Archive for the ‘New Ash Green Centre’ Category
Thanks to the initiative of Sevenoaks District Seniors Action Forum, money from the Big Lottery Fund, co-operation from New Ash Green Village Association and my drill and screwdriver, New Ash Green now has a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) in the centre of the village.
I installed it this week outside the entrance to the Village Association office in Centre Road where it is available 24/7 for use on anyone who suffers a cardiac arrest.
The Post Office is consulting on a plan to change New Ash Green Post Office into a ‘local’ branch.
Conservative councillors for Ash and New Ash Green have been active in the Town Team that is trying to breathe new life into New Ash Green’s shopping centre.
The Team also includes officers from Sevenoaks Council and representatives from the shops, Village Association, Parish Council and other interested people.
Initial ideas include improving the planting within the centre (but also thinning some of the overgrown wooded areas immediately outside it), replacing or renovating some of the worn-out street furniture and renewing the outdated and tired signs to encourage more people to stop off in the centre. We would also like to introduce some more events in the centre, like the successful fun days that were held last summer, to encourage people to visit and support the traders.
We need to secure the long-term future of the shopping centre as a vital resource for New Ash Green and the surrounding area. The shopkeepers themselves have a key role to play and so do the landowners within and around the centre. The Team hopes to be a catalyst to bring them together to work towards achieving a centre that will be a real asset to the area. In the long term we still hope for a full regeneration of the centre but meanwhile we cannot let it degenerate further as we need a vibrant centre to be the core of any regeneration project.
That depends on people supporting our present traders and being willing to work with us and them to build up a solid base of support. If you help us to do that, the Town Team will work with the landlords and traders to achieve some real improvements.
Councils remain under heavy Government pressure to make more savings in their expenditure and it is only right that every possibility to reduce costs is considered. Sevenoaks District Council is no exception and will have to find further savings in its next budget. One area of discretionary expenditure that is being examined at present is the CCTV coverage across the District, including the cameras in New Ash Green shopping centre. At the meeting of the Council’s Scrutiny Committee last night, Councillor Mrs Purves (the LibDem member for Sevenoaks Eastern) proposed that the entire system should be scrapped to save nearly a quarter of a million pounds annually unless those who want the service are willing to pay for it.
The Council will be reviewing its CCTV operation as it must keep all its discretionary spending under review but we need to consider the implications for New Ash Green. Is there a will in this village to keep the CCTV? Can we afford to pay for it ourselves? Indeed, if we want to keep it but it is discontinued elsewhere, would it be a viable operation that could be maintained cost-effectively for one small area?
I’ve just delivered 243 questionnaires to Caling Croft and Farm Holt. The rest will be going out in the next few days to every house in the Parish. Make sure you fill in yours and return it to the collection points set out in my earlier post.
Or fill in the online questionnaire.
Residents are invited to enjoy the delights of healthy cooking and healthy living at a free event on Saturday 25 May between 10.30am and 2pm in New Ash Green shopping centre.
For budding chefs, or those looking for culinary inspiration, help will be on hand with a live cookery demonstration by local chef Mags Murray from Little Stirrers beginning at midday.
Mags, who is well known for running cookery classes for children across the county, will create some quick and easy dishes using locally sourced produce that are healthy, full of flavour and sure to set mouths watering! Mags will be handing out samples of her home cooked delights during the afternoon.
Other highlights include free NHS health checks for West Kent residents aged 40 to 74 who have not had a check-up in the last five years. There is no need to book an appointment.
There will be an opportunity go for a spin on the famous smoothie-making bike and to find out about this year’s Sky Ride programme of community bike rides.
The centre will host a number of stalls providing information on local sports clubs and fitness activities and there will be an opportunity to give your views on the future of the shopping centre.
The Ash-cum-Ridley Neighbourhood Plan will help to determine where residents live, work and play. It is being produced by the Parish Council and New Ash Green Village Association with help from Sevenoaks District Council. Local councillors are heavily involved in preparing the Plan which will cover the whole of the parish. Our Plan:
- will complement the planning documents for the Sevenoaks area, adding more local detail,
- when finished, will go to an independent examiner and a referendum for approval by the whole community,
- will add more local detail to the documents for the whole of Sevenoaks,
- must be taken into account in planning decisions when it has been approved.
So it really will make a difference.
We are also asking some extra questions to find out what other issues are important for local people, to help us to lobby for better facilities.
We need to ensure that as many people as possible have opportunities to give us their views on what should be in our Plan. As a first step we have developed a questionnaire to seek the opinions of parish residents about our future. It is being delivered to every household in the parish. Please answer it as carefully as you can on behalf of everyone in your household.
Alternatively you may fill in the online version of the questionnaire which is available on the following link:
If you need further paper copies of the questionnaire as a PDF document you may download this file:
If you do not have enough space to write everything on the questionnaire form and if any of your household, including the younger people, have particular interests or concerns, please attach a separate sheet of paper and say clearly which section the comments relate to. If they prefer they could fill in their own online questionnaire using the link above.
£10,000 of funding will be invested in New Ash Green to breathe new life into the village centre after a successful application to the Government’s ‘Our Town First’ scheme.
Housing Minister Mark Prisk announced on Tuesday that New Ash Green will receive funding and support. The aim of the New Ash Green bid is to encourage more people to support the shopping centre through community led initiatives, environmental improvements and raising the centre’s profile.
Local MP and Minister of State for Business and Enterprise Michael Fallon supported the bid from the start with help from local District Council members and residents.
As well as the money, we will now benefit from the free expert advice and networking that the Government has arranged through the Association of Town Centre Management.
Sevenoaks District Council supported this bid which has an emphasis on community led improvements, coupled with enhancing the atmosphere and environment of the village centre, improving the shopping offer and most importantly of all responding to local needs.
We hope to use this grant money to help us support an exciting programme of events, improvements and marketing to raise the profile of the village centre and make it a more attractive place to visit.
If you have any ideas on spending the grant, post a comment here and we’ll look at them alongside the other suggestions we are pursuing. No promises that we’ll take up everything because I’m sure we could spend the money several times over and we can’t really look at any proposals that would lead to ongoing running costs if no-one will commit to paying them.