Future of public parks inquiry launched

Victoria ParkThe Communities and Local Government Committee launches an inquiry into public parks to examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on these open spaces and consider concerns that their existence is under threat.

Public parks inquiry

The Committee looks at how parks should be supported now and in the future. This includes studying alternative management and funding models, such as a mutual or a trust.

Send a written submission

The Committee invites submission of written evidence to its website on the following issues:

  • Who uses parks and open spaces, how often and for what
  • The contribution of parks to the health and well-being of communities
  • The impact of reductions in local authority budgets on parks
  • What the administrative status of parks should be in light of declining local authority resources for non-statutory services
  • How new and existing parks can best be supported
  • What additional or alternative funding is available and what scope is there for local authorities to generate revenue from park users
  • What the advantages and disadvantages are of other management models, such as privatisation, outsourcing or mutualisation

The Committee would be grateful to receive written submissions by 30 September 2016. (more…)

Share your experience of East Kent Hospitals with CQC

cqclogoCQC is inspecting East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust Starting on the 5th September 2016. Whether they have received good care or poor care they are asking patients to tell them their experience of care in the hospitals. The information provided helps them decide when, where and what to expect.

You can share your experience:

You don’t have to give your name.

Alternatively you can share your experience with Healthwatch Kent in confidence for free:

KCC Waste Disposal Strategy Consultation

Kent County CouncilKent County Council (KCC) is consulting on its draft Waste Disposal Strategy 2017-35 ➚, which sets out their current position, identifies the future pressures and presents the Ambition and Priorities for the household waste disposal service.

They are keen to know what you think about the overarching ambition of the Strategy, the key priorities involved and the specific objectives they have set out.  KCC welcome any comments or concerns that will help us improve the Strategy before KCC moves forward to implementation, supported by further public consultation in 2017.

It is recommended that the draft Strategy is read in conjunction with the detailed evidence base ➚. (more…)

Domestic Abuse Service Integration Consultation

Kent County CouncilBackground:

Domestic Abuse Support Services in Kent are currently funded through a mixture of commissioned services, grant funding and charitable funds. The landscape of service provision varies across the county with different levels of support available in different areas of Kent.

The three largest commissioned services are Women’s Refuges, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) and Floating Support. Refuges and Floating Support are commissioned by Kent County Council, and these contracts come to an end in 2016. The IDVA service is partnership funded, with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) holding the contract. This contract is also due to end in 2016.


We are proposing to integrate these existing services into a single service, to be delivered by service providers working together within partnership and subcontracting arrangements to improve client journeys and provide clarity on where to go for support.  This will ensure consistency of support available wherever a client is living.  The proposal includes the introduction of a central referral process to ensure those accessing the service can be referred appropriately at their first contact.

Have your say:

Please have a look at the Consultation Document, the summary of the proposed service and the draft service specification.

You can have your say by using the online questionnaire or by sending in a paper version which may be downloaded below.

The consultation closes on the 15th of July 2016


Do you find it difficult to get an appointment with your GP?

Healthwatch Kent

You won’t be surprised to know that Healthwatch Kent hear a lot from people who struggle to get an appointment with their GP. So they are going to look into it further and they need your help.

Please share your stories with them and help them to understand what people are really experiencing in Kent.

They have invited three GP practices in South Kent Coast to work with us on this project.

Call them anytime on 0808 801 0102 or email

Healthwatch Kent 03 June 2016

KCC Active Travel Strategy Consultation

28.13 - (REV4) Active Travel Strategy Consultation A6 postcardKent County Council’s (KCC) Active Travel Strategy aims to make active travel an attractive and realistic choice for short journeys in Kent. By developing and promoting accessible, safer and well-planned active travel opportunities, this Strategy will help to establish Kent as a pioneering county for active travel.

Active Travel means walking or cycling as a means of transport in order to get to a particular destination such as work, the shops or to visit friends. It does not cover walking and cycling done purely for pleasure, for health reasons, or simply walking the dog. Active travel can be for complete journeys or parts of a journey.

More people travelling actively can lead to a range of positive outcomes. These include improved health, reduced traffic congestion, reduced pollution and financial savings.

Have your say

KCC want to know what you think of their draft Active Travel Strategy, and the ambition and actions outlined within it. (more…)

Review of KCC Funded Bus Services

Kent County CouncilIntroduction

Bus services across the UK were privatised in 1985.  Since then, many routes in Kent have been run by commercial bus companies, such as Arriva or Stagecoach.

But not all of Kent’s bus services are run on a purely commercial basis.  Kent County Council (KCC) currently spends £6.4 million subsidising some routes which, while not commercially viable, are considered important to the needs of the communities and passengers they serve.

What is being proposed

KCC have worked hard to protect these subsidies, but as central government funds have been reduced we’ve had to make savings.  They have already saved over £1million by working with bus operators to re-plan routes, renegotiating better contracts and through a greater use of Community Transport operators.  However, they still need to reduce our spending further in the next financial year.

To help them do this a series of changes have been identified for 17 subsidised services.  While KCC’s approach seeks to protect those bus services where the impact on passengers is greatest, they understand that any changes may have an adverse impact on existing bus passengers and they need you to tell them how the proposed changes may affect you. (more…)

Consultation on new lorry area

Proposals for a major new lorry area that would help improve Kent’s resilience when services across the English Channel are disrupted have been announced today.

Two potential sites near the M20 have been identified for the lorry area, along with four broad ways it could be used. Each option would help to prevent the need for the M20 to be closed when there is disruption to cross-channel services.

The consultation asks for views on the suitability of each proposed sites, and on how it should be operated.

Highways England and Andrew Jones MP 11 December 2015 (more…)

KFRS Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2016/18

Kent Fire and Rescue LogoHelp Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s plan for the future

This is your chance to have your say about Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) plans to develop and improve their services, while still making essential savings by filling in our online Safety and Wellbeing Plan survey.

The consultation is open until 16 January 2016, and the outcomes will be presented to Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority at its meeting on 12 February 2016. You can read the Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2016/18 and all the supporting documentation using the links on KFRS web page. (more…)

A28 Chart Road improvement scheme

Tank RoundaboutThe A28 is the main route serving the south and west side of Ashford. Improvements have already been made from the A28 ‘Tank’ roundabout up to and including its connection with the M20 at Junction 9.

Southwards from the ‘Tank’ roundabout over the railway to the ‘Matalan’ roundabout the A28 is a single carriageway that has poor alignment over the railway and has regular congestion and unreliable journey times.

A proposal to change the A28 between the ‘Tank’ and ‘Matalan’ roundabouts into 2 lanes each way is being looked at again following the award of Local Growth Funding from the Department of Transport to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. (more…)