AFRA community safety conversation December 3rd

AFRA community safety conversation December 3rd

On Saturday December 3rd, the AFRA working group hosted a meeting supported by local police, Councillors, residents associations and the community safety team from Folkestone and Hythe District Council.

The meeting provided an opportunity to review current concerns and issues, to discuss initiatives aimed at reducing the negative impact on quality of life for residents and to renew a commitment to partnership working in the community.

The event was well attended and provided a positive discussion leading to agreed points for further action and development.
In simple terms, this is what AFRA is all about: a forum to provide the opportunity to address shared issues through collaboration.

Thanks to all who attended. A short report is available to download by clicking here

Leas Pavilion Development….

6th October 2022:
a local resident’s update on traffic management issues and other matters…

We are beginning to experience the consequences of the decision of FHDC’s Planning Committee, when they consented to the Leas Pavilion development.

Since they came on site, Ant Yapi the construction company, despite the terribly confined space they find themselves working in, have co-operated and communicated with local residents.  They have taken on board all the concerns of the local population regarding transport and deliveries, something Highways, FHDC Planning Department, and The Planning Committee (watch the video) certainly did not.

They have come up with the best solution they could and it is now in place.  This solution had to go before Highways for consent, now obtained; it took them long enough to agree to something that they must admit is the lesser of lots of evils.  Only time will tell.

Time began this morning when, because a motorist parked illegally on the double yellow lines, an Iceland delivery truck could not negotiate the corner into Longford Terrace and had to drive over The Lees Lawns in order to back in to Longford Terrace.  Nice big truck ruts over the grass.  

The illegally parked car caused the problem.  However, having happily given consent to the removal of the parking spaces, despite residents protests (already short of spaces) especially the disabled, this is going to happen. One wonders, how much is the developer paying FHDC to have those spaces taken out? 

People are desperate and are having to park further and further away from their homes. 

Safety of our residents is paramount.  Ant Yapi are aware of this and have done their very best to work with what they have got.

Hopefully this is the first and last incident.

Unfortunately, another truck from Macdonalds could not negotiate the badly parked car and decided to go round the one-way system into Sandgate Road and right in to Cheriton Place and left into Longford Way, going against the 3T limit placed there a good number of years ago because of a cellar under the road and the car park opposite. 

This warning sign was dismissed by highways as being irrelevant and dismissed in the consultation.  However, lots of concrete appeared to be poured into that corner some weeks ago, and the 3T sign is now given prominence.

LEAS CLIFF PAVILION DEVELOPMENT DIARY

LEAS CLIFF PAVILION DEVELOPMENT DIARY

Nobody will have failed to notice that a number of major developments are underway in the District. Some argue that this shows progress and investment, which is crucial to regeneration of our town – but at what hidden cost?
Local residents living near the historic Leas Pavilion, which was a beautiful heritage venue supported by many outstanding performers, have become increasingly frustrated by poor communication over legitimate concerns relating to the planning, public safety and construction management aspects of this project.
We’ve invited them to contribute to a ‘Diary’ of events and progress with this significant building site. Watch this space.

AFRAid? Community Champions!

AFRAid? Community Champions!

What is it that lies at the heart of AFRA? It’s simple: people who care about our community, regardless of their politics or personal situation.

AFRA members are all highly active members of the community… so it’s not surprising they get stuck into the issues which really need to be dealt with. At the same time, we also put forward suggestions at a strategic level – the right sort of planning which would eliminate many of these problems before they happen!

Examples of ongoing AFRA campaigns – which tend to get a positive response – working with the District and Town Council and other community groups…..

Licensing review: getting it right in reality

Attitudes to Anti-social behaviour management

Waste management planning and provision

Cycling safely – for cyclists and others

Hi-revving revellers: ‘boy racers’ vs pedestrians

Planting and greening initiatives

Doing Development… decently

Community consultation work

Some of our website visitors may find this report by the New Local (formerly New Local Government) group into community engagement interesting reading.

The Community Paradigm – click to download or read the report

Work in progress

Work in progress

AFRA is continuing as a group to press for a better approach to consultation over the future of the Town.

While welcoming the initiation of some consultation work intended to contribute to the Place Plan, there is more work needed if this is to be a credible exercise. Many individuals have already pointed to many oversights or errors in detail; this highlights some of the problems in the approach used.

We have now added a new page specifically to focus on this important issue: Our Town, our future – click here to connect – and add your views and comments, please!

Our Town, Our Future – it matters

Our Town, Our Future – it matters

For latest information, click here or copy and paste below!
https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/folkestoneplaceplan

POST UPDATED 20TH MARCH 2021

In recent weeks, several members and associates of AFRA have been seeking to engage in the consultation on the future of Folkestone Town Centre.
As always, we have taken a constructive position – welcoming the principle and highlighting the importance of this for our town.

Inevitably, some mistakes have been made in the course of this work – we have politely drawn these to the attention of the consultants and the District Council.
We have opened the door to discussions on how to remediate these – our message to key Councillors and the lead consultancy is published below.

  1. We need a transparent consultation which starts and ends with the views and wishes of local people – not just those with influence or possible vested interests.
  2. We need a plan which truly recognises the amenities, assets and community collateral of this wonderful place
  3. We need to respect our heritage and history, which will be a key building block for the future – as visitor attractions, community centres and meeting points.
  4. We need a commitment to building a great future together – with the community and for the community – for Folkestone: Our Town, Our Future.

To: 

Cllr. David Monk and Emily Temperton (We Made That consultancy) 

I am writing, after discussion among AFRA partners, to provide observations on the current consultation concerning Folkestone Town Centre.
If you are not familiar with AFRA, the group is very simply an informal alliance of residents groups, also working with civic groups where we have common interest.  

We take an apolitical and non-partisan stance on issues of shared concern or shared opportunity. The future of the town centre of Folkestone is clearly such an issue, being of real significance for everyone who lives in our community, works in the District or visits the area. The statement attached and this email are being shared with a number of interested parties and will also be shared with our media contacts and posted on our website shortly.

  • We Made That
  • Council lead officers and group leaders for each of the main political parties at Folkestone and Hythe District Council
  • Council lead officers and group leaders for each of the main political parties at Folkestone Town Council
  • A number of our partners and others with an interest in the community consultation process

Firstly, we very much welcome the principle of consultation, given the significance of this work which will play a large part in shaping the town for present and future generations.

Secondly, after some involvement in online sessions which form part of the consultation process, we would wish to put on record a sense of some emerging concerns.
The current consultation process frankly does not seem to be meeting the needs of the community adequately in terms of preparation and research, inclusion of key groups or transparency of process and information access.  There are in fact indications of some regrettable major oversights – which can of course be remedied, but have coloured some of the responses we are aware of – as you will be:

  • The lack of any reference to the impact of CoVid on the community, investment and changes in economic context going forward
  • The omission of significant  aspects of the town’s heritage and character, notably including St Eanswythes Church where you will also find the original Folkestone Town Cross 
  • A seemingly marginal involvement of Folkestone Town Council in this consultation, despite the Town Hall itself being at the epicentre of the area under discussion.
  • The failure to provide a reasonable supply of information in the public domain on the process and progress of this work

There are other matters, which no doubt individuals and other groups will have brought to your attention. As such, we would suggest that the process really now needs urgently to be reviewed.

AFRA seeks as a point of principle to offer constructive criticism and to be part of the solution in looking at opportunities for community development. 

You’ll see that our statement recognises the significance of this work – and hopefully you will understand that these comments are intended to be helpful. We look forward to your response – the AFRA group is currently considering with others the possible need for additional consultation mechanisms.

We would be happy to discuss this further.
With kind regards

Jon O’Connor
AFRA coordinator

15th March 2021

image001.jpg

Our Town, Our voice matters

Folkestone Town Centre regeneration planning

Folkestone and District Council has announced the appointment of We Made That – a consultancy firm which has been commissioned to engage with stakeholders in the development of the plans for the revival of Folkestone Town Centre, at a cost of over £80k.

This is a significant moment for our town – with a coherent approach to CoVid19 recovery urgently needed to take our community forward with confidence.

Cllr David Wimble, Cabinet Member for the District Economy for Folkestone & Hythe District Council, said:

“Although we’re at an early stage the ambition of this Place Plan is very exciting.
Folkestone is brimming with potential and we will do our bit to make sure that we are proactively engaging and using our influence to create a town fit for an extraordinary community that surrounds it.”

AFRA and our member organisations have registered an interest in being involved – as have a number of other groups and individuals.
We’ve heard nothing back so far, so cannot really comment on the consultation approach – as there hasn’t really been any consultation yet.

Given that the contract runs for 6 months from 7 December 2020 to the end of May and will presumably finish with a report in early June it is surprising that so little has been heard in the public domain of this major initiative.

As of today, the Folkestone Town Council website had no information about this key programme .
The District website has no further information to offer.

Watch this space.

Homelessness: a consultation

AFRA is encouraging all Folkestone residents to contribute to the FHDC consultation on meeting the needs of homeless and vulnerable members of the community.

A draft of the Homelessness Prevention Strategy for the next five years (2020 to 2025) has been published and feedback is welcomed until 2 October 2020.

The new plan sets out the council’s three priority areas:

◼️ Ending rough sleeping

◼️ Early intervention, prevention and support

◼️ Ensuring a good supply of affordable and suitable accommodation.

Included among the innovative aims to meet the priorities is the adoption of what is known as a Housing First approach. This provides intensive support for those who have been homeless with the aim of creating a stable home and enabling people to rebuild their lives.

Exploring the possibility of setting up a Social Enterprise Scheme to provide training and employment opportunities is also put forward in the strategy. To do this the council suggests bringing together a working group to include those who have been homeless, business entrepreneurs, council representatives and those from educational establishments.

Within the strategy the council outlines its commitment to building 1,000 new homes for rent and shared ownership between 2025 and 2035. Community Led Housing schemes, in which local people take action to address their own community’s housing needs, are also proposed.

Councillor David Godfrey, F&HDC Cabinet member for Housing, said: “This review of our five year strategy comes at a time when COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the needs of people sleeping rough and of households facing the threat of becoming homeless.

“Our plans look at how we can work with our partners in the voluntary and statutory sectors to intervene even earlier before a household becomes threatened with becoming homeless. We want to identify those in need of support as soon as possible to prevent evictions wherever possible.

“We hope people will take the time to read what we are proposing. Perhaps we may also interest those who would like to be part of our suggested working group and work with the council to prevent and resolve homelessness.”

The Homelessness Act 2002 requires every local authority to review and renew their Homelessness Strategy every five years. Our previous strategy was a joint East Kent Homelessness Prevention Strategy, adopted by Folkestone & Hythe, Canterbury, Dover & Thanet councils and agreed in 2014. 

Over the last few years there has been significant legislative change and welfare reform.  Each council is now focusing on their area’s particular needs and producing strategies which reflect those needs.

The strategy and more information can be found by clicking here.