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Who will fill Phil’s shoes?

FEBRUARY 2012 Published by Kennington Community Forum

WANTED: a volunteer to take over the role of chair of the Kennington Summer Fayre committee. Phil Sims, who has done a magnificent job organising the event, has reluctantly stepped down owing to his workload since becoming a councillor. Last year the Fayre attracted

more than 2,000 visitors and raised a record £9,500 for local charities and organisations. Anyone interested in the position should attend the AGM on 8 Feb at 8pm in the Scout Hall, Lower Vicarage Road, or contact Phil on 627603. He said: “I’ll still be around to help.”

Dismay as dispute delays new school MANY parents are upset that the new Goat Lees primary school will be delayed for a year because of a legal dispute over ownership of the land. The desperately-needed school, due to open in September, is the subject of a High Court case between Kent County Council and a developer who claims to own the site, near the Community Hall. As a result the school is expected to open in September 2013, a year later than planned. Ashford county councillor Elizabeth Tweed said: “KCC has always maintained that it owned the land as part of an agreement where the land would revert to the developer after a given number of years if no attempt had been made to build the school.

Robust defence “KCC and Ashford council officers were quite clear that the process to start building the school started well before the expiry date, and therefore a robust defence of KCC's position has been lodged with the High Court. “While we are confident of our position, we could not award the building contract until the outcome of the case is certain. This is expected shortly. Because of the delay, phase 2 of Repton Manor Primary School has been brought forward which will accommodate the extra places needed.” David Adams, Area Education Officer, said: “In short the developers and the KCC disagree about the date the development commenced, and thus the return date for the

Disco in the dark brings a warm glow TOWERS Interact Club got its 2012 fundraising efforts off to a great start with a “Glow in the Dark” disco. More than £640 was raised for the Pilgrims Hospice which will go towards a new media

centre. Local DJ Money B performed and 200 students from years 7, 8 and 9 attended. The club’s next event is a charity sleepover. Community Youth Tutor Marie Boniface said: “We

would welcome any new members from years 9 and above. Being a volunteer will look great on CVs and both job and university application forms.” Call Marie on 07774 554207.


Community centre site ‘could be something special’ TALKS to decide the future of Bockhanger community centre site have begun. A steering group has been set up to explore ways of regenerating the area. It plans to hold a public meeting in the spring to ask residents how they want the area improved. The group aims to put forward options which include building a new community hall and

new shops. The present building is falling rapidly into disrepair and is likely to close in a few years. Views are also wanted on what should happen to the library, the shops, the flats above them and the surrounding land. Although the site is earmarked for regeneration Ashford council stresses there are no pre-conceived designs or ideas.

Councillor Gerry Clarkson, deputy leader of Ashford BC, who is in charge of the regeneration project, has told residents: “This is an opportunity to have something really special.” Speaking at a meeting of the Kennington Forum he said: "The project will be driven by what you want, not by the council or the housing department." Some residents CONTINUED ON BACK PAGE

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2 KENNINGTON Community Forum represents the views of people living and working in Kennington and communicates those views to Ashford council and other statutory organisations. It is an independent, voluntary group with its own constitution. THE Forum is led by a Core Group comprising the Chair, Treasurer, Secretary and up to nine other members. It is supported by an officer from Ashford Council. ANYONE who lives in Kennington will be very welcome at the Forum’s meetings which are held every two months at St Mary’s Community Hall, Rylands Road.

FORUM DATES: 31 January, 7.30pm 27 March, 7.30pm

TOWERS TO THE RESCUE AN ANNUAL event which gives safety advice to primary school children in Ashford has been saved from the axe thanks to Towers School. Safety in Action involves a fortnight of interactive workshops for year 6 children by

Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Police, British Transport Police, Ashford Council, Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Towers students to emphasise the hidden dangers of everyday life. When cuts in funding from

central government threatened the future of the event Graham Ralph, the headteacher at Towers, offered to host the event free of charge. He said: “This event is too important to lose.” It will be held between 18-29 June.

Our great tradition THERE is a long tradition of planting oak trees on Kennington's Recreation Ground to mark great events, writes Chris Morley. The earliest we know about so far was planted in Queen Victoria’s reign. King George VI’s coronation in 1937 saw the planting of two oak trees, one by Mrs A J Burrows and the second by Ashford Urban District Council. The Festival of Britain

THE HOLLYWOOD blockbuster Toy Story 3 will be shown at St Mary’s Church Film Club on 4 March at 7pm. The club meets on the first Sunday of every month in the Community Centre, Rylands Road. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. The Rev Richard King said: “The films are all about issues of life and afterwards we have a chat about what the film meant to everyone who was there.” St Mary’s has had a successful cou-

ple of months, said Richard. “Christmas was very good, numbers were up, and Messy Church and the Youth Club are proving good fun. We are very encouraged with all that’s going on.” The church was full on 4 December when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, conducted the morning service. It was the first visit to Kennington by an Archbishop since Dr George Carey opened the Church Hall in 1997. You can listen to sermons from St Mary’s at www.kennington-st

in 1951 was marked by a further oak, and this tree is now a majestic 60 feet tall. Kennington Community Forum is proposing to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee by continuing this tradition. A suitable location for an English Oak has been agreed with Ashford Council and we would like to plant it during the winter months while trees are still dormant. Our oak will be recorded in a national compilation of all trees planted in honour of the Jubilee which will be presented to Buckingham Palace. We have already received generous support from local organisations and individuals, but would welcome further contributions to enable us purchase a suitably sized specimen. If you would like to help please contact the Forum on 01233 611196 or


site.” The £4m school, which will eventually accommodate 210 pupils, is being set up by a group of Ashford primary headteachers in response to the demand for places by families on the estate. Councillor Winston Michael (Boughton Aluph and Eastwell) said: "It is disappointing that the Goat Lees Development Consortium took the action it did because it was aware that the process to build the school began some 18 months previously. “KCC could have avoided all this had it started the process earlier. I know it is a disappointment to many parents". Mr Adams said a headteacher would be appointed in the autumn with other appointments in spring and summer 2013. AN EXHIBITION showing how Conningbrook Lakes could be transformed into a country park for water-based sports has been postponed for the second time. The Brett Group is producing a very detailed planning application and is consulting widely to ensure it is high quality and addresses all issues fully.

Scouts ready for new era KENNINGTON Scout Group is embarking on its second century with a new Community Hall and new aims. It is making the eco– friendly building in Lower Vicarage Road available for use by the community and plans to make scouting accessible to even more young people. At present every section has a long waiting list. Group Scout leader Mike Cullen says the only solution is to recruit more volunteers, especially uniform leaders. If you would like to be involved drop in on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday evening to see what goes on. MORE than 140 people attended the official opening. Dignitaries included Deputy Lieutenant of Kent Col. Peter Bishop, Ashford MP Damian Green and the Mayor of Ashford. The next day many local residents and friends joined the Group for coffee. The Appeal Fund remains open as the final payment has yet to be made. Donations can be sent to the treasurer Peter Hickman who also deals with bookings. 01233 620142.

BROADBAND BOOST AT LITTLE BURTON HIGH-SPEED Broadband is now available in parts of Little Burton. The remainder of the estate is expected to be offered BT fibre optic services as part of a new phase announced by Openreach, but it is not known when the work will start. BROADBAND not fast enough? Go to and join the campaign for a better service.


Tales of old Kennington

Fit and friendly STEPPING out to keep fit is proving a big hit. Walks from New Hayesbank surgery attract up to 50 people every Wednesday morning and last for just over an hour. A longer walk takes place about once a month. Seven dedicated walk leaders plan the routes that start and end at the surgery. The friendly walks have

been taking place for four years and only one has been cancelled due to the weather. Details at the surgery or just turn up for a 9.45am start. There are also health walks from the Sure Start Children’s Centre in Belmont Road (details 624857) and it is hoped to have another soon in the north part of Kennington.

Little Acre appeal dismissed AN APPEAL by Skillcrown Homes to demolish Little Acre, 80 The Street, Kennington and build six homes on the land has been dismissed. But the inspector said an examination of the typical pattern of development in the area satisfied him that six dwellings could be designed which would be satisfactory. Mr P W Clark said the present

proposal was not acceptable because of the large footprints of each house. This would lead to inadequate living conditions in terms of amenity space and privacy and also of potential future development on a neighbouring site. It would also lead to conflict with arrangements to preserve the habitat of protected species. He said: “The appeal fails be-

New bid to build in back garden TWO NEW planning applications to demolish Rosedene in Grosvenor Road, Kennington, and build homes have been submitted to the council by Chailey Homes. The first is for two pairs of semidetached houses and two detached three-bedroomed chalet bungalow. The second includes a third bunga-

low. The original application was dismissed six months ago after an appeal. An inspector upheld the decision by Ashford council and said the plan to build on land at the rear of 127/129 Grosvenor Road would be out of character with the surroundings.

New governors have now been appointed at Phoenix Primary and Downs View Infants following the story in our last issue

IF YOU have an hour or so to spare and would like to help renovate the Kennington Garden of Remembrance please call Chris Morley, 01233 611196 or email chris.f.morley PLANS are being considered to realign the road by the Bybrook Road bus stops so traffic can pass without mounting the pavement. TWO permanent flashing 30mph signs are now operating in Faversham Road, funded from county councillor Elizabeth Tweed’s highways grant.

cause it lacks a convincing scheme, prepared by a qualified expert, to ensure that the net effect of the development on the local bat population would be neutral or beneficial.” He said the effects of the proposal on the living conditions of neighbouring properties in terms of noise and disturbance would be acceptable and there was nothing to show that a scheme could not be designed to be compatible with the character of the area. Ashford council refused the planning application following objections by more than 100 residents and local councillors.

THE story of Kennington and its people will be told by Jenny Marshall at the WI meeting on 13 February. FOLLOWING the success of their pantomime, Aladdin, members will be visiting Brick Lane Music Hall in London’s docklands on 22 February to see Cinderella. PLANS are being made for a special lunch in the WI Hall on 3 June to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. KENNINGTON WI now runs 12 groups. Subjects include calligraphy, gardening, French and creative writing. New members are always welcome. For details call Ursula Jones 01233 620620. MORE than 25 staff have been recruited for The Old Mill (formerly the Golden Ball) which is due to open in late March. Every piece of oak in the 18th century building has been treated or replaced, said the owner Alex Bensley of Village Green Restaurants. PEOPLE have been throwing rubbish from top floor flats in Bybrook rather than take it to the bins.

School plea


suggested that a new roof would be enough for the centre to carry on. ABC had indicated that this would cost about £100,000. Cllr Clarkson said the building was not fit for purpose and the council would not fund its repair. He said a temporary building could be provided while a new centre was built. County councillor Elizabeth Tweed said it was not just a matter of replacing the roof, energy efficiency was needed and a new building could provide better facilities. Daniel Scarsbrook, ABC building surveyor, said options for the site were: Do nothing and let activities carry on for as long as they can; Sell the site and leave it in the hands of a developer; ABC keeps the land and regenerates it in a self-financing way. This would mean building homes on part of the site to be sold on the open market. The first meeting of the Bockhanger Community Development Site steering group was held on 16 January. Members are: Derek Standing (chair); Jenny and Tony Blunt, Pat Boorman, Pauline Colvin, Mick Hubert, Sunny Dhandra, Yvonne Pucknell, Lee Robinson and Chris Morley. It will also include a councillor and a youth representative. TOWERS Youth Club programme: 7 Feb: Bowling trip, 14 Feb: HALF TERM: 21 Feb: Eating habits; 28 Feb: Board games; 6 Mar: Effects of smoking; 13 Mar: Red Nose day; 20 Mar: Table tennis competition; 27 Mar: Ski-ing at Gillingham. The club meets in the Community Hall Trinity Road Thurs 6.30-8.30pm.

Defending in style HYUNG Je Martial Arts, Ashford’s new Tae Kwon Do club meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Kennington Junior School. Instructors Neil Emerton and Amar Mashru (above) — both 2nd degree black belts — specialise in traditional ITF style Tae Kwon Do and selfdefence. Classes are for all ages (six years and upwards) and abilities, with separate classes for children and adults to cater for individual requirements. Neil said: “The club prides itself on its family friendly

atmosphere which provides a positive, safe and controlled environment for children, teenagers and adults to learn one of the world's most popular martial arts.” Amar recently returned from Germany where he represented England, for the second year running, at the WKA World championships. Further details can be found on their website Contact the instructors on 07938 818 797 or e-mail or Your first lesson is free!

JOIN THE BIRDWATCHERS ASHFORD Birdwatchers’ Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the WI Hall, Faversham Road, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. After a short introduction about local birds, there is usually an illustrated presentation about birds in the UK or further afield. A charge of £3

includes coffee and biscuits. Most months there are bird watching field excursions with knowledgeable leaders. Everyone is welcome; it doesn’t matter how much or how little you know about birds. For more details call Heather Silk on 01233 637067

THE plan to open a new comprehensive school in the old Wye College campus has suffered a double blow. The government has changed the way of measuring criteria for the school and the deadline for submitting the bid has been brought forward to 24 February. Margaret Williams, chair of the Wye Free School committee, said: “Our previous work needs to be repeated in a very short time. We urgently need parents to complete a new questionnaire.” The aim is to open the school in September 2013 for Year 7 growing in time for up to 600 pupils. See the questionnaire at SURE STEPS Children’s Centre has just celebrated three years in Kennington. The “Fun and Free” centre supports families and works closely with schools, health visitors, social services and ABC housing. Coming up are money management courses, gardening sessions and paediatric first aid. If you have children aged 0-5 years call 01233 624857 NEW HAYESBANK surgery is still actively using the Choose and Book service that allows you to select a hospital or clinic when referred for treatment by a GP. The list includes private hospitals as well as NHS providers and you can choose the date and time of your first appointment. Any follow up appointments will be at the same hospital. Kennington News is published quarterly. Editor Robin Britcher, 01233 634410


YOUR KENNINGTON CONTACTS COUNTY COUNCILLORS: Elizabeth Tweed (Ashford Central) 01233 714689 Andrew Wickham (Ashford Rural East) 01233 840902 ASHFORD BOROUGH COUNCILLORS: Kennington: Philip Sims 01233 627603 Facebook: Kennington Ward in Ashford. Twitter@CllrPJFSims Bockhanger: Michael Claughton 01233 635969 Bybrook: Andrew Buchanan 01233 627696 Little Burton: Marion Martin 01233 628811 marionmartin168 NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICE OFFICERS: Kennington: PC Mandy Surgenor 07772 226133 Bybrook and Little Burton: PCSO Nikki Relf 07772 226206 Eureka Park, Bockhanger, Trinity Rd area: PCSO Selina Lawrence 07772 226098 POLICE INCIDENT LINE: 01622 690690 KENT HIGHWAYS: 08458 247800 ASHFORD PARKING SERVICES: 01233 330641 REV. RICHARD KING: 01233 623334

NEW HAYESBANK SURGERY: 01233 624642 Mon 8.15am–8pm; Tues 8.15am–6pm; Wed 7am–6pm; (Closed 1st Wed pm of each month for training) Thurs 7am–6pm; Fri 8.15am–6pm (pm emergencies). KENNINGTON FORUM: Chris Morley, chair, 01233 611196 Sandra Dunn, secretary, 01233 634165

Kennington News February 2012  
Kennington News February 2012  

The newsletter of Kennington Community Forum serving Kennington, Bockhanger, Bybrook, Little Burton in Ashford