There have been many challenges in my new Cabinet role over the last six weeks – but few more daunting than last Wednesday, when I was tasked with welcoming over two hundred delegates from the property industry across London and the South East, at the launch of the 2008 Kent Property Market Report.
This breakfast launch took place at 7.30am in the MotorSport Vision Centre at Brand’s Hatch circuit. Organised by Locate in Kent, the business grants and corporate relocation service, the speakers were myself, KCC Leader Paul Carter, and David Elliott, Partner at Cluttons.
The event, now in its seventeenth year is an excellent networking opportunity for property professionals from across the region to discuss the key issues which will help Kent to remain a key location for inward investment and company relocations. I wanted to use my opportunity to stress the huge amount of work that’s already going on, and to give some confidence that Kent County Council – along with District Councils and a raft of public sector partners and colleagues across the county – are doing everything we can to support the business sector and encourage growth in these challenging times.
New businesses moving onto the King’s Hill business park at West Malling; the innovative “Fastrack” bus scheme which will give quick and easy access to over six thousand new homes being built in Eastern Quarry at the Ebbsfleet Valley development; thousands of new homes in Ashford and Dover; the exciting new cultural offering in Thanet, including the Turner Centre at Margate; not to mention a £1.8 billion schools programme in Kent through “Building Schools for the Future” initiative – the list goes on and on.
There was a very real upbeat and positive atmosphere at the Brand’s Hatch event, and a sense that although the economic climate may be challenging, Kent is well-placed to weather the storm and emerge ahead of the field.