GOODWIN SANDS DREDGING GETS GO-AHEAD

The government's Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has given its consent for aggregate dredging on the South Goodwin Sands, off Deal. It follows an application by Dover Harbour Board to remove up to three million tonnes of aggregate to provide fill material for its Dover Western Docks Revival project. The work is expected to be undertaken between September 2019 and September 2020.

The plan to dredge the offshore sand bank attracted fierce local opposition. A lengthy public consultation yielded over 1,300 representations from the public and strong concerns by Dover and Deal town councils and the protest group Goodwin Sands SOS (Save Our Sands). On their website, the SOS campaign say the MMO's decision undermines other government environmental initiatives including a wish to protect the Sands under new Marine Conservation Zone regulations. The group say they will be seeking expert legal advice to lodge an appeal against the MMO's decision.   (July 29, 2018)

 
DEAL PIER COULD "REOPEN IN EARLY AUGUST"

Dover District Council's property chief Martin Leggatt is optimistic that Deal Pier "will reopen in early August and the restaurant shortly after that". The Pier needed to be closed to the public on Monday 25 June following the discovery of a gas leak on the supply to the restaurant at the pier head. The restaurant had been closed at the end of last year, following the departure of the former operator. This lead to a search for a new tenant with, Mr Leggatt anticipates, contract details now close to completion.

It has been a difficult year for the Pier with late Spring storms causing extensive damage to the lower deck. Mr Leggatt says the contract for repairs has been awarded and the vulnerable timber will be replaced with metal grilles to reduce the risk of future damage. The need to close the Pier has prompted the district council to also bring forward other planned maintenance, including replacing the boiler in the cafe, relining the sewage attenuation tank and painting the railings of the stem. Other work that was interrupted by the unexpected closure of the Pier - resurfacing of the walkway and new seating - will also be resumed.   (July 29, 2018)

 

WALMER CAFÉ TO PROVIDE "HATE CRIME" REPORTING HUB

The owner of the Sea Café on Walmer Green has come up with the idea of providing a novel "hate crime" reporting hub. The proprietor Peter St Ange was himself subjected to a racist slurr earlier this year. After being contacted by several groups opposed to racism and discrimination and also by Kent Police’s community liaison officer Tanya Clark, Peter is keen for his café to become a place where victims can report personal bad experiences.

Kent Police say that similar projects in the county where people can talk to specially trained volunteers are proving useful. The informal "hubs" can overcome concerns by some who do not feel comfortable speaking to the police directly. The police and Peter are now working on the plan to include "hate crime" reporting at the café, making it the first such facility in Dover district.   (July 29, 2018)

 

PROPOSED CHANGES TO LOCAL ELECTORAL WARDS

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its proposals for revised Electoral Ward boundaries across Dover. It is inviting the public to comment on its draft proposals for Dover District Council. These are:

  • 32 councillors (13 fewer than now)
  • 18 wards (3 fewer than now)
  • 16 wards' boundaries should change (2 will stay the same)

The new proposed boundaries for Dover district.   
To get the details and have your say on the new boundaries click on the link below. The consultation closes on 13 August 2018. See website.   (June 7, 2018)
 
COUNTY COUNCIL TO SEEK VIEWS ON RURAL TRANSPORT

Kent County Council is inviting the public to eleven meetings across the county to have a say on the future arrangements for the bus services which it directly funds. Although not commercially viable, the subsidised buses tend to be regarded as essential by the mainly rural communities they serve. An earlier attempt by the county council to cut or reduce some of the routes produced an angry public response and was hastily dropped.

But the council still wants to find ways to save money on rural transport services. KCC cabinet member for transport Cllr Mike Whiting explained the council would be meeting with residents, parish councils and transport operators to get their views and suggestions on how best to meet the public transport needs of rural communities. He anticipated that the potential ideas from the market and residents would then be developed, with the help of transport and technology providers, to try to create new and more affordable ways of delivering rural transport..

The public meeting for Dover area is in Dover Town Hall, The Maison Dieu, Biggin Street, Dover, CT16 1DL, on Tuesday 19 June from 7pm to 9pm.   (June 7, 2018)

 

SEEKING CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS FOR WALMER'S FREEDOWN "GEM"

People with an interest in conservation are being invited to join in vital work to maintain local chalk grassland of national importance. Often referred to a Walmer's "hidden gem", the Hawkshill Freedown just to the south of Walmer Castle is significant for its wildlife including rare butterflies and over 100 species of wild flowers. Equally important is its value as a prime example of seriously dwindling chalk grassland, some 80% of which has been lost in Britain over the past 60 years.

Ensuring that the Freedown is well managed relies on a small team of volunteers which includes local residents and several parish councillors. They meet - usually on the first Sunday of each month - to spend the morning on a range of activities to help maintain and improve the area for the public. As well as being a venue for community events and family activities, the open common is much appreciated by ramblers, dog walkers and those happy to simply sit and enjoy the view.

Walmer Parish Council, which owns the Freedown, says it would welcome some additional helpers willing to spend an hour or two each month, cutting, clipping and generally looking after the area. As well as meeting up with like-minded volunteers and learning more about conservation, there's the bonus of enjoying fresh air, healthy activity and stunning views of the English Channel. For more "no-obligation" information contact parish clerk Kirsty Holroyd at the Parish Office at 8 The Strand, Walmer or phone her on 01304 362363.   (March 20, 2018)

 

LOCAL AIR AMBULANCE IS BANKING ON NATWEST

NatWest bank branches across the South East have chosen the region's air ambulance service as their 2018 charity. A total of 99 branches will be taking part in fundraising throughout the year. The bank's regional director Kevin Guy said: “We’re delighted and very proud to be partnering and supporting this amazing charity during 2018. All of our branch teams are really keen to show their support and further help the communities we also serve.” Among the first to take up the challenge are two members of staff at the Horsham branch running the Brighton Marathon and a team of 10 from Orpington taking on the Three Peaks Challenge in June.

Julie Clare, head of corporate relations at Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance, said: “As an independent charity, we rely on fundraising and donations so every penny is truly valued. Our doctor and paramedic teams can deliver all the skills and equipment of an A&E department to critically ill and injured patients – wherever and whenever it is needed. None of us ever know when we might need to depend on this vital service which is why we are delighted to have been elected as NatWest’s chosen charity.” For more about the air ambulance see their website.   (March 18, 2018)

 

ALL SHIP SHAPE AS MUSEUM PREPARES FOR VISITORS

Deal's Maritime and Local History Museum opens for its 2018 season on Good Friday (30 March). Work over the winter months at the St George's Road building has resulted in a range of new displays and exhibits including:

  • A Royal Marines exhibition depicting the history of the Royal Marines at the Deal Barracks, focusing on the School of Music, the PT instructors, Commandos, Wrens, nurses and other women associated with the barracks, the Sergeants’ Mess Panto and more.
  • Tender Too, one of the ‘little ships’ that helped in the rescue of men from the beaches at Dunkirk during World War 2, displayed within a backdrop of the museum’s popular Dunkirk display.
  • A celebration of the former East Kent coalfield with an impressive collection of mining items and an interactive audio-visual presentation telling the story of this local mining industry.
  • A World War I trench scene, a Model Boat Room and the Saxon King, the last Deal galley remaining in the town.
  • For people with limited mobility, a new tablet computer is available on the ground floor and depicts the key displays upstairs.
  • Families are welcome - with a free pirate hat and quiz for youngsters, plus several interactive quizzes.

Opening times for the Museum in April, May, September and October are Tuesdays-Fridays 2pm-4.30pm; Saturdays 11am-4.30pm; and Sundays 12 noon-4pm. In June, July and August the times are Tuesdays-Saturdays 11am-4.30pm; and Sundays 12 noon-4pm. For more, see the Museum's website.   (March 17, 2018)

 
COUNCIL TAX FOR THE COMING 12 MONTHS

Dover District Council has agreed local Council Tax for the coming financial year which starts in April. The average total bill for a Band D property in Dover district for 2018/19 will be £1,727.47, an increase of 4.74% on the 2017/18 bill. The money is collected by the district council and includes sums for:

  • Kent County Council (£1,237.68),
  • Dover District Council (£182.34),
  • Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (£169.15),
  • Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (£75.51) and
  • the district's town and parish councils (an average of £62.79).

Whilst the county council, Dover DC, the police and the fire authority have all increased their demands, some parish and town councils have frozen their precepts and, even reduced them. In the local Deal/Walmer area: Deal Town Council and Sholden, Ripple and Great Mongeham parish councils there's no increase and Walmer Parish Council is asking for 0.4% less.

For details of the new council tax charges for properties in Bands A to H in each parish/town area, see Dover District Council's website.   (March 17, 2018)

 

BATTLES OVER EVENT TO MARK END OF FIRST WORLD WAR

The significance of this year's Remembrance Sunday on 11 November is to be recognised by an international commemoration of the end of the First World War. Local organisations and groups across the UK and also abroad are being invited to join in the Battles Over event to mark the day 100 years ago when the guns fell silent at the end of four year's conflict.

The organisers say Battles Over will comprise a unique series of events in the morning and evening involving organisations and communities and remembering the sacrifice of millions of men and women during World War One. Whilst it is expected many will devise events and activities that are especially appropriate to their locality, there is a basic programme for the day which includes:

  • 6am – Sleep in peace, now the battles over. Individual bagpipers will play Battle’s o’er.
  • 6.55pm – The Last Post. Buglers will play the last post at the Beacon site.
  • 7pm – WW1 Beacons of Light. After darkness has fallen, Beacons of light will be lit throughout the UK.
  • 7.05pm – Ringing out for peace. As beacons blaze around the country, bells in churches and cathedrals will ring out in celebration of the end of the First World War.

For more information and how to get involved, there are details on Dover District Council's website.  (March 14, 2018)

 

COMING EVENTS IN DEAL AND WALMER - for the best local guide CLICK HERE.

 
This page was updated on July 29, 2018