Our mission continues to be:
- To stimulate public interest in the history, character and beauty of Kingsdown;
- To act as a forum and coordinate the views of Kingsdown residents about issues and concerns affecting the village; and
- To encourage the wise conservation, enhancement, sustainability and improvement of Kingsdown.
At the AGM on 17th July 2017, Rosie Bolton stood down from the committee and was thanked for her hard work, first as events’ organiser and latterly as Secretary. Simon Longland resigned as Treasurer but remained on the committee to look after IT. Paul Duthoit was welcomed as our new Treasurer, and Alison Sharvill and Ian Williams as new committee members. Peter Cross (Membership), Mike Tomkin (Bulletin and Sustainability), Anne-Marie Martin (Talks) were re-elected. Once again, we operated all year without a Chair, preferring to rotate the Chair amongst the committee members at each monthly meeting. Paul Duthoit resigned as Treasurer on 4 March 2018 but remained on the committee, Simon Longland resigned on 13 March 2018 and Mike Tomkin resigned on 20 March 2018. Peter Cross (Membership) kept an eye on our finances whilst we sought a new Treasurer.
Stimulating Public Interest in History, Character and Beauty of the Village
The Kingsdown Heritage Trail Map, produced last year, has sold steadily throughout the year.
Greening the Young
Alison Sharvill joined a representative from the Garden Society to run an assembly at the primary school to encourage young people to become actively involved in caring for their village and in growing things. KCG members helped with the School’s ‘Allotment Day’ on Friday 20 April and continue to help the School Gardening Club when they meet each Thursday after school. Alison Sharvill has also visited a number of schools to encourage young people to join in the Refill scheme and persuade their friends and families to use refillable water bottles.
The KCG is hoping to erect a noticeboard on the beach with some fixed information and some space for ‘recent sightings’.
Enhancing the Village’s Beauty
Once again, KCG paid for bulbs to be planted around the village and for hanging baskets along Upper Street. Thank you to Deborah Longland and her helpers for planting the bulbs; to Anne-Marie Martin for putting up the hanging baskets and feeding them and to the shopkeepers for keeping them watered.
Acting as a forum and coordinating the views of Kingsdown residents about issues and concerns affecting the village
After drawing the membership’s attention to the application by Gladman Developments Ltd for permission to demolish the existing stable blocks on land just off the Dover Road and build 85 dwellings, a number of objections from KCG members were lodged. Kingsdown, Walmer and Ripple Parish Councils all objected strongly and Dover District Council agreed and refused the application but the developers took it to appeal. On 4 April 2018, Philip Major, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State, overturned the decision of the District Council and granted permission for the development. This is disappointing but your committee is determined to learn more about how to campaign more successfully against unnecessary and ill thought out developments.
Thus far we have been more successful at influencing The Local Government Boundary Commission for England whose draft recommendations for new electoral arrangements for Dover District Council have taken notice of the objections that members of the committee raised to the original proposals lodged by our District Councillors. However the draft recommendations are still out for consultation so our fight to keep Ringwould with Kingsdown is not yet won.
Encouraging the wise conservation, enhancement, sustainability and improvement of Kingsdown
Green Ideas Competition
The results of the 2017 Green Ideas Competition were announced at the 2017 AGM.
1st: Lisa Holden – A detailed idea for sharing gardens in order to create a community that is self-sufficiency in vegetables, fruit and herbs.
2nd: Alan and Sarah Spong – An all-weather, safe, kerbed pavement between Kingsdown and Ringwould.
3rd: Brenda Gray – An insecticide-free village and a wildlife-spotting social media page for the village. Under 12s:
1st: Charlotte Moore – A Community food allotment.
2nd: Alfie Killacky – Public Recycling bins near parks and shops.
3rd: Heather Crockett – Wildlife protection paths for hedgehogs and others
Although we felt delivering an all-weather, kerbed pavement between Ringwould and Kingsdown was a bit beyond our current resources, we did feel we could do something about the existing bridle path between our two villages. Accordingly, members of the committee walked the existing footpath and discovered that it was not very well signposted and there were areas where it was overgrown. The cost of better signs and the work needed were estimated to be approximately £800. Accordingly KCG agreed to contribute £200 and applied to Kent County Council who awarded us a grant for £400 and to the Parish Council for £200 but who have yet to reply. The signs have been delivered and we are waiting for the contractors to erect them. We hope they will be up in time for us to have a grand ‘reopening’ at the end of the school holidays.
KCG worked hard at the beginning of the year to identify potential sites for a community garden. A number of volunteers have expressed their interest in taking this forward but, following the resignation of Mike Tomkin, our sustainability champion, this project has slowed down a little. A meeting will be arranged of all those who have expressed an interest
KCG worked with ‘Deal With It’ and together signed a contract with Refill. This is a national, practical tap water campaign that aims to create a national network of retailers, coffee shops, businesses and local authorities offering to allow the public to top-up their water bottles free of charge. Ian Williams, Alison Sharvill have done brilliant work helping to sign up 32 refill stations in our area (Refill East Kent), creating a website and database. Dover Transition have recently joined the project, so we expect soon to have refill stations throughout Dover District. Watch out for the refill sign.
After a review of the road signs within the village, DDC were contacted and a new village sign and speed limit signs have been erected on the Ringwould Road entrance to the village. We continue to push for ‘Road Narrows’ and ‘No Pavement’ signs although there is now a hand painted ‘Slow ’ sign on the road as you enter upper street from Cliffe Road.
Other projects that we have considered include aluminium recycling points; a nature camera; a provision for recycling old computer equipment and ways in which the 20mph speed limit in the village might be enforced.
Talks and Events
A total of 105 (137) different people attended the talks and events – 73 (89) members and 32 (48) non-members. Average audience size per event was 28 (36). Figures in brackets are for last year’s events and show a slight fall in the number of different people attending and a significant drop in the average audience size. The cancellation of the Autumn Social accounts for some but not all of the reduction.
The programme consisted of:
- 19th September: Guardians of the Deep. Zoe Stevenson, from the Kent Wildlife Trust told us about the unique ecosystems and habitats around the Kent coastline and about Guardians of the Deep, a partnership project between Kent Wildlife Trust, Thanet District Council, Medway Swale Estuary Partnership and Kent County Council, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project was seeking individuals or groups of individuals who could devote two hours a month to become ‘coastal guardians’ to explore their coastline and report anything unusual. Six KCG members undertook the training and became Guardians.
- 17th October: Help for Hedgehogs. Ros Beresford took us through the way that the structure of our gardens and countryside has changed over the years to the detriment of our spiny friends. We need to look after our hedges and create hedgehog highways through our fences and walls. Hedgehogs love a bit of mess as well as pests and slugs but sadly gardeners don’t. If we let a bit of our gardens go wild and fill up with wood stacks and the like, and if we all gardened without chemicals, we might help the remaining few hedgehogs prosper.
- 28th November: Fynbos Spring – Birds and Flowers of the Cape by John Buckingham. This brilliant raconteur took us through stunning photographs and brought a little bit of South African sunshine into Kingsdown.
- 27th February: Talking Tides William Thomson, author of the Book of Tides explained how tides and other watery phenomena work. This was the most popular talk of the year.
- 6th March Burglaries, Crime Prevention and Keeping Safe. Jacqui Brook, our Police Community Support Officer, reminded us to lock doors and windows; ensure keys are out of sight and away from the letterbox; install a visual burglar alarm; install good outside lighting; put a talk radio programme and/or lights on timer switches when you go away; remove valuables from view through windows; keep fences and hedges in good condition; keep ladders and tools locked away; consider labelling valuables with smartwater or register them at www.immobilise.com; and report anything suspicious to telephone number 101 or, if you think it is an emergency, to 999.
- 27th March Chemical Free Gardening. Maureen Rainey from Kent Wildlife Trust In March didn’t quite tell us about chemical-free gardening but did tell us about creating the right conditions to encourage natural pest predators to flourish - installing wildlife ponds and hedges, rather than walls, will encourage frogs and hedgehogs that will gobble up our slugs and attracting more birds to our plots will take care of the slugs.
- 24th April: Spring into Spring Wildlife Plants in Modern Cuisine. Although we could not manage to get her presentation to display, Lucia Stewart from The Wild Kitchen gave us food and drink to sample that had been made with wild plants and seaweeds local to Kingsdown.
- 13th May: Rex and Rita Martin organised another terrific Garage Safari. Once again the printing of the maps was sponsored by KCG and the event raised a fantastic £940 which was split between St John’s Heritage Fund, the Village Hall, Kingsdown Rocks, the Pre-school and Kingsdown Cat Sanctuary. Sadly, Rex & Rita have indicated that this was their last safari. Hopefully someone else from the village will want to take up the reins.
- 22nd May: History of Kingsdown, Walmer and Deal Lifeboats. Wallace Murray took us through the development of lifeboats from their early beginnings to their current modern specifications.
Thank you to Simon Longland who provides the glasses and washes them up, Julian Dalrymple who puts up event posters at the top of the village in all weathers and everyone who ‘helps on the day’.
We hope you enjoy the regular column in the Rural Roundup. Despite losing our Bulletin editor, we managed to publish and distribute two e-bulletins as well as a number of direct communications via email and Facebook posts, for example, we alerted the village to the spate of burglaries over the Christmas holidays and passed on a message about the vandals in the woods. We donate to relevant charities and are members of the Kent Wildlife Trust and the Kent Federation of Amenity Societies. We maintain contact with a number of like-minded local organisations.
A major task this year was to ensure that we were compliant with the new GDPR legislation. Thank you to everyone who replied. Membership has fallen slightly to 192 households, which represents about 300 individuals. Thank you to all those who have converted to Standing Order payment as this makes life so much easier for both our admin and, hopefully for the members’ convenience. However, we have had to switch our bank account from Barclays to NatWest and so may have to ask members to complete a new standing order form.
Peter Cross will step down as Membership Secretary. Paul Duthoit, Anne-Marie Martin, Alison Sharvill and Ian Williams will seek re-election to the committee at the AGM on 16 July 2018.
Peter Cross; Paul Duthoit, Anne-Marie Martin, Alison Sharvill and Ian Williams
12 July 2018