Kent County Council

Boundary changes have occurred here. 2013 seats are an estimate of what the result would have been then if the new boundaries had been in place.

Election 2017 Results

CON HOLD
Party Seats 2013 Seats 2017 Change

PartyConservative

Seats 201343 Seats 201767 Change+24

PartyLiberal Democrat

Seats 20137 Seats 20177 Change-

PartyLabour

Seats 201311 Seats 20175 Change−6

PartyGreen

Seats 20131 Seats 20171 Change-

PartyResidents' Association

Seats 20131 Seats 20171 Change-

PartyUKIP

Seats 201318 Seats 2017- Change−18
Change compared with

Latest Updates

  1. Your views sought over county council budget cuts

    Kent residents are being asked for their input on Kent County Council's future spending priorities, as the authority faces its "toughest financial challenge for many years".

    The council said: "Coping with the demands of Covid-19 has required a huge increase in spending and has come at the same time as reductions in its income from council tax and business rates."

    Peter Oakford, KCC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “We have to consider making some difficult decisions about where to reduce our spending.

    "We are asking residents for their opinions so we can take those into account in drafting our next budget."

    The online consultation runs from 14 October to 24 November on the council's website.

  2. Covid-19 rates in Kent 'beginning to rise'

    Andrew Scott-Clark, director of public health at Kent County Council
    Image caption: Mr Scott-Clarke said rates in Kent were "nowhere near the England average"

    Rates of Covid-19 in Kent are “relatively low” but are “beginning to rise and that is a worry”, the county council’s director of public health Andrew Scott-Clark has said.

    Kent and Medway are both on a medium alert level in the government’s new three-tier lockdown system, meaning residents will be subject to no further restrictions at this stage.

    Mr Scott-Clark identified Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells as areas of concern but said: “We are working with those councils to make sure that all of the right measures are in place.”

    He called on people to play their part by frequently washing hands, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and keeping to the rule of six.

    'It could change rapidly'

    “If we abide by those rules now, that will protect us, protect Kent and protect our loved ones,” he said.

    James Williamson, director of public health for Medway added: “We’ve got a position that could change and it could change rapidly.”

    He said a local tracing team would be supporting the national service and would “follow up at a local level people who have not been able to be contacted.”

    Meanwhile, he said people with symptoms should get tested and abide by the rules on self-isolation.

    “We have got a chance now," he said. "We’ve seen what has happened in other areas of the country."

  3. Hardship fund for councillors losing their seats

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    A “hardship fund” is being proposed for cash-strapped Kent county councillors who lose their seat after next year’s elections.

    Kent County Council’s (KCC) head of governance, Benjamin Watts, has called for a wide review looking at options open to County Hall to help councillors who find themselves short of money after leaving office.

    The KCC chief officer says he is “concerned” on a “humane level” that some elected members may find it difficult to find new work due to mass job cuts and a far more competitive labour market.

    He said: “I am a little concerned that if in May we are still where we are now, and, we have some members who have been with us for some time and don’t retain their seat, that we may have some individuals in a hardship situation.”

    The basic allowance for a KCC member is around £16,000 for the financial year. Some receive extra payment for committee chair roles or being cabinet members, but councillors are not entitled to redundancy payments and the majority are unable to contribute to pension schemes whilst they are serving.

    KCC’s main opposition leader Rob Bird (Lib Dem) warned: “It is something we need to look at very carefully and be sensitive to public opinion. Clearly none of us would want KCC to be out of line with the sector at large.”

  4. Election plans to be drawn up amid pandemic

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    County Hall

    Concerns have been raised about local elections in Kent next year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The pandemic will likely change the way the votes are carried out in May for the Kent County Council elections and the poll for the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner position.

    More than 50 by-elections will need to be resolved across the county in 2021 along with a referendum over the Lenham neighbourhood plan within the Maidstone area.

    KCC’s head of governance, Benjamin Watts, said: “The current guidance is that those elections will be taking place and we are working towards those.”

    However, issues related to the election count, such as putting protective measures in place to allow voters to socially distance at venues, were raised by councillors during a virtual KCC meeting yesterday.

    Mr Watts added: “We are looking at the KCC election being counted on the Friday as it was four years ago and we have had conversations about the idea of counting by division to allow candidates to attend with social distancing in place.

    “Over the course of the next few months we will be firming up arrangements.”

  5. Thanet care homes 'effectively in lockdown'

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Thanet care homes are effectively in lockdown as coronavirus cases reach their highest levels in Kent since June, according to a care home manager.

    Maria Kallis, who runs Eaton Lodge Nursing Home in Westgate, is one of 40 managers in the district raising concerns about the “confusing” and “conflicting” guidance from national and local health authorities.

    They have resorted to “comparing notes” in a private WhatsApp group as some families have told staff they are “frightened” to send their elderly relatives to nursing or residential homes in the area.

    Although the rate in Thanet remains low at about seven new weekly cases - nearly five cases per 100,000 people - there remains fear from staff around the lack of clarity from the government and Kent County Council (KCC).

    Ms Kallis, who has had no positive Covid cases at Eaton Lodge during the pandemic, said: “Most of the homes in Thanet are choosing to lock down because we are concerned for our clients.”

    Eaton Lodge Nursing Home

    Her 30 staff are tested weekly but there can be lengthy delays before the results come back, with some employees afraid to socialise outside of work in case they bring the virus into the care home.

    A total of 21 elderly residents are staying at Eaton, due to tight restrictions that have been put on the home some have not been able to see relatives for more than six months.

    KCC’s adult social care corporate director Richard Smith said the authority continued to work closely with the NHS and Care Quality Commission to ensure adequate arrangements were in place across the county.

  6. Pandemic causing new cases of depression

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Medway Council

    Concerns have been raised about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the mental wellbeing of residents living in Kent and Medway.

    Maidstone, Medway and Swale councillors say their mail boxes are being “filled up” with a growing number of constituents revealing their stresses and anxieties because of the pandemic.

    Kent NHS bosses say they are “mindful” of the mental impact of Covid for their staff and residents.

    During a Kent and Medway joint health scrutiny committee yesterday, Medway council’s deputy opposition leader Theresa Murray said: “Enforced isolation has impacted lots of people.”

    Other councillors have said that residents without a history of suffering from mental health have been reporting depression, citing Covid-19’s impact on their family and finances.

    The committee, made up of eight councillors and NHS representatives, called for a “comprehensive” study to be carried out looking at the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on people’s mental health.

    Ms Murray said: “The feedback I am getting from constituents is that many people are still relying on telephone support and not finding it adequate to meet their needs.

    “People have been robbed of going to the mental health services cafe in different community-based locations.

    “They haven’t been able to go along to their support groups, the activities they get involved in have turned off. There is a slow opening up, but it’s got a very different feel.”

    An NHS report will be presented to councillors at their next public meeting.

  7. Councillor 'cringes' at British communications with Europeans

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    County Hall

    Britons must be taught the “basics” of European culture to avoid awkward meetings with international neighbours, according to a county councillor.

    Kent County Council's (KCC) Geoff Lymer, who has worked on the mainland continent for 25 years, said he “cringes” when British people speak to European counterparts due to a lack of cultural understanding about their way of life.

    “It is because of that lack of understanding that I have had French groups just throw their hands up in the air and walk out of meetings,” Mr Lymer said.

    Mr Lymer, who is also KCC’s public health chairman, said that Britons tend to excessively “shake their hands” with their Europeans each time they meet.

    His comments came amid a debate about KCC’s planned membership of the Straits Committee post-Brexit, which will be comprised of a small group of European councils in the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

    Under the plan, joint schemes will be established related to the economy, tourism, climate change and culture, including an annual festival celebrating the history of France and England from "cave men" to the present.

    Speaking during a virtual public meeting on Friday, Mr Lymer said: “It is something we need to take seriously and not accept that because we are British and a bit quirky that all the other European countries must accept our way of behaving.

    “We need to learn and understand the way that Europeans behave. I have been going around schools in my ward and explaining the importance of having at least one, if not two, additional languages.”

  8. 'Kent pass' for local lorry drivers after Brexit

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Lorries form a queue to enter the Port of Dover on the M20 (library photo)
    Image caption: Lorries form a queue to enter the Port of Dover on the M20

    Goods vehicle drivers working within Kent could be given their own travel pass to avoid Channel Tunnel congestion after the Brexit transition ends.

    Kent County Council’s (KCC) corporate director for transport, Barbara Cooper, has stressed there will be no internal border in Kent amid fears around the planned departure from the European Union at the end of December.

    Her comments came during a KCC meeting.

    Instead, KCC is working with east Kent hauliers to give them a separate Kent Access Permit to make sure they do not get “caught up” in lengthy queues on the M20 and other main roads around Dover, and protect the Kent economy.

    Hauliers will need to upload their paperwork and will be given a green, amber or red pass to show whether they can progress onto the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

  9. Covid-19: Council considers plans for foreign lorry drivers

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Kent County Council HQ

    Brexit contingency plans are being considered for foreign lorry drivers coming into Kent with coronavirus symptoms.

    Kent County Council (KCC) public health officials said motorists coming into the UK may need to find a place to stay to self-isolate or receive a Covid test if they present themselves with traits of the virus.

    The disclosure came despite problems around coronavirus testing as some Kent residents have been told to travel hundreds of miles to Scotland.

    KCC’s public health director Allison Duggal said Covid remains the “most significant” public health concern amid Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU). She added testing capacity is a “big issue”.

    Speaking to County Hall’s 10-person cabinet during a virtual public meeting, Ms Duggal told them: “I know we need to be thinking about EU exit. But we also need to think about periods of cold this winter and how that affects driver welfare.

    “We need to make sure we know what to do if we have a driver that became symptomatic and needed to get a test and may even need to have accommodation.”

    After the meeting, KCC said they will need to consider Covid-secure arrangements for foreign lorry drivers but these are still to be decided.

  10. Residents sent from "pillar to post" in search of Covid-19 tests

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    “Dreadful” coronavirus testing problems must be addressed as it emerged Kent residents are being sent from "pillar to post" for tests, a county councillor says.

    Dan Daley, Lib Dem councillor for Maidstone, told Kent County Council’s (KCC) health and overview scrutiny committee that one resident was sent to three different testing sites.

    Kent County Council HQ

    Councillor Daley told NHS officials: “We have heard the most dreadful things of people being sent up to Dunfermline or Wales when they live in Kent.

    "People who are possibly infected already with Covid already are chasing around the countryside, probably infecting other people before they have got their test,” he said.

    Thanet county councillor Karen Constantine questioned whether there were “contingencies” in place to keep health services running in the event of a second lockdown

    A regional testing site at Manston Airport in Ramsgate has sat “largely empty” while another drive-through site is available at Ashford’s Victoria Road car park, the committee was told.

    In Medway, a new centre opened in Rochester last week and Kent public health officials say this forms part of a drive to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing for communities as nearly 4,000 Covid-19 cases are being recorded daily across the UK.

  11. Quarry plans approved despite objections

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Blaise Farm Quarry, in Blaise Quarry Road, Kings Hill
    Image caption: Blaise Farm Quarry, in Blaise Quarry Road, Kings Hill

    Plans for a waste processing plant at Blaise Farm Quarry near West Malling have been given the go-ahead despite concerns from residents over blasting and lorries.

    Kent County Council's (KCC) planning committee unanimously approved two expansion proposals which will see the plant developed to increase recycling and composting capacity at the site to 150,000 tonnes a year.

    Objections were raised by three parish councils which say the roads will be “overburdened” as an extra 40 lorries visit the Blaise Quarry Road site daily. About 350 HGVs currently go in and out of the quarry each day.

    West Malling county councillor Matthew Balfour, who represents the area and is the former cabinet member for waste, said: “I support having this facility in the county, it makes absolutely sense and we are late to the party.”

    KCC officers told councillors that while frequency has increased there had been no change to the intensity of the blastings.

    The council's planning bosses say they propose to monitor the blast vibration levels through four stations near the site.

  12. 'Tough' decisions ahead for KCC to fill £200m budget gap

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    County Hall

    County councillors have warned that “tough” decisions lie ahead to fill a budget gap of up to £200million next year.

    Kent County Council’s (KCC) elected members met as more than 60 Conservatives overwhelmingly voted in favour of an emergency budget for the remainder of this financial year during a virtual meeting.

    It means £12.8m of “savings” will be delivered over the next six months, including reductions to councillor grants and allowances.

    This will be used to help cover a reduced financial hole of £23m from Covid costs and revenue losses.

    Opposition parties raised objections as County Hall’s Liberal Democrats voted against the revised budget while Labour’s five members abstained.

    KCC chiefs forecast that between £150m and £200m of “spending reductions” and “savings” will be required.

    This would amount to around 15% of County Hall’s £1bn spending budget.

    KCC leader Roger Gough said: “The challenge is big but we have some form in rising to it.”

  13. Ashford post-Brexit lorry park faces council inquiry

    Ciaran Duggan

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Lorry wheels

    An inquiry is likely to be instigated by Kent councillors over the secrecy of a decision to create a major lorry park in Ashford ahead of December’s Brexit deadline.

    Frustrated members have complained about the lack of communication with residents and themselves over £45m government plans to create a 2,000-truck site near Junction 10a of the M20 in Sevington.

    Ashford Borough Council’s scrutiny committee is planning to investigate the hidden process, with a crunch council meeting scheduled on 8 September.

    Labour councillor Brendan Chilton, the vice-chairman of the committee, said: “We need a customs point somewhere in Kent ahead of our exit from the European Union, but what I think people are really angered about is the fact they were not even consulted about this.”

    Kent County Council’s (KCC) director for highways, Simon Jones, said an offer for the site was first received from the Department for Transport in mid-July and an urgent decision was made.

    However, a KCC report published on Friday reveals it has been supporting the government on their search for customs checking and freight holding areas since 2019.