The Priory Centre, Dartford has been bought by Ellandi from receivers for just over £30m. The mall was placed into receivership in December 2013 and JLL was appointed to find new owners.  It had been under offer to Catalyst Capital for around £35m towards the end of last year but the deal fell through.  Ellandi is one of the UK’s biggest community shopping centre groups. It bought the Tiger portfolio of seven shopping centres in a joint venture with Lone Star in December for £260m.  This latest deal takes Ellandi’s portfolio up to 20 developments.  The 220,000 sq ft Priory scheme has a weekly footfall of 150,000 and retailers include Sainsbury’s, Wilko, Superdrug, Love Coffee, Poundland and McDonald’s – details from

Stone Parish Council has been awarded grant funding of £7,000 to support development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Stone Parish.  Following a public launch event in November demonstrating a good level of local support for the proposal, the council submitted an application for funding to enable commencement of the plan.  This early-stage funding will provide for production of consultation materials and a number of initial consultation events, along with establishment and training of a steering group to help facilitate the process and set terms of reference for how the stages of the plan will be achieved.  The Steering Group will be responsible for identifying and investigating key themes to assess the current position and undertake any necessary investigation or consultation to determine how the situation might be improved or enhanced through future development.  Themes might include areas such as green spaces, heritage, transport, and infrastructure, as deemed necessary in response to emerging evidence.  Although not essential, local residents with skills or knowledge in planning and infrastructure, project management, transport, environment or social issues, architecture or landscape design would provide particular expertise to the group.  A soiree for members of the public interested in being appointed to the Steering Group will be held on Thursday 19 February at Stone Pavilion to provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities of a steering group member and the sorts of activities or tasks that members will be required to undertake to achieve the various milestones of the project plan.  Further information can be seen at Stone Parish Council

Kings Land Global, who describe themselves asa pioneer in the Dubai market for sourcing real estate investment opportunities worldwide‘ are advertising  ‘Invest in a stunning plot in Dartford, Greater London.  Closer investigation reveals that this site is situated to the South West of Fleet Estate and bordering the A282 and B260 – details from 

Wilmington Parish Council has received complaints over the rubbish being strewn around Chestnut Grove, in particular in the Children’s Play Area.  The problem is being caused by a group of youngsters who have taken to removing wheelie-bins from residents’ gardens and upending them.  The Police have been informed of the anti-social behaviour and will hopefully take steps to apprehend the culprit(s).  The Public Rights of Way Officer has also been informed of the problems being caused  on the Public Footpath that runs from Chestnut Grove to Birchwood Road.  The Parish staff clear the Play Area every weekday morning but they do have other duties to perform across the whole of what is one of the largest Parishes in the Country and, as it is hoped residents appreciate, cannot spend all of their time revisiting this particular area.  The Councillors representing Joydens Wood on the Parish Council ask that if any resident observes any form of anti-social behaviour they contact the Police by dialling 101 – if incidents are not reported as far as the Police are concerned there is no problem.

A Mercedes van, registration LR14 TYT, was stolen from Castle Street, Swanscombe on Tuesday 10 February.  If you have any information, please contact the Police on 101 quoting Crime Number XY/004882/15 – via Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town Council 

Kent Highways have advised that Roman Villa Road, Darenth will be closed between Darenth Hill and Holmesdale Hill from Thursday 19  February for three days due to resurfacing works by Kent County Council.

On Thursday 29 January, Dartford MP, Gareth Johnson visited the Emergency Department at Darent Valley Hospital to meet the staff and talk about the department’s outstanding performance.   During a tour lasting nearly two hours he visited all of the different areas within the Emergency Department, listened to staff and seeing first hand how the department functioned and how well it worked with partner organisations to make sure patients were in the right place at the right time.  Further details and comments from Mr Johnson from Darent Valley Hospital 

Forthcoming Budget -

Members of Parliament the length and breadth of the country have been called upon to help raise the profile of disabled people in the workplace within their own constituencies.  Minister for Disabled People, Mark Harper, is urging every MP to host a disability employment event in their area to showcase the skills of disabled people at work and encourage businesses to make the most of that pool of talent.  He made the call on the day he is due to hold his own event in Gloucestershire.  Already more than 30 MPs have signed up to do the same in their areas.  At the time of publishing this article, it is not clear if our MP has agreed to sign up to this proposal and what action he will be taking.

Public Health England, supported by Kent County Council,  has launched a campaign to highlight the hidden damage that secondhand smoke can cause to children’s health, following the government’s decision to end smoking in cars carrying children.  Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to children as they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways.  Children being exposed to secondhand smoke results in more than 300,000 GP consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions every year.  Smoking prevalence in Kent is higher than the national average and is even higher among certain ethnic groups, pregnant women and routine and manual workers.  Further details from 

BBC News: The ghost Tesco stores: includes a sizeable feature on Dartford.

A woman who bit off part of another woman’s nose at Butlins during a children’s pantomime has been jailed for six years – BBC News

Dartford FC have signed 19 year old Tom Dallison on an initial month’s loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.  The 6ft 4 central defender has been playing with the Seagulls’ U21s team for the past two years after signing from Arsenal.  He will be available for today’s game away to AFC Telford United.

Dartford FC’s Vanarama Conference match on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, 6 April, at home to Barnet has been selected for live broadcast on BT Sport 1.  As a result of this, the kick off has been moved forward to 12:45pm.

NEXT WEEK IN DARTFORD (including Half-Term Events) 

Details of all of these events and more can be found on our Events Calendar


Kent Football United: Half term football coaching course (and until Friday).


Holiday Projects at the Orchard Theatre (and until Thursday).

Live music:  Tom McConville and Andy Watt – Dartford Folk Club.  ‘The Newcastle Fiddle Player, Tom McConville, is a fine player and singer who performs both traditional and contemporary music.  He is joined by exciting young guitarist, mandolinist and songwriter Andy Watt.


Kids Art Workshop at What If Gallery.

Blood Donor Session at ASDA Greenhithe.

Tarantino Live at the Miskin Theatre (and until Friday).  ‘Celebrating the music from the renowned filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.’


The Close Up Show at the Orchard Theatre.  ‘Experience an intimate evening of close-up magic, trickery and sleight of hand.  Three astounding magicians amaze and entertain just inches from your face.’


Cancer Information and Support  Drop In – Dartford High Street.

Youth Club Community Bus – Swanscombe.

Orchard Jazz Club at the Orchard Theatre.  ‘A relaxed evening of fine food with live music from The Violet Jive.  Sit back, take a sentimental journey or tap your feet along to some superb live jazz, whilst enjoying a delicious three-course meal served in The Restaurant.

Live music: Cali Malpas at The Orange Tree.  ‘Singer, songwiter, acoustic artist‘.

PLANNED ROADWORKS NEXT WEEK (likely to cause delays according to (

A2018 Shepherds Lane, multi-way traffic signals until 17 July.

Heath Lane, lane closure until Friday 20 February.

A226 Highfield Road, two-way traffic signals from Thursday 19 February until Monday 23 February.

B2500, Watling Street (near cemetery), stop/go boards from Wednesday 18 February until Friday 20 February.

B2228 Cotton Lane, two-way traffic signals from Friday 20 February until Tuesday 24 February.

B260 Green Street Green Road, Darenth (near Sandbanks Hill), two-way traffic signals from Monday 16 February until Wednesday 18 February.

B260 Green Street Green Road, Darenth (near Darenth Hill), stop/go boards from Thursday 19 February until Friday 20 February.

Sandy Lane, Southfleet, road closed from Monday 16 February until Wednesday 18 February.

Park Corner Road, Southfleet, road closed from Wednesday 18 February until Thursday 19 February.

New Barn Road, Longfield, two-way traffic signals from Wednesday 18 February until Friday 20 February.


Friday 20 February – Live music: Cali Malpas at The Orange Tree.  ‘Singer, songwiter, acoustic artist

Saturday 21 February – Live music: Cali Malpas at The Bird in Hand.  ‘Singer, songwiter, acoustic artist

Saturday 14 March – Dartford FC Supporters Association Race Night 



Update for Friday 13 February (including added comments)

Local Food Hygiene – How safe is food from local businesses in your area? 

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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