All rise for panto baddie
Antony Costa, member of boy band Blue, is flying by to Gravesend to play his first baddie role in panto. This year’s production is Jack and the Beanstalk and Antony is no stranger to the stage. He’s best known for being one fourth of the multi-platinum selling boy band, Blue, whose hits include All Rise, One Love, Fly By, and Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, which they recorded with Elton John. This will be Anthony’s debut panto in Kent and the first time he will be getting booed and hissed from the crowd as he gets ready to play the villain Fleshcreep. But the 35-year-old is excited by the villainous role. He said: “This is completely out of character for me. It’s going to test me but I can’t wait.” Antony has a busy schedule this year leading up to the panto touring round the UK with his new musical, Save the Last Dance, but is looking forward to starting rehearsals. “We normally rehearse for a couple of weeks before the show starts just to get the basics of what you’re trying to do. With panto though you can adlib and have banter with the audience. That’s what I’m looking forward to rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals and the audience,” he said. Antony Costa will be joined on stage by Jaz Ellington from BBC1’s The Voice, Olivier Award winning musical theatre star and Gravesend girl Leanne Jones, and panto regulars Payne & Pearce. Although his band mates will be performing in pantos themselves this year, his family will be by his side to see him and support him during the festive run. The panto is showing at The Woodville from 10 December to 2 January. Get your tickets to Jack and the Beanstalk now. You can buy them online at www.woodville.co.uk or by calling the box office on 08442 439 480.
Pick it up or Pay
It is an offence for dog owners or those in charge of dogs not to clean up after their dog has fouled on land that the public can access including roads, pavements, parks and open spaces. Enforcement officers, contracted from Kingdom, will be patrolling the borough for a six month trial issuing £75 fixed penalty notices to those that do not clear up after their dogs. People who don’t pay will be taken to court for the offence. Debbie Wilders, Senior Environmental Health Officer said: “we really need the help of the public in the fight against those dog owners who do not pick up after their dogs. Dog fouling is unsightly, anti-social and can carry disease. Lots of people contact us about dog fouling, especially those with young children. We hope that the enforcement officers will make a difference as an incentive for people to pick up their dog’s mess. The council has provided dog waste bins in many locations, in addition to litter bins that can also be used – so there is no excuse for not picking up. If you know of a regular offender we need to know the times and days when it happens, the location, and descriptions of the dog and owner along with any other details you may be able to provide. If you have information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01474 33 70 00.’’
Litter louts face £75 a throw
Litterbugs and irresponsible dog owners face on-the-spot £75 fines in Gravesend as the council’s Team G initiative moves into a new phase. Gravesham Borough Council has hired enforcement contractor Kingdom to tackle litter and dog fouling across the borough for a 12-month trial. Anyone caught littering or allowing their dog to foul public places will be issued with a penalty notice. The council is the fourth local authority in Kent to use the company. Their experience has led to cleaner streets. Last year the council launched its Team G initiative to clean up and maintain Gravesend town centre and intends to roll it out across the borough. Uniformed Kingdom operators will be equipped with body-worn CCTV cameras. Anyone caught committing an offence will get a £75 fine on the spot. The income from fines will pay for the service. Any surplus will go towards other anti-litter and environmental improvement schemes. It is proposed that the Enforcement Officers will start with issuing FPN’s within the town centre but during the 12-month trial they will also visit some of the outlying shopping areas such as Perry Street and Lion Garage. Council leader Cllr John Burden said: “The council is committed to tidying up our town and our borough. Team G’s introduction in November has already resulted in an improved level of cleanliness with officers from a number of departments working together to maintain public areas, smarten street furniture and empty bins. “Now it is time to get tough with those who persist in dropping litter. They must be made to pay for the problem they cause and we aim to deter people from wantonly spoiling our streets. If we don’t have to fine anyone it will mean that the message has got through. In the meantime litter louts be warned – your habit is going to cost you £75 a throw.” The council has installed cigarette bins throughout the town and litters bins are being emptied more frequently. There are plans to further enhance the capacity of bins which will be introduced soon.