Hextable Parish Council
 
 

Sevenoaks District Council Information

Calling all young basketball hopefuls!
April 09,2019

A new, after school basketball club will bounce into action from 29 April at Dunton Green Recreation Ground, (near the Pavilion), London Road, Dunton Green, TN13 2UR

The District’s premier level local basketball club, the Sevenoaks Suns, are inviting 11 to 14 year olds to attend its term-time, after school basketball camp. The camp, which is open to both girls and boys, will be held at Ball Court Recreation Ground from 5 pm to 6 pm on a Monday nights, starting 29 April. There’s no need to book in advance and the sessions are just £2 a time.

Founded in 2005, the Sevenoaks Suns are run by volunteers who offer coaching to players ranging from five years old through to men and women. Their goal is to help young people develop into mature, confident and self-reliant individuals.

In the club's 13 years, they've built a tradition of excellence across all age groups. The girls programme have won 20 junior national league titles and the women's team have won back-to-back Woman’s British Basketball League Playoff Championships in 2017 and 2018. To date, 43 Sevenoaks Suns female players have represented England, 15 have represented Great Britain and 17 have received scholarships to continue their basketball careers and education in the United States.

Dimitris Kor, Development Coach from the Sevenoaks Suns, says “This is a great opportunity for local young people to participate in a fun and active sport. Basketball is great for team building and self-confidence; we’re really excited to meet the young people who join us”.

For information, email communities@sevenoaks.gov.uk or call 01732 227000.


The race is on! Run, walk or push against dementia 2019 is fast approaching
April 07,2019

It’s not long until Run, walk or push against dementia returns for 2019 and spaces are filling up quickly.

There’s still time to sign up to the event which takes place on Sunday 12 May 2019 in the beautiful Knole Park, Sevenoaks. Participants can choose from a timed 3, 5 or 10k course suitable for parents with pushchairs through to seasoned runners. Places are going faster than any previous years with more than half the slots taken, so those wishing to take part are being encouraged to register quickly. 

All the money raised goes to the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum. Last year nearly £7,000 was raised, which is currently funding the Knole Forget-Me-Not Café and well as Forget-Me-Not Cafes in Chipstead, Edenbridge and Westerham, the Forget-Me-Notes singing group and dementia friendly cinema screenings.

Symone Salwan, co-chair of the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum, says: "Run, walk or push is our major fundraising event but it does so much more than that – it raises awareness of dementia in our area. It enables individuals, families and groups to jointly exercise in beautiful surroundings and brings together many partners and volunteers from the community to ensure the event runs smoothly and brings joy."

To sign up, find out more information or give a donation, visit www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/runwalkpush


Make sure you’re registered to vote in time for the local elections this May
March 24,2019

On Thursday 2 May, residents in Sevenoaks District will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them on District, Town and Parish Councils.

Residents will have an opportunity to elect their District Councillors who are responsible for services such as rubbish and recycling collections, street cleaning, planning, parking, housing, health, leisure and public safety.

They will also have an opportunity to vote for their local Town or Parish Councillors, who are responsible for parks and recreations grounds, allotments and burial grounds amongst other things.

To vote in these important elections, residents must be on the electoral register. The deadline to register to vote is fast approaching and Sevenoaks District Council is urging residents to make sure they are registered in time.

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Friday 12 April. Anyone can apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. It takes just five minutes.

Dr. Pav Ramewal, Sevenoaks District Council’s Chief Executive and Electoral Returning Officer, says: “Time is running out to make sure you can take part in the local elections. These elections are an opportunity to have your say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life here in the Sevenoaks District. If you’re not registered by 12 April, you won’t be able to vote.”

Residents can check whether they are on the electoral register by calling 01732 227000.


Sevenoaks District Council retains its Platinum Investors in People
March 24,2019

It’s an exciting time for Sevenoaks District Council as they have just been awarded a Platinum Investors in People award for the second time. In 2016 they were the first public sector organisation to be awarded the prestigious Platinum badge and recently, it was confirmed they have retained the honour until 2022. Sevenoaks is the first public sector employer to retain Investors In People Platinum status.

Investors In People is an organisation that lead the drive for better leadership and better workplaces. They are an independent, not-for-profit company that assess thousands of organisations every three years to lead, support and manage people well, for sustainable results.

Assessed against the very best practice of private and public sector employers and the results of an independent survey of all our staff made it harder than ever to achieve Platinum status.

Leader of Sevenoaks Council Cllr Peter Fleming says: “We are thrilled to have retained Platinum status. This achievement is not just about being a great place to work, but it shows our staff have the strong focus and determination to continue to deliver the high-quality, value for money services that our residents deserve. The report highlights the creativity and innovation of the council with our focus on delivering continuous improvement and improving customer service across the organisation.”

Dr Pav Ramewal, Chief Executive of Sevenoaks District Council adds: “Retaining Platinum is incredibly important to us and keeps us in a small group of elite organisations. It helps us to stand out as an employer and continues to drive us forward to make this an even better place to work.”

Finally, Sam Kitney from Investors in People said “Clearly Sevenoaks District Council is a great place to work. Their genuine passion, team work and drive for continuous improvement is commendable.”

Find out more about Investors in People here www.investorsinpeople.com


Free Dog Microchips Available to Sevenoaks District Residents
March 24,2019

Sevenoaks District Council and Dogs Trust are teaming up to offer free dog microchipping, free poo bags, general dog health and wellbeing advice, and an opportunity for residents to talk about any dog related issues in their neighbourhood.

In 2016, it became a legal requirement for all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales to be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old. The chip contains the owner’s contact details so that if a dog goes missing or is stolen, it can be returned to its owner quickly and safely. Owners risk a fine up to £500 if their dog is not microchipped.

The event is taking place on Friday 29 March 2019 at ASDA Swanley, London Road, from 10am to 1pm, look out for the Sevenoaks District Council gazebo in the ASDA car park. There’s no need to book but dogs must be on a safe collar/harness and lead.

Sevenoaks District Council’s Cabinet Member for Direct & Trading Services, Cllr Matthew Dickins, says, “Microchipping is such an important part of being a responsible dog owner, helping to reunite pets should they go missing. In fact the Council recently returned a Lurcher found over 250 miles from home, thanks to its microchip. Like having a collar and tag with contact details, microchips are a legal requirement but, unlike a collar and tag, microchips can’t fall off or be removed. So we’re pleased to be working with Dogs Trust in Swanley to offer free microchipping and impartial advice for our residents’ dogs and their owners.”

For more information about this event, please email information@sevenoaks.gov.uk or call 01732 227000.


Community grants continuing to support local groups.
March 09,2019

Sevenoaks District Council will again be supporting local charity and voluntary groups by allocating £153,340 to help them continue their valuable work across the District.

The grants will support organisations which provide services to Sevenoaks District residents, particularly those in greatest need.

Funding totalling £54,800 will be made to 25 local groups who support volunteers, run community transport, help older people and people with mental health problems, assist families and provide support for sport and the arts across the District.

Amongst the organisations that will benefit from the grants are West Kent Mind, Age UK Sevenoaks & Tonbridge and Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services.

Also supported this year is new charity, Friends for Families, who work with Children's Services in Sevenoaks District to provide support to families in financial hardship. The funding will provide beds, cots, school shoes, clothing & other basic needs.

A further £98,540 will be given to Citizens’ Advice across the District at Edenbridge and Westerham and North and West Kent (Sevenoaks and Swanley).

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic & Community Development, Cllr Roddy Hogarth says: “The work of the voluntary sector across the Sevenoaks District is highly valued. The Council’s grants programme supports the dedication and commitment of the many volunteers who help the most vulnerable people in the District.”

Cllr Hogarth adds “We have identified in our consultations for the Community Plan 2019-2022 that caring communities are a top priority for residents. These grants make sure that the excellent work of community organisations can continue.” 


Sevenoaks District Council supports National Apprentice Week.
March 09,2019

This week, 4 to 8 March 2019, sees the UK celebrating National Apprentice Week and Sevenoaks District Council are right behind it. To celebrate the event, the Council has interviewed their current apprentices to find out a little bit more about their experience.

Apprenticeships may in the past have been for younger people, aged on average between 16 and 18, but these days, they are being promoted as a way of existing staff gaining further qualifications and in some cases as part of a strategy to upskill the existing workforce in order to ‘grow talent’ within the organisation.

Sevenoaks District Council currently have a number of apprentices. One of these, Vickie, Smith, 24, is an associate Project Manager Level 4 apprentice in the Communities and Business team. She has been doing this apprenticeship since January 2019 and has worked on projects like creating a video celebrating 100 years since women got the parliamentary vote and working alongside the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community (SADFC) forum on the Run, walk or push against dementia event in Sevenoaks. Vickie says: “Everything so far has been really interesting and I have worked on so many different things. Creating the women’s video was great because I met some really inspiring ladies and working with SADFC is really important to me as my family are users of their services. It helps so many families across the District – not just the individuals with dementia.”

Vickie also added “My favourite thing has to be my team. I am surrounded by supportive and fantastic people and they make coming into work a joy. This apprenticeship will give me the skills I need to completely take the lead on projects and manage them on my own. I want to go into community development so I will be co-ordinating projects and events, this experience will be really useful.”

Other apprenticeships in Sevenoaks District Council include a positon in the housing team and a car fitter at the Council’s Dunbrik Depot.

Council Leader, Cllr Peter Fleming, adds: “There are new apprenticeship standards being developed by employers in a whole range of occupations. These range from leadership and management for team leaders and supervisors, through to a management degree. There are apprenticeships for digital industries, project management and even one specifically for the public sector.

“Apprenticeships usually require a day a week to study but many training providers offer this on-line and it may not be as much as a day a week depending on the apprenticeship level and on your previous qualification levels.”

For more information about becoming an apprentice visit www.apprenticeships.gov.uk


Candidates for the District Council elections will soon be nominated.
March 09,2019

District Council elections are fast approaching which means nominations for candidates will begin from 21 March 2019. Being a District Councillor gives individuals the chance to make a huge difference to quality of life in their local area. Anyone over 18 who meets the qualifications can stand as a candidate.

People who are interested in becoming a District Councillor are being invited to a prospective councillor event on Saturday 9 March at the Sevenoaks District Council Offices. The event, which starts at 9am and will last around two hours, will inform potential candidates about the Sevenoaks District, the District Council, the services it provides and the role of a District Council Member. Information will also be provided about the nomination process.

Councillors come from all walks of life, age groups and backgrounds and play a key role in shaping the district, from deciding planning applications and pub opening hours, through to setting council tax and parking charges, as well as representing voters in their ward.

Dr Pav Ramewal, the Returning Officer for Sevenoaks District Council said ‘If you are passionate about where you live and think you could represent the people in your ward, this meeting is for you. There is no experience necessary, all you need to be successful is plenty of enthusiasm and lots of ideas to help your community’

The next District Council election takes place on 2 May 2019 when all 54 seats will be contested.

To find out more information about standing as candidate for the District Council elections, visit www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/standasacandidate


Budget continues to protect services and invest in local communities.
March 09,2019

Sevenoaks District Council has set a budget for the coming year that will continue to protect its services and invest in local communities, despite no longer receiving any direct funding from the Government.

The Council has agreed an annual budget of £15.3 million. Residents who live in a Band D property, the average in the District, will now pay £215.01 per year in Council Tax for the Sevenoaks District Council element of their bill, an increase equal to less than two pence a day.

Sevenoaks District Council’s share of residents’ overall Council Tax bill will be 11.5p for every pound in Council Tax paid.

Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of Sevenoaks District Council, says: “For a little over £4 a week, our resident will continue to receive some 80 District Council services, including weekly rubbish and recycling collections, which are now unique in Kent, leisure, health, open spaces, economic development, planning and food hygiene inspections.

“We have taken a long-term financial view, focused on efficiency and reducing bureaucracy, made savings and crucially generated income from investing within the District. All this means we can continue to protect the services that matter to residents and even invest in new ones.”

“Beyond the services we provide, we are investing in communities across the District. We are weeks away from the new long-stay car park in Sevenoaks opening, delivering much needed parking to support our local economy, and plans are being brought forward in Swanley for a new leisure centre and business hub, as we look to build out the aspirations of our communities. This is only possible due to sound financial management, remembering every penny spent has been earnt and we are intrusted by the community to spend it wisely”

“We became the first council to become financially self-sufficient from direct government support in 2016, before it was cut all together in 2017. Our prudent financial approach has put us in a strong position to continue to invest both in services and the District as a whole. The balanced ten year budget we agreed is the solid foundation that makes me believe the Sevenoaks District won’t just survive but will thrive in the future.”

For every pound of Council Tax collected, Kent County Council’s share is 69.5p, the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner’s share is 10p, the average town or parish council’s share is 5p and the Kent Fire & Rescue Service’s share is 4p. Sevenoaks District Council collects the Council Tax on behalf of all these authorities.

The budget and Council Tax was set on Tuesday 26 February 2019 at the Full Council Meeting.


Run, walk or Push against dementia: Sunday 12 May 2019.
February 24,2019

Our Run, Walk or Push against Dementia event was such a success last year we are doing it all again in 2019! Your support is invaluable to us and we hope you'll join us again this year on Sunday 12 May in Knole Park to help raise money for local dementia projects. 

Like last year, there will be timed 3, 5 and 10k courses suitable for everyone from parents with pushchairs to seasoned runners.

There are only five-hundred places available, so sign up now to avoid disappointment.

If you want to raise even more money for the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum, you can encourage your friends and family to sponsor you.

Entry for the 3k and 5k runs is £13 for people aged over 16 and £5 for under 16s. Both distances are suitable for beginners, children and people with pushchairs. Ages four and under go free.

Entry for the 10k run, suited to keen runners and those up for a challenge, is £18. This distance is not open to under 16s or people with pushchairs.

Where The Money Goes

It's always reassuring to know exactly where the money you raise goes. 

The £7,000 generated from last year's event is currently funding the Knole Forget-Me-Not Café and well as Forget-Me-Not Cafes in Chipstead, Edenbridge & Westerham, the Forget-Me-Notes singing group and dementia friendly cinema screenings.

If you can't make this year's event, you can still donate to Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum.

SIGN UP TO RUN, WALK OR PUSH AGAINST DEMENTIA TODAY


Sevenoaks District Council celebrates the community.
February 21,2019

Celebrity guests Len Goodman and Peter Sissons were among the VIPs presenting trophies at the Making It Happen, Community and Voluntary Awards 2019.

St Nicholas’ Church, Sevenoaks, played host to this year’s awards which celebrated the District’s unsung heroes, volunteers and community groups.

The biggest award of the night was given by Strictly star Len Goodman. Len presented the Lifetime Achievement award to Graham Coldman, who has been selflessly serving Edenbridge and the surrounding community for over 20 years. Graham works with a number of charities in the area including DAVSS, Citizen’s Advice Edenbridge & Westerham, Edenbridge Community Centre Partnership & The Holcot Centre. Thanks to Graham, the charities he works with have made a real difference to the lives of thousands of adults, young people and children, including the most vulnerable in Edenbridge and in West Kent.

Broadcaster and Journalist, Peter Sissons, presented the award for Individual Community Champion to Susan Gidman from Sevenoaks Weald. Susan has been described as ‘The heart of village life in Weald’ Her list of accomplishments includes being president of Woman of Weald, being involved in the village design statement and a local history book called ‘The Changing Face of Weald’ plus being involved in all village events.

This year, the event honoured a Dementia Friendly Initiative and the award given to the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum (SADFC) by Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Michelle Lowe. SADFC is made up of organisations, businesses and individuals operating and living in the Sevenoaks District, collaboratively working to improve the lives of people living with dementia. Projects include Run, Walk or Push against Dementia which in May 2018 raised £7000 and is being repeated this year on 12 May in Knole Park.

Other awards included Best Business in the Community which was jointly given to Wagamama Sevenoaks & Weald Community Shop and Charity of the Year which was presented to The Hygiene Bank, set up by Lizzie Hall. The Mayor of Sevenoaks, Cllr Roddy Hogarth, presented the Community Safety award to The Swanley Police Cadets and Chairman of Sevenoaks Council, Cllr Pat Bosley gave the Community Arts/Sports Group of the Year to Sevenoaks Powerchair Football Club. Paul Landsdale, who is Chairman of Sevenoaks Football Club, won Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award.

Further awards went to the Riverside Youth Group of Eynsford who picked up Youth Group of the Year and the Older Person of the Year award went to Hartley resident Veronica McGannon. The Equalities Champion award was presented to Sevenoaks based disabled charity, Band without Boundaries.

A special recognition award for Carer of the Year was given by Chief Inspector Nick Finnis of Kent Police to eight year old Chloe Young for looking after her epileptic brother Jake.

The night was compared by Leader of the Council, Cllr Peter Fleming who says: “The Making it Happen Community Awards ceremony is a wonderful evening recognising the achievements and hard work of amazing groups and individuals in our communities. Everyone has been nominated by people who see the value of what is being achieved by these individuals and groups across the District, this year the calibre of those nominated was incredibly high and the judges had the unenviable task of finding a winner in each category, so I would like to share my massive congratulations to all those nominated.”


New Ash Green’s unruly dog owner brought to justice.
February 21,2019

A resident of New Ash Green has been fined by Sevenoaks District Council after being convicted of four offences, breaching a Community Protection Notice.

Ms. Louise Burton-Taylor, 54, of Idleigh Court Farm was convicted on Friday 15 February 2019 at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court. Sevenoaks District Council successfully proved on four occasions, three dogs belonging to Ms Burton-Taylor strayed into New Ash Green during the night and attacked domestic cats within the area.

There have been sporadic complaints of dogs from Idleigh Court Stables since 2015. In July 2017, enough evidence was provided to service a Community Protection Notice on Ms. Burton-Taylor meaning she must not allow the dogs to stray during the night. Initially, this notice appeared effective but in May and June 2018 a series of further incidents occurred. Officers conducted a number of visits to Ms. Burton-Taylor at her property but she failed to engage with the Animal Control Officer.

The success of this prosecution was down to the accounts of local residents. A number of people from New Ash Green provided witness statements detailing attacks they had observed. In addition, CCTV evidence was provided by residents showing the dogs out straying.

Ms Burton Taylor has been fined £730 which includes £350 District Council costs and £30 victim surcharge. The three dogs have been subject to a forfeiture order by the Court, meaning the dogs will now be rehoused by the District’s charity partners.

Sevenoaks District Council Portfolio Holder for Direct Services, Cllr Matthew Dickins, said: “We all know dog ownership brings with it responsibilities. Sadly Ms. Burton-Taylor failed in exercising those responsibilities, leading to her successful prosecution. The message is clear: Ms. Burton-Taylor’s actions were unacceptable and Sevenoaks District Council will not tolerate behaviour which puts at risk the wellbeing of either animals or our community.”


A New Age for White Oak Leisure Centre
February 21,2019

Sevenoaks District Council is proposing to build a brand new leisure centre in Swanley.

The current White Oak Leisure Centre was built in 1967 and has served generations of Swanley residents for more than 50 years. But, due to its age and condition, it is coming to the end of its life. It is expensive to run, uses a lot of energy, and will cost too much to repair.

The Council is proposing is to build a modern leisure centre offering a first class experience for residents and visitors, a swimming and learner pool, a new 100 station gym with modern equipment, rooms for classes and other events, alongside new and exciting activities, including Tag Active and Parkour.

It would also be energy efficient, powered partially by solar energy, better for the environment and with lower running costs.

Car parking would be provided for around 153 vehicles and there will would be dedicated cycle parking.

The new centre would be built in the grounds of the current White Oak Leisure Centre, which would remain open during construction. The cost of the new centre would be around £17 million, which would be paid back over a number of years.

After the new leisure centre is open, some new homes would be built on the White Oak site to help pay towards the new centre.

Sevenoaks District Council will be holding four drop in events, over four days, in locations in Swanley from Wednesday 6 March to showcase the plans.

The drop-in events take place on:

Wednesday 6 March – Swanley Market 10am to 3pm
Thursday 7 March – White Oak Leisure Centre 10am to 8pm
Friday 8 March - White Oak Leisure Centre 10am to 8pm
Saturday 9 March – Swanley Link 10am to 3pm

A planning application for the new centre should be submitted later this year when residents will have an opportunity to comment on the plans.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Health, Cllr Michelle Lowe, says: “We are really excited about the new plan for White Oak. The modernised centre will provide excellent services for the town and will be more environmentally friendly than the current centre.”

Cllr Lowe also adds: “White Oak is an integral part of Swanley. We have worked closely with industry experts to put forward proposals for a centre that is economically viable while offering activities that reflect contemporary leisure trends. We believe these plans offer the best opportunity to continue to provide leisure in the town for generations to come.”

To find out more about the plans and the drop in events visit www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/whiteoak


Keeping young people safe online
Feb 07,2019

As part of Internet Safety Day on Tuesday 5 February, the Sevenoaks District Community Safety Partnership is visiting local schools to offer advice on staying safe online.
The partnership is delivering three different projects targeted at pupils of different ages.
A session written by Childnet International is being delivered to the District’s three secondary schools. It covers the sensitive issue of sharing sexually explicit messages or photos amongst 11 to 16 year olds.
The sessions includes a play in which students will be asked to step into the shoes of characters and to think about the consequences of creating and sending indecent images. The students can decide their own ending, taking into account what they have learnt.
A competition to design a screensaver for vulnerable people to safe online will also run at primary schools.
The final initiative is to ask schoolchildren to take part in the Digital Sunset Challenge that was launched last year. Matthew Scott, the Police and Crime Commissioner, will speak with pupils St Pauls Primary School Swanley, encouraging them to ditch their devices before bedtime.
The scheme invites children and their families to put their smartphones away early in the evening during the Challenge week. They make a note of the time they stopped using their devices, when they went to bed and how they felt the next day.
Our Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Development, Cllr Roddy Hogarth, says: “It is vital that young people understand the importance of online safety. These workshops are an enlightening and engaging way to put a very serious message across.”

“The Digital Sunset Challenge is a great initiative that helps parents, as well as children, think about how much they use their smart devices and what affect this may be having on them.”


Sevenoaks’ visitor numbers rise by 8.5% in 2017
Jan 14,2019

Visits to Sevenoaks increased by 8.5% with the district welcoming 4.3 million visitors in 2017, according to research released this week.

 

Independent research commissioned by Visit Kent showed that the number of day trips to the Sevenoaks District leapt by 9% in 2017, meanwhile the total number of nights stayed in the District increased by 3.8%.

 

The value of Sevenoaks District visitor economy grew by 5.4% in 2017 and is now worth over £243 million.

 

The total number of jobs supported by tourism rose by 5.1% to 5,287, with the industry accounting for 10% of total employment in Sevenoaks.

 

A further boost to tourism in 2018 was the £8.5 million investment by Sevenoaks District Council to build a Premier Inn Hotel close to the Sevenoaks station. The hotel opened in August last year and is expected to bring millions of pounds of new investment into the local economy.

 

The tourism picture was rosy across the county in 2017, despite the challenges presented by ongoing Brexit negotiations and wet weather during the summer. Kent welcomed 65 million visitors in 2017, and the visitor economy’s value leapt by 7% to £3.8 billion.

 

Sevenoaks District Council Cabinet Member for Economic & Community Development, Cllr Roddy Hogarth, says: “This is very good news. Sevenoaks District is a wonderful place to visit and we are delighted that more and more people are coming to see what we have to offer and supporting the local economy”

He also added “Now we have a brand new hotel in Sevenoaks, visitors can spend even more time here supporting local pubs, restaurants and shops.”


Run, walk or push against dementia returns in 2019
Dec 11,2018

After the huge success of ‘Run, walk or push against dementia’ over the past two years, it’s time to lace up those running shoes again when the popular charity event returns in May.

Sevenoaks District Council Chairman, Cllr Pat Bosley, joined Elaine Murray and Symone Salwan from the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum to launch the event at the Knole Forget-Me-Not Café in Sevenoaks last Friday (7 December 2018).

All the money raised from the event will support local people living with dementia and their families. The £11,500 generated from previous events are currently funding the Knole Forget-Me-Not Café and well as Forget-Me-Not Cafes in Edenbridge and Westerham, the Forget-Me-Notes singing group and dementia friendly cinema screenings.

With five-hundred places available, the event makes its comeback on Sunday 12 May 2019 and once again includes timed 3, 5 and 10k courses suitable for parents with pushchairs through to seasoned runners.

Everyone who crosses the line will receive a commemorative medal and participants can take advantage of a range of other benefits to help them prepare for the big day.

Entry for the 3k and 5k runs is £13 for people aged over 16 and £5 for under 16s. Both distances are suitable for beginners, children and people with pushchairs. Ages four and under go free.

Entry for the 10k run, suited to keen runners and those up for a challenge, is £18. This distance is not open to under 16s or people with pushchairs.

To sign up, visit www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/runwalkpush

Cllr Pat Bosley says: “We are very excited to be part this event again. Every pound raised from participants or pubic donations will fund important services for local people living with dementia, helping to improve their quality life. We know that dementia is one of the leading causes of death in the UK, but this event gives everyone the opportunity to not only improve their own health, but also raise money for people affected by the disease.”

Elaine Murray, co-chair of the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum, adds: "Run, walk or push is our major fundraising event but it does so much more than that – it raises awareness of dementia in our area; enables individuals, families and groups to jointly exercise in beautiful surroundings and brings together many partners and volunteers from the community to ensure the event runs smoothly and brings joy."


Sevenoaks scoops top international award
Dec 04,2018

Sevenoaks District Council beat off competition from across the globe to take the ‘Excellence in Leadership and Management’ prize at this year’s Investors in People Awards.

The Awards celebrate best practice amongst Investors in People accredited businesses. The winners were announced at a ceremony in London hosted by TV comedian Russell Kane on Wednesday, 28 November 2018.

The Excellence in Leadership and Management Award celebrated organisations that demonstrate how meaningful leadership can make a good company great. Investors in People praised the Council for its culture of openness and promoting innovation and its unique in-house management training and coaching schemes. The schemes are available to all staff, helping the Council to develop and support its own staff into management roles.

On winning this category, Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of the Council, says: “To be crowned winner in the Excellence in Leadership and Management category is such a fantastic achievement. I am extremely proud of my staff.”

“To offer excellent services and the very best value to our residents, it’s essential our managers set out a clear vision for the Council while inspiring and motivating others to achieve their best. However, this award also recognises how our staff come together to support each other and the pride they take in the quality of the services they deliver, day in and day out.”

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, adds: “This year’s Investors in People Awards were an inspirational celebration of best practice across our international community. It was fantastic to see so many worthy organisations nominated for our performance in their approach to people management. I commend Sevenoaks District Council for their dedication to improving the quality of work for their employees.


Local Plan balances protection of the Green Belt with sites for community infrastructure and homes
Nov 21,2018

Sevenoaks District Councillors will soon consider a new Local Plan that will protect almost all of the District’s Green Belt, with just four greenfield sites proposed for much needed community infrastructure and new homes.

The Government has told the Council it must plan for its housing needs up to 2035. While the Council will prioritise brownfield land and build at higher densities, with 93% of the District in the Green Belt, and the remaining 7% close to being fully developed, it was required to consider greenfield sites put forward by landowners.

Of the 400 greenfield sites put forward, the Council rejected 388 and, over the summer, asked for residents’ views on the remaining 12 sites in the first draft of the Local Plan.

After it considered the 8,500 resident comments from this consultation, and further expert reports and feasibility studies on the sites, the Council has now published an update to the Local Plan and is proposing just four strategic greenfield sites for new homes. These are:
• Tarmac Quarry, Sevenoaks (Sevenoaks Northern Masterplan)
• Land east of London Road in Dunton Green
• Land south of Four Elms Road, Edenbridge
• Pedham Place near Swanley and Farningham as a broad location for growth, subject to further work

Cllr Robert Piper, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning says: “To ensure we can continue to protect the Green Belt, it is vital that we submit a robust and consistent Local Plan to the Government Planning Inspector, who will make the final decision.

“Government told us we need to plan for up to 14,000 new homes up to 2035. However, Sevenoaks District is overwhelmingly in the Green Belt, restricting where new homes can be built.

“We have carried our extensive consultations and listened carefully to our residents and followed a rigorous, consistent process. Based on all of the evidence, we are proposing to deliver 70% of the new homes sought by Government as we are determined to do all we can to protect the much loved and treasured Green Belt.

“If the Planning Inspector approves our Local Plan, developers and the Council will work closely with residents to make sure they get the right community and infrastructure improvements they need.”

The latest version of the Local Plan will be debated by the Council’s Planning Advisory Committee on 22 November and Cabinet on 6 December. If approved by Cabinet, there will be a final consultation, known as a ‘Regulation 19 Publication’, starting mid-December.

The final decision to approve the Local Plan will be taken by the Planning Inspector at a public examination in 2019. If residents wish to speak at the examination, which is at the Planning Inspector’s discretion, they will need to register their interest during the consultation period.

After this consultation closes, the Council will submit residents’ comments and the draft Local Plan to the Planning Inspector for consideration.

Residents can view the latest version of the Local Plan, and find out how to take part in the final consultation, at www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/localplansubmission


Health and care award win for Sevenoaks District Councillor
Nov 08,2018

Sevenoaks District Councillor, Michelle Lowe, has been recognised for her outstanding work in health and housing after clinching a prestigious national honour at the 2018 Councillor Achievement Awards on Tuesday 6 November.

The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health and Housing collected the Health and Care Award at a ceremony at Guildhall in London, hosted by the LGiU (Local Government Information Unit) and CCLA (Churches, Charities and Local Authorities).

Cllr Lowe was praised for her work in raising awareness that housing is the greatest factor influencing people’s health and instilling the theme of ‘Wellbeing Starts at Home’ into the Council’s new Housing Strategy.

She was applauded for her role in the West Kent Health Deal, helping to re-focus efforts on prevention in order to reduce demand on social care, as well as championing the West Kent rapid hospital discharge scheme, which has assessed 288 patients since November 2016 and now gets people home faster than ever before.

Cllr Lowe has also been instrumental in helping the Council become the most dementia-friendly organisation in Kent and pioneering the ‘Super HEROES’ service, who has assisted over 1,800 clients helping to reduce their debt and rent arrears and supporting them to re-enter training, work and volunteering. This has helped the Council keep levels of homelessness exceptionally low.

The development of the Super HEROES service has meant the Council can provide health advice and support, and help residents plan for their future by addressing both the medical and non-medical issues that hold them back.

It is the second consecutive year a Sevenoaks District Councillor has succeeded at the awards, after Leader, Cllr Peter Fleming took the Leader of the Year category at the ceremony last year.

Speaking at the ceremony in Guildhall, London, Dr Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, says: “It’s fantastic to hear stories of local councillors working selflessly for the community, bringing real benefits to residents. Cllr Michelle Lowe has demonstrated huge talent and dedication. The outstanding quality of the nominations we received this year stands as a testament to the exceptional job many councillors are doing for their community.”

After being presented the award by LGiU Chairman, Michael Payne, Cllr Michelle Lowe adds: “I am truly honoured to take home this award and prove what a difference Districts can make to people’s lives.

“I thank everyone at the Council for their support to help turn my vision into a reality and working as a team to achieve amazing things. It might be my name on the award, but it is our residents who are the real winners.”

Cllr Lowe was first elected as a District Councillor in 2007 to represent Otford and Shoreham. In 2013, she became Deputy Leader of the Council and a Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety before her portfolio changed to Housing and Health in 2015.


Council invests in Bradbourne Lakes improvement plan
October 18,2018

Sevenoaks District Council's Cabinet has given the go ahead to invest £60,000 to take forward the restoration and improvement of Bradbourne Lakes.

This follows hot on the heels of the Council commissioning leading landscape and leisure experts, Land Use Consultants (LUC), to engage with the community in developing a creative vision from which to work.

This £60k funding boost earmarked for inclusion in next year’s budget would see LUC progress this by commissioning the necessary reports from tree, wildlife and water experts, producing detailed designs for delivering that vision and planning the project delivery before approaching a host of potential funding partners.

Cllr Matthew Dickins, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Direct and Trading Services, says: “The Bradbourne Lakes are a jewel in the Sevenoaks crown and have long been a favourite destination for visitors from both far and wide – but there is lots we’d like to do to polish this gem and really make it sparkle.

“The public consultation earlier this summer, led by renowned experts Land Use Consultants and kindly supported by the Bradbourne Residents’ Association, resulted in the compilation of a creative vision which clearly sets out the community’s ambition for the Bradbourne Lakes.

“I am extremely grateful to all those who took part in this vital work and we’re now determined to see that vision delivered.”

The five ornamental lakes date back to 1740, once forming part of the Bradbourne Estate before they were handed to Sevenoaks Urban Council in 1935. Over the years, the Council and community have worked together to maintain the much-loved park, including investing in new fencing, gates and benches. The Council is now seeking to undertake the most major overhaul of the Lakes since they were built to secure their future for generations to come.

The Council’s Cabinet agreed to the funding at its meeting on Thursday 11 November 2018.


Parking Charges Frozen Again 
October 09,2018

Sevenoaks District Council is again proposing to freeze all its parking charges in its town centre car parks for the fourth-year running.

Most commuter car park charges are also frozen with the exception of the new Bradbourne car park serving Sevenoaks station, where a moderate increase is proposed to the daily and season ticket fees.

Bradbourne car park reopened in April 2017 after an eight million-pound investment. The car park provides mostly covered parking, comprehensive CCTV coverage, regular patrols, the coveted ‘Park Mark’ status, flexible payment options and a host of environmentally friendly features.

The proposed charges, the first change in three years at this car park, will help to ensure Bradbourne car park remains commercially and competitively priced while remaining better value than the other commuter car parks close to Sevenoaks rail station.

The Council will continue to offer free parking in its Westerham car parks for the first three hours and there will be no increases in any town centre car parks or on-street in Sevenoaks, Swanley, Westerham or Knockholt.

Despite increases in operational costs, such as business rates, insurance and general maintenance, the Council continues to reinvest in its car parks. Over the past few years, the Council has made improvements including the installation of new safety barriers, increasing capacity, resurfacing, renewing drainage and upgrading lighting.

Cllr Matthew Dickins, the Council’s Cabinet Member for parking, says: “I am proud that Sevenoaks District Council is once again setting itself apart from other local authorities by proposing to continue freezing parking charges in its town centres.

“We’ve worked hard over the past few years, investing over £10m in our car parks, increasing capacity and improving the facilities to meet demand. At the same time, we’ve been freezing charges, simplifying tariffs and ensuring there is something for everyone.

“This careful approach to the management of parking is reaping dividends, with the District boasting one of the most vibrant local economies in the country.”

The proposed changes are being considered by the Direct and Trading Advisory Committee on 9 October and will be finalised by Cabinet on 11 October. If approved, the new parking charges would take effect in April 2019.


Grab your community grant of up to £5,000
October 01,2018

Sevenoaks District Council is now offering grants of up to £5,000 to local voluntary and charity organisations to provide vital services that benefit the most vulnerable residents in the District.

The main aim of the Council’s Community Grant Scheme is to support volunteer-led projects that boost the health and wellbeing of people who live in the District.

Cllr Roddy Hogarth, Sevenoaks District Council Cabinet Member for Community Grants, says: “Our community grants have enabled voluntary and charitable groups the chance to improve the quality of life for many, especially our vulnerable, older and younger residents.”

“I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. If you are interested, or need extra advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.”

The deadline for applications for grants between £100 and £5000 is Friday 23 November. Successful applicants will receive their funding in April 2019.

Application packs are available on request by emailing grants@sevenoaks.gov.uk
or by calling 01732 227000.


Council drops Swanley centre appeal
October 01,2018

Sevenoaks District Council has reluctantly decided not to contest an appeal against its refusal of a planning application to redevelop Swanley Centre after the Government changed national planning policy.

The planning application was lodged with Sevenoaks District Council in 2017 by landowners U+I. Their proposal was to demolish the existing centre and replace it with seven tower blocks ranging from three to 11 stories high providing 303 new homes and 4,318 square metres of commercial and retail space.

Within their submission, the landowners accepted the towers could block natural sunlight to some nearby homes. In addition, the Council’s Development Control Committee had concerns about car parking arrangements, the height, scale and bulk of the proposals, believing they were out-of-keeping with the area, and that no affordable housing was proposed and refused the application at its meeting on 16 November 2017. The following April, the landowners appealed to the Government’s Planning Inspector against the Council’s decision.

However, in July 2018, the Government changed national planning policy putting a greater emphasis on the delivery of homes, making the best use of land, increasing densities and a flexible approach to planning policies that would otherwise hinder the efficient use of a site, such as the impact of the loss of daylight.

The Council sought external legal advice and it was told it would no longer be wise to contest the appeal and if it did so, it could have acted unreasonably. If this was the case, the Council could be liable for significant costs that would be payable to the landowner.

Cllr Gary Williamson, the Council’s Chairman of the Development Control Committee, says: “The Committee refused this application as we had serious concerns about the impact on neighbours and the wider town. But landowners can appeal to the Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate and thanks in part to recent changes to national planning policy, it became clear it would no longer be right to contest the appeal.

“It is genuinely frustrating and we feel strongly we had made the right local decision. But the final say would have been taken out of our hands hundreds of miles away from Swanley and if our decision was overturned, local tax payers could have been landed with a substantial bill.”

Sevenoaks District Council is now talking with the Planning Inspector and the landowner about what should happen next.


Council takes public health work to world stage
October 01,2018

Sevenoaks District Council is set to showcase its public health work to the world with an appearance at the World Health Organisation International Healthy Cities Conference in Belfast from 1-4 October.

The Council’s Cabinet for Housing and Health, Cllr Michelle Lowe, will be giving a speech on the Council’s ‘Wellbeing Starts At Home’ approach to Public Health as almost 100 cities and 20 national networks come together.

Over 500 delegates will be in attendance at the conference. Cllr Lowe will be speaking in auditorium of Belfast’s Waterfront during Parallel A setting out how the council's innovative work to bring housing and health together.

Cllr Michelle Lowe, says: “It’s so exciting to be able to tell our public health story on such an important world stage.

“The basis of our strategy is simple: if your home is over-crowded, under-occupied and not well maintained, isolated, unaffordable, cold or damp, your health will suffer. Our housing strategy aims to tackle these ills so all our residents live in suitable accommodation.

“We are also taking a health in all policies approach to the rest of our tools: Planning, Licensing, Leisure, Environmental Health, Community Safety and Economic Development to create an environment that is conducive to wellbeing the moment people step out of their front door.

“The Healthy Cities conference is a great opportunity for different areas to learn best practice from each other so we can improve the wellbeing of residents from across the globe. I am particularly looking forward to learning more about how we can better support older people to live independently and more about innovative supported housing for people living with dementia, improving mental health and tackling obesity. I will bring these ideas back to make an even bigger difference to the wellbeing of our residents here in Sevenoaks.”


Rogue Traders and Bogus Callers
August 12, 2018

Bogus Callers & Rogue Traders

Sevenoaks District Community Safety Partnership’s CSU based at the Council Offices and are working together with Police, KCC Trading Services, KCC Community Wardens, Housing Associations and Nat West Bank to educate and protect all residents from bogus callers and rogue traders.  We will be looking at further education within the community, schools and local groups.  We will be identifying traits of traders who are online as well as visiting homes within the District.

We have an action plan and have received funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner and match funded by Sevenoaks District Council to help deliver these actions to help residents against all types of fraud.  For more information please e-mail us community.safety@sevenoaks.gov.uk or call 01732 227000.  Below is advice from Kent Police and Action Fraud.

Bogus Callers

Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes people can try to trick their way into your home to steal your valuables and money. They are known as 'distraction burglars' or 'bogus callers'.

Are you expecting anyone?

Be cautious; people from water, gas and electric companies rarely visit without appointments. If there's a real emergency, police and fire-fighters are likely to be there.  On rare occasions, people may pose as members of the emergency services or armed forces to gain access to someone's home. If you're unsure, follow the tips below.

Rogue Traders

A rogue trader is someone who comes to your house without invitation (cold calling), offering services or goods and overcharging for them. 

This includes overcharging for unnecessary work, damaging property deliberately to get money, leaving work unfinished and intimidating someone to get money.

Sign up to Kent Trading Standard's email alert system at www.kent.gov.uk to receive rogue trader and fraud updates direct to your inbox.

Remember traders must give you written notice of your right to 14 days cancellation when agreeing to do work at your home, including work gained from a cold call

If in doubt, don’t agree to services or goods from doorstep callers. Go to www.kentpolice.uk for their top tips.

Online Fraud

Cyber crime is any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (called hacking). Additionally, cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through the Internet.  Some fraudsters rely on the internet to commit their crimes. Learn about some different types of internet frauds that and how to protect yourself and get safe online.  Online frauds can include:

To find out more on all the fraud/scam types or to report a fraud go to Action Fraud www.actionfraud.police.uk


Kent Police: How to Report Crime
August 08, 2018

Information on the various ways you can report crime to Kent Police and follow them on social media can be found here 


Planning Inspector protects Vine Waste for future generations
July 31, 2018

The Government Planning Inspectorate has ruled out any form of development on the Vine Waste in Sevenoaks, giving the land greater protection in the future.

Sevenoaks District Council had considered using the Sevenoaks Town Council owned site for temporary parking during the decking of the Buckhurst 2 Car Park. It was one of a number of sites under consideration as it is used extensively throughout the summer for parking in connection with cricket and other events at the Vine.

However, after local residents had expressed concerns about the possible use of the Vine Waste as a temporary car park during building works, Sevenoaks District Council found alternative parking for its Buckhurst 2 customers at the end of last year. This included the Morewood temporary car park by Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court and running a subsidised bus service into town.

As the site is a public common, the Planning Inspector had to consider if the Vine Waste could be used for temporary parking.

The Planning Inspector, in their judgement, said that whilst the Vine Waste was used for parking in connection with events, Sevenoaks District Council had already found alternative parking for Buckhurst 2 customers so it was no longer required and the works would not improve commons for the wider community.


The Council's clean, green parking machine
July 29, 2018

Sevenoaks District Council is helping the District to go green after it bought its first electric vehicle.?

Sevenoaks District Council is helping the District to go green after it bought its first electric vehicle.

The Council has invested in a BMW i3 for its Parking Wardens. It’s the authority’s first ever electric car and boasts zero emissions as well as being cheaper to run.

Cllr Matthew Dickins, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Direct and Trading Services, says: “Sevenoaks District Council is going electric for a cleaner greener future. It’s much better for the environment than its diesel predecessor and benefits from lower running costs, costing less than a fiver for a ‘full tank’.

“This is joining our electric bicycles which help improve not just air quality but congestion and health too, easing our staff from four wheels to two. It’s a healthier way to travel and a popular choice for Council officers attending meetings around the town.”

As part of the Council’s green thinking, it has also been plugging away on a rollout of electric charging points, which are already available in the recently decked Bradbourne Car Park. The new Buckhurst 2 Car Park will have them too when it reopens early in 2019.

Parking Warden Bob Purssord and Cllr Matthew Dickins