MONKS WALL NATURE RESERVE REOPENED TO THE PUBLIC
Sandwich Town Council is delighted to announce that the Monks Wall Nature Reserve was re-opened on Friday 11th September 2020 by The Right Worshipful the Mayor and Mayoress of Sandwich (Cllr & Mrs Paul Graeme), Mark Chandler (Finns Management) and Cllr Sue Chandler (KCC Representative for Sandwich) and Ken Chapman (Warden).
Members of the public are now invited to visit the Reserve, which we particularly hope will be of benefit to the residents of Sandwich who live to the north of the Toll Bridge, who will be effected by the forthcoming closure of the bridge for repairs.
The main entrance to the Reserve is through the car park off the Monks Way, just before the junction with the A256. Alternatively, visitors may park on the quayside at Sandwich and walk in from the eastern end at Stonar.
A circular path allows visitors to walk around the main part of the Reserve and there are two public viewing hides.
Visitors should note, however, that the ground underfoot is often rough and uneven and unsuitable for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. Some areas of the Reserve are ‘off-limits’ due to grazing livestock and the presence of deep water. In order to protect livestock and also ground-nesting birds, dogs are not allowed on the Reserve except for assistance dogs and these should be on a lead at all times. No angling is permitted.
History of the Reserve:
Monks Nature Reserve comprises an area of about 29 hectares (70 acres) lying on the north side of the River Stour from the town of Sandwich. The land was formerly farmland and was then purchased by the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. It has been run as a nature reserve since the mid-1990’s and in the past, members of the public were allowed to access the land by a permit system. In 2011/2012 the whole area was gifted to Sandwich Town Council on condition that the land continued to be managed as a nature reserve for the benefit of local wildlife and the interest, education and enjoyment of residents and visitors to the area. For the entire time of its existence, the Reserve has been managed by a committee made up of Sandwich Town Councillors and senior members of the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory.
Monks Wall Nature Reserve is now mostly an area of lowland wet grassland, a habitat which has become very scarce in the British Isles over recent decades. There are also areas of scrubland, hedgerows and reed-bed. The main aims of the management of the Reserve is to conserve and improve this habitat, while allowing members of the public appropriate access. The wildlife interest includes several species of duck, especially in the winter months, while other water birds such as Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe and Grey Herons and Little Egret are almost always present. Birds of prey which visit the area include Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier and there are many species of other birds. Mammals include a few Water Voles, though these are rarely seen, and there is evidence that Otters visit the site. Of the wildflowers, there are a number of scarce species, including three species of orchid, while a range of insect life includes a good variety of dragonflies and butterflies.
The Reserve was closed in 2013 in order to allow the Sandwich Town Tidal Defence Scheme (a partnership between the Environment Agency, Pfizer and Kent County Council) to progress. During this time, members of the public were not allowed to visit the Reserve and for various reasons connected with unresolved Health and Safety issues, it has only now become possible to safely re-open the Reserve to the public. The previous permit system will no longer apply.
GRANTS FROM THE MAYOR OF SANDWICH, CLLR JEFF FRANKLIN
The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Sandwich, Cllr Jeff Franklin has presented cheques totalling £2100 to local charities and organisations. These funds were raised by the Mayor and Mayoress during the 2019/20 Civic year, via fundraising activities, that included a Folk & Fizz night. Several local businesses contributed towards the success of the Folk & Fizz night by kindly donating prizes for a raffle that was held at the event.
Kent Search and Rescue and the Phoenix Centre have both received special awards this year in recognition of the great things that they have done to support the town. Kent Search and Rescue’s support during the search for Lucas Dobson last summer was invaluable and we cannot thank them enough for their tremendous efforts during that extremely difficult time. The Phoenix Centre continues to be an important local resource to Sandwich, offering a number of services including a foodbank, youth schemes and mental health initiatives, which help to support the community.
Donations were also made to Age Concern Sandwich, Sandwich in Bloom, Over 60’s Club, White Mill Folk Museum Trust, Townswomen’s Guild, Sandwich Scout Group, Sandwich Community Lights Committee, St Peter’s Care & Share, Sir Roger Manwood’s Band and Sandwich Rainbows, Brownies and Girl Guiding.
This year’s Mayor’s Civic Award was presented to Mrs Emma Reeve, of Fordwich Place, who has served the local community for thirty years as a Leader of the Girl Guides. She currently runs 2nd Sandwich Rainbows.
(13th May 2020)
SANDWICH TOWN COUNCIL AGREES A BUDGET FOR 2020/2021
Sandwich Town Council agreed a 25% increase in the precept for 2020/2021 on the 8th January 2020 at an extra-ordinary meeting of the Council, which represents an annual increase of £24.71 for a Band D property; just less than 48p per week.
This will raise an additional £50,220.56, which will largely go towards repairs, maintenance and running costs of the Guildhall.
Since the 1970s the Guildhall has been heavily subsidised by Sandwich Toll Bridge Fund (a registered charity of which Sandwich Town Council is the sole trustee) and the Council is aware that the assets of the charity could be depleted within 10 years if the current drain on funds continues. The Council aims to reduce support from the charity for the Guildhall within the current term of office (2019 – 2023), which will then allow the charity to assist with other charitable works for the good of Sandwich and maximise investment income, by maintaining the reserves.
Additional funding for the Guildhall has not solely been sought from the rate payer; the Council will also reduce some services that are no longer efficient and work is underway to improve the business plan for the Guildhall and raise further funds from activities at the building.
Details of the Sandwich Town Council agreed budget for 2020/21 can be found on the Council’s website.
23rd January 2020
EXCITING PROGRAMME OF EVENTS DURING THE 149TH OPEN
Sandwich Town Council has resolved to fully support the schedule of events that are being organised by a number of local businesses via Sandwich Chamber of Commerce, to take place over the weekend of The 149th Open (Thursday 16th July – Sunday 19th July 2020).
The Council had received a proposal from an event organiser who has worked successful in Rye and Deal, however, the proposal that was received from the Chamber of Commerce received the Council’s full support.
Cllrs Mark Lintott and Tony Broun, and officer Mrs A Hollobon-Baxter have now been delegated to work with the Chamber of Commerce to assist where possible to help deliver a series of events that will attract visitors from The 149th Open into the town, provide new activities for residents to enjoy, and encourage support for the local business community.
Local Businessman, Mr Steve Ruston reported “The newly revitalised and energised Sandwich Chamber of Commerce has proven to be a successful vehicle in reaching out to local business and engaging interest in the fantastic opportunities that come with the return of The Open to Royal St Georges course. We have worked together in developing a strategy that will encourage the towns trades and businesses to participate in showcasing our town and developing a lasting legacy that will act as a platform for economic growth. This is at a time when every opportunity must be seized and we need to embrace the change that necessary to see Sandwich return to the golden days of growth and prosperity within its commercial offer. Not only will this opportunity for growth benefit our trading offer but the residual fallout from this can only increase the prosperity of the town as a whole in sustaining us as a tourist destination and a place where people will want to live.”
Cllr Mark Lintott reported that “the Chamber of Commerce’s attention to detail is extremely professional and their enthusiasm for the project is quite infectious.”
Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Vice President of Sandwich Chamber of Commerce Mr Dan Friend (firstname.lastname@example.org / 07723364042) or local businessman Mr Steve Ruston (email@example.com / 01304 449190).
Further updates, as these plans develop and are approved by Dover District Council’s Events Safety Advisory Group, will be posted on the “Sandwich Chamber of Commerce” and “Sandwich, Kent – forum” Facebook pages.
17th February 2020
SANDWICH PORT & HAVEN COMMISSIONERS BACK AT GUILDHALL
Sandwich Town Council has warmly welcomed the Sandwich Port & Haven Commissioners back to the Guildhall, following a period of being based at the Fishergate on the Quay.
The Mayor, Cllr Jeff Franklin, said “we are delighted to have the Commissioners meeting again at the Guildhall; hopefully this will foster a closer working relationship between the Council and the Commissioners; who perform an incredibly important function for the town and have some exciting plans for the future”.
27th January 2020
Update – Temporary Closure Postponed – Sandwich Toll Bridge – [17 February 2020]
The forthcoming planned closure of Sandwich Toll Bridge, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich has been postponed.
It had been planned from 17 February 2020 for up to 7 weeks; apologies are given for any inconvenience caused by this change.
It had always been intended that the emergency works on the A256 Sandwich Bypass would be progressed sufficiently to allow it to be re-opened before any closure of the Toll Bridge was undertaken.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond Kent County Council’s control, Southern Water’s emergency works have now been extended.
KCC are actively working with the contractors on the A256 Sandwich Bypass to get an early resolution of the situation.
At present, it is aimed to start the Toll Bridge closure from 30 March 2020, but this is subject to confirmation and progress of the A256 emergency repairs.
Further updates will be issued as the A256 emergency works progress.