Kennington Community Council was established in May 2019.
As the Council embraces modern conferencing technologies and resumes meetings, after missing its April meeting, here we look back the first year of one of four new Councils created in Kent last year.
In terms of practical achievements of the Council, we highlight the following:
Introduction of a community grants and projects scheme, with number of rounds of evaluation now seen of applications –four grants have been paid out and one other currently earmarked in the reserves to be paid when the project concerned is ready to proceed.
Conducting a major public consultation jointly with Ashford Borough Council on the future use of the former Bockhanger Community Centre site – some 650 responses received from a community survey
In the planning arena, a submission to the Planning Inspectorate opposing a development of housing along the Canterbury Road at Ashford Hockey Club and two substantial submissions to the ABC Planning Committee calling for a series of conditions to be attached before the Conningbrook Park development is authorised – the latter involved a councillor analysing hundreds of pages of evidence submitted to Ashford Council
Full restoration of the entrance arch to the Kennington Garden of Remembrance and commencement of a project to restore the War memorial opposite; Commitment from Ashford Borough Council to renovate the play areas at Rylands Road and Spearpoint Playing Field (The Ridge) at a cost of over £600,000.00; Establishing a Kennington Highways Improvement Plan and submitting it to Kent County Council; and most importantly installation of two accesible defibrillators and the aquisition of a telephone box for a third, setting up a Volunteer Coordination for the Kennington area as a response to the COVID-19 virus, incorporating safeguards for both the volunteers and those seeking support – over 100 volunteers came forward and are supporting some 50 individuals and families in Kennington.
Much of the first year in the life of the Council was spent setting up committees, recruiting a Clerk, establishing a budget, along with proper financial procedures, and agreeing priorities. Despite a limited budget, the Council has now established a sound General Reserve on a par with what many Councils will have added to over decades, as well as a dedicated reserves for actions necessary to bring a community facility back to Bockhanger Square. Prudent management has kept the cost of the Council to little more than 50 pence oer Band D property per week.