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magazine Keeping p g you y in touch with your y council services

We wish all of our residents a very Happy Christmas

Gateway opens in Sheerness Olympic Torch comes to Faversham Sittingbourne regeneration latest Christmas bin collections – page 14 Difficulty in understanding this magazine? Need it in Braille, large print or on audio tape? For translations or interpretations contact us and we will do our best to help. Tel: 01795 417 850 Email:

winter 2011

2 Inside Swale

West Site

East Site

West Site

Building a better future “Within the next two years a major £54 million building and development programme will provide students at The Isle of Sheppey Academy with brand new learning environments, each equipped with the most modern technology utilising the latest computer-based teaching and learning approaches. Specialist facilities for both sport and performing arts will be a key feature of the new building programme” Mr David Day – Principal The Isle of Sheppey Academy For further information about the Academy visit our website

Learn Believe Achieve HEAD OFFICE, EAST SITE Minster Road • Minster-on-Sea • ME12 3JQ T: 01795 873 591 F: 01795 870 107 E:

Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 3


News ...................................... 4,5,7 & 12 Gateway opens ............................... 8 & 9 Regeneration latest ..................... 10 & 11 Boundary review ................................. 12 Swale in Bloom - Jubilee Year .............. 13 Christmas bin collections..................... 14 Inside Swale questionnaire .......... 16 &17 Your views on Swale ............................ 18 Changes to housing benefit ................. 20 Let’s make Swale a better place! ......... 23 Housing Information ................... 24 & 25 Run by you ........................................... 26 News from Medway Maritime ... 28 & 29 Your Councillors ......................... 30 & 31 Our corporate priorities are:

Regenerating Swale Creating a cleaner and greener Swale A safer and stronger community A high-performing organisation Contact Swale Borough Council Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT phone: 01795 417 850 email: visit:

Inside Swale is produced by Swale Borough Council’s Communications and Marketing Team

The Leader Hello, and welcome to the December edition of Inside Swale, Swale Borough Council’s residents’ magazine. There is much good news to report. On the Isle of Sheppey the Rushenden Relief Road was officially opened on 24 November. The recent announcement by Vestas Wind Systems that they are hoping to build a wind turbine factory at the Port of Sheerness is hugely exciting. This could put the Borough at the forefront of wind power development and create 2,000 direct jobs as a result. In Sittingbourne, we have signed a heads of terms agreement with our preferred development partner (the Spirit of Sittingbourne consortium) and two major planning applications affecting the town centre were approved by the Council’s planning committee last month with one more being heard on 8 December. This really is proof that there is a real appetite for investment in the town. The Northern Relief Road will also be completed and opened very shortly. And in Faversham localism is at work with a new project that will give Faversham Town Council the opportunity to guide future development at Faversham Creek by taking the plan making powers from Swale Borough Council. We have been awarded £20,000 to assist with the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan and is one of only 31 areas in the country to be awarded this grant. We always welcome your views on our services and performance so please let us know by contacting us using the details on this page. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

Cover: Tunstall Church in snow (courtesy of Mr K. Washford).

Andrew Bowles Leader


4 Inside Swale

At this time of year … Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia, Szczesliwego Nowego Roku. Bada Din Mubarak Ho, Naye saal ki. These are just three ways of wishing some of our readers all the best for the forthcoming festive period, with Polish and Hindi being the ones you may not have recognised immediately.

Opening hours Swale Borough Council’s offices are open as normal the week beginning 19 December in Faversham and Sittingbourne. The offices will be closed on Monday 26, Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 December, but will be open normal hours on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 December. For the week beginning 19 December the Gateway will be open: Monday 19, Tuesday 20, Thursday 22 and Friday 23 from 9am to 5pm. On Wednesday 21 December it will be open from 9am until 6pm. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve the Gateway will be open but not all services will be available. It will be closed on 26, 27 and 28 December.

Core Strategy The Council’s Draft Core Strategy Consultation will be announced in the New Year. Watch this space to have your say on the Council’s proposed preferred option. More information will be announced in the March 2012 edition of Inside Swale.

As it App-ens Swale residents can now use a number of Smart Phone apps on Android, iPhone and Blackberry mobiles to report problems such as graffiti or fly tipping to our Customer Services team 24 x 7. As well as a description, you can send a photo and a map location based on your GPS if your phone has one. Look in your phone’s market place or app store for “UK My Council Services”, “Fix My Street” and “Love Clean Streets” for more information. Not every app is available across all types of phones.

Sign of the times for Leysdown Artist Laura Boswell has been commissioned by Leysdown Rose-tinted to design and make a new Village Sign for the Spinney in the heart of Leysdown. Her design connects people to the landscape, bestloved places, seasons and memories – the things that define particular places as loved. The new village sign will welcome visitors to the area and promote places of interest, such as the start of the Isle of Harty Trail – a 9km cycle track through Leysdown Country and Coastal Park that takes you to the edge of Swale National Nature Reserve, home to plants, birds, butterflies and moths and with beautiful views across The Swale. The planning application for the sign was approved in November by Swale Borough Council’s planning team.

Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 5

Diamond Jubilee In 2012, Her Majesty The Queen will become the second Monarch in British history to celebrate 60 years on the throne. It has been a tradition to light a chain of Beacons to celebrate Jubilees. It is planned to have a total of 2,012 Beacons lit across the UK, with six Beacons being in Swale. So if you have a Beacon and want to get involved then let us know and we can register your interest. The Council would like Parish and Town Councils to help co-ordinate activities locally, and we hope that schools, clubs and societies across Swale will get involved and organise events. Each of Swale’s 47 borough councillors could offer a small amount of financial support for your event through the Local Engagement Forum grant scheme. Details of this for 2012/13 will be given to the local press in due course. It would help the Council, Police and Kent County Council Highways if you could let us know the size and scale of your planned activities in 2012 so you can be sure that things will run smoothly. There is still plenty of time to organise an event and get your community involved. We will mention your event on our website. For more information or to let us know how you are getting involved please email We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your news!

Keeping the grass green Swale Borough Council is working with its grounds maintenance contractor Blenwood to give its staff the chance to obtain an apprenticeship diploma in horticulture level 2. This joint partnership demonstrates the commitment of both organisations to having a skilled workforce. Once the 18-month long course is completed staff have wider knowledge of horticultural practices. It is open to all age groups. Stephen Williams recently completed the course and Steven Gale and Wesley Smith have just enrolled. Ed Gent who runs the training is pleased to see the positive effect the training is having on the workforce.

Unwanted clothing If you have any unwanted clothing after Christmas then don’t forget you can have your textiles collected by Queenborough-based firm Rocque Recycling, who export these unwanted textiles to developing countries, where they are distributed to local markets and stallholders sell the clothes to the surrounding communities. So far, in excess of ten tonnes has been collected from Swale residents. If you require more sacks to recycle your unwanted clothes or wish to book a collection please call Rocque Recycling on Freephone 0800 634 9732 and they will arrange delivery/collection at your home or place of work.

6 Inside Swale Swale & Canterbury Carers Support Superior homecare packages start from just £13.52 a week

PROMOTING, SUPPORTING & EMPOWERING ALL CARERS Swale & Canterbury Carers Support aims to reduce the stress and stigma caused as a result of the caring role for unpaid Family Carers and in the case of Young Carers, to restore lost childhood. We offer a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL service Adult Carer Support - An adult caring for another adult Alzheimer & Dementia Support Older Carer (aged 60+) of Person ZLWK/HDUQLQJ'LI¿FXOWLHV Parent Carer Support - supporting parents of children with additional needs Mindset - for Carers of people with Mental Health Problems Young Carers Support - aged 5-18years that are helping to care for someone Carers Health Promotion - Promoting healthy lifestyles and well being for the Carer Kent Carers Emergency Card For further details on the above and how we can support you please contact us:

01795 583440

Homecare at your control Tailored packages from half-hour visits to live-in care. Trained and vetted community carers working in all areas of Swale. Regulated by the Care Quality Commission. For more information contact 01622 230800

or visit:

Have your say – help shape Swale


Inside Swale 7

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Olympic Torch Faversham not only has a certain ring to it, but five Olympic rings! Faversham has been chosen as a host location for the Olympic Torch Relay. On Thursday 19 July 2012 people from Faversham and the surrounding communities can come to the town and share in the excitement that the Relay will bring and celebrate the achievements of the chosen Torchbearers. Faversham is one of over 1,000 villages, towns and cities announced by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) through which the Olympic Flame will be carried. Councillor Andrew Bowles, the Leader of Swale Former heptathlete Denise Lewis Borough Council, said “We are truly excited and with the Olympic Torch anticipate that this will mean a lot to people who can see the Olympic Flame and witness the spectacle of the Olympic Torch Relay.� Details of the route and the torchbearers will be revealed by LOCOG next year.

Regenerating Swale

8 Inside Swale

Gateway opens! The Gateway in Sheerness High Street opened to residents and visitors on Monday 21 November.

Gateway brings the County and Borough Council services together in one high street location. Some key Kent County Council services include customer service staff who will be able to assist with general enquiries; Adult Education (Skills Plus), Birth and Death registrations and Kent Adult Social Services. Swale Borough Council will offer in-house services including Customer Service, Housing Options and Housing and Council Tax benefits. Gateway provides free access to the internet and offers the convenience of self-service for a wide range of public services. A wide range of other voluntary service organisations will also be providing their skills, support and advice through the Gateway as part of a regular programme of events and surgeries. This development is central to the regeneration of Sheerness town centre. Swale Borough Council’s Sheerness district office has fully relocated from Trinity Road to the High Street. Sheerness Library has also relocated from Russell Street, Sheerness. The modern facilities will improve access to a range of services and make these available to customers from across the Island. The Gateway is in prime location in Sheerness Town Centre, and is expected to increase footfall in the High Street. Thanet’s Gateway has received well over a million visitors in its town centre location.

Sarah-Jane Radley, Sheerness Gateway Co-ordinator Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 9 Councillor Mike Cosgrove, Swale Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Localism and Communities said, “It’s really nice that we have taken delivery of our own Gateway. Kent County Council has huge experience of the benefits Gateways offer by bringing together a range of partners to help residents. Residents are expecting great things and we hope that Island residents in particular will make good use of it.”

Gateway Awaiting photos

“The Gateway provides many services all under one roof”

Regenerating Swale

10 Inside Swale

Rushenden Relief Road The Rushenden Relief Road was opened on 24 November.

The Rushenden Relief Road is a key piece of infrastructure The Relief Road is named Thompsett Way after the late Swale Borough Councillor Gerry Thompsett, who was a Freeman of the borough, and was a Swale Borough Councillor between 1973 and1976, and then again between 1979 and 1983. The multi-million pound regeneration proposals for Queenborough and Rushenden look at all aspects of regeneration, with housing, employment space, community facilities, open spaces and a potential new marina. The road will take existing and future industrial traffic away from the residential areas of the proposed scheme and open up the entire regeneration site. The link road is 1.2km long and will run between the new roundabout at Neats Court, constructed as part of the A249 Swale Crossing scheme, and pass over the railway connecting to a new junction on Rushenden Road The Rushenden Relief Road Scheme cost £12m and was funded primarily by SEEDA but with some support from Kent County Council.

Sittingbourne Northern Relief Road The Northern Relief Road is scheduled to open on 12 December. The road is 1.4km long and runs from the roundabout on Swale Way at Ridham Avenue to the roundabout on Castle Road. Its purpose is to give direct access from Eurolink/East Hall Farm out to the A249 and give some relief to the town centre roads. The scheme cost £30m and was funded by the Department of Transport, the Homes and Communities Agency and development contributions.

Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 11

The Apprentice Recent news headlines claimed that more 16-to 24-year-olds are without work now than at any time in nearly two decades. This is an issue being proactively tackled by Swale Borough Council and its partners. The Council has announced the start of a new pilot grant programme to encourage small employers to look at apprenticeships and consider employing the growing number of young people struggling to get their careers off to a start. The grant fund has been created by Swale Borough Council in partnership with the local 14-19 Planning Forum and Kent County Council. The 100 in 100 programme, launched in March, has been promoting apprenticeships to employers generally, with the aim of getting 100 new employers to take on at least 100 new apprentices before the end of 2011. To date 58 new employers have signed up to create 75 new apprenticeships. Cllr John Wright, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Learning and Skills at Swale Borough Council, said “We are really pleased with the support we have had from local employers. Our intention is to help those small employers that are prepared to look at apprenticeships for the first time, while also helping some of our local young people, who are not in education, employment or training.”

Building confidently towards regeneration Swale Borough Council and the Spirit of Sittingbourne consortium, who are the development partner that the Council is working with, have signed a Heads of Terms agreement. Although it is not the final legal agreement, it outlines what will be built in the town centre in the forthcoming years, such as a cinema, a performance arena and a new Gateway civic centre, along with associated leisure, retail and residential development. Councillor Andrew Bowles, Leader of Swale Borough Council, said “This is another significant step along the way to the regeneration of Sittingbourne town centre, which is vital for the town, its residents as we declare Swale open for business.” The Heads of Terms agreement runs in parallel with the Tesco and Essential Land planning applications.

12 Inside Swale

Swale Borough Council Boundary Review


Following a period of public consultation, the Local Government Boundary Commission has advised that it is currently minded to recommend a Council size of 47 Members. This is the same number of councillors that we have at present. The next stage of the review will be for Group Leaders to submit proposals for warding arrangements to the Commission by 10 January 2012. The Commission will consider the submissions and then publish proposals for warding arrangements, which will be open to public consultation. More information about the next stage of consultation will be given in the next edition of Inside Swale.

Police Commissioner elections 2012 The first set of Police Commissioner elections will take place on 15 November 2012. The date is set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act which became law on 15 September 2011. The Act replaces police authorities in England (excluding London) and Wales with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners, with the aim of improving police accountability. To vote on 15 November 2012 you need to be on the electoral register. For more information about registering to vote please see http://www. or contact the Customer Services team at Swale Borough Council for a registration form.

Have your say – help shape Swale

Creating a cleaner and greener Swale

Inside Swale 13

Swale will bloom in Jubilee Year During the Diamond Jubilee, Swale in Bloom is planning projects which will leave a lasting memorial for this important year. There are both local and national campaigns to encouraging tree planting and local residents are being consulted to identify suitable sites right across Swale. The Royal Horticultural Society is launching its Wild about Wildflowers initiative as a contribution to the Jubilee and local In Bloom groups will be taking part. Both Sittingbourne and Faversham in Bloom were delighted when they were again awarded Silver Gilt by the judges of South and South East in Bloom. This level of award reflects well on all the community effort and commitment of the volunteers and the towns.

Photo shows from left Cllrs Ted Wilcox and Cindy Davis with Faversham’s award, Sallie Shaw of Swale in Bloom and Brenda and Malcolm Moore with Sittingbourne award.

The annual Wildlife Gardening Awards which we manage with our colleagues at the Kent Wildlife Trust will be continuing during 2012. If you would like to make your garden more wildlife friendly then please contact us. We’ll send you an entry form and some suggestions to help you get started.

There are volunteering opportunities right across Swale so if you’d like to take part in making Swale an even cleaner and greener Borough, then contact us at or visit

Reinforcing a simple message You may have seen a giant box of chicken and chips, a giant crushed can of cola and a giant cigarette butt in your travels around the borough recently. As part of Swale Borough Council’s Environmental Response team’s ongoing anti-litter campaign, officers spend a couple of hours on the streets reminding residents in a light-hearted way about the importance of binning their rubbish and making their town a cleaner place for all. While the cleanliness of the borough is good, it can always be better. On-the-spot fines of £80 can be issued if you are seen purposely dropping litter and walking away, so this initiative is part of our commitment to get involved with the community and concentrate on reminding them of their responsibilities. The Council works closely with Kent Police through the Community Safety Partnership, to help make Swale a safer and cleaner borough for all of us.

14 Inside Swale

Creating a cleaner and greener Swale

Christmas bin collection 2011 Swale Borough Council’s refuse and recycling collection dates over the festive period are as follows: If your bin is scheduled to be collected on:

It will now be collected on:

Monday 26 December

Tuesday 27 December

Tuesday 27 December

Wednesday 28 December

Wednesday 28 December

Thursday 29 December

Thursday 29 December

Friday 30 December

Friday 30 December

Saturday 31 December

Collections return to normal from the following Monday 2 January 2012. Please have your bin out by 7am on the correct day. In the event of bad weather If Swale is affected by bad weather during the winter months, please leave your bin out for collection and our refuse collectors will get to them as soon as they are able to. If there is inclement weather the latest information will be posted on the Council website at

The snow code In bad weather, the Borough’s primary roads are salted but the footpaths remain an issue for bin men trying to pull heavy bins around, particularly on the side roads. There simply isn’t enough resource to be able to clear every single footpath in the borough and so any support that residents can provide is always very welcome. These are the times to be neighbourly and show a concern for others, and therefore if you are able to help your neighbours and passers-by by clearing pavements and pathways of snow and ice it would be appreciated. If you are able to help in this way we would recommend that you follow the Snow Code as advised by the DirectGov website uk/en/Nl1/Newsroom/DG_191868 which has some sensible advice.

Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 15

16 Inside Swale

A high-performing organisation

What do you think of this magazine? We want to communicate clearly with everyone who lives and works in Swale and to provide you with the information you need about services provided by Swale Borough Council and our partners in the community, such as the Community Safety Partnership.

Getting information Where do you usually get information about Swale Borough Council services? (Please tick all that apply to you)

   

Inside Swale magazine

 Swale Borough Council website  Swale Borough Council on Twitter  The council’s offices/Gateway or call centre

Local library


Local newspapers and radio Swale Borough Council on Facebook

Thinking about Inside Swale the residents magazine How would you rate the content of the magazine for: Useful information?   very good  good  average  Design and layout?   very good  good  average  Use and quality of photographs?   very good  good  average  Advertising?   very good  good  average  Easy to read?   very good  good  average 


 very poor


 very poor


 very poor


 very poor


 very poor

Is the size right? Thinking about the number of pages, is the magazine:  too long  about right  not long enough Thinking about the size of the text in the magazine, is the text:  too small  about right  too large? Thinking of the current size of the magazine, if we could change it would you prefer:  larger size or  keep it the same

What would you like to see more of in the magazine? (1 = less important, 5 = more important, please circle number): More council news? 1 2 3 4 5 More community news? 1 2 3 4 5 Events listing? 1 2 3 4 5 Contact detail? 1 2 3 4 5 More about councillors? 1 2 3 4 5 Letters from readers? 1 2 3 4 5 Anything else?

Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 17 We aim to keep you informed and publish four issues a year. Is this:

 

too many issues

about right

too few issues

How much of the magazine do you read?

 



a little


Did you know that the magazine can be viewed online at



If Inside Swale was only available on our website and not delivered to your door, what is the likelihood you would continue to read it?

 

more likely


less likely

Once you have read your copy of the magazine, do you:

 

keep it for reference

throw it away

recycle it?

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Inside Swale magazine?

Please rate the magazine overall?

 

very good

About you

Your gender: male Your age:

 



 very poor



16 or under  17-25 56-65  over 65



 46-55

How much do you think this copy of Inside Swale costs to produce and mail out?

1p - 10p

11p - 16p

 17p - 20p

 more

Thank you for taking the time to complete our questionnaire. Your answers will help us to improve Inside Swale. Please deliver your completed questionnaire to Swale Borough Council’s offices in Sittingbourne, Faversham or the Gateway Sheerness. Alternatively please post to: Jason Wignall, Communications and Marketing Manager, Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT

18 Inside Swale

A high-performing organisation

Your views on Swale Local Area Perception Survey During August and September 2011 2,500 randomly selected households were mailed a questionnaire seeking residents’ views about the borough.

We asked ... what were the top five things that were most important in making somewhere a good place to live?

We asked … what were the top five things that needed improving?

You said…………

You said………..

 Level of crime

 Activities for teenagers

 Clean streets

 Road and pavement repairs

 Health services

 Job prospects

 Road and pavement repairs

 The level of traffic congestion

 Shopping facilities

 Shopping facilities

42% of residents are satisfied with the way the council runs things nearly three quarters (70%) of residents are satisfied with their local area as a place to live less than a fifth (17%) of residents felt that anti-social behaviour was a problem Over half (54%) of residents felt that the council was making the area a better place to live Nearly two fifths (39%) of residents thought that the council gives residents good value for money In order to promote better health and well-being in the local area residents felt that the council should focus on:   Tackling drug abuse (   Increase people’s participation in sport/exercise   Improving walking and cycling routes ( So we need to do better. When making decisions on the budget for Swale next year the council may have to consider reducing services or increasing Council Tax. These are the preferences expressed by local residents:   Council Tax should not go up in any circumstances 42%   My decision on whether Council Tax should go up would depend on which services were cut 47%   In general I would rather see Council Tax go up than see major cuts in services 11%.

Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 19

Island Performing Arts The Ship Inn, Conyer Situated in the heart of the Swale Area on the Saxon Shore Way, The Ship Inn is a perfect venue for that special occasion or lunch stop for walkers (dogs & children welcome). A wide selection of traditional British Cuisine freshly prepared from locally sourced produce is served daily, together with a good range of cask ales, beers, & wine. Come and warm up next to one of the log fires and relax in a comfy arm chair or watch the sun set across the marshes while you dine. Lunchtime set menu from £8.50, evening à la Carte, Tapas bar menu, Curry night, Pie night and Sunday Roasts.

Acting Dancing and Singing Acting, for the Isle of Sheppey






PO Box 194, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 4AZ 01795 228022 - 07816 989397

The Ship Inn Conyer Quay Teynham Kent ME9 9HR t 01795 520881

“Where aspiring talent develops”

20 Inside Swale

A high-performing organisation

Further information on changes to Housing Benefit What has changed? From April 2011 the Government made changes to Housing Benefit for tenants renting from a landlord in the private sector. These changes will affect you if you are renting a property from a private landlord and receiving Housing Benefit and you made your claim for your current address on or after 7 April 2008.

When is it changing? The Government reduced the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates from April 2011 to a lower amount. If you are making or have made a new claim to Housing Benefit or have moved home since 1 April 2011, these changes already apply to you and you will already receive the lower Local Housing Allowance rate. If you were already claiming before April 2011, you would have had “transitional protection”. This means that (provided your circumstances haven’t changed) you will have nine months benefit based on the old Local Housing Allowance rate starting from the date we next assess your Housing Benefit on or after 1 April 2011. At the end of the nine months, your transitional protection will end and your benefit will then be assessed using the lower Local Housing Allowance rates. For instance if your next LHA anniversary date was due in June 2011 the changes would not affect you until March 2012. If you are getting or thinking of claiming Housing Benefit, you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement with a private landlord.

Discretionary Housing Payments If you find that the benefit you receive does not meet the rent charged and/or Council Tax you are due to pay, you can apply to Swale Borough Council for extra help called a “Discretionary Housing Payment”. To receive this payment, you have to show that you cannot afford the shortfall in your rent and/ or Council Tax, or if you do so, you or someone in your family will suffer hardship. If you would like to apply for this extra help, please contact the Benefits Team for an application form.

Where to go for more information  You can get more information at  You can also contact the Benefits team at the Council by calling 01795 417 555.  The Citizens Advice Bureau  Shelter  You can also contact the Council’s Housing Options team on 01795 417 511.

Have your say – help shape Swale

Water stewardess Emily wishes you a pleasant and water efficient day and suggests:

Saving water by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth

Find out when your meter is coming at


Water resources in the South East are under stress. Southern Water is installing water meters to reduce demand, protect the environment and help our carbon footprint

22 Inside Swale

Have your say – help shape Swale

A high-performing organisation

Inside Swale 23

Let’s make Swale a better place! For the 2012/13 financial year, Swale Borough Council has 20% less funds available than it did two years ago. So for every £10 the Council had to spend on services we now only have £8. To respond to these financial challenges we need to change our approach to your public services. We have already begun to do this by sharing our services with other local councils (such as CCTV with Medway and Human Resources with Maidstone) and are working with charities and local businesses as we improve our services. We are now consulting on our Corporate Plan, which sets out what we aim to achieve for you over the next three years. We have three draft priorities that we want your views on.

Please tell us what you think of these priorities

Priority 1: Localism This priority is about promoting freedom, enterprise and responsibility in how we respond to the Localism Act 2011 and play our part in growing the big society in Swale. We already enjoy a very strong relationship with Town and Parish Councils and the voluntary and community sector. This priority is about how we take that further. Councillors have an important role to play as Community Champions in representing the interest of their wards, scrutinising the Cabinet’s decisions, and contributing to Council policy and this priority reflects that.

Priority 2: Open for Business This priority is about working with the private sector and other public sector partners. Many residents in Swale live in areas of deprivation. It is essential that we ensure Swale has a wide range of good-quality jobs and improve local people’s access to them. It is vital that we make Swale ‘open for business’, by making sure that local business can thrive and that it is welcomed into Swale. We also need to improve learning and skills opportunities in Swale and improve the skills profile of our residents, and lobby for better transport infrastructure in the borough.

Priority 3: Healthy Environment, Responsible People This priority is about Swale as a place and the impact that our policies have on your general health and wellbeing. Wellbeing is connected with the fight against crime and disorder. In surveys, you tell us that the level of crime and clean streets are the most important factors in making an area a good place to live. You will be asked to take on more responsibility, in terms of your own lifestyle choices, and communities will need to pull together to tackle local issues. Please tell us what you think of these priorities. There will soon be a consultation document on our website and a questionnaire for you to download. You can also email

24 Inside Swale

A high-performing organisation

Staying Put draws big crowds again The hall was packed at Staying Put’s annual Living in Safety event at the Alexander Centre in Faversham in September. Staying Put is the home improvement agency for Swale that helps residents who are over 60 years of age and/ or disabled to live in their home more comfortably and securely by helping with any repairs or adaptations needed. There were plenty of stands to visit and lots of advice to be had as organisations such as Age Concern, Citizens Advice Bureau, CRUSE Bereavement Care, Diversity House and Kent Police were there. The Mayor of Swale presented the Staying Put team with a certificate that recognised the fact that they had been shortlisted for the Kent Housing Group Excellence Awards for how the service looks after vulnerable people.

Domestic Abuse?

To find out how Staying Put could help you phone 01795 417131 Are you, or is someone you know, suffering from Domestic Abuse? If you would like confidential advice and support you can speak to Swale Borough Council’s Housing Options Team at Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne either face to face or over the phone on 01795 417511. The ‘Swale Domestic Abuse Information Line’ is available on 01795 434300. This is unique to Swale and is available 24 hours a day, every day. The line is for anyone who has experienced domestic abuse or is concerned for a family member or friend. Swale also runs a weekly ‘Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop’ on a Tuesday morning between 9.30 and 11 am. If you would like more details please phone us on 01795 417 511.

No Use Empty Swale Borough Council was one of the four Councils to kick-start the ‘No use Empty’ scheme five years ago, the idea is to bring long term empty properties back into use. The scheme was recently recognised at the Regeneration and Renewal awards in London when it won the Partnership Working category, being described by the judges as highly effective. We have been able to use a number of initiatives that have brought empty properties back into use. Since 2005, we have been successful on 138 occasions. Derek Conway, Swale Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing, said “No Use Empty has been successful because it offers owners the ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’. We are willing to provide free advice and guidance, and even help secure funding for owners to bring empty properties back into use, but for those who are content to see a perfectly good home go to waste, we are able to take firm action.” Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 25

Customer feedback Swale Borough Council’s Housing Services Team have been capturing customer feedback on what people think of the services they provide. From 1 April 2011 to 30 September 2011 a total of 348 surveys were returned and below are the results: How satisfied were you with advice given? Overall how satisfied were you with services you received? How satisfied were you with the time it took to contact you following your initial enquiry? 0%








No opinion






We are grateful for all feedback that we receive and are pleased that our customers value what we do highly. However, we are always seeking to improve our services and will act on the comments received. To let us know your views on our services please phone 01795 417 530.

Rushenden Retrofit – the work begins... Work on the Rushenden Retrofit has begun. There will be more on this in our next issue.

You can now call Kent Police for nonurgent issues on 101. The number is available all day every day. To make it quicker and easier for the public to get in contact with their local police. 101 gives a single, easy-toremember number to call to report crime and other issues which do not require an emergency response. You can also call 101 to speak to your local neighbourhood officer, to make a general enquiry or to make us aware of a policing issue where you live. For more information on what an emergency is visit the Kent Police website,

26 Inside Swale

Run by you

A high-performing organisation

Swale Borough Council is working with local groups to take on running the community halls that have historically been run by the Council. Alexander Centre We have been working with The Alexander Centre Trust over the last few years and the Trust has been managing the building during that time. Since it has been running the building the Trust has made a real impact to the Centre’s interior and it was agreed in October that the Centre would be transferred to the Trust in April 2012. Thistle Hill Within the Thistle Hill development on the Isle of Sheppey a new Community Centre has been built as part of a development agreement with Bovis. The Council will soon own the hall but the local community has risen to the challenge and will be taking on the centre and running it on behalf of the community. We are also working with groups in relation to Kemsley Hall and are looking to develop a Centre at The Meads. We are always looking for members of the Community who want to be involved in running community facilities. If anyone is interested then please contact Charlotte Hudson on 01795 417 197.

Tattooing – health information Any business carrying out acupuncture, skin piercing and tattooing in Swale must be registered by Swale Borough Council and carried out in premises that are also registered. Officers from Swale Borough Council’s Environmental Health Team will then visit and make sure that acceptable standards are in place and byelaws are complied with. Unfortunately we often receive allegations that these treatments are being carried out by unregistered persons, sometimes in their own homes. If you visit an unregistered establishment you run the risk of treatment by untrained people in conditions of poor hygiene. Make sure you go to someone who is registered – the registration certificate and a copy of the byelaws must be displayed on the premises. If you know of anyone who may be practising illegally we would like to know on 01795 417 106.

Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 27

Advertise in this space! Inside Swale is Swale Borough Council’s residents’ publication. It is distributed to the Isle of Sheppey, Sittingbourne, Faversham and surrounding villages. It is delivered direct to homes by the Royal Mail with the morning post.* Call Andrew Schofield on 0845 004 0683 or email for a quote or to book. *Inside Swale is delivered by the Royal Mail’s Door to Door service. Customers who have opted out of this service may not receive the magazine through their door.

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28 Inside Swale

News from Medway Maritime Hospital

Better care together Boards decide to proceed to the next stage of integration with Dartford You may be aware that the Boards at Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust have been considering the feasibility of bringing the two Trusts together as one. The feasibility study, which took place between March and September, was just the first milestone of several on the journey towards integration. At the end of September, following confirmation from the feasibility work that integration would enhance patient care and secure services, both Boards decided to proceed to the next phase.

Why is integration being proposed? The purpose of integration is all about making the most efficient use of the resources we have available between the two organisations and achieving maximum patient benefits from

them. This includes building on combined clinical expertise and as a result, offering patients in North Kent more specialist services which they would normally have to travel to London for; and doing more than we could as a single organisation because of constrained budgets. The combination of financial and clinical viability issues mean that hospitals like Medway Maritime and Darent Valley will find it increasingly difficult to provide the full range of services if they operate alone. The results of the detailed feasibility study have confirmed our belief that joining the two hospitals will not only safeguard services, but build on the range and quality of those services already available to local people. Reducing services is not part of the plan – both hospitals would continue to provide full A&E, maternity, children’s and outpatients’ services. The larger single organisation would allow availability of services which we would not Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 29

otherwise be able to offer. For example, some specialist services require a specific population size for sustainability. This is because professionals need to perform a minimum number of procedures each year to keep their skills up to date. As a single integrated organisation, we would cover a larger population and so these services would be protected. Current services can be developed so they are more flexible and accessible. For example, a larger number of clinicians on our rotas will mean more services will be available on a 24/7 basis, with better cover at night and at weekends. By merging the Boards and some management support functions, overhead

costs can be reduced. By joining together the hospitals can be more efficient with taxpayers’ money and will have greater economies of scale and purchasing power. The savings released will be reinvested into frontline care. We understand that our patients and the public will have many questions around how things may work in practice and how it may affect them, their friends or family who need hospital care. We welcome your questions and comments and you can get in touch by phone or email. Email: Telephone: 01634 830 000 x6761 The latest updates and developments can be found on our website

Use ED responsibly Winter is a busy time for the NHS and emergency departments are put under particular pressure not only from conditions like Norovirus and seasonal flu, but also other chronic illnesses made worse by the cold weather. The entire community has a role to play in ensuring that the emergency department operates efficiently and has the capacity to deal with life threatening illnesses or accidents. By considering the alternatives before coming to ED it can lessen the burden on services and ensure patients receive the right care from the right service. For out-of-hours services and details of walk-in-centres, when your GP is unable to see you, visit

Your Councillors

30 Inside Swale

 

Conservative  Labour Independent Group

Abbey Bryan Mulhern 01795 538 498 Anita Walker 01795 531 192 Borden Nicholas Hampshire 01795 477 560 (eve) or 07739 108756 Boughton & Courtenay George Bobbin 01227 751 388 Andrew Bowles 01227 752 840 or 07778 629879 Chalkwell Roger Truelove 01795 425 445 Ghlin Whelan 01795 475 629 Davington Priory Mike Henderson 01795 534 368 or 07900 265337 East Downs Colin Prescott 01795 590 054 Grove Duncan Dewar-Whalley 07889 808871 Gareth Randall 01795 474 802

Hartlip, Newington & Upchurch Gerry Lewin 01634 366 113 John Wright 01795 842 852 Iwade & Lower Halstow Ben Stokes 01795 476 979 Kemsley Sue Gent 01795 553 900 Brenda Simpson 01795 559 603 Leysdown & Warden Patricia Sandle 01795 510 400 Milton Regis Adam Tolhurst 01795 475 888 Tony Winckless 01795 425 987 Minster Cliffs Andy Booth 07912 464213 or 07824 556185 Adrian Crowther 01795 874 418 Kenneth Pugh 01795 871 388 Murston Ed Gent Have your say – help shape Swale

Inside Swale 31 Nick Williams 01795 479 835 Queenborough & Halfway Jackie Constable 01795 665 238 Mick Constable 01795 665 238 Peter Marchington 01795 661 960 (evenings) Roman Mike Haywood 07960 173264

Teynham & Lynsted Richard Barnicott 01795 536 177

Sheerness East Mark Ellen 01795 667 027 David Sargent 01795 664 914 Sheerness West Angela Harrison 01795 665 029 Stephen Worrall 01795 665 589 Sheppey Central Lesley Ingham 01795 881 123 or 07714 445871

John Coulter 01795 539 046 St Michael’s Derek Conway 01795 424 865 or 07789 072677 Sylvia Bennett 01795 476 979

Martin McCusker 07403 006997

June Garrad 01795 664 330

John Morris 01795 881 102 St Ann’s Mike Cosgrove 01795 591 790

Lloyd Bowen 01795 522 357 Watling David Simmons 01795 532 100 Ted Wilcox 01795 533 004 West Downs Monique Bonney 07973 443527 Woodstock Alan Willicombe 01795 439 680 Jean Willicombe 01795 439 680

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Inside Swale Winter 2011