Top bosses drop by to hear about issues facing West Kent

The chief executive of the Government’s new Homes and Communities Agency visited West Kent to hear how two local housing associations are working with partner councils to meet the area’s needs.

Sir Bob Kerslake was accompanied by Colin Byrne, who is also new to his own role as regional director of GOSE, the Government Office for the South East.

The event was jointly hosted by Jon Rosser and Barbara Thorndick, chief executives of Town & Country Housing Group and West Kent Housing Association respectively.

After visiting West Kent developments in Chiddingstone Causeway and Leigh, they went to TN2 Community Centre at Sherwood where they met residents and trustees.

TN2 is managed by the TN2 Community Trust and is jointly funded by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Kent County Council and Town & Country Housing.

The party then visited homes in Connaught Park, High Brooms.

 “Sir Bob and Colin are both new to their jobs and they were invited to come down to see how housing associations work together and in partnership with local authorities to deliver housing and community issues,” said Jon Rosser.

“We also wanted to make them aware of the housing issues facing West Kent. Although this is an affluent area, there are pockets of deprivation that need investment from the Government.”

Barbara Thorndick said: "The partnership working that we have achieved here in West Kent is an example to others of how housing associations can work together, in conjunction with their local authorities, to deliver first class services and housing to meet the needs of the communities they serve."

“I am also keen to raise the issues at a national level and spark debate on how we deal with the current market and make the most of the opportunities available.”

The two visitors also met with Robin Hales, chief executive of Sevenoaks District Council; Cllr Peter Fleming, leader of Sevenoaks District Council; and Robert Cottrill, director of planning & development from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

The new Homes and Communities Agency will be the key to delivering the 3 million new homes by 2020 pledged by the Government. It will combine the work of English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and the housing and regeneration delivery functions of Communities and Local.

GOSE represents central government in the region and its role is to promote better and more effective integration of Government policies and programmes at a regional and local level.

Pictured here Sir Bob chats to Jenny Bays, a local resident and trustee of TN2 Community Centre.