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Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

Editor Robert Bar­man 01233 623232 rbar­man@thek­m­group.co.uk News editor Alas­tair Irvine 01233 623232 airvine@the km­group.co.uk Sport ex­presss­port@thek­m­group.co.uk Text: Text EX­PRESS fol­lowed by your mes­sage to 87474. Please in­clude your name and post­code. Mes­sages must not be more than 160 char­ac­ters and will be charged only at your stan­dard net­work rate. Please visit ken­ton­line.co.uk/terms for tex­ting terms. Ad­ver­tis­ing Tel 01233 623232 Fax 01233 626545 Ad­ver­tise­ment man­ager Kim Billings, 01233 623232, kbillings@thek­m­group.co.uk Clas­si­fied ad­ver­tis­ing Tel 01233 623232. News­pa­per sales (in­clud­ing de­liv­ery, dis­tri­bu­tion, com­pe­ti­tions, reader of­fers and sub­scrip­tions): Of­fice hours, an­swer­phone there­after: 0800 525450 Head of­fice: Med­way House, Gins­bury Close, Thomas Lon­g­ley Road, Med­way, City Es­tate, Strood, Rochester ME2 4DU. Tel 01622 717880, Fax 01622 710937. Com­plaints: Any com­plaint about any as­pect of this news­pa­per should be made to the editor, Robert Bar­man, 01233 623232 rbar­man@thek­m­group.co.uk Cus­tomer Ser­vices (for ad­ver­tis­ing queries): email cus­tom­erser­vices@ thek­m­group.co.uk 0800 0855810

Coun­cil tax rises this year were capped by the govern­ment at 1.99%. For very low tax­ing au­thor­i­ties, this meant a very small rise. As you may know, Ash­ford’s el­e­ment of coun­cil tax is the low­est in Kent and one of the low­est in the coun­try. Last week, the Sec­re­tary of State for the Depart­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Govern­ment, Greg Clark, gave Ash­ford and other au­thor­i­ties with very low coun­cil tax spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tion to raise their el­e­ment of coun­cil tax by up to £5 for the forth­com­ing fi­nan­cial year.

Cab­i­net took the view that it would not rec­om­mend rais­ing coun­cil tax by the full £5 but by £4.55 a year. If ap­proved on Fe­bru­ary 18 by full coun­cil, the £4.55 rise will re­sult in the charge for band D prop­er­ties be­ing £150 for the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year. A rise, equat­ing to around 38p per month, which would en­able us to partly ad­dress the re­duc­tion in grant fund­ing from cen­tral govern­ment. The av­er­age district coun­cil tax for band D prop­er­ties in Kent is set to rise to £190.35 for 2016-17.

Ash­ford’s el­e­ment of coun­cil tax has been frozen for the past two fi­nan­cial years. While we col­lect all the coun­cil tax, we only re­ceive 11p out of ev­ery £1 col­lected. The re­main­der goes to Kent County Coun­cil, Kent Po­lice, Kent Fire & Res­cue and the parish coun­cils.

We are proud to of­fer the low­est coun­cil tax in Kent, and will con­tinue to keep taxes and charges as low as pos­si­ble.

I was pleased to see that de­mo­li­tion work has be­gun on the old 1960 Spear­point Pav­il­ion, in prepa­ra­tion for the new Ken­ning­ton com­mu­nity build­ing. It is some­thing I know all lo­cal peo­ple have wanted for a long time. ABC mem­bers and of­fi­cers have worked hard, along with the Ken­ning­ton Com­mu­nity Fo­rum, user groups and the Ash­ford & District Sun­day Foot­ball League, to make this hap­pen.

We are de­lighted to wel­come five new lo­cal de­sign­ers and artists into Made In Ash­ford in Park Mall. The Lit­tle Red Hen Jew­ellery, Ni­cola Jen­nings Art, Mul­berry Glass Art, Juju Art and Som­nus & Seb have joined the ex­ist­ing busi­nesses. Made In Ash­ford opened last Oc­to­ber, and has had a pos­i­tive re­sponse from vis­i­tors, who love its unique prod­ucts.

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