IN THE NEWS TODAY

The Department for Communities and Local Government have today published the results of the consultation on the creation of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and the government’s response – gov.uk

As we reported in Saturday’s update, BBC News reported that pressures in England’s A&E units had hit record levels, with the lowest percentage of patients seen within four hours since monitoring began in 2010.  Data showed just under 90% of patients were seen within four hours in the seven days up to 14 December.  The figures for Darent Valley Hospital showed that 97.7% of patients were seen within four hours.  It has since transpired that Darent Valley Hospital was the top performing A&E in England during that week – further comment available from Darent Valley Hospital

Dartford Library/Museum update.  It now appears that Kent County Council have delayed the announcing the results of the consultation, which were due this week.  According to consultations.kent.gov.uk, the results will be published before 5 January.

Flooding risk – advice for residents and businesses from kent.gov.uk

Dartford-based electrical wholesaler, Moss Electrical has revealed that it has secured over 100MW of solar PV contracts for the first quarter of 2015 – solarpowerportal.co.uk

Town Centre update – In our article last month ‘Editorial: Has Dartford Town Centre Turned the Corner?’, we covered the move of the Thursday Market to the High Street.  Following a Freedom of Information request to Dartford Borough Council, we have received clarification on several points regarding this move.

At the market’s previous location in the Sainsburys/Priory Centre car park there were 112 pitches occupied by 47 traders (only half let).  At the new High Street location there are 136 pitches occupied by 55 traders.

The Council’s lease at the previous location is due to expire in February 2015.  As the Priory Centre is currently in administration, and although there is a company looking to purchase the shopping centre, the Council did not want to take chances with the future of the market which has been part of the town’s heritage for many years.   There was no guarantee that the lease would be renewed in February 2015 and moving the market to the High Street will save the Council in rent and allied costs.

Given that the Saturday market operates successfully from the High Street, that was the obvious location for the Thursday market.  Furthermore, the Thursday Market was losing trader numbers when it was located at the Priory Centre, and the recent increase in trader numbers since the move is a reflection of the fact that the High Street is a more viable location with much greater footfall.   Footfall on a Thursday has surpassed Saturdays on a number of weeks since the move on 9 September.

Whilst there are still some improvements to make to the layout of the new Thursday Market, moving from the Priory Centre Car Park to the High Street is proving to be a great success.

The decision to transfer before the end of the current lease was taken to avoid potential problems alluded to above and to ensure that the Thursday Market was settled into its new location prior to the commencement of the important Christmas trading period.

The decision to move the Thursday Market was formally taken by Graham Harris, Managing Director, in consultation with Town Centre Partners and Councillor Jeremy Kite, the Leader of the Council.

In due course, I expect that an official reply will be placed in the FOI responses section at dartford.gov.uk

TWEETS

About the author

Andy Clark is retired after a long career at Lloyds Register and subsequently the Civil Service. He has lived in Dartford for his entire life.

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