Sad farewell to a devoted man
As I sat down to write this column, I received a telephone call telling me of the sad death of Cllr Harold Apps, the member representing Victoria Ward. Harold was a quite remarkable man with a strong belief in public service, as shown by his hard work right up to the end of his long life. He has served the people of Ashford for nearly 50 years and was a councillor on the Tenterden Rural District Council way back in the 1960s, before Ashford Borough Council had even been formed. He was a dear friend and colleague who will be greatly missed and our thoughts go out to Harold’s family at this sad time.
Last week I was among a number of guests of the Hadlow Group, taken on a special tour of the new Ashford College. What an impressive teaching facility, occupying such a pivotal position opposite the International Station. We were told that the demand for places has already exceeded expectations, and I am really looking forward to the changing dynamics of the town centre, when the students arrive in September.
One of the key challenges to the economic growth and thus greater prosperity of our borough, is the improvement of the skills available to our wide range of employers. The new campus will therefore play a vital part in supporting and improving the educational and vocational skill levels here in Ashford. This will in turn strengthen our economy and improve the prosperity for all.
Ashford will once again host the Kent Business to Business (B2B) event this month, to be held at the Ashford International Hotel, on Tuesday, April 25 – doors open at 8.30am. This annual event is organised by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is now in its 31st year. It is aimed at businesses of all shapes and sizes who want to showcase their work, find out about other services in the county and simply work with other like-minded businesses. The B2B event is free to enter and last year saw more than 1,000 people passing through the door, with more than 100 businesses taking stands.
Following a High Court Hearing on Monday, April 3 2017, the Council has successfully obtained an injunction concerning land in Budds Lane, Wittersham. The injunction effectively prevents any further development on the land and any further occupation of caravans and/or mobile homes. This is the fourth site in the countryside where the Council has been successful in obtaining a High Court injunction in the last 12 months. This should send out a strong message that if anyone tries to flout planning regulations, Ashford Borough Council will take firm action.