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News

  • FHDC Ward Grant Application 2020
    Article: Aug 9, 2020

    Folkestone and Hythe District Councillors have up to £3,000 per Councillor they can agree as ward grants during the course of a year.

    New for 2020 the forms and guidance notes to make an application to a Councillor are online at:

    https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/community/community-funding/ward-budget

  • Rob at CH
    Article: Jul 25, 2020

    Some thoughts by Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Kent County Council

    Earlier this month Minister of State, Simon Clarke, stated that the Conservative Government is pressing ahead with the publication of its Devolution White Paper in the Autumn. The Minister stated that the Government is aiming for 'many more elected mayors and more unitary councils following in the footsteps of Dorset, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.'

  • Rob at Dover
    Article: Jul 19, 2020

    Minister admits that Government is planning for significant disruption in Kent at the end of the Brexit transition period

    Earlier this week the Government completed the purchase of the so-called "MOJO" customs clearance site and lorry holding area next to Jct. 10a on the M20 near Ashford. The Government's plans first came to light last Friday week. They were previously kept secret from Ashford Borough Council and local residents, although the Cabinet Member has confirmed that Kent CC was aware of the Government's proposals.

  • Tim Prater with a Seagull Proof Waste Sack
    Article: Jul 17, 2020

    Seagull proof sacks are now available to households in Sandgate (mainly the High Street / Esplanade areas and roads off) who have "purple bag" refuse collections. Stop the purple bags being pecked apart and waste pulled everywhere by putting your bags in the sack on collection days.

    Full details of how qualifiying households can apply for their (one!) free sack are at https://sandgatepc.org.uk/2020/07/17/seagull-proof-sacks-for-refuse-collections-now-available-in-sandgate/

  • Antony Hook at CH
    Article: Jul 17, 2020

    Kent Liberal Democrat councillor Antony Hook has asked Conservative-run Kent County Council to urgently clarify its approach to awarding big contracts.

    At a meeting this morning of the county's Environment & Transport Committee, Mr Hook challenged Conservative Cabinet Member for the Environment Susan Carey to include green requirements when contracts are awarded to supply services to the county.

  • Antony Hook in Kent County Councl Chamber
    Article: Jul 16, 2020

    Liberal Democrats, the largest opposition party on Kent County Council, today put forward a motion against racism.

    The Liberal Democrat motion said:

    "This Council:

    1. a) is mindful of the recent death of George Floyd in the United States and of the demonstrations that followed;
    2. b) is aware of the depth of public concern expressed during recent weeks in Britain about ingrained institutional racism directed against non-white persons; and
    3. c) is conscious of the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on black and minority ethnic residents.
  • Something is Wrong on the Internet cartoon (From xkcd: https://xkcd.com/386/)
    Article: Jul 16, 2020

    In early June, after massive issues at the Lower Leas Coastal Park coming back out of lockdown (as in previous summers) and after ongoing and lobbying from me and others, a number of changes were made to the Lower Leas Coastal Park terms of use, including the Banning of BBQs, new bins, diversionary signage and overnight closure of one of the car parks to reduce the impact on local residents.

  • Kent Downs fields / flowers (Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent. / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/))
    Article: Jul 16, 2020

    The Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a nationally protected landscape and home to some of the most enchanting countryside in Britain. The Kent Downs covers about a quarter of the County of Kent focusing on the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge, stretching from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Surrey and London borders. Within Folkestone and Hythe District the AONB is predominantly found to the north of the district.

  • The Folkestone Haven Coffee bar
    Article: Jul 10, 2020

    The Folkestone Haven offers safe, inclusive and welcoming spaces for people who are struggling to cope with their mental health during the evening, weekends and bank holidays when other services may be closed.

    The Folkestone Haven is for adult residents (18+) of the Folkestone and Hythe District who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health and feel unable to cope. This includes people who may be anxious or worried about anything affecting their mental health but don't have support networks available to them. It is for people who use or have used mental health services and those who have never used them before.

    It is open access and no appointment is necessary, and the service is completely free.

    The Folkestone Haven is based at the Rainbow Centre, 69 Sandgate Road, Folkestone CT20 2AF (Folkestone.Haven@hestia.org 07827 533871). They are open Monday-Friday from 18:00 to 23:00 and Weekends & Bank Holidays from 12:00 to 23:00.

    The Folkestone Haven's aim is to support people using the service to reduce their crisis and anxiety, and to safety plan, drawing on strengths, resilience and coping mechanisms to reduce the need to use crisis services in the future. We will also refer and signpost to other support services.

    You can learn more at https://www.hestia.org/folkestone-and-hythe-district

    Tim says:

    "When I first heard of the haven I thought it was a really important scheme and wanted to help. I was really pleased I was able to support the Haven with a small grant from my ward grant budget in January this year.

    "Although the Haven is in central Folkestone, it's there to support anyone, from across the district, who need their help. We don't talk about mental health issues enough, and those with issues often don't get the support they deserve. I'm delighted that in Folkestone and Hythe, the Folkestone Haven can offer people that place to start to talk."

  • Graham Colley
    Article: Jul 9, 2020

    Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce that Graham Colley has been selected as their candidate at the next Police and Crime Commissioner election, due to take place in May 2021. Graham has been a vocal supporter of Kent Police and will campaign for more frontline officers, community policing and improved visibility of police, especially in rural areas of the county.

  • Layla Moran (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)] https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2017/07/21/mp-official-portraits-open-source-images/)
    Article: Jul 2, 2020

    Speaking following the statement on schools reopening, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

    "Today's statement shows just how woefully underprepared the Government are to ensure every young person can return to school in September.

    "Despite the very real risk of further local outbreaks of Covid 19, the Education Secretary refused to give any commitment that children will get the equipment they need to learn from home. Without them, too many will have no chance of catching up on their education and will continue to fall behind.

  • Shorncliffe Road Crossing plan
    Article: Jul 1, 2020

    It has been confirmed that a proposed new crossing of Shorncliffe Road to make access from Sandgate and West Folkestone to Folkestone West Railway Station has got the go-ahead and will be built this summer. The plan went to consulation with residents earlier this year.

    Following consultation, the detailed plans have been slightly amended, moving the new crossing from one side of the Shorncliffe Road junction with Audley Road to the other, so that the crossing now is opposite St George's Church.

  • Form for Confirmation of State aid received under small business or retail, leisure and hospitality grant scheme, and undertaking in difficulty status
    Article: Jun 23, 2020

    All businesses that have had grant aid support via Folkestone and Hythe District Council in the form of the Small Business Grant (£10,000) or Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant (£10,000 - £25,000) have now received a form to complete to confirm they were eligible for the grant and that they can keepi it.

  • Recycling and Residual / General Waste Wheely bins
    Article: Jun 22, 2020

    Never give up.

    A local resident was in touch with me in March after trying, and failing, to get a replacement "residual waste" (non-recycling) bin from Folkestone & Hythe District Council after it was broken in the course of its regular collection.

    That seemed wrong to me, so I took it up with the Council too. I asked, begged, argued... and lost.

  • CPZ Consultation Notice
    Article: Jun 15, 2020

    Why is there a consultation on changing the current CPZ restrictions in Radnor Cliff and Radnor Cliff Crescent now?

    There were a number of fully justified complaints and reports from Radnor Cliff residents about the increasing congestion in Radnor Cliff. This was leading at weekends, and often during summer holidays too, to the road jamming, as with the road fully parked there is insufficient space for cars to get in and out and pass each other. This has led to jams, residents unable to access their homes, emergency vehicles being blocked, and even arguments in the street.

  • Martin Cox
    Article: Jun 11, 2020

    Kent County Council has agreed to waive the £190 license fee it was charging for catering business for setting up tables and chairs outside their premises. The fee will now be waived for 6 weeks. The move follows pressure from opposition councillors at County Hall and outcry from traders across the County.

  • Debit and Credit cards [Plastic money]
    Article: Jun 10, 2020

    Further to the launch of the Folkestone & Hythe District Council Discretionary Small Business Grant Scheme, they have now widened the scheme to include those that have already received a grant from the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and more types of businesses are now eligible for funding. Those eligible to apply for a grant now include:

    • Businesses in shared workspaces (such as in business centres and business incubators) that would have received a Small Business Grant or Retail Hospitality & Leisure Grant if they were individual business rate payers.
    • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates.
    • Holiday lets where the owner is a resident of the Folkestone and Hythe district. Where an owner has more than one property a maximum of one grant is payable per resident.
    • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment and have a business address in the district.
    • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
    • Creative businesses based in residential or business premises with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.
    • Retail, Leisure and Hospitality businesses that are ineligible for the SBG and RHLGF grant schemes because they were not included in the business rates register on 11 March 2020 and garages and MOT repair workshops are included in this sector. This includes businesses in this sector which are home-based, that pay council tax rather than business rates.

    The closing date for applications is 9am Monday 22 June 2020.

    Further details about the scheme, including the supporting evidence required alongside an application, can be found at https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/business-grant-scheme

  • Dog - Terrier mixed-breed (Chris Barber / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Terrier_mixed-breed_dog.jpg)
    Article: Jun 5, 2020

    In amongst the works at the Lower Leas Coastal Park tthis week, a large number of new signs have been put up, some moved, some recycled and some new.

    In this process, a couple of signs that said that Dogs were not allowed in the Park ended up on display.

    This issue was spotted by a few eagle eyed residents who reported to me.

  • Parking Zone Signs
    Article: Jun 5, 2020

    As part of a host of changes in motion to try to address issues being caused to Radnor Cliff and Radnor Cliff Crescent residents by the access to the Lower Leas Coastal Park, it has been agreed to consult those residents on a change to the on-street parking rules in that area.

    With the parking charges in the Lower Sandgate Road West Car park being increased to try to push users to the cheaper and less disruptive Coastal Park car park at the Folkestone end of the park (accessed via Marine Parade) some park users have been parking in Radnor Cliff to avoid the charges, adding to the horrendous weekend congestion in that area. The CPZ changes would remove free visitors parking in Radnor Cliff and Radnor Cliff Crescent to combat that problem.

  • Care Home Worker and Resident
    Article: Jun 5, 2020
    By Trudy Dean

    There were 997 at 22 May. On 25th May, the most recent data available, the Office for National Statistics reported 255 deaths in care homes in Kent for which Covid-19 is listed on the death certificate. That is over a quarter of all Kent deaths.

    A new report shows how care home residents and staff remain particularly exposed due to persistent problems, including getting tests and protective clothing (PPE).

  • Parking Zone Signs
    Article: Jun 3, 2020

    In the last few days, a couple of parking based questions have been posed to me, and I've had to go away and ask an expert (in this case, Fred Miller of FHDC - thanks Fred) for a full answer. In both cases, the answers come from national legisation or guidelines, rather than local rules. I thought them worth sharing:

  • Lower Leas Coastal Park Sign
    Article: Jun 1, 2020

    We all know that the position in the Lower Leas Park this weekend (and in previous weekends) has not been acceptable, and was not sustainable.

    I've been pushing Council Officers and the Leader for radical action, and I was promised an update today. I'm really pleased to say I've had that response from Head of Paid service Susan Priest tonight, and it really is a big step forward, with a massive increase in bin capacity, the banning of BBQs, closing of the Coastal Park Car Park (accessed from Radnor Cliff) overnight and a number of other measures.

    Susan says

    "I'm pleased to confirm that this evening the Council have agreed the following measures:

    * Six additional bins - each with a 1110 litre * capacity - will be installed tomorrow in the Coastal Park;

    - Barbecuing will be banned in the Coastal Park with immediate effect. We will let the public know through changed signage at the Coastal Park and through our usual communications channels including the media, website and social media. BBQ pods will be removed;

    - We will refresh the double yellow lines along Radnor Cliff Road;

    - We will install a lockable barrier on the Coastal Park car park and close this overnight from 8pm - 8am. We are finding that many groups are staying in the Coastal Park until 11pm so we hope that this will discourage them from staying late into the evening;

    - We are considering changing the maximum stay in the Coastal Park from all day (potentially to a maximum of 4 hours) to discourage people from all-day stays. This will be subject to us consulting / securing various permissions etc.;

    - Additional signage is being prepared. We are exploring the use of large electronic signage located at various points in the district / access points to the park areas;

    - We have put an alert on our webpage for the Coastal Park warning people that the park is experiencing high levels of visitors and as such they might find social distancing impossible;

    - We are also increasing the amount of enforcement and advisory officers to give a higher visual presence, while redeploying staff to park keeper roles to ensure we have more resources to maintain the park at this incredibly busy time. We will be issuing on the spot £100 fines for people that breach our PSPO; and

    -We will continue to work with the Police to ensure that there is a joint enforcement presence in the park.

    "We hope that these measures, which will be implemented swiftly, will improve the situation and we will continue to monitor the situation."There should be a letter in the next few days explaining these changes delivered to all doors in the most affected areas (specially Radnor Cliff area).

    We need to have a discussion with Radnor Cliff residents about the parking restrictions in their road: if we get overnight car park closures and reduced hours then that will help solve one issue, but no-one wants to see more visitor cars pushed into Radnor Cliff, day or night. We need to look at how that can be avoided. I've already asked for more detail on that, but its clear what we currently have does not work in the summer.

    There is going to have to be some tuning of some of these changes to get them right I'm sure, and we'll have to see some really concerted Social Media, signage and more to immediately see a drop in numbers driving from elsewhere. However, I think these are big moves, being offered in good faith, and should make a real difference. I've been pushing hard for changes, and I'm really pleased to have had a positive response.

    * that's 6 pretty big bins - bigger than any others currently in the Park!

  • Money / banknotes (pounds sterling) in hand
    Article: May 29, 2020

    Folkestone & Hythe District Council will be launching their COVID Discretionary Business Grant Scheme at 9am Monday 1 June 2020.

    This scheme draws on the Government's 5% top-up allocation to the Council for the original Small Business Grant (SBG) and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant (RHLG) schemes for a discretionary scheme to support small and microbusinesses that did not benefit from the earlier funding.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: May 29, 2020

    Traditional season tickets are unlikely to be attractive for many rail commuters in the future. The rail operators need to provide more flexible ticket options.

    During the lockdown working from home has become a new routine for many people. Home working has had some positive benefits both for staff and for employers. Now, as the lockdown is gradually lifted, it is clear that many of these workers are unlikely to revert to 5 day-a-week commuting. Instead, many staff are expected to adopt more flexible arrangements, going into work just occasionally.

  • HMRC Business Support
    Article: May 26, 2020
    By Jim Harra, HMRC Business Help and Support

    The latest update from HMRC Business Help and Support is as follows:

    "I'm writing to let you know that the coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live on GOV‌.UK.

    If you're an employer with fewer than 250 employees, you can now claim for coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If you have a tax agent, they can also make claims on your behalf.

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