To receive a short presentation on the consultation’s findings, and to consider and endorse, or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services on the proposed decision to adopt and deliver against The Country Parks Strategy 2017 – 2021.
Stephanie Holt (Head of Countryside, Leisure and Sport) and Ruth Tyson (Head of Country Parks and Countryside Partnerships) were in attendance for this item.
a. Stephanie Holt addressed Members’ concerns regarding the response figures for the questionnaire. She confirmed that the Kent Consultation Team advised that the response rate was representative of a non-controversial Kent County Council consultation and owing to the high customer satisfaction level, the consultation was proposing a continual improvement of the Strategy rather than a radical change which led to a neutral response.
b. In regard to the financial targets, in particular to the 77% self-generated income of the Country Parks budget, Stephanie Holt Informed Members that this was reflective of the performance figures for 2016-2017. Since the figure was produced, the Country Parks budget received a c. 20% cut but assurance was given to Members that the service was currently overperforming on income. Stephanie Holt reminded Members that the service was weather dependant and illustrated this with an observation that the majority of income targets were not met throughout December 2017, owing to the particularly inclement weather. This highlighted the importance of the out-of-season offers available to encourage visitors to the parks.
a.) the information set out in the presentation and given in response to comments and questions be noted; and
b.) the Cabinet Committee endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services on the proposed decision to adopt and deliver against the Country Parks Strategy 2017-2021 as shown in Appendix A.