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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.