COLLECTIVE SWITCHING SCHEME LAUNCHED TO HELP RESIDENTS SAVE MONEY ON ENERGY BILLS

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This week Dover District Council launches Energy Deal, a large-scale collective switching campaign in partnership with iChoosr, which is the first of its kind in Kent.

The Energy Deal scheme has been developed jointly with Dartford, Tunbridge Wells and Gravesham councils.  It aims to provide help and support to households looking to reduce their gas and electricity bills. By joining forces and combining their purchasing power through the scheme residents have the opportunity to negotiate with suppliers for a better deal and could benefit by saving money on their home energy bills. The more households that sign up the greater the bargaining power they have through Energy Deal.

Residents can join the scheme by registering at www.energydealswitch.com. It’s free to register and take part in Energy Deal, and residents are not obliged to switch energy supplier. To register, residents will need to have a copy of their latest fuel bill or energy statement available and use this to provide details of their current supplier and current energy use and tariff. An energy auction will take place on 4 June after which residents registered with Energy Deal will be sent a personalised offer showing the winning tariff, which they can then decide whether they want to accept.

Nadeem Aziz, Chief Executive, Dover District Council said: “We are pleased to support this innovative energy project, which is the first of its kind in Kent.  This is a great opportunity, and has the potential to help residents save money on their energy bills.”

For iChoosr, Bart Stevens said: “We have been active in Europe since 2008 organising collective switching schemes for local authorities. Over one million people have joined our schemes so far. We strongly believe this model is also applicable in Great Britain, where local authorities are well placed to help residents manage their high energy bills.”

Registration for Energy Deal will close on 3 June. Residents without internet can call Dover District Council on 01304 872428 to register to be part of the scheme.

Trading Standards Alert – Holiday Fraud

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National Fraud Investigation Bureau (NFIB) join forces with ABTA, Get Safe Online and Action Fraud to launch national holiday fraud campaign

We all look forward to our holidays, and often they can cost a considerable amount of money, which most of us cannot afford to lose.  Unfortunately more and more people are being affected by holiday booking fraud, which means that not only do you not get your holiday; you normally end up losing your money too.

New research by the NFIB shows that in 2012;

  • 1,000 cases of holiday fraud was      reported
  • costing consumers approximately £1.5M

For more information go to the City of London Police website:-

www.cityoflondon.police.uk/CityPolice/Media/News/190413-holidayfraud.htm

According to the YouGov poll for ABTA;

  • 1 in 10 consumers      (9%) do not research a travel company before booking and
  • a quarter of      holidaymakers (27%) pay £200 or more as a deposit or upfront payment
  • 7% of consumers are      willing to pay £500 or more

For more information on how to avoid becoming a victim of a holiday fraud visit ABTA’s website for more information:-

www.abta.com/go-travel/before-you-travel/travel-tips/fraud

For advice on staying safe on line go to:-

https://www.getsafeonline.org/

If a company is unknown to you, always make checks to establish if they are a genuine company. You can check a website address by searching the Nominet website:- www.nominet.org.uk/

Check the address they give on Google Earth and ask the company for a landline number and call them on it.  

To report any concerns you have call Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or to report fraud call Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk/

News and advice from Kent Police

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Two charged with murder

Kent Police has charged two women with murder after a man died at Capel-le-Ferne this week. A 22-year-old woman from Aylesham and a 21-year-old woman from Dover have been accused of killing a 30-year-old man. His body was discovered on Wednesday 10 April.


Crime down – and we’re working to keep it that way

Crime is continuing to fall in Dover. Figures for the end of the financial year show that there were 583 fewer crimes reported between April 2012 and March 2013 compared to the previous year, a fall of 9.4%. However, officers are not being complacent and are working hard to keep crime down.

One area to see a slight increase has been burglary which rose by 73 offences during the year. But this is still much lower than the national average. In response, twenty five suspects were arrested for burglary-related offences in Dover district, between February and March. During April, officers worked to increase high-visibility patrols, provide crime prevention advice and crack down on the distribution of stolen property.


Three arrests in one night as rural crime operation gets underway

Officers in Dover district are working with the rural community on operations to target thefts from farms and out-buildings. Thieves can be attracted to high value equipment and machinery and also target oil to steal. Three arrests were made in one night alone and further operations are planned. Farm and landowners are being encouraged to join ‘Country Eye’, the rural version of Neighbourhood Watch. For more information on Country Eye visit our Kent Police page.


Talk to your local officers

Come along to one of our public meetings over the next two weeks to chat with your neighbourhood officers about any policing issues where you live:

Friday 19 April: 2.30pm-3.30pm at Farmers’ Market, St Peters Church, Aylesham; 2pm-2.45pm at Ash Village Hall, Library room

Monday 22 April: 1pm-3pm at Blossom Children’s’ Centre, Mill Hill ward

Tuesday 23 April: 10am-11am at The Old Park Community Centre, Gordon Road, Whitfield

Wednesday 24 April: 2pm-3pm at Clarendon & Westbury Community Association Hall, Belgrave Road, Dover

Friday 26 April: 3pm-3.45pm at Village Green hut, Church Street, Eastry; 4pm-5pm at Triangles Community Centre, Poulton Close, Dover (neighbourhood panel meeting)

Find details of future meetings in your area, by visiting your ward page. Enter your postcode into the neighbourhood search.


Justice Seen, Justice Done

A 43-year-old woman from Dover has been sentenced to 56 days in prison, suspended for 12 months after pleading guilty to drink driving following an incident on 7 March 2013. The woman has been disqualified from driving for three years, must pay a total of £165 in costs and have treatment for alcohol dependency.

A 22-year-old man from Dover has been sentenced to 360 days in prison, suspended for 24 months, after pleading not guilty to theft and one charge of shoplifting, and pleading guilty to a further count of shoplifting. The man has also been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months, pay a total of £1,914 in compensation, take part in education, training and employment for six days and have treatment for drug dependency.

A 26-year-old man from Dover has been sentenced to 60 days in prison, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to criminal damage and failing to surrender to police/court bail. The man has been ordered to have treatment for his drug dependency and pay £600 in compensation and an £80 victim surcharge.

For more details of some of those brought before the magistrates’ courts recently, visit the Justice Seen Justice Done section on our website – www.kent.police.uk/justice


Stay Safe: Protect your home and your valuables

Whether you are going out, working in the garden or going to bed, be sure to close and lock all doors and windows to reduce opportunities for burglars. Keep valuables such as car keys, cash and handbags away from windows and doors where they could be spotted by thieves, and secure your shed or garage to protect expensive tools, bikes and garden equipment. Security lights and alarms around your property can also help deter unwanted visitors.

Don’t tempt thieves: Close it, Lock it, Protect it.

For more seasonal safety advice visit www.kent.police.uk/spring


Round up of Operation Castle – Kent’s crackdown on crime

Operation Castle, Kent Police’s major three month long crackdown on burglary and vehicle crime, has finished on a high note. During the operation, 173 warrants were executed and 373 people were arrested, of which 155 people were charged and 43 people (who were arrested for an outstanding warrant) also went to court. Most of the remainder of those arrested have been bailed pending further enquiries.


Take action against bogus callers and rogue traders

Most people who call or visit your home will be genuine, but occasionally, bogus callers and rogue traders may try to access your property to steal money or belongings, or to sell you services you don’t need at inflated prices.

Remember: always check a caller’s identification and never leave your door unattended. If you have any doubts, keep them out. You can report rogue traders to Trading Standards via the Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506. To report a non-urgent crime, call Kent Police on 101.

Download ‘Your guide to dealing with bogus callers for more advice.


Contacting Kent Police

Remember, you can contact Kent Police on 101 to report a non-urgent crime or contact your local officer. You should only call 999 in an emergency, when a crime is in progress or life is in danger.

For more information visit www.kent.police.uk/101


National Stalking Awareness Day – Thursday 18 April 2013

On the 25th of November 2012, changes were made to UK law to make stalking a criminal offence. This year’s National Stalking Awareness Day will promote these changes, and remind victims of stalking that help and support is available. For information or advice, call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or email advice@stalkinghelpline.org

Are you are affected by a stalker? Know someone else who is? Read our blog this week for useful information about diary logs, types of stalking, what you should and shouldn’t do, how to report stalking and how to access help and support.


Appeals in Kent: Can you help?

Visit the new appeals section of our website to see photos, CCTV and computer-generated images of people Kent Police would like to identify, as well as recent appeals for information across the county.

Do you meet vulnerable people and families who are in housing difficulty?

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Kent County Council commissions floating support services in Kent that support vulnerable people with their housing problems.  The service is free and covers every district and borough in Kent.  Floating support can help for up to a year those people whose housing situation is vulnerable because they are:

  • facing or threatened with eviction
  • Experiencing harassment
  • Experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse
  • Needing to make a transition to a new tenancy either in the private rented or      social rented sector
  • Rough sleeping (including sofa surfing)
  • Leaving institutional care e.g. prison, long stay hospital,
  • 16/17 years old

As well as resolving the immediate problem floating support can help with applying for welfare benefit, budgeting, accessing help or other services, finding work/training and settling into the community. It doesn’t matter where or how they are living in Kent; whether they are renting, own their own home or are lodging with relatives, even if they are sleeping rough, we can help .

We have a broad range of specialist providers who are able to deliver this important preventative work and we encourage all those who meet parents families and individuals who are in housing difficulty to make use of this free service. This free resource is available to help and we’d like to ask for your support to pass this message on to parishes who may wish to include mention in their town or parish magazines. People in need can apply themselves or can have a family member or friend apply on their behalf. You can make a referral by filling in the two-sided form on our website.

www.kent.gov.uk/supportingpeople and go to “How to apply”

or go along to your local Gateway where staff will be pleased to help.

One of our highly skilled providers who will get in touch before working with the individual. They will work with that person or family for up to a year to achieve their goals, and leave them better able to manage their own affairs.

Floating support can really help to bring stability to vulnerable people and get back on their feet.  But don’t just take our word for it. Read John’s story below about how floating support helped him.

We look forward to being able to help you and your parishioners.

John’s story

John is in his 50’s, and sleeping on successive friends’ sofas after his relationship broke down and he’d become dependent on alcohol. He was in despair when he arrived at a Floating Support Drop In at his local Gateway. 

As well as nowhere to call home, he had no money or benefits coming in, found forms and paperwork difficult to deal with and couldn’t use his hand properly after a recent operation. He also wanted to get control over his drinking. 

Floating support got to work to help John to Access a walk-in surgery straightaway to deal with his hand, then register with a GP to gain the medical certificate he needed     

  • Gather all information and identification required and helped him through the      process to apply for benefits
  • Visit the local housing department to apply for housing and housing advice     
  • Apply for housing including private letting and supported accommodation     
  • Get supplies from local food bank
  • Get in touch with advice, detox and rehabilitation services to take control of his alcohol intake.

Not only have the practical things improved, but John’s self esteem is building and he’s getting his life back on track after years of difficulty

“I would not know where to begin if I had not come into the Drop In”

Floating Support

floatingsupport@kent.gov.uk

0300 333 5433   

KEY REGENERATION BOOST SET TO FOLLOW SIMPLIFIED PLANNING RULES AT DISCOVERY PARK

A key planning tool to simplify the planning process to support investment and growth and stimulate regeneration at Discovery Park Enterprise Zone in Sandwich has been given the go ahead.

Dover District Council’s Cabinet agreed to adopt the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone Local Development Order at its meeting on 25 March. The LDO allows certain types and amounts of development to take place without the need for planning permission.

This important move follows a consultation period on the Draft LDO, which started in December and ran for 10 weeks. The Draft LDO, including some minor modifications, was submitted to the Secretary of State, who confirmed he did not wish to intervene, which meant the district council could proceed to the adoption of the LDO.

This follows the Government’s decision to designate the Pfizer site in Sandwich, which has been renamed Discovery Park, as an Enterprise Zone. The LDO, together with a package of Business Rate relief, will provide an important foundation to companies who would like to locate at the site, and means businesses can set up quickly and without the usual planning processes.  Development proposals falling outside the LDO will still have to apply for planning permission in the normal way.

Tim Ingleton, DDC Head of Inward Investment, said: “This is a major step, which is already creating a lot of interest in the site. This is very important news for the area that will simplify the planning process for businesses at Discovery Park Enterprise Zone in Sandwich, and provide a major regeneration boost for the district.”

Paul Barber, Managing Director at Discovery Park, said: “We are already attracting many companies to Discovery Park and confirmation that we have simplified planning status can only help bring even more jobs to the area.”

For more information on the Local Development Order, please see the DDC website at www.dover.gov.uk/planning

For more details on business opportunities at Discovery Park Enterprise Zone, please contact Anna Stone at Discovery Park on 01304 614060.

RES Unveil Local “Single Turbine Wind Project” Plans – Barville Farm and Thornton Lane

Res-logoRES are inviting residents of Eastry to their public exhibitions and presentations about their wind projects in the area.

The first is on Wednesday 24th April from 1 – 7:30pm in Eastry Village Hall.

Read their invitation in their Newsletter, available to view and print here…

You can also comment via the Eastry Parish Council Blog here, the EPC Facebook page here or the Eastry Parish Council Twitter page here.