Kent County Council launches a consultation today on its plans to improve the quality of life for the county’s residents over the next five years.
KCC Leader Roger Gough said the consultation presented the opportunity for everyone living or working in Kent to let the council know which services really matter to them.
He said: “County council services have a major impact on people’s lives, through schools, roads, social services for vulnerable and elderly people, other support services for children, and what we do in provisions such as libraries and country parks.
“It’s vitally important that residents now have the chance to shape what those services will be like and what kind of county we are going to be living in over the next few years.”
“The plan seeks to respond to what residents have already told us about their desire for services that protect and enhance the quality of life in Kent.
“We must particularly address the challenges that residents see in their daily lives: the increasing demand for local public services from an ageing and changing population; the impact of significant housing growth, and the pressure on our infrastructure.”
KCC’s current ideas are outlined in its draft Strategic Statement, which is titled “Your Future, Our Priority”.
Over the last six months KCC has held a series of focus groups and gathered the views of residents, young people, businesses, voluntary and community sector organisations, KCC staff and our partners in Kent’s district and parish councils and across public services.
Based on their suggestions, KCC has set out the following priorities:
Enterprise and investment – making Kent an ambitious and successful county, with high quality jobs, skilled workers, enterprising businesses and thriving town centres and rural areas.
Securing sustainable infrastructure – as Kent grows, working with partners to put in place the infrastructure that communities need, including roads, school places and utilities.
Connected transport and communities – keeping Kent’s roads and pavements well maintained and safe, keeping traffic flowing and improving public transport so everyone can get around the county.
A cleaner and greener Kent – keeping our streets, towns and parks tidy and clean, protecting the green areas and coasts that make Kent so special and leading the way on tackling the climate emergency.
Stronger and safer Kent communities – continuing to bring communities together so everyone feels involved and supported and working with partners to make sure everyone stays and feels safe.
Opportunities for children and young people – giving children the best start in life, providing effective early help when families need it and making sure every young person gets the education, skills and experiences they need for a successful future.
Quality health, care and support – helping people to live well, working with partners to improve people’s physical and mental health and resilience and providing quality social care when people need it.
However, Mr Gough stressed that the council was keen that as many people as possible take part in the consultation and give their views on their own priorities.
“As Leader of KCC I want to respond to what people tell us about how they want us to work, so that we can focus on spending priorities that matter most to our residents and make a visible difference and deliver public value in Kent.”
The plan is still in draft form and KCC wants to know what residents and businesses think so it can make changes for the final version.
The consultation runs from 6 January to 17 February 2020 and the relevant documents are available at www.kent.gov.uk/5yearplan.
Following the consultation, changes will be incorporated and KCC will produce a “You Said, We Did” document to show how it has used people’s comments to shape the plan.