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Medway welcomes Heathrow closure report

The leading councillors for all three parties on Medway Council have welcomed a joint report by three London authorities that says closing Heathrow would be an economic disaster.

The report by the London boroughs of Houslow, Ealing and Slough warns that up to 250,000 people could lose their jobs. Councillors in Medway say it proves the proposals for new airports in Kent should be rejected.

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Council urges commission to drop airport plan

Kent, Thames Estuary
Plans for airport expansion in the Thames Estuary

Medway Council is making a last ditch effort to have proposals for a Thames Estuary airport dropped before an expected announcement next week.

It's widely anticipated that Sir Howard Davies, chair of the government's Airports' Commission, will announce its preferred options on December 17th.

Cllr Rodney Chambers, Leader of Medway Council, said: "While we have an expectation that the commission will keep in at least one proposal for a Thames Estuary airport, we would urge Sir Howard Davies to seriously consider dropping all proposals for the estuary.

"This would allow for Sir Howard, his colleagues on the commission and, ultimately, government to focus their full concentration on options that are not only far more realistic, but could also be completed far more quickly and at far less cost."

Mother falsely claimed £33,000 in benefits

A mother of three from Medway has admitted to falsely claiming more than £33,000 in benefits. 33 year-old Louise Simpson from Gillingham failed to notify the authorities that her circumstances had changed and that she was living with a partner.

She continued to claim housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support for four years.

She pleaded guilty to 9 charges at Chatham Magistrates Court of dishonestly failing to notify her change in circumstances.

She was given a six month sentence (suspended for 2 years) and was ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work.

CCTV hub leads to thousands of arrests

by Sarah Saunders

A great way to tackle crime or a big brother style invasion of privacy? CCTV cameras can be found on most high streets nowadays. And one of the largest CCTV hubs in the country, covering North Kent has resulted in thousands of arrests since it came into operation last April.

The majority, for shoplifting, anti-social behaviour, assault and affray. Sarah Saunders spoke to Sgt Steve Holpin from Kent police and Medway Council's Robin Cooper.

CCTV in Medway leads to thousands of arrests

Nearly 3400 arrests have been made in Medway since the new CCTV hub was introduced in April 2012.

The control centre in Strood looks over 750 cameras, covering Medway, Swale, Maidstone and Gravesham.

From April 2012 to August 2013, 3396 arrests were made, with the majority for shoplifting, anti-social behaviour, assault and affray.

Councillor Peter Hicks, Medway Council's portfolio holder for Community Safety said, "This partnership with our neighbours has proved the value of CCTV in making people feel safer in their local areas, as well as leading to arrests."

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Kent Fire Service appeal for volunteers

Kent Fire and Rescue Service's community volunteer scheme is searching for enthusiastic recruits to join the team.

The scheme currently has 47 unpaid volunteers who contribute their time to undertake a range of directed community activities.

Volunteers support both the KFRS dedicated community safety team as well as stations throughout Medway and Kent.

Tasks vary from attending community safety events and promoting home fire safety to highlight outdoor spaces that are at risk of fire.

I am constantly amazed by the amount of time our volunteers are willing to give up, as well as their limitless enthusiasm and interest in what the organisation does. I have had fantastic feedback from staff and now the volunteers are experienced I am being requested to provide volunteers to support station-led events so that they can continue to engage with the public if the operational staff are called away.”

– Coordinator Karen Garrett

Blast from the past: Last surviving bus to be restored

Video. It carried thousands of passengers to and from work, dates back to before the war and used to be a familiar sight in the streets of Medway.

The Chatham Traction bus played a key role in our history and today, only one from the fleet survives. But thanks to a group of enthusiasts and a lottery grant, the bus will be restored. Nashreen Issa reports.

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