With its abundance of green spaces and its friendly neighbourhoods, Kingston is already a great place to live. We want everyone to feel welcome here. In building a more inclusive, tolerant and kinder society, Liberal Democrats will do all we can to bring decision-making closer to local people.
Kingston has a great community and voluntary sector, which is vital and invaluable to our borough and its residents. We are committed to support and work in partnership with them.
Likewise, we are committed to work in partnership with our faith communities across the borough.
Liberal Democrats believe it's better to do things with people and not to people. We know that often the best thing is to listen to residents and empower communities to do things for themselves.
We’re proud of the rich and diverse heritage which is one of the foundations of our local community. However, we understand that not every group in the borough is represented in the right way at the council and that more can always be done to foster a sense of belonging.
This is how we will empower communities:
Strengthen neighbourhood-level decision making. This ensures that decisions on spending on roads and the allocation of local community grants, for example, are made by the people on whom they will impact, not by people on the other side of the borough.
A four year strategy to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in Kingston. We have already developed this to ensure that policies will work for everyone in the borough – regardless of age, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity.
Inclusive language. We will ensure the language we use as a council is inclusive of all communities and that all communities are represented at the council.
Community empowerment in our green spaces and parks. We will introduce initiatives like mini-allotments and an adopt-a-tree scheme. We will support community activities like litter picks, and encourage Friends’ groups for each of our local parks.
Community hubs. We will continue to protect our libraries and help them expand into community hubs (similar to the Hook Centre in Chessington) where residents can access council services, enjoy community events, attend adult education courses and see live performances.
Voting. Support efforts to increase voter registration and participation.
Turning ideas into practice. Create a guide for residents on how to turn their ideas on improving their community into practice.
Innovation fund. Launch an innovation fund for community groups and voluntary sector organisations, so that they can pilot projects that will help support and promote volunteering(i.e. to tackle poverty or social isolation and to improve mental health).
Supporting cultural activities
Kingston has a rich heritage, and is at the same time a thriving and diverse environment for work, study or leisure.
We will celebrate our past, marking the important role of Kingston in our nationʼs history.
We will continue to preserve the diversity and richness of our arts and culture today, creating innovative cultural spaces and supporting our theatre.
And we will continue to build the future, creating more jobs, and more opportunities for academic and professional development.
Here are some of the things we will do:
Festivals. We will continue to support and encourage cultural offers and festivals from the diverse communities in our borough (e.g. the Korean Harvest Festival, the Tamil Heritage month).
Street parties. Street activities help build communities so we will make them easier to organise by streamlining the process and making grants available.
Rose Theatre. Liberal Democrats will continue to support the Rose Theatre.
1,100th anniversary of the coronation of King Athelstan. We want to promote Kingston’s significant place in history by celebrating this anniversary on the grounds of All Saints Church, marking the time and place ‘Where England Began’ with boroughwide elebrations.
We want to support our high streets (Kingston Town, New Malden, Surbiton, Tolworth and Hook) as they recover from the pandemic and face the challenge of changing shopping patterns.
How we can help local businesses:
Town centres. We will encourage a wide variety of uses in town centres to encourage footfall (culture, leisure, street markets, food, heritage) so they continue to thrive. We will introduce more soft landscaping and investigate more pedestrianised streets to improve our town centres, whilst ensuring these areas will be fully inclusive.
Blue badge parking. Out town centre strategy will include adequate provision of blue badge parking spaces.
Fly-tipping. We will keep the borough clean and attractive by continuing to crack down on fly-tipping. We have among the lowest rates in London but residents tell us they hate fly-tipping. That’s why we’ve recently set up a taskforce to tackle it. We will ensure that fly-tipping gets collected quickly when residents report it and that enforcement officers issue fines to the perpetrators.
Supporting start-ups. We will continue to support start-up businesses and cultural hubs, like the Undercroft Project.
Harnessing adult education. Ensure adult education creates re-employment opportunities, helps learners start their own businesses and helps residents through lifeʼs transitions as a key priority, as we recover from the impacts of Covid-19.
We will raise awareness of the needs of our disabled communities.
We will do this by:
Green Flag Parks. Working closely with our new green spaces contractor, we will bring the first Green Flag park to Kingston. Over the next four years, we will aim to achieve a Green Flag park in each neighbourhood in the borough. The Green Flag award will focus our efforts on how we improve the accessibility of our green spaces, their environmental benefits, and their benefits to the community.
Disabilities Awareness. Hold an annual Disabilities Awareness Event, arranged together with disabled people to empower them.
Shopmobility. Ensure that Shopmobility comes into the heart of the town and is available to those travelling by public transport and by private car.