‘Transparency’ key to good local relations, say Kingston councillors

Kingston Liberal Democrat’s said they will look to make sure residents are involved in decision making processes to try and maintain their trust.

The Liberal Democrat’s renewed their stronghold over Kingston Council this year, with their largest winning margin since they took control of the council in 2014.

The council is led by Andreas Kirsch, who led them to victory in the election, winning 41 seats, a rise of four councillors from the last election.

The task now faced by councillors is to attempt to keep voters onside until the next election in four years’ time.

Councillor for Kingston hill ward, John Sweeney, said he wanted that residents play an important role in decision making.

He said: “We look to try and improve the transparency of the council for the people of Kingston.

“All views from residents will be listened to, to make Kingston as good as it can be.”

Sweeney said that it was important to maintain the borough so that it remains appealing to people who visit.

He said: “People will still want to visit our high street for leisure, and the area has a lot of importance.

“We have listed buildings and areas, such as the market house, and landmarks such as the coronation stone. We also hope to make Canbury gardens more accessible, as it is a really nice place to go.

“Basic things, such as making sure the rubbish is collected from the public bins, also makes a big difference.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Tim Cobbett said that maintaining a good relationship with residents is key to securing their trust.

He said: “In my own area of New Malden, through the work of the New Malden Town Centre Partnership, and involving residents and community groups – there is a great opportunity to get more going on locally that brings people together and helps our High Street to thrive.”

Cobbett also says that transparency in the council is the best way to keep voters onside. He said: “We need to report back both on our priorities and in response to what residents are telling us over the next four years so people can see and track our actions.”

There are residents who believe that the council could do more in the next four years to further the appeal of the area. Kingston resident, Howard Rhinley, says that there are aspects that can be changed about the area to make it more shopper-friendly.

He said: “I think who ever runs Kingston Council should make it free parking for two hours. I had to buy something for my holiday and was in Kingston for 10 minutes, and that cost me £2.60. I don’t normally shop in Kingston because of the parking prices, but in this instance, I was limited for time.”

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