Dartford and Gravesend Review of 2017
PUBLISHED: 10:57 01 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:57 01 January 2018
Ady Kerry /AK Pictures
Looking back at the stories of the past 12 months
Ebbsfleet Academy was criticised sending home girls in short skirts. One parent said: “It’s outrageous.” But an Academy spokesman said a few students did not comply with its Academies dress code and were given a further opportunity to borrow or buy a skirt or pair of trousers.
Hundreds of affordable homes set to be created with the Ebbsfleet Garden City as part of a £1.2bn national scheme. Paul Spooner, interim chief executive of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation said it was one of the government’s new priority areas.
The wait for Justice for fatally stabbed Dartford estate agent George Low who died in a Cyprus attack was set to go on as under-secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs in Nicosia Tobias Ellwood said: “We will continue to push to see those guilty, brought to justice.”
Award Winning fundraiser Natalia Spencer passed through Gravesend this week continuing her 6,000 mile journey of walking Britain’s coastline raising cash in the memory of daughter Elizabeth, five, who died from a rare auto immune disease.
US Ambassador, Matthew Barzun gave his final official speech in Gravesend to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Pocahontas.
Road-rage killer Kenneth Noye launched his a High Court battle to be moved to open prison.
The estimated value of goods stolen in the Hatton Garden raid rose to around £25 million after the heist gang’s oldest member, 78-year- old Brian Reader from Dartford was jailed for six years.
February welcomed the Chinese New Year with a parade led by a Chinese lion and performers from the Ying Tao Chinese Association joining in for the rooster year.
Gravesend Grammar School Executive head, Geoff Wybar pledge to not ask parents for cash following the Grammar School Heads’ Association claiming that more than half of the country’s grammars could be worse off if a new fair funding plan comes in to place.
There’s be no escape for speeding motorists when cameras are digitalised, and Steve Horton from Kent County Council said: The new digital cameras will enforce our commitment to casualty reduction.”
Proposed Paramount park entertainment resort insists Chinese firm SinoForone will still be investing in the venture
And tributes poured in following the death of the captain of Ebbsfleet United’s FA Trophy winning team of 2008. Paul McCarthy, 45 played 162 times for Ebbsfleet after being signed back in 2004.
Gravesham bins would be collected once a fortnight in a shakeup of the system but the council said money was nothing to do with it.
But the council tax in Dartford rises for the first time in seven years as spending cuts bite. Members agreed to raise its share of the tax by almost a fiver for a Band D property.
And M25 road rage killer Kenneth Noye gets an objection to his desired move to an open prison quashed in the High Court. He stabbed Dartford electrician Stephen Cameron to death in April 2000.
Still connected to Paramount, the giant theme park is scheduled to open by 2022, but many are sceptical it will happen at all.
It turns out EC chiefs thought the M25 approach road was a rural one that didn’t need checking for pollution levels. Meanwhile, it’s Option C for the second crossing.
The 30th anniversary of the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry disaster at Zeebrugge was marked by Gravesend Merchant Navy chaplain Bill McCrea who went to Dover to help mourners.
Southeastern announces it plans a bid to retains its train licence.
Gunner George Edward Valentine Field from Northfleet died in WWI aged 16, and now finally gets a war grave.
Everyone baffled as to why Dartford-born terrorist Khalid Masood, 52, went on a rampage that left four dead, including former Bromley police officer Keith Palmer, in Westminster.
The second Dartford crossing is Option C but already there are calls for a third one because by the time it is sorted out, the Dartford tunnels will be nearing the end of their lives.
Gravesham councillor Brian Sweetland made the call adding he was convinced nothing will improve traffic wise for another decade.
The family of Sian Hollands, 25, who died from a pulmonary embolism, threaten legal action against Darent Valley Hospital after a coroner concluded she could have survived.
Political parties in opposition voice worries the public would be apathetic at the snap election just called. But incumbent Tories are happy and confident.
Self-styled paedophile hunters who snare people in undercover stings, sometimes using live streams, are warned by police after a brawl at Bluewater during one such operation.
Thousands turn out for the annual Sikh festival of Vaisakhi in Gravesend.
The centrepiece as always was the Nagar Kirtan procession.
More worries for local traders in Gravesend and Dartford as Bluewater announce expansion plans.
The Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley clinical commissioning group warns of a £17m deficit in its finances thanks to costs soaring and rises in the minimum wage. But they are not alone. A spokesman said: “Other CCGs in the region have found it difficult to break-even financially and in some areas where CCGs are breaking even or reporting a surplus at the end of the financial year, their hospital trusts have deficits”.
The Conservatives in Gravesend and Dartford were happy with the Kent elections as Labour was left to lick its wounds. Ukip crumbled.
The new Lower Thames Crossing could see a tram system running alongside in a bid to further reduce jams - but it’ll cost £600m.
Ebbsfleet United celebrate promotion to the top tier of non-league football.
The ransomware epidemic that crippled hospitals and companies around the UK failed to impact Darent Valley and Sidcups Queen Mary’s thanks to its “robust” firewall protection.
Plans for 150 homes at The Pier, Greenhithe, are tossed out.
Snap election fever builds - Labour would pause second Thames crossing, and residents get new wheelie bins. Local MPs buoyant and security at polling stations boosted.
Gravesham Council’s Labour leader John Burdon foresees the closure of Woodville Halls as £110,000 worth of cuts are discussed, as Kelly Holmes opens a cafe at Cyclopark with promises of more to come.
Paramount still around with an announcement it had signed a deal for 4,000 hotel rooms. The following week, developers reveal Paramount divorce putting the £3,2bn project in danger. But London Resort promise the doors will open in 2022. Its CEO, Humphrey Percy said: “This announcement does not have an effect on the timing of our planning development consent order submission in November 2017.”
Meanwhile, there is cash for Darent Valley Hospital - nearly £1m from the government is welcome news as patient numbers soar.
Dartford confirms its buildings are safe in the wake of Grenfell Tower and schools all over look at their evacuation plans.
Locals are horrified when Cobham barmaid Molly McLaren is stabbed to death in the car park at Dockside shopping centre, Chatham. A shrine wis left and remains for weeks.
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson dusts himself down after bruising election and says let’s get on with Brexit. And Gravesham MP Adam Holloway is worried about changes in rubbish collections after a 10,000 name petition is presented.
He tells the petition organiser: “I do share your concerns about these plans.”
Talk of a £600m tram line under the Thames persists with a promise that planning applications will start to fly in the new year. Paul Spooner, the chief executive of the Ebbsfleet Garden City says the proposal is “interesting”.
And talking of Ebbsfleet, the football club remains confident work on its new stand will be completed after the building company goes under.
Moves to protect an uncovered bear pit at the Ebbsfleet Garden City gain momentum. Some want it to be a preserved and its place marked as a “point of historical interest”.
The Swanscombe theme park opening is pushed back to 2023 with planning applications emerging next year. CEO Humphrey Percy says: “We are delighted with progress on partnership agreements.” And adds they are “now in very detailed commercial negotiations”.
Dartford sprinter Adam Gemili takes a gold at the World Athletics Championships in the 4x100 metre relay. It helps make up for missing out on an Olympic bronze in Rio by three-thousandths of a second.
Hundreds line the street for Molly McLaren’s funeral.
Dartford councillors are fed up with town centre anti-social behaviour and start looking at setting up a public space protection order.
The police back the idea but warn they have no extra officers to deploy.
The aim is to shut down public drinking, substance abuse, and threatening groups of people. Anyone falling foul can be fined £100.
Gravesend police officers Ben Watts and Andrew Simpson rescue a mother and her teenage daughter from a burning building by helping the pair climb down a ladder to safety. The chief constable says they are a testament to Kent’s police.
A commuter service from Gravesend to London using the Thames needs £12m and two years to get it afloat. The Clipper had a successful one-week trial.
The 40mph zone of Princess Road, Dartford, sees a speeder hit 111mph, sparking fears yobs were taking over the roads. Labour group leader Joshua Jones said there has “certainly been an increase” in drivers happy to drive at excessive speeds.
Darent Valley Hospitals bans smoking anywhere on its property. Even vaping is forbidden. Four wardens will patrol to ensure no one sparks up.
An idea to ban oversize lorries using the Dartford tunnels is scrapped. Haulier Andrew Baxter said 100 such lorries use the bores daily and need an escort, which means stopping all other traffic which leads to massive jams. He said his plan to send them the long way round would save almost three hours of traffic jams.
Some £75m could be spent on Dartford town centre on a cinema and more than 100 homes.
Football clubs at Ebbsfleet and Dartford dare to dream of FA Cup glory as they go up against league opposition and some hopefully bumper pay days.
Dartford faces up to having Kent’s worst homeless problem with one in every 164 not having a permanent roof over their heads.
Twenty homes are now planned for the site of the Battle of Britain pub in Northfleet, that was knocked down by “mistake” leading to protests.
Over 120 healthcare specialists gathered together to discuss what the Ebbsfleet Garden City needed health wise. Priorities were to reduce childhood obesity.
A man is fined for keeping 14 wild birds in tiny cages after snaring them with a booby-trapped feeder in his garden in Gravesend.
Plans for a new school in Northfleet are scrapped
because there are not enough pupils to make it financially viable.
Lewis Brown, 31, of Gravesend, is a runner-up in the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards for raising thousands of pounds for charity while at the same time caring for his baby son who has a rare disease.