Ev­ery­thing is in place for growth

Other sub­jects dis­cussed at the State of the Bor­ough meet­ing in­cluded…

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

Ed­u­ca­tion

Plans for Ash­ford’s new learn­ing cam­pus will not be dis­rupted by its man­agers be­ing in­volved in a pro­posed merger, coun­cil­lors were as­sured. South Kent Col­lege (SKC) will run the £55 mil­lion cam­pus at Vic­to­ria Road but there are pro­pos­als for it to merge with West Kent Col­lege. But Mon­ica Box, of SKC, said of the cam­pus: “There is a shared vi­sion for a learn­ing cam­pus in the town. It is not dis­turbed by any merger pro­posal.” The cam­pus is ex­pected to open in 2010 with 14,000 stu­dents. The project is to im­prove lo­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties for post-16 ed­u­ca­tion and also pro­vide adult cour­ses and

pub­lic events.

Hous­ing

Richard Alder­ton sug­gested that the irony of the tum­bling hous­ing mar­ket is that more peo­ple would even­tu­ally be able to af­ford to buy as prices fell. He said: “With house prices fall­ing many peo­ple will be able to af­ford hous­ing. Peo­ple will ben­e­fit once the credit crunch side is sorted.” He said with the present hous­ing cri­sis, hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions were of­fer­ing to do more to help.

Health

Ash­ford has a higher than av­er­age in­ci­dence of smok­ing dur­ing preg­nancy and lower lev­els of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity among chil­dren. It also has a greater pro­por­tion of road in­juries and deaths but oth­er­wise the health of peo­ple in the bor­ough is close to the av­er­age of Eng­land, an of­fi­cers’ re­port said. Health in­equal­i­ties are be­ing tack­led lo­cally with projects such as the Green Gym at Sin­gle­ton En­vi­ron­ment Cen­tre dur­ing 2008/09. This is one of the projects within the £300,000 bud­get of East­ern and Coastal Kent Pri­mary Care Trust over three years.

Law and or­der

Ju­nior schools in the bor­ough are in­volved in a Safety in Action scheme where pupils learn about stranger dan­ger, drugs and al­co­hol and text bul­ly­ing. Kent Po­lice Ch Insp John Frayne told the meet­ing that pupils from The Tow­ers secondary school are in­volved in help­ing the youngsters in the project. The meet­ing heard that Ash­ford has rel­a­tively low crime, com­pared with other lo­cal au­thor­ity ar­eas, and low per­cep­tion of it. Re­cent suc­cesses have seen a 77 per cent fall in calls about nui­sance gath­er­ings.

Trans­port

Ash­ford Part­ner­ship wants to ex­ploit the good road and rail links to Lon­don, East Sus­sex and the Con­ti­nent to help the lo­cal econ­omy, rather than let Ash­ford just be­come a com­muter town. It will sup­port the High­ways Agency in bring­ing for­ward plans for the M20’s new Junc­tion 10a and up­grad­ing the ca­pac­ity for Junc­tion 9. It will also pro­mote plans to build a road, Vic­to­ria Way, be­tween Beaver Road and Brook­field Road to open up new sites for de­vel­op­ment and pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive route around the town.

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