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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 Sue Hunt­ley, 01233 895819, shunt­ley@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

Later to­day (Thurs­day) the Cabi­net will be asked to ap­prove the is­sue of the Draft Lo­cal Plan for wide pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion over an eight-week pe­riod. It is a draft and we will con­sider care­fully all the re­sponses that we re­ceive.

While there is of­ten ex­cite­ment around new de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment com­ing into the bor­ough it is im­por­tant to recog­nise our her­itage.

This is why I am pleased that the KE car­ried such a good re­port last week about the coun­cil suc­cess­fully ap­ply­ing to His­toric Eng­land to up­grade the list­ing sta­tus of the Hu­bert Foun­tain in Vic­to­ria Park – a won­der­ful jewel in the bor­ough’s crown.

The coun­cil has re­cently set out how it will take a ro­bust, but fair stance to those who de­lib­er­ately flout con­trols, or seek to de­ceive or de­fraud the coun­cil.

This also ex­tends to those who be­have in an anti-so­cial way, to the dis­com­fort of the vast ma­jor­ity of our res­i­dents and vis­i­tors.

We are very con­scious of the blight that HGV park­ing is caus­ing and are work­ing hard to change that sit­u­a­tion but it is not easy and le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity of­ten rests with oth­ers.

We are con­stantly en­deav­our­ing to in­flu­ence them and we are the only district in Kent with the au­thor­ity to clamp HGV lor­ries in cer­tain ar­eas. We are also been work­ing with the truck-stop own­ers to in­crease the ca­pac­ity to get the HGV ve­hi­cles off our roads.

One such pro­posal to dou­ble the size of the Water­brook Truck Stop, is con­tained in the new pro­posed draft Lo­cal Plan.

In my last col­umn, I said would give more facts about our bor­ough, just to help counter our small mi­nor­ity, who so un­fairly love to knock Ash­ford.

While there is oc­ca­sion­ally crime, we have the fourth low­est recorded crime rate in Kent (Po­lice crime fig­ures 2015). In ad­di­tion anti-so­cial be­hav­iour dropped in 2012/13 and con­tin­ued to drop by a huge 42% in 2013/14. The lat­est data shows Ash­ford as the low­est in the county.

We are not com­pla­cent and tonight we will be rec­om­mend­ing the is­sue of Fixed Penalty No­tices of £100 un­der the pro­vi­sions of the anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, Crime and Polic­ing Act 2014. An­other re­port be­fore cabi­net this evening will be seek­ing to in­tro­duce a fixed penalty of £75 for lit­ter­ing and dog foul­ing.

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