NEWS IN BRIEF
Award-winning motor group sold to Hendy LIFESTYLE Motor Group announced yesterday (Tuesday) it has been acquired by Hendy Automotive in a move which will see the merged companies achieve sales of £600m. Known for being the parent company of Tunbridge Wells-based Lifestyle Ford, the Lifestyle Motor Group was formed in 2001 and had an annual turnover of £187m last year. As well as Ford, the group – owned and run by Managing Director Peter Isted and Chairman Marc Matthew – operates Mazda, Kia, Renault, Dacia, Seat, Suzuki and Isuzu franchises through the south east. The acquisition means Hendy Automotive now employs 1,000 staff, including 500 Lifestyle employees whose jobs are safe. They are set to sell more than 40,000 cars, vans and trucks each year across 25 locations. Mr Matthew said: “We have built up a strong, profitable and successful business in Kent, Sussex and Surrey and believe this growth will continue with Hendy’s. “Having won more than 50 industry awards we have been proud of the entire team and the relationships we have had with our franchise partnerships.” Hendy Automotive Managing Director Paul Hendy said: “We are delighted to have bought Lifestyle, which has a similar philosophy as Hendy. This acquisition extends our territory into the south east and adds a number of new franchises.”
Hospital pays damages THE family of a young boy who was left brain damaged after his birth at the former Pembury Hospital, Tunbridge Wells, have been awarded a £2.7million lump sum in compensation to cover the cost of his care. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust agreed the money after a High Court ruling yesterday. The boy, now aged nine, is dependent on carers, is developmentally impaired and has to be fed through a tube.
Record-keeping error leads to food agency zero rating By Andrew Tong
THE SPA HOTEL Food for thought
firstname.lastname@example.org ONE of Tunbridge Wells’ most famous hotels, The Spa, has received a zero rating from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for its Chandelier restaurant thanks to administrative errors. The Food Safety Officer at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council carried out an inspection of the entire kitchen area of the four-star hotel on Langton Road on April 28 before handing out the lowest possible score. Previously the hotel had achieved top marks with a rating of five out of five. The restaurant has been awarded two rosettes by the AA. It is understood that the low ranking was due to a problem with the records kept by the hotel. The Spa’s owner, Anthony Scragg, told the Times: “The inspection was carried out shortly after our new head chef had arrived, and the failings largely relate to a lack of historic record-keeping.” He stressed: “We are deeply concerned about the rating and understand the implications. However, the poor scores do not relate to poor hygiene. “We have not experienced any similar problems in the past. This has been a sharp learning curve and we would like to reassure regular and prospective guests that this will never happen again.” The last time the hotel’s kitchens were inspected, in October 2014, it received a maximum five-star rating. Technically it would have to wait until October 2016 before the next routine inspection
took place, but because of the zero rating the FSO will pay a visit before then. The Spa Hotel also had an independent review undertaken by an inspector working for Hygiene Solutions, who used to work for the council. He arrived at a rating of 74 per cent. “There was a fairly significant difference in scores between the independent inspector and the FSO, which has caused some confusion,” said Mr Scragg. “However, we have not left anything to chance and we have taken all the measures
recommended by the Food Safety Officer.” The council inspection team explained: “There are very clear criteria for rating a business using nationally accepted standards. The rating isn’t a guide to food quality.” Among the 15 outlets in Kent to have received a zero rating there were three other local ones: Pizza and burger bar Sapranos on London Road, Southborough, Kent and Surrey Golf and Country Club in Edenbridge and Forge House, an Italian restaurant in Otford.
Police act to remove travellers from common
Festival noise anger TUNBRIDGE WELLS Borough Council has launched an investigation into Alfresco Festival following complaints over noise. The three-day festival, which was held on the May Bank Holiday in fields near the industrial estate road Kingstanding Way, was the subject of 11 noise complaints from residents claiming they could hear it as late as 4am on Monday.
Brakes not vandalised POLICE said there is no evidence of foul play after several residents in the St James’ area of Tunbridge Wells had reported cut brake lines on their cars. Wildlife experts have instead confirmed the damage is the work of fox cubs which seek shelter under cars and chew through the pipes at this time of year as it is thought they like the sweet taste of brake fluid.
FINALLY EVICTED The police give the travellers notice to leave the Common
TRAVELLERS camped on the Lower Common in Tunbridge Wells were evicted by Kent Police yesterday, and had left the site by mid-afternoon. It comes after they were handed a Section 61 giving them two hours to move off or face forcible eviction. Six officers visited the camp to serve the notice around 1pm after previous attempts by the borough council to remove the travellers had failed. It is believed they were the same group of travellers who had previously pitched their caravans on the playing fields of Tonbridge School, before moving onto the Ridgewaye grounds in Southborough last week. They moved onto the lower common on Friday evening and were served with a Section 77 under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 by the
borough council two days later – giving them 24 hours in which to voluntarily leave. However, after this period lapsed the council approached the police to serve an eviction notice under the under section 61 of the same act. This was done on the basis that more than six vehicles were on the land and damage had been caused to the common. It also gave the police the option to seize and remove vehicles if there was a failure to comply. The deadline was set for 3pm. Use of this procedure was described as ‘very rare’ by a police spokesman, however, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has considerable experience in dealing with traveller encampments, particularly in the rural areas of the authority.
Wednesday 8th June 2016
Read the June 8th 2016 edition of the Times of Tunbridge Wells