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  1. Tom Savvides

Tenants moved into new council homes

There's a desperate shortage of council homes across the south east. But some authorities are addressing the problem, and have starting building programmes. Families have started moving into the first council homes to be built in Medway in more than forty years. In recent times, housing associations have taken over the role of providing accommodation to tenants, who used to rely on councils. Fifty five new homes will built. The council says it's a start. Tom Savvides talks tenant Ken Watson, councillor Howard Doe and the MP Rehman Chishti.


'Beautiful' and 'powerful' building given listed status

This building now has Grade Two listed status Credit: ITV Meridian

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and when it comes to the latest addition to the listed building database that certainly seems to be true.

Gun Wharf in Dock Road in Chatham has been given a preservation order meaning it now has Grate Two listed status by the Government.

It follows an English Heritage project to recognise some of the finest post-war office buildings in England.

t was build almost 40 years ago Credit: ITV Meridian

“To be named as one of 14 post-war office buildings listed across the country is something quite special and the fact it is still a working building is testament to its quality.

“The building is no stranger to awards and when it was built was described in the Architects’ Journal as ‘powerful outside and beautiful inside’."

It is currently used by Medway Council Credit: ITV Meridian

Health Secretary may return to troubled hospital

Credit: PA

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has been asked to return to visit Medway Hospital. The troubled hospital is in special measures, and has recently been given a loan. Rehman Chishti, the local MP, invited Hunt after a meeting in London. And Chishti has called for greater collaboration between Medway Hospital and other Health Trusts. The Government’s recently announced an investment of £13 million to improve Medway’s A&E, which is one of the largest amount given to a hospital.


Kent woman questioned after 'unexplained' death

A 44-year-old woman from Kent is helping police with their inquiries after the death of another woman in Gillingham.

Police were called to Balmoral Road on Saturday after a woman was found injured. She was taken to hospital but later died.

A Kent Police spokeswoman said the death was being treated as "unexplained".

She said: "A 44-year-old Gillingham woman is helping police with their inquiries following an incident in Balmoral Road on Saturday.

"Kent Police was called at 12.10pm where a woman was found with injuries. The ambulance service treated the patient at the scene before she was taken to hospital; however she died that evening.

"Officers are treating the incident as an unexplained death and inquiries are ongoing."

Landlord fined for letting out poor quality accomodation

A landlord letting cold, damp properties and some with no working toilet and dangerous electrics must pay more than £12,000 for allowing tenants to live in poor conditions.

Robert Emery of Bull Lane, Higham failed to make improvements to two properties in Chatham and another in Gillingham, ignoring legal notices.

He also continued to let the Gillingham property in Adelaide Road despite the council having served a prohibition order in May, preventing anyone living there due to its poor state.

Two months after the order was served council officers discovered new tenants living in the property, which had damp in every room. The tenants were placed there by housing agent Hilton Taylor acting on behalf of Emery.

Another of his properties in Coronation Road, Chatham had a damp problem as well as no heating and the toilet was broken.

The council had first contacted Emery about the poor condition of this property in June 2013. This was followed up with a formal improvement notice but he failed to carry out the necessary work.

A third property in Magpie Hall Road, Chatham had a dangerous electrical system, rising damp, condensation and some windows were lacking restrictors.

Despite the poor conditions, Emery allowed a tenant with two children under the age of five to live there and ignored all council correspondence and an improvement notice.

Emery pleaded guilty to three offences relating to the three properties, but did not appear at Medway Magistrates' Court when the case was heard on Thursday, 27 November. Instead, representatives from letting agent Hilton Taylor were in court on his behalf.

Magistrates fined the rogue landlord £8,300 as well as costs of £3,430 and a £350 victim surcharge.

Fraudster jailed for stealing £250k

A former finance officer will spend time behind bars after a jury found her guilty of siphoning nearly £250,000 from a car mechanics in Strood.

Kerry Anne Stone, 32, denied fraud by abuse of position while employed as purchase ledger assistant at Mr Clutch in Priory Road between 1 January 2009 and 19 July 2013.

Stone, of Chequers Court in Strood, was found guilty of stealing £222,799.71 from two accounts and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court to four years imprisonment.

Kerry Anne Stone has been sentenced to four years in prison Credit: Kent Police

Officers from Kent Police were contacted on 19 July 2013 after it was suspected Stone, who had been working for the company for 17 years, had made two fraudulent payments to herself of £1,770.72 from the company account.

It was found that on 20 June she stole £936.72 and seven days later she took an additional £830.

After coming clean to a colleague, a meeting was called and Stone agreed to pay the full amount back, which she did by 17 July.

Upon further inspection, other transactions were looked at and it was established at least £10,569.99 had been taken.

At a disciplinary meeting on 25 July, she admitted stealing the money and had created dummy invoices and posted payment to her own account.

Stone admitted to stealing from the company for past 18 months and was subsequently dismissed.

A full audit was later commissioned and it was found Stone had stolen money from two accounts totalling nearly £250,000.

"Kerry Anne Stone was in a position of trust with access to the company’s accounts and systematically stole large quantities of cash over an extended period of time to support her own lifestyle. This was a serious breach of trust and displayed a high level of contempt for the people she worked with. As a result of her actions she now has to serve a prison sentence. This should be taken as a warning to others about how serious police and the courts take this type of crime: cheaters will not prosper."

– Investigating officer, Detective Constable Karen Caulfield
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