District Councillors’ Report – December 2021

Published: 17 December 2021

KCC report to Sellindge Parish Council 14 December 2021

Thank you to those of you who responded to our consultations on the budget, the Household Waste Recycling Centre booking system and the Heritage Strategy The responses will help shape policy; the budget will be set in February by Full Council, the HWRC booking system will be debated at the Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee in January and the Heritage Strategy will be considered by the same committee later next year. Later this month we’ll be consulting on the Kent Waste and Minerals Local Plan which sets out where building materials such as sand and ragstone can be extracted and also secures sufficient capacity to process waste within the county for waste produced in Kent.

I often report to you about financial challenges and this year is different only so far as we have very little room for manoeuvre as we face ever rising demands for care of the elderly, child protection and both the schooling and transport to specialist provision of children with Special Educational Needs. As an example, the number of children needing transport to an SEN school has risen by 13% since September.

On a more positive note we continue to be successful in winning one-off Government Grants for specific projects and we are through to the final round to a that would bring nearly £500,000 to support our efforts for tree establishment across Kent. We have also been shortlisted for several awards and have recently won green flags for 8 of our country parks, an award for our mobile library vans and, earlier this week, it was announced that one of our drainage projects (a new park created in Margate that can store water to reduce flooding) won the ‘people’s vote’ award at the European Regiostars Awards.

I have recently been appointed to represent KCC at the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the High Weald AONB so have seen several presentations on the grants currently available from the Farming in a Protected Landscape schemes. There’s a very broad definition of ‘farming’ so, for instance, vineyards are included and it’s worth following up with the AONB if you know of local landowners looking to expand their activities, diversify or farm more sustainably. The grants can be up to 100% of the project costs.

Susan Carey

Member for Elham Valley Kent County Council

District Councillor, North Downs West, Folkestone & Hythe District Council

District Councillor Report – 14 December 2021

Your District Today - The autumn/winter edition, which is now available, looks back at some amazing achievements over the last six months, as well as looking forward to some exciting projects. If you have not yet received a copy, it can be accessed on line at www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

Community Hub – Just a reminder that the Hythe Community Hub, supported by the District Council, can help residents who are vulnerable and struggling with shopping etc. Please do not contact the community hub unless you are in genuine need of assistance. These hubs will be the only source of support for many of our residents and if people use them who do not need them, they are diverting help away from those most in need. Do not visit the community hub in person. Please Email covid-19@ageukhl.org.uk Call 01303 269602 (messages can be left outside opening hours).

Air Quality – The 2021 air quality annual report states that no incidences of high levels of nitrogen dioxide gas were detected at monitoring sites during 2020. The report, which has been accepted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, means that the district is meeting the government's air quality objectives and the council, as the local authority, is not required to declare any Air Quality Management Areas.

Queen’s Canopy - Members agreed to show appreciation for Her Majesty's 70 years' service by planting an avenue of trees as part of The Queen's Green Canopy (QGC).The 12 commemorative London Planes will be at Cheriton Recreation Ground with a plaque marking the dedication placed opposite the existing Golden Jubilee plaque at the park entrance (the recreation ground was dedicated to the Queen's Golden Jubilee). The District Council will encourage individuals and community groups to join in the nationwide QGC - which is run in partnership with The Woodland Trust - by buying individual trees, to apply for free trees and for aftercare advice. As well as inviting the planting of new trees, the QGC will dedicate a network of 70 ancient woodlands across the UK and identify 70 ancient trees.

Armed Forces Covenent - On 2 December 2011 we became the first district council in the country to commit to the covenant - a promise that those who serve or served in the forces - and their families - are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their daily lives. Ten years on, a refreshed pledge was signed by Folkestone & Hythe District Council Chairman Cllr Philip Martin and Maj Peter Houlton-Hart MBE, of The 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR), at Westenhanger Castle on Friday 3 December. Last month, F&HDC received the highest badge of honour for military support from the Ministry of Defence - the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award. This is presented to those that employ and support persons who serve and protect our country.

Fly Tipping - Five people have appeared in court after dumping household furniture on the streets. They were all prosecuted by the district council for fly-tipping the waste - which included sofas, beds and a mattress. In addition, four further people were convicted for similar offences.

Sellindge Tennis Club – well done to the Tennis Club who very quickly raised funds to resurface the tennis courts which were re-launched on 26 November by our MP, Damian Collins. Congratulations, also for being nominated for three Lawn Tennis Association Awards, the results will be announced at an award ceremony in March 2022.

May we wish you all best wishes for the festive season and the New Year. We thank you for the work of the Parish Council during the last year in what has been quite difficult circumstances and our thanks also to the Village organisations and the many volunteers in the area for all the unseen work. Keep Safe and look forward to seeing you in 2022.