To receive verbal updates by the relevant Cabinet Members
1. Mr M Hill, OBE (Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services) provided an update on the following:
(a) Upon review of the Committee structure, a decision was made by the Leader of the Council that, all services that fell within the portfolio of the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services would be reported to the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee and not to the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee, with the exception of those that were of a cross-cutting nature.
(b) An update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) would be addressed under item 9 on the agenda ‘Kent County Councils Resilience and Emergency Planning Update’ and Members of the Committee were asked to delay any discussion on the matter until the item presented itself.
(c) Kent County Council (KCC) launched a new service, Trading Standards Checked, which was a Fairtrade scheme that aimed to tackle doorstep criminals. The scheme was free to residents in Kent who would be able to access a list of traders, however there was a subscription fee for traders who wished to join the site, and this was used to fund the scheme. A formal launch was due to take place in April 2020 with press coverage.
(d) Three country parks that were under the management of the Infrastructure team had been assigned to Country Parks to manage on behalf of the service, these were: Parkwood, Dry Hill and Preston Hill.
(e) The Sandwich station to support the Open Golf tournament was firmly under the control of Network Rail and was on track to open in time for launch of the tournament. R&A had invited Members of the Council to attend the site on one of the practice days and Mr Hill offered Members of the Committee the opportunity to attend. An email confirming details of the visit would be circulated in due course.
2. Mr Whiting (Cabinet Member for Economic Development) provided an update on the following:
(a) On 5 February 2020, Mr Whiting along with European counterparts attended a conference in Northern France to sign the Straits Committee Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The event was well received with over 200 attendees and included delegates from Kent’s education and industry sector. Mr Whiting was due to attend a meeting in Bruges on 11 March 2020 for the first executive business meeting of the Straits Committee following the signing of the MoU.
(b) Visit Kent was due to launch the ‘Kent Big Weekend’ from Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th April 2020 and had 33,000 free tickets on offer that could be applied for online by 16 March 2020. Visit Kent was also due to launch the #KentyTwenty event which would coordinate a multitude of celebrations across the county to commemorate historical dates.
(c) Locate in Kent had produced an excellent set of results for January 2020, having used a series of projects to help create and validate 324 new jobs. Locate in Kent aimed to create a further 484 jobs by the end of the financial year which would amount to a total of 900 new jobs within the tourism sector. Mr Whiting commended the success of Locate in Kent and its achievement in promoting Kent as the place for businesses to invest and create new opportunities for Kent residents.
(d) Mr Whiting invited Mr McInroy (Deputy Cabinet Member for Economic Development) to highlight the work of Produced in Kent. Mr McInroy informed the Committee that he had attended the Taste of Kent Awards 2020 on Thursday 5 March 2020, hosted by Produced in Kent at the Kent Event Centre. The event showcased the best food and drink products across the county and was well-received. Produced in Kent had drafted its strategy which KCC would be participating in the review of and helping to drive forward.
(e) Visit Kent had also been named as the Destination Management Organisation of the year by UKinbound, a Leading Travel Trade association which represented more than 400 of the UK’s top tourism industry.
(f) The draft Enterprise and Productivity Strategy would undergo early consultation in June/July 2020 and would be presented to the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee for comment and review prior to the final presentation at Full County Council in November 2020. The Strategy was connected to both the Kent and Medway Industrial Strategy and the South East Local Enterprise Productivity Strategy which then tied into the national strategy.
(g) A meeting was held on Wednesday 29 January 2020 between KCC and a range of partners from the rural economy. An update on the rural economy would be addressed under item 11 on the agenda ‘Kent’s Rural Economy – a coordinated approach’ and Members of the Committee were asked to delay any discussion on the matter until the item presented itself.
3. The Cabinet Members responded to comments and questions as follows:
(a) Mr Whiting agreed to liaise with Visit Kent regarding the Mayflower replica and whether this would be included in the #KentyTwenty events.
4. It was RESOLVED that the update be noted, with thanks.