Taking care of our jewel in the crown
Here at Nuts and Bolts we were delighted to see that the Hubert Fountain in Victoria Park has been given further protection as a listed monument by Historic England. Ashford has a few notable modern landmarks – the Designer Outlet, the Eureka Skyway Bridge over the M20 and (dare we say it) the Bolt sculpture in Elwick Road – but few historic ones.
So it’s nice to know that the fountain, first showcased at a Royal Horticultural Society Exhibition in London in 1862 and later installed in the grounds at Olantigh Towers near Wye before it was donated to the park in 1912 by George Harper, has increased protection.
It’s now been upgraded to become a Grade II listed structure, a protection status reserved for only 5.5% of the listed buildings in the country.
Ashford Borough Council is hoping the upgrading will enhance its bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for new funding to restore and take care of what has been described as a “wonderful jewel in the borough’s crown”.
If funding is approved it will be the third restoration of the fountain following previous revamps in 1977 ahead of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and then again in 1998 after a National Lottery Fund grant of £367,000.
The Hubert Fountain is an eye-catching structure that’s admired by many residents and visitors, and long may that be the case. And talking of structures … a new study (oh how Nuts and Bolts loves a good survey) reveals that the average house price in Kent could be £515,719 by 2030.
The eyewatering statistics are contained in “The House Price of the Future” research, released by eMoov, an online estate agent company.The figures are based on an average rate of 84% increase in UK property values between 2000 and 2015.
So property magnates Fergus and Judith Wilson who owned hundreds of rental properties in Ashford and across Kent may now be wishing they hadn’t recently sold their portfolio.
They made millions when they did sell, but if they’d hung on a few more years could have made multi-millions.
And, talking of house prices, new research by online estate agents HouseSimple.com (oh how Nuts and Bolts loves a good survey) shows that people are willing to pay well over the odds for houses within the catchement area of bestperforming, state-funded primary schools.
Apparently, families are having to pay a premium of almost £44,000 to buy a property near primary schools judged as outstanding by Ofsted inspectors.
The survey looked at average property prices in catchment areas for 50 state-funded primary schools across England that received the highest Ofsted rating and then compared those with average house prices for the whole postcode.
The research found prices in streets close to outstanding primary schools were on average 18% higher than those for the whole area postcode.
Have you ever stood behind someone in a supermarket/shop queue and got irritated when they pay for one very inexpensive item with a credit or debit card?
A member of the Nuts and Bolts team was in the cafe at Waitrose, Repton Park, last week when a man paid for a banana (YES ONE BANANA) with his credit card. The price was 25p! Our man resisted the temptation to ask the purchaser why he didn’t have the humble sum of 25p in loose change in his pocket.
The strange thing is that many corner shops and pubs have a £5 “minimum spend” on cards because they themselves are charged by Mastercard or Visa for such transactions (presumably a few pence for every purchase) so that eats into their profit.
But change is afoot because every retailer will have to offer tap-and-go payments within five years in a move that’s set to see the “minimum spend” disappear.
In the rush to create a cashless society, all shops will by 2020 have to install so-called “contactless” terminals to continue taking card payments.
Under the requirements, being imposed by Visa and Mastercard, shoppers must be given the option to pay for small purchases up to £30 by swiping a debit or credit card over the card reader.
Contactless payments can be cheaper to process and obviously help speed up sales.
As more people switch to using tap-and-go instead of cash for small purchases, banks are being forced to reduce the amount they charge for each card transaction.
So experts say the changes will enable retailers to scrap the unpopular minimum spend rule altogether.
Thus Banana Man and others will be free to continue buying whatever they like by card, no matter how small the purchase price is. Whoopwhoop! And, talking of shopping, why is it that so many shoppers with overflowing trollies in supermarkets like Sainsbury’s in Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford, continue to use the baskets only self-swipe tills? There’s a huge sign saying Baskets Only swinging in the breeze above the six checkouts, yet still the trolley-ists head for them, blatantly ignoring the request and inconveniencing others who only have a few items to quickly scan through. So come on Sainsbury’s, instruct the assistant monitoring these tills to tell people with trollies that they can’t use these checkouts.
The Hubert Fountain in Victoria Park has been upgraded to become a Grade II listed structure, a protection status reserved for only 5.5% of the listed buildings in the country
An online survey suggests the average price of a house in Kent could be £515,719 by 2030; a minimum spend on plastic could soon be a thing of the past