(Dartford Messenger 31.12.15, p3) Fire at Russell Square, Hartley, caused by
electrical fault. No-one hurt.
Longfield Station sets record for passenger usage
(Office of Rail and Road) Passengers boarding at
Longfield in 2014/15 reach 300,000 for the first time, up 6.7% on last year.
Total was 301,214 with 53% of journeys being by season ticket holders. For
historical statistics see History of Railways page.
(Dartford Messenger 24.12.15, p7) Sevenoaks and Swanley Labour party has
doubled to over 400 since the general election, new branch opened in New Ash
Drink-driver's 32 month ban
(Dartford Messenger 24.12.15, p18) Man from Bowes Wood stopped in Main Road
Longfield, three times over the limit.
Thug used car as weapon and put children at risk
(Dartford Messenger 24.12.15, p5) Man from Porchester Close jailed for 2 years
after driving into back of ex-girlfriend's car while her children were inside.
Around the world in song
(Dartford Messenger 24.12.15, p2) Picture feature on Christmas Around the World
concert at New Ash Green Primary School
(Dartford Messenger 10.12.15, 24) Man from Bazes Shaw, New Ash Green fined £600
+ £235 costs for not giving identity of driver.
(Dartford Messenger 10.12.15, p13) New Ash Green Scouts get £6,000 lottery
grant to prevent vandalism at their hall.
Teenager using power of YouTube to help good cause
(Dartford Messenger 10.12.15, p8) Picture feature on 16 year old from Main
Road, Longfield, who has raised £250 for American charity for those with neurofibromatosis.
Pupils dress up for world-class lesson
(Dartford Messenger, 3.12.15, p8) Picture feature on International Day at
Steephill School, Fawkham.
(West Kent Watch) Crimes reported in December
include burglary 1 (Gorse Way)
Cry me Arriva (News Shopper 30.11.15) New Ash Green resident
writes about the poor bus service in New Ash Green and Hartley since the recent
timetable changes. Complaints of long waits, buses stopping in Longfield, no
reason given for delays, and old buses being deployed on the route which break
down. Bluewater route said to be particularly bad. Particularly bad for the elderly
and those without cars.
Hospital Services in quiet £20m tender
(Dartford Messenger, 26.11.15, p30) Local Dartford Gravesham and Swanley
Clinical Commissioning group put out services at Gravesend and Livingstone
Hospitals to tender, which will include private firms. Group claims there will
be no change to services.
(Dartford Messenger, 26.11.15, p22) DA post deliveries April - September were
93.7% on time for 1st class and 98.9% for 2nd class post.
Cortege traffic fears delay decision on crematorium
(Dartford Messenger, 26.11.15, p10) Concerns over traffic problems on B260 said
to be the busiest B road in Kent, and an alternative proposal for the entrance
to be in Gore Hill led council to decide on a site visit (see 19.11.15 below).
Dance school pair prove that they're the cat's whiskers
(Dartford Messenger 19.11.15, p23) Picture feature on 15 year old from
Longfield who has won a starring role in the Orchard Theatre Pantomime
alongside Shane Ritchie.
None of county's health trusts hits target for A&E Patients
(Dartford Messenger 19.11.15, p19) Dartford and Gravesham NHS trust had 7,926
attendences in A&E in September, 91.4% of which were seen within 4 hours.
2,230 of them were admitted, of which 98 had to wait more than 4 hours from that
decision to actual admittance. None had to wait over 12 hours.
Jobs to be axed at tax offices across the country
(Dartford Messenger 19.11.15, p20) HMRC propose to close most offices in Kent,
including one at Gravesend (in 2019/20). The nearest in future would be at
New crematorium plan likely to be approved
(Dartford Messenger 19.11.15, p3) Private firm Dignity PLC plans to build new
crematorium on site of former Mabledon Hospital in Green Street Road, Darenth.
Longfield gin thief avoids prison (News Shopper, 10 November 2015) Suspended sentence
for 45 year old man from Sheerness, for stealing bottle of gin from Longfield
(Dartford Messenger 5.11.15, p23) Culcroft woman fined £220 + £100 costs for
not having TV licence.
Pilot mole scanning service
(Dartford Messenger, 5.11.15, p26) Hodgson Pharmacy in Longfield is now able to
take images of moles under the skin, which is then sent to a dermatology
specialist lab for analysis, taking about 2 weeks.
Serial shoplifter who targeted Longfield chemist slapped with 4 month
suspended prison sentence (News Shopper, 3 November 2015) 38 year old woman
from Strood given 84 days suspended sentence for stealing from a number of
shops including £412 of goods from a Pharmacy in Longfield (see also Dartford
Messenger 12.11.15 p14)
(West Kent Watch) Significant increase in numbers
of incidents. Crimes reported in Hartley in November include Burglaries 4
(Merton Avenue 2, Carmelite Way, Brambledown), burglary other than dwelling 3
(Brambledown, Chapelwood Road, Grange Way), theft of car 2 (Ash Road,
Brambledown), criminal damage 1 (Quakers Close)
School team pulls together for
(Dartford Messenger 22.10.15, p10) Picture feature on Steephill School staff
and governor team at Bewl Water Dragon Boat Festival.
Flock greets new minister
(Dartford Messenger, p9) New minister, Samantha Aspinall becomes first female
minister of Gravesend URC group, which includes Hartley (picture).
Loving husband dies in Mercedes crash horror
(Dartford Messenger, 22.10.15, p3) 58 year old driver killed and 60 year old
passenger seriously injured after car crashed into wall in Main Road,
Longfield, opposite Hartley Road.
Minister finds time for tea
(Dartford Messenger 22.10.15, p9) New Ash Green MP Michael Fallon opens new
£180,000 at NAG primary school (picture).
Charlton supporter receives ban for throwing seat at Palace fans during
League Cup match
(News Shopper, 16 October 2015) 22 year old man
from New Ash Green given 3 year football banning order and fined for throwing
seat in match.
Firefighters battle house and undergrowth blazes in Swanley and New Ash
(News Shopper, 12 October 2015) Small fire
covering 25 m2 put out at Longfield Hill on 11th.
School creations are care-crows
(Dartford Messenger 8.10.15, p3) Picture feature on Harvest scarecrows at
Steephill School, Fawkham
October Crime Report
(West Kent Watch) Crimes recorded in October were
1 Burglary (Carmelite Way) and 3 burglary other than dwelling (Fairby Lane,
Hartley Bottom Road, and Quakers Close)
Longfield farmer plagued by fly
tipping for 20 years hits out at Kent County Council
(Kent Messenger, 4.9.15) Hartley Farmer highlights problem of fly tipping which
has included asbestos forcing a closure of the road. He said it had got worse
in the last 20 years, but felt that council makes things worse by making it too
hard for people to dispose of their rubbish.
Hartley skipper hails latest Kent Cricket League title success as best yet
(News Shopper, 4.9.15) Hartley Country Club win Kent Cricket League Premier
Division title for 5th time in 8 years (picture).
(West Kent Watch) Crimes reported in September
include Criminal Damage 4 (Larksfield 2, Ash Road, Gorse Way), Theft from Motor
Vehicle 1 (Downs Valley), Burglaries 0.
August 2015 News
Villagers in Hartley and New Ash
Green label Arriva bus timetable changes as 'ridiculous' with fears they will
(Kent Messenger, 3.8.15) Local residents complain about cuts to bus service
433. Online petition has 334 signatures and local MP has written too about lack
of consultation. Arriva say they are too poorly used and want to run services
elsewhere. Picture of people waiting for bus in Wellfield. (from my own
observation, my impression is that the 433 is the most used of the local
Borough fails to meet national salary average
(Dartford Messenger 13.8.15, p20) Average salary for 2014/15 in Dartford
borough is £28,885 while in Sevenoaks it is £46,930. UK average is £26,000 -
down £500 from last year.
(Dartford Messenger 20.8.15, p26) Longfield Academy get 61% A-C pass rate in A
levels. Pictures of pupils.
(Dartford Messenger, 20.8.15, p 42) Ash Road to be closed by Tates Orcherd for
up to 3 days for sewer connection works.
Our water is good for teeth, bad for kettles
(Dartford Messenger 27.8.15, p21) Figures published show local water has high
levels of calcium carbonate, due to being pumped out from the chalk.
Regulated fare increase of 1% is smallest for years
(Dartford Messenger 27.8.15, p37) Southeastern commuters face 1% rise in season
tickets in 2016, following a 2.2% increase in 2015.
(25 July) Patients'
Association find increased hospital waiting times (Patients' Association Report)The charity found
that average waiting times for hip replacement, knee replacement, hernia
operations, adenoid operations, gallstone operations, tonsillectomy, and
cataract operations increased sharply in 2014 to over 90 days. However Darent
Valley Hospital had some of the best waiting times for Hernia (49 days) and Hip
Replacement (77 days).
(22 July) Fire crews battle large field fire in Longfield (News Shopper) Fire crews put out large field fire
in Hartley Bottom Road.
(2 July) Families enjoy fun in the sun (Dartford Messenger, p17) Picture
feature on Hartley Primary School Fete.
(2 July) Man dies after being struck by train (Dartford Messenger, p5)
57 year old man from Dartford struck by Dover Priory to Victoria train on 25
Crime Report (West Kent Watch) Crimes recorded in July are -
theft from motor vehicle (Stack Lane), theft of garden ornaments (Springcroft).
News Round Up
(27 June) Car crashes into
Longfield Barclays Branch (News Shopper). Car knocks over bollard and
crashed into bank. No serious injuries.
(25 June) Excitement bubbles up (Dartford Messenger, p20). Picture
feature on 80th birthday celebrations for Steephill School, Fawkham.
(11 June) OAP's hole in one worth a watch (Dartford Messenger, p8) Prize
for 70 year old Longfield woman who got a hole in one at Rochester and Cobham
(4 June) School to mark 80 year milestone with a party (Dartford
Messenger, p13). HIstory of Steephill School, Fawkham, founded by Miss Eileen
Bignold in 1935 when she was asked to teach two of her neighbour's children.
School is now a non-profit making charitable trust with 120 pupils.
(4 June) Viewers share joy of DIY SOS family (Dartford Messenger p2). TV
Big Build programme shows transformation of house in Hartley Bottom Road,
Longfield to help family of 13 year old with epilepsy and spastic quadriplegia.
Family to throw party at New Ash Green sports pavilion for the many who helped
Crime Report (West Kent Watch) Only crime recorded in June was
burglary in Manor Drive.
(28 May) Bouncing along to the
music (Dartford Messenger, p13) Picture feature of NAG festival.
(28 May) Some libraries are 'just not viable' (Dartford Messenger, p14)
KCC councillor Hartley and New Ash Green, David Brazier, said the library
service had been in decline and needed to change if it was to survive, and he
wants it to survive.
(27 May) An owl lot of fun in Swanley
(News Shopper) Picture feature on display by
Hartley Owls at Swanley.
(22 May) Overturned furniture and spilled coffee in hilarious reactions to
Kent earthquake (News Shopper) People from Longfield report
feeling tremors at 3am following 4.3 scale quake at Sandwich.
(7 May) Fete proves a perfect day out (Dartford Messenger, p24) Picture
feature on RC Fete in Stack Lane.
(7 May) In court Woman from Bazes Shaw fined for not having a TV
(1 May) Post box worth £200 stolen from outside Hartley pub (News Shopper) Victorian post box stolen from
Black Lion. Uncertain if post inside but believed to be little used. Additional
information from www.hartley-kent post box is first mentioned in 1899 Kent
Directory. which means it was installed between 1882 and 1899. (see also
Dartford Messenger, 7.5.15, p13)
May Crime Report (West Kent Watch) Crimes recorded in Hartley this
month: Burglary (Gorse Way), Car Theft (Church Road), Criminal Damage (Church
Road), attempted theft of horse (Church Road)
Crossing Top Ten
(10 May) A freedom of information
request reveals that there are 2,161 account holders for the Dart Charge from
the DA3 postcode area (Longfield, Hartley, New Ash Green). For comparison there
are 6,788 households but there is likely to be many cases of more than one
account per household.
The top ten postcode districts are:
1. DA (Dartford) - 44,311
2. ME (Medway) - 40,431
3. RM (Romford) - 39,176
4. CM (Chelmsford) - 36,503
5. SS (Southend) - 32,534
6. TN (Tonbridge) - 31,837
7. CT (Canterbury) - 17,138
8. BR (Bromley) - 14,472
9. IP (Ipswich) - 13,604
10. CO (Colchester) - 13,031
(8 May) Conservatives retain
Hartley district council seats The result was announced about 5.45pm.
Gaywood (Cons) 2,380
Abraham (Cons) 2,272
Kelly (Cons) 1,921
Sewell (UKIP) 1,250
Rejected ballots 121 (110 blank/uncertain, 11 too many crosses)
With multimember seats percentages are hard to work out but if we average the
Conservative vote to 2,191 then they got 63.7% and UKIP 36.3%. On this basis
Conservatives are down 6.1% on the 2011 poll, UKIP up 36.3% and Labour (who
didn't stand this time) down 30.2%.
The average number of votes per elector was 2.23, which suggests a lot of
people know how to vote when their preferred candidate is not part of a slate
of 3 (that is, if supporters of Mr Sewell voted for him and then 2
conservatives, that is one vote for him but two against, so in those
circumstances it would be more effective to use just 1 vote). It may be that
some were also only voting for the two Conservatives who actually lived in
Overall Sevenoaks remains a virtual one party state with 49 Conservatives, 2
Libdems, 1 Labour, 1 UKIP, 1 Independent.
"Hartley First" announce their manifesto The group have
circulated a leaflet, which presumably is the one they would have sent if it
were a contested election.
* Look for funding for Chantry Avenue and Longfield Hill play areas
* Open new burial ground when the existing one is full
* Ensure Hartley continues to have a library
* Oppose "unsuitable" development
* Continue to provide youth facilities
They also promise "to strive to maintain ... expenditure at below
inflation or less" (from 2011-2014 the parish precept (amount of money
collected by the parish council in tax) has risen by 17% compared with 9% for
the cost of living in general).
Candidates Announced Only 4 candidates declared for the 3 seats of
Hartley and Hodsoll Street ward on Sevenoaks Council. Even the conservatives
appear to have had difficulty in finding their slate of 3 because one of their
candidates does not live in Hartley. The candidates are: Larry Abraham (Con),
James Gaywood (Con), John Kelly (Con), Vince Sewell (UKIP).
No election for Hartley Parish Council Only 12 candidates for Hartley
Council's 13 seats (they will be able to fill the vacancy by co-option after
the election). All but 2 are existing councillors (one of the two is a former
councillor) and all are from the middle of the village. The candidates are: Larry
Abraham, Christopher Alford, Sheila Bennett, Roger Burchell, Jane Burns, Penny
Cole, David Graeme, Ann Oxtoby, Brian Ramsay, Vince Sewell, Andrew Tremain,
Dorothy Vesey. All are from the ruling 'party' Hartley First.
Election - Dartford Constituency
(8 May) Conservative Hold
The result for Dartford was announced at 6.03am. Mr Johnson increased his
majority from 10,628 to 12,345.
There were 199 rejected ballots.
Turnout was 70.0% (+4.3%)
(7 May) fivethirtyeight.com's prediction for Dartford Academics for five thirty eight predict the following result -
Cons 44.8%, Lab 26.3%, UKIP 17.9%. This would represent a 1.4% swing to Labour.
(6 May) Final YouGov nowcast The Dartford predictions for the nowcast
poll conducted by YouGov show a slight fall for the Conservatives with their
range down a couple of points to 36-48%, Labour are unchanged with a 24-35%
range while UKIP have improved to 13-22%. The LibDems and Greens are very close
for 4th place. Overall the nowcast predicts a dead heat between Conservative
and Labour with 276 seats each.
(6 May) The Poster Campaign Probably the fewest ever number of election
posters this year. In Hartley I have counted 6 Conservative, 5 UKIP, 1 Labour
and 1 Green.
(4 May) Bookies bet on Conservative win Current constituency odds for
Dartford are Conservative 1/20, UKIP 12/1, Labour 14/1. Sevenoaks is even more
one sided in the bookies' eyes with Conservative being 100/1 on to win there.
(4 May) Party Leaflets Although we have 6 candidates, I have only
received communications from three.
For the Conservatives, Mr Johnson claims unemployment in Dartford is now back
to the level it was under the last government in 2007. Details from the Office of National Statistics for Dartford Constituencyshow
that while unemployment has fallen since 2010, so has gross weekly pay (by
2.7%). Unemployment has risen in the first quarter of 2015 from 823 to 910.
He claims Darent Valley has a bigger A&E department, but is this anything
to do with the downgrading of the A&E at Sidcup in spite of his party's promisesin 2010? For the future, apart
from the usual claims that the sky will fall in if the Conservatives don't win,
the leaflets are full of vague aspirations, but little on specifics.
Looking back to Mr Johnson's leaflets in 2010, one of his key pledges was for
more police on the streets. However House of Commons Library research has found that
the number of Kent Police Offices is likely to have fallen by 13% in the period
2010-15. There was also a pledge to fight to abolish Dartford Crossing tolls,
but they have actually risen, although the booths have gone.
The leaflet from Mr Thomson, the Labour candidate, features a lady from Hartley
who remembers that people couldn't afford healthcare before the NHS was
founded. He promises to reverse privatisation in the NHS (but Labour in the
past has encouraged this as well as the Conservatives) and makes specific
promises of more health workers and a guarantee to get a GP appointment within
48 hours. He promises to help ordinary people with help on rents, fuel bills
and banning zero hours contracts. He wants Southeastern railway to be taken
into the public sector, but doesn't claim it is party policy (and it was Labour
who created the Southeastern franchise in 2006, replacing a successful public
The Libdem candidate Mr Beard, seems to claim that any successes of the
government are entirely down to the Libdems! He claims Labour will borrow too
much again and the Conservatives "only care about themselves". He
promises £400 cut in income tax and £8bn more for the NHS (without saying
(29 April) Yougov Nowcast As an alternative to standard opinion polling,
pollsters YouGov have produced an alternative called Nowcast "that
combines the respondents we have in each seat with modelled observations from
similar types of people across the country". For Dartford they currently
have the Conservatives currently in the lead with a range of 38-51%, Labour
have 24-35% and UKIP 12-21%. (See Dartford nowcast page.
Candidates Announced The following are the candidates for Dartford:
Simon Beard (Lib Dem), Andy Blatchford (Green), Gareth Johnson (Con), Elizabeth
Jones (UKIP), Simon Thomson (Lab), Steve Uncles (Eng Dem). Sadly no Fancy Dress
Party candidate this year!
County Poll suggests UKIP support well up in Kent (Kent Messenger, 10.4.15). Poll of 1,000 in Kent
with change from 2010 in brackets): Con 39% (-12%), UKIP 24% (+20%), Lab 22%
(+1%), Green 8% (+7%), Libdem 6% (-15%). Percentages based on those who said
they were likely to vote, 22% of likely voters were undecided. Dartford should
remain Conservative on these findings.
Paul's Prediction (Dartford Messenger 2.4.15) Paper's political editor
forecasts Conservatives will win 15 seats in Kent with UKIP tipped to win in
Rochester and South Thanet. He says the conservatives should be
"untroubled" in Dartford.
2015 News Roundup
(23 April) Progress in fight
over neglected village centre Campaigners have the 1,000 signatures
required to force Sevenoaks Council to discuss the problems in the neglected
(23 April) In court (Dartford Messenger, p17) Two people from Caling
Croft and Penenden, New Ash Green, fined for having no TV licence.
(23 April) Knitters enjoy a fundraising natter (Dartford Messenger, p18)
Picture feature on Ash WI who raised £80 for NAG Youth Centre Trust.
(16 April) Slower response is down to a rise in demand, say police
(Dartford Messenger, p14) Freedom of information request finds response time
for high priority incidents between 11pm and 6am has risen from 8½ minutes in
2011 to 12½ minutes in 2014.
(2 April) Drunk Driver given 20 month ban (Dartford Messenger 2.4.15,
p8) Man from Oliver's Mill, New Ash Green found to be 2½ times over the limit
when stopped by police at Greenhithe in February.
2015 News Roundup
In court (Dartford Messenger 26.3.15,
p17) Man from Olivers Mill fined for speeding. Man from Main Road, Longfield
fined for not giving identity of driver.
All roads lead to Rome in property pair's marathon (Dartford Messenger,
p8) Owners of Esquire Developments in Longfield (pictured) running for Ellenor
Prolific burglar, 21, who stole car in New Ash Green is jailed(News Shopper 12.3.15) Rochester man jailed for 4
years for 10 offences including theft of Citroen and handbag at Coltstead on 1
August last year.
Lights out for roads chief (Dartford Messenger 5.3.15, p9) Hartley and
New Ash Green councillor David Brazier resigns as Kent County Council cabinet
member for Environment and Transport. He told the paper he had enjoyed doing
Tree causes rail delays (Dartford Messenger 5.3.15, p7) Delays on 3rd
March after 5.05 am train struck tree at Farningham Road.
(all Feb) Crime News (West Kent Watch). A mini-wave of garden crime
this month with no fewer than 5 thefts of garden equipment and plants. Reported
crimes in March included - house burglaries at Chantry Avenue, Cherry Trees and
Larksfield; attempted burglaries of houses at Gorse Way and Woodland Avenue;
thefts at Ash Road (4), Church Road and Stack Lane; theft from motor vehicle at
Stack Lane; and criminal damage at Gorsewood Road.
2015 News Roundup
(26 Feb) Charity jobseeker
adds KM newsdesk to her growing list (Dartford Messenger, p8) Picture
feature on 27 year old woman from Ash Road, Ash, who is doing 100 different
jobs to raise money for the Meditation Trust.
(12 Feb) Fire crews tackle blaze in Longfield Chimney (News Shopper)
Chimney fire at Manor Road on 11th.
(9 Feb) Frying pan causes house fire in New Ash Green(News Shopper) Bazes Shaw man treated for smoke
inhalation. Fortunately altered by smoke alarm.
(3 Feb) 17-year-old reportedly pelted with stones and hit with sticks by
teenage mob in New Ash Green(News Shopper 3.2.15) Police make three arrests
following attack in Centre Road, New Ash Green. Victim helped by 2 women who
drove him home.
(all Feb) Crime News (West Kent Watch). Reported crimes in February
included - house burglary at Chantry Avenue; burglary of outbuildings at Manor
Drive, Ash Road and Church Road; theft from motor vehicle at Wellfield, Castle
Hill and Gorse Way; and criminal damage at Castle Hill.
2015 News Roundup
(1 Jan) Rail fares to rise Annual season
ticket from Longfield to London to rise on 2 January from £2,972 to £3,044.
Annual season ticket from Longfield to London All Zones goes up from £3,612 to
(All January) Crime news (West Kent Watch) In January the following crimes
were recorded in Hartley - criminal damage at Wellfield, Culcroft, Woodland
Avenue and Gresham Avenue; theft at Culcroft, and theft from motor vehicle at