elected as MP for Ashford

By-elections for Ashford Borough Council

The results of the by-elections are as follows:

Victoria ward results

Name of candidate

Party

Votes

James GALLOWAY

Liberal Democrat

260

Serge GOLDENBERG

UKIP

181

Maria PIZZEY

Green

99

David ROBEY

Conservative

753

Charles SUDDARDS

Labour

1.052 (Elected)

Turnout was 56.82%. Please note that Victoria Ward is a two-member ward, so Charles Suddards now joins Cllr Dara Farrell (Labour) as ward member for Victoria.

Bockhanger ward results

Name of candidate

Party

Votes

Euan ANCKORN

Labour

415

Steven CAMPKIN

Green

97

Simon HOWARD-SMITH

Conservative

697 (Elected)

Liah MACPHERSON

UKIP

113

Turnout was 64.07%.

Simon Howard-Smith is therefore elected as councillor for Bockhanger ward.

Political composition of Ashford Borough Council

The political composition of Ashford Borough Council is now as follows:

  • Conservatives: 34
  • Ashford Independents: 3
  • Labour: 3
  • UKIP: 2
  • Lib Dem: 1

Local talent aboard the new Create Platform

This summer is building up to be a very exciting one indeed. Create Festival 2017 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.

With its nod to Ashford’s rich railway heritage, Create Platform brings us an eclectic mix of unique spin-off events from 14th to 23rd July, and builds the buzz for Kent’s most anticipated free music event of the year!

Create Platform promises uniquely themed exhibitions, concerts and street entertainment in spaces you would least expect them. So, prepare to dance in the Streets with Bowie; Take the Ska Train with Teflon; Picnic with Mr Harper; and get Scribbling with Mr Doodle!

From Friday 14th July, Mr Doodle will open his new studio in Park Mall Shopping Centre, scaling the walls, floors and ceiling with his out of control doodle pen!

doodle

Stag Coffee will be displaying legendary 2-tone designer John Sims’ (aka Teflon) iconic artwork in the week leading up to the festival.

Families can dance the day away with street entertainers, bands, buskers and barnstorming characters in the town centre as part of Street Entertainers Day, as well as enjoying the window displays around town celebrating Ashford’s famous Mirror Carp fish named “Two Tone”.

Heritage-lovers can discover mysterious dark stories, as well as some comical made up events in an immersive theatre trail, winding through the streets of the town as part of The Ashford Tales. There will also be free family fun, music, theatre stories and games held around the Hubert Fountain in Victoria Park, to celebrate the 176th birthday of Mr George Harper, the man who gifted the beautiful, and now Grade II* listed, cast iron monument to the park.

In Tenterden, there is chance to hear original Isle of Wight Festival organiser Ray Foulk, talk about the extraordinary happenings of the much documented 1969 event, where he “stole Dylan from Woodstock”. The night will be accompanied with a unique live set from folk singer-songwriter, Julie Felix.

Back by popular demand, Create will welcome back David Live, last years Main Stage Bowie tribute act, who will perform a full 2-hour show at Revelation Ashford, with outstanding costume changes as he works his way through the eras.

bowie

Details, times and prices of all of Create Platform’s events can be found on the Create website

CREATE PLATFORM 2017 PROGRAMME:

MR DOODLE STUDIOS

14, 15, 20, 21, 22 July. 10am – 4pm

FREE

Park Mall Shopping Centre

Visit Mr Doodle in his new studio as he scales the walls, floors and ceiling with his out of control pen

TWO TONE THE FISH

14 - 23 July.

FREE

Ashford Town Centre

A collection of fun community art projects around the town celebrating Ashford’s famous Mirror Carp named ‘Two Tone’

 

THE ASHFORD TALES

15, 16, 22, 23 July. 2.30pm

Ashford Town Centre

Dark tales, heroic deeds & sheer idiocy will be uncovered on this theatre trail through the streets of the town

 

THIS ART 2 TONE EXHIBITION

14 - 23 July. 8am – 6pm.

FREE

Stag Coffee, High Street, Ashford

Legendary 2-tone designer John Sims, aka Teflon, presents an exhibition of his iconic black and white rude boy art work from the early 80’s

 

STREET ENTERTAINERS DAY

15 July. 10am – 4pm.

FREE

Ashford Town Centre Family fun street entertainers, with bands, buskers and barnstorming characters taking over the town

 

ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL ’69 REVISITED Ray Foulk & Julie Felix

16 July, 7pm.

The Tenterden Club, Tenterden

IOW Festival 1969 organiser Ray Foulk talks about the extraordinary happenings of the event, along with a set from original performer Julie Felix

 

TEFLON’S 2-TONE, SKA TRAIN

20 July, 7pm

Stag Coffee, High Street, Ashford

A special 2-tone DJ night and exhibition of Teflon’s work with The Specials, The Selecter and the record label, 2-Tone

 

DAVID LIVE – THE DAVID BOWIE TRIBUTE SHOW

21 July 2017, 7pm

Revelation Ashford

Last year’s Create Festival headliner returns by popular demand with a full explosive 2 hour show

 

MR HARPER’S BIRTHDAY PICNIC

23 July, 11am – 2.30pm.

FREE

Hubert Fountain, Victoria Park

Bring a picnic and join in the free family fun as we celebrate the birthday of Mr Harper – the man who gifted the beautiful Hubert Fountain to Victoria Park

 

 

 

LoveAshford like everyone else

Positive news stories about Ashford town centre just keep on coming. Inward investment, the progress of major regeneration projects such as the College, the Commercial Quarter and Elwick Place, and continued confidence and optimism in the local economy show no signs of abating. Businesses are thriving, and the rich town centre offer is evolving and people fall in love with the High Street all over again.

Ashford’s vacancy rate (for empty shop units) is at a new all-time low of just 8.8%, below the national average 58% of shops in the town centre are thriving independents, double the number of independent businesses found in town centres nationally.

The excitement on LoveAshford’s social media pages about the new Pressure Point Escape Rooms opening (with hundreds proactively sharing and commenting on the post announcing its arrival) illustrate that the town centre is alive and well.

loveashford2

And in Park Mall, the shopping centre purchased by Ashford Borough Council in June 2015 when 11 (one third) of the shops were empty, the strong reinvigoration continues. Footfall has increased week on week and is currently averaging at an 8% increase on 2016 figures. Just two units remain vacant and are being actively marketed.

Also in Park Mall:

  • Jane’s Boutique has relocated to unit 23 on a long-term lease and has expanded its product range to include more children’s wear, ladies’ footwear, children’s footwear and plus sizes. It has also started to stock homewares, all proving very successful

    Jane and Ian Watts of Jane’s Boutique said: “We are delighted to have relocated into a larger premises in Park Mall. Having tested the viability of our business on the High Street we are delighted that Ashford shoppers have taken us to their hearts to the extent that we are now opening on a long-term lease. This has been a tremendous experience for us and we look forward to becoming a regular face on Ashford’s High Street for many years to come.”

  • East Kent Mobility has also completed a long-term lease and is currently refurbishing its unit. It will be opening in Park Mall in a couple of weeks, having previously traded in Bybrook Barn garden centre.

    Collin Wiggins said: “We are really excited to be opening up in Park Mall. People will know us from the concession department we had in Bybrook Barn but now we are in a position to open our own shop, with the assistance from the professional council team. It is well documented that the population is an ageing one and being able to meet real people on the High Street and talk them through the range of options we have to assist them in daily life is exciting. We look forward to being even more prominent in Ashford’s thriving town centre.”

  • Timeless has now opened and is selling unique homewares in one of the business incubator units in Park Mall. It sells quality homeware items that are both beautiful and unique. They have taken the space for a year – an excellent opportunity for them to test their business on the high street.

    Ian Williams, of Timeless, said: “It’s very exciting for us to be part of the resurgence of Park Mall. This is a brilliant opportunity for us to test our business on the High Street and we are pleased to be part of what is a real community of quality independent retailers in Ashford. The support given by the council in terms of flexibility on our licence has been really helpful to get us going and we look forward to meeting our new customers in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

  • Park Mall is also pleased to welcome one of Ashford’s General Market fruit and veg traders, who will be opening on the barrow in Park Mall with a colourful Summer Fruits stall six days each week. Situated opposite the popular One You shop, this offer ties in nicely for those keen to kick-start a healthier lifestyle

And, elsewhere in the town centre, there will be news very soon about the former Burton’s unit and even the former TSB unit, which has been empty for 14 years. All of which is very positive news and details will be shared soon. As has previously been reported, the former Pizza Hut building at the bottom of the lower High Street is also soon to be occupied.

Commenting on the number of quality independent shops in the town centre, Jo Wynn-Carter, Ashford Borough Council’s Town Centre Regeneration manager, said: “The clear strategy devised by Ashford Borough Council to breathe new life into Park Mall has had a positive impact. It has enhanced the offer and have supported businesses through the LoveAshford website and everyone has bought into that vision.

“It further demonstrates that the work we’re undertaking in terms of business support is vitally important going forward to ensure that independent businesses can survive in the short-term and grow in the longer term in Ashford. Buying Park Mall and proactively working with independent businesses has assisted the low vacancy rate and, critically, major town centre stakeholders, who have noticed the difference post June 2015.

“But more than that, the excitement that builds around new businesses through promotion on the LoveAshford site illustrates perfectly that people do still want, need and love the High Street. These are very exciting times for Ashford and show what can be achieved when the borough council and local businesses work closely together.”

 

Your Community

Help celebrate Ashford Farmers' Market's 3rd birthday!

July’s Ashford Famers’ Market is going to be an extra special event because we are delighted to be celebrating our third birthday!

Our birthday bash market will be held on Sunday 2nd July from 10am to 2pm on the Lower High Street. It will have everything from homemade delights by our much-loved traders to music and entertainment from local artists.

Keep an eye out on the Ashford Farmers Market Facebook page to see which traders will be offering up their tasty treats.

The Ashford Farmers’ Market is part of the council’s drive to increase footfall in the town centre, particularly on Sundays, and to support local businesses.

farmers

And don't forget, while you're in the high street for the Farmers Market, check out the shops Ashford has to offer and park for free all day in Edinburgh Road car park.

If you would like more information about trading at Ashford Farmers’ Market, email Rachel.heather@ashford.gov.uk or tweet @love_ashford on Twitter, #seeyousunday.

What's in season this month?

June is the month for watercress, which can be found growing in one of the unlikeliest of places; Ebbsfleet in Kent.

According to one Hampshire based supplier the 'British weather is perfect for watercress’ (we guess the clue is in the name!).

Britain is one of the few countries to grow watercress and has been for hundreds of years. As far back as the 1600’s (most likely even earlier) it was foraged in the wild where it grew in streams and rivers but from 1808 it was first commercially cultivated by William Bradbery, along the River Ebbsfleet in Kent.

watercress

The success of the watercress trade is very much entwined with the British railways. In 1865 the ‘Mid-Hants Railway’ or Watercress Line was opened, it connected Alresford to London giving Hampshire watercress growers the opportunity to deliver their fresh crop to the London markets. The delicate leaves would be picked by hand by men and tied into bunches by women to be placed in wicker baskets for the transport.

At London’s Covent Garden watercress would be sold by street vendors who often were children. The bunches of watercress were said to have been formed into posies and eaten like that for breakfast straight away or, if you were lucky to be able to afford a loaf, between two slices of bread.

In Victorian Britain it was called ‘the poor man’s bread’, providing the working class with a good portion of nutrition for the day and became one of the first foods for on-the-go.

With its strong mustard flavour, watercress works well in salads that either balance out its bitter taste with creamy sweetness (try it with soft goats cheese and strawberries) or enhance it with crispy, smoked bacon and fresh, crusty bread.

Look out for watercress at the latest Farmers' Market

Evening Standard Awards Win for Kent Housebuilder

Kent-based housebuilder Cox Developments (in association with Cox Restoration) charmed the judges of the Evening Standard New Homes Awards and have come away with a win for their inspiring development of six homes in Challock; Old Clockhouse Green.

After entering Old Clockhouse Green into the "Best Small Development" category, the site was very quickly shortlisted and has subsequently come out on top, beating at least 10 other leading small developments. David Cox, Director of Cox Developments, gives his reaction to winning this prestigious award; "We are thoroughly thrilled to have won the Evening Standard Awards with a development that is so close to our hearts. It is a huge achievement for us and a huge acknowledgement and complement to the hard work of everyone involved."

Old Clockhouse Green is an unparalleled development of six bespoke, 3&4 bedroom homes that pay homage to their surroundings. In order to recreate a traditional Hamlet that looks like it has evolved over time, features such as Flemish bond brickwork, locally made tile hung walls, white weatherboarding, and timber framed windows have been employed. Handmade wooden picket fences appear around each property, made by local suppliers and created in the local Kentish style. These assets give the homes a charming look from the outside and are an affectionate nod to the wider Challock architecture.

challock

Internally, the detail is as impressive, with cosy log burning fires, oak floors, doors and staircases. These classic features are fused with contemporary products including designer fitted kitchens, glass balustrades and underfloor heating - striking an ideal blend of old and new.

This is a truly exclusive development, with Old Clockhouse Green sitting on a plot of land with strong ties to its builders. David Cox was born and grew up in the village of Challock and the site of the development is part of Clockhouse Farm, which was once owned by David's family. Homage has been paid to this in its name, and by christening each house after the different types of apples that were once farmed here.

Inspired by Cox Developments' passion for the local area, these now award-winning homes sit comfortably within their vernacular, resulting in a collection of incredible village-style homes that surpass the needs of modern living. All six homes are now sold, and Cox Developments are looking forward to creating new ventures with this incredible accolade under their belt.

challock

Cllr Paul Clokie, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for planning and development, said: “We extend our congratulations to David and Cox Developments. As a borough council, we pride ourselves on the quality of the homes that are built in our borough. We have space standards that are stricter than the national government’s and we take a robust approach while being proactive to the delivery of projects such as these. This scheme has clearly demonstrated a connection with the surrounding area and the homes have been designed to complement their surroundings. This is exactly the type of quality we want to champion.”

Find out more about Old Clockhouse Green and Cox Developments by calling on 01233 714950.

Fun in the sun at Kestrel Park

Families, residents and visitors soaked up the sunshine at Kestrel Park’s official opening last Friday.

Pupils from John Wesley School excitedly helped the Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Winston Michael, cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the official opening of the new play area.

Youngsters had plenty of fun in the sun trying out the new mega slide, play fort, zip wires and basket swing.

Located at Brisley Farm open space in Kingsnorth, the play area is ideal for older children and provides a safe environment for them to play and explore.

The open space, sited next to the historic Coleman’s Kitchen woods, is a well-loved area of natural beauty in the borough; the natural meadow and backdrop of ancient woodland of Iron Age importance is popular among walkers.

kestrel

The play area, which will serve the residents of Brisley Farm estate and Washford Farm, will also help to connect the town centre with the surrounding countryside by linking with Ashford Community Woodland, the Singleton Environment Centre, and the proposed Chilmington Green Discovery Park.

The site sits adjacent to Iron Age woodland, and was the location of a 1944 bombing in which RAF servicemen were killed. The design of the play equipment draws on the site’s Iron Age significance, and a commemorative plaque for the RAF servicemen has also been installed, as well as a bespoke art feature using the section 106 public art contributions.

A management agreement is currently being arranged between Ashford Borough Council and Kingsnorth Parish Council for the Parish Council to maintain and manage the site.

kestrel

Cllr Mike Bennett, Portfolio Holder for Culture, said: “I am pleased to see how contributions from the developers are being pushed back into the community to provide a safe play area for older children to enjoy and explore.

“I am particularly pleased that Kestrel Park recognises Ashford’s RAF links and Iron Age significance, and I hope it will be a well-used and well-loved asset for all of Kingsnorth’s residents.”

The project cost just over £328,000, which included funding for future maintenance and comes from section 106 contributions collected from nearby developments.

Your Council

Bringing better sports facilities to Ashford

Residents in Ashford are one step closer to benefitting from even better sports and recreation facilities.

Ashford Borough Council’s cabinet members last month agreed to the Playing Pitch and Indoor Built Sports Facilities draft proposal report. The document details the council’s aspirations to provide a high quality sports, culture and leisure offer in Ashford by enhancing, protecting and providing a range of sports and recreation facilities across the borough.

The report sets out a variety of short and long term projects. Short term projects include working with Sport England and the Lawn Tennis Association to provide a 2 - 4 court indoor tennis facility in Ashford. In addition the council hopes to improve the dry side offer at the Stour Centre which includes enhancing the soft play area and the gymnastics classes.

football

Longer term projects include creating a Discovery Park Sports Hub on the emerging Chilmington Green site, which will feature two badminton courts, a community centre, and later on, a four court community sports hall.

The next step sees the application being placed on the council’s consultation portal for the general public to comment upon. It is hoped that the final strategies can then be considered by the cabinet at its September meeting for adoption.

Christina Fuller, Head of Culture at Ashford Borough Council, said: “With substantial new residential developments proposed, such as Chilmington Green, it is important the council provides communities with a good range of quality sporting facilities to enjoy and benefit from.

“The strategies set out clearly demonstrate the council’s commitment to delivering the best mix of sports, cultural and recreational experiences for residents of all ages and abilities.”

The proposal also supports the emerging Local Plan, specifically Priority 3 Active & Creative Ashford: Healthy choices through physical, cultural and leisure engagement.

Take part in the consultation  or email culture@ashford.gov.uk for a hard copy comment form or phone 01233 330473.  

 

Achieving the Gold standard!

Ashford Borough Council has been given a ‘Gold Achievement Award’ in recognition of the management of its address information database.

The award was presented at the GeoPlace annual conference and Exemplar Awards 2017, which took place on Thursday 11th May at Leeds United Football Club. The awards celebrate excellence in service delivery that has been made possible through local government address and street information.

gold

Local councils have a legal requirement for street naming and numbering and are the source for the millions of address records of every residence and business in the UK.

Addresses are invaluable to the economy and public services. From making sure that emergency services can get to a front door as quickly as possible, addresses help confirm identity and help consumers access products and services. Having high quality address data is fundamental to this.

This is why the Gold Achievement Award is important. A lot of hard work and skill goes into maintaining a constantly changing dataset.

The Gold Achievement Award for address data is only given to authorities that have:

  • Reached the highest standard in national tests on data excellence
  • Supplied regular updates to the national hub which manages receipt of address data from all authorities in England and Wales

Jason Houghton, Deputy National Address Data Manager, said: “Ashford Borough Council has achieved the highest standard of address information data management. Achieving this level demonstrates excellence and commitment to a process that brings local and national benefits.”

Louise Lambourn, Ashford Borough Council’s Property Information and Support Services Manager, said: “We work incredibly hard and this is often an understated part of the work of the local authority. However, achieving this award indicates that we run ourselves effectively and handle and present data with the importance it deserves.”

Celebrating Stanhope Regeneration – 10th Anniversary

A new housing development, a youth hub and fun community events are just some of the exciting regeneration projects Stanhope in Ashford has received over the past decade.

Ten years ago, an agreement was signed which kicked off the regeneration of Stanhope, and to mark the occasion a special celebration event took place.

The event was organised by Moat Housing and was attended by those who have shown ongoing support throughout the regeneration, including Chief Executive of Ashford Borough Council Tracey Kerly, Damian Green MP, local councillor Palma Laughton MBE, the Chief Executive of Moat Elizabeth Austerberry and other local stakeholders.

Damian Green said, “The softer, social outcomes have been achieved and Stanhope is now a desirable place to live. Everyone involved set significant aspirations and these have been achieved with professionalism, dedication and commitment.”

stanhope

Tributes to the outstanding transformation were shared, with special mention given to the great work that is continuing, breathing life into the community and making Stanhope a desirable place to live.

In 2007, a 30-year Private Finance Initiative contract was signed between Ashford Borough Council and the Chrysalis Consortium in a bid to make Stanhope meet the government’s Decent Homes standard. The redevelopment was completed in 2012 and saw the original blocks of flats and maisonettes replaced with 442 new homes. Today the development also has a supermarket, Post Office, a bookmakers, two takeaways and a café.

Four years ago, the Stanhope Community Hub officially opened which provides after school drop-in sessions and a full programme of school holiday activities for young people and families.

In addition, Moat Housing has provided a range of events and activities for the whole community including free weekly football coaching for young people and work related training courses. The Stanhope Community Chest awards £20k annually to a wide variety of clubs, organisations and individuals, and the Stanhope Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (STARA) was established in early 2008.

Moat is a leading housing association working in the South East, providing high quality homes and services.

Looking back on the 2016-17 financial year

At June's Cabinet meeting, members discussed a report that presented some interesting statistics about the 2016-17 financial year.

Previous releases have covered the details of the budget and progress of the council’s finances during the 2016-17 financial year. However, we felt it may be beneficial to outline the key points contained in the financial outturn report.

Spending was undertaken during a period that broadly speaking saw a recovering economic climate. However, following the outcome of the referendum and the decision taken to leave the European Union, the financial year was not without complex pressures and uncertainty.

finance

Overall figures

On a budget of £15.6m, the council reported a small overspend of £38,000, which is a relatively modest amount in context and illustrates that the council is managing itself well as an organisation.

The council’s departments anticipate and plan their spending requirements at the start of each year. Obviously though there are unforeseen pressures or matters that arise during the financial year that do require additional spending or a revision of priorities.

Some of the significant changes saw the council:

  • Take an opportunity to support the arts in Ashford by making a three-year contribution to the St Mary’s Arts Trust (Revelation Ashford)
  • Make a grant payment to the Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB). The CAB works closely with the council offering independent support and advice, often acting as the first point of contact for those who may not feel confident in approaching the council direct with queries around homelessness or debt advice
  • Manage the pressures of placing those to whom it accepts a homelessness duty in bed and breakfast accommodation. This situation is managed to a degree by the council’s short-stay accommodation facility at Christchurch House – which saves the taxpayer in excess of £75,000 per year. The council continues to look for another property that can be turned into a short-stay accommodation facility. This will both reduce its dependency on B&Bs at great cost to the taxpayer and also improve the situation for those who are homeless
  • Investing grant money to enhance the existing units and creation of new units at Ellingham Industrial Estate, which is an asset owned by the council that produces a significant return on investment
  • Invest in external legal advice for the unique agreement that the council has struck with Stanhope plc that will see the council fund the construction of Elwick Place – enabling Ashford town centre to have the long-awaited cinema, hotel and leisure complex which will boost the night-time economy

    It is also worth pointing out that:
  • The astuteness of Ashford’s investments is shown in the fact that International House produced a significant return on investment in the 2016-17 financial year, indeed £110,000 more than anticipated – in addition to maintenance of the building, this revenue goes into the council’s ‘general fund’ to support service delivery across the breadth of services the council provides
  • The Property Company (A Better Choice for Property Limited) set up by Ashford Borough Council in 2013 returned a profit of £197,000 in the 2016-17 financial year
  • The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) is a separate account into which rent paid by tenants in the council’s housing stock is saved. The money in this account is exclusively for the use of management, maintenance and repairs of these properties. We achieved increased income levels due to the number of additional new properties being built – even though we actually reduced rents by 1% – and the department’s restructure has also contributed to the overall underspend of £2m
  • Ashford Borough Council continues to set the lowest council tax in Kent

Cllr Neil Shorter, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for Finance, Budget and Resource Management, said: “This report is released as part of the transparent way in which we conduct ourselves as an authority. This is something we remain absolutely committed to even though to some degree it declares our hand when acting commercially.

“I am satisfied that the report illustrates clearly to residents that we continue to manage ourselves effectively as an organisation. Such a modest overspend on a budget of over £15m, given the variances described within the report, is a credit to all concerned.”

“Our commercial approach rather than placing an increased burden on our residents can be seen to be bearing substantial fruit already. The assets we have acquired and the decisions we have taken are increasing the resilience of our balance sheet and enabling us to continue to deliver quality, cost-effective services across the whole of the borough.”

What's On

What's On

Want to know what’s happening in the borough this month? Got a great event or meeting you want to promote? Then check out: ASHFORD’S EVENTS CALENDAR. Upload details of your event or simply browse to see what's on in your community this month.

You can also find out what's on in Tenterden every month with the TENTERDEN EVENTS DIARY

 flowers

Murder Mystery evening

Tuesday 20 June, 7pm – 8.30pm
Ashford Gateway Plus, Church Road, Ashford, TN23 1AS

Solve the mystery of The Murder at the Oast House. Listen to the actors’ witness statements, read the crime report and deduce who committed this heinous crime. The audience member closest to guessing the murderer and motive will win a prize. Tickets cost £3 and booking is essential. For more information and to book your place contact Ashford Library.

Tentertainment 2017

30th June - 2nd July
Recreation Ground, Tenterden, TN306

Tentertainment celebrates 11years! Enjoy a weekend festival of local music, fun, food and drink for the whole family

Ashford Farmers' Market - 3rd birthday!

Sunday July 2nd, 10am - 2pm
Lower High Street, Ashford Town Centre, Ashford

Celebrate our 3rd birthday market! Grab tea, coffee, cake or breakfast from one of the many street-food stalls, pick up a diverse selection of tasty treats from local traders, and watch chefs create delicious dishes using fresh produce straight from the market.

Recycled bikes event

Saturday 8th July, 10am - 2pm
Goldwyn School, Godinton Lane, Ashford TN23 3BT

Pick up affordable refurbished bikes as part of a new initiative by Kent County Council in partnership with Cycle Community CIC. You can also donate a bike, whether one that’s now too small or not being used, and get a 20% discount at the bike sale.  Drop your bike off at the Goldwyn School or call Spencer Morgan on 07762221024 to arrange a pick-up location.  

World in a tent

Saturday July 8th, 12pm - 10pm
North Park (next to Stour Leisure Centre), Ashford, TN231PL

World in a Tent is a new multicultural festival for Ashford where you can enjoy performances, workshops and food from around the world. There will also be a selection of international stalls featuring world cuisine, Iranian Persian glass painting, and Nepalese Crafts. What's more you can watch a variety of international performances including belly dancing, Indian drumming and African music.

Ashford Festival in the Park 2017

Friday July 14th -  Sunday July 16th
North Park, Tannery Lane, Ashford

Ashford Festival in the Park is a free Festival. Enjoy live bands, dancers, food stalls and a beer tent . There's plenty of family fun to be had at the kids funfair where there will also be a bouncy castle and bungee trampolines.

Tenterden Street Market

Every Friday, 8am - 2pm
Tenterden High Street, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6AN

Pick up tasty treats, fresh local produce and handmade arts and crafts, every Friday at Tenterden Street Market. You can also browse and buy flowers, fresh seafood, bread, cheese and organic meats. 

Relay for Life Ashford

Saturday 16th -  Sunday 17th September
Julie Rose Stadium, Willesborough Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN249QX

Help fundraise for Cancer Research UK in a 24-hour celebration. Relay For Life Ashford is a year-round team fundraising challenge bringing the community together to beat cancer. Email Lynette Farley for more information or call /07717 652679

 

Contact Us

Contact Us

Contact Us

Contact Ashford Voice

Email: voice@ashford.gov.uk 

Phone: 01233 330719

Write: Ashford Voice, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1PL

For news and features ideas/submissions, please email voice@ashford.gov.uk with the subject NEWS

For events, please upload all details to the Events Calendar

For Your Community listings, please upload details to the Groups and Club directory

How to contact Ashford Borough Council 

Write: Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1PL

Online: Pay, report, apply online at www.ashford.gov.uk/

Want to make a payment over the phone? Phone 01233 330625

Main switchboard: 01233 331111

Open times:  All face-to-face enquiries should come to the Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford

24 hour payment line: 01233 330625

Ashford Gateway Customer Services

Telephone: 01233 331111

Email: customer.care@ashford.gov.uk 
Online: http://www.ashford.gov.uk

The opening times are: 9am to 4pm Mon to Fri Out of hours/Emergency: 01233 629911

Tenterden Customer Services

Write: Tenterden Town Hall, Town Hall, 24 High Street, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6AN

Telephone: 01233 331111 

Town Centre Action Team (T-CAT)

Email: tcat@ashford.gov.uk Twitter: @ashfordcouncil #tcastashford

Phone: 01233 331111

County Council Services and Useful Information

Kent County Council

Websitewww.kent.gov.uk/ 

24 hour helpline: 03000 247 247

Environment & waste: 03000 247 600

Highways and transport (including roadworks, potholes and street lighting): 03000 41 81 81

Kent libraries: 03000 41 31 31

Social care & health: 03000 41 61 61

Trading standards for East Kent: 03000 41 20 20

Trading standards for West Kent: 03000 412000

Emergency Services Dial 999 in an emergency only.  Dial 101 for non-emergency calls to your local police 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Kent Police non-emergencies: 101

Ashford Community Safety Unit: 01233 330891

William Harvey Hospital: 01233 633331

Leisure & Tourism Stour Centre 01233 663503 Julie Rose Stadium 01233 613131 Kingsnorth Recreation Centre 01233 503846 Pitchside & Courtside 01233 896511

Other useful phone numbers

Environment Agency floodline  0345 988 1188

Housing Benefit Fraud: 0800 854 440

Fraud against Ashford Borough Council 0800 021 3262

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