Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Well done Tunbridge Wells Borough Council!

You may remember a few weeks ago I joined with officers and members from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in a series of "Ward Walks" (A Priceless Insight, June 4th). This involved a selected range of houses and roads being dropped a week in advance with a postcard informing the date and time of the Ward Walk, then officers and Councillors in teams of two calling round and talking residents through a series of questions about local amenities and services.

It's a brilliant idea, piloted originally in Medway, Oregon. At times on the doorstep, you did rather feel that you'd opened up a can of worms, but at no time did I get the door shut in my face. Last night, then, was the public feedback session at the TN2 Community Centre. Representatives from the County and Borough Councils, as well as Kent Fire and Rescue, KCC's Little Forest Children's Centre, CORE, Health, Town and Country Housing and many others all turned up to present the results of the consultation to a crowd of residents.

From the second I walked in, I was surrounded by locals, asking for updates on everything from Sunday bus times to road resurfacing; from gulley cleaning to whether I could find a good architect. I've now got a list as long as my arm of actions and issues, but there was a real and palpable sense that the community felt it was being listened to. Well done Tunbridge Wells Borough Council!

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