Kingston’s annual debate sees focus on community involvement, culture and growth

Shonagh manson assistant director for culture at the greater london authority speaks at the state of the borough debate

Kingston Council, local communities and the Greater London Authority were among those gathered at the Guildhall at the annual State of the Borough debate on Tuesday 14 November.

The debate focused on the important role culture plays in delivering good growth.

Over 95 residents and councillors joined Shonagh Manson, Assistant Director for Culture at the Greater London Authority to discuss culture and creative industries, which are set to play a significant role in the Mayor of London’s upcoming London Plan.

Robin Hutchinson, Chair of Creative Kingston, drew on the borough’s rich heritage and innovation and highlighted the need to connect with communities in a creative way to enable people to play a part in shaping Kingston’s future growth.

Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

“The debate was just the start of a much bigger movement towards engagement with communities and creating a more human council. We need to take what we’ve learnt from this discussion and embed this into the way the council works with residents.

“There will always be challenges, whether it’s funding, growth or the sustainability of cultural events. Kingston is growing and we recognise the need to build more homes, but it’s making sure that this growth is not at a cost to culture.

“The council can’t achieve this alone - we need the help of our residents. This is our borough and we all want the same thing: to preserve and develop our cultural offer, to have engaged and empowered communities who can work with the council to make change happen and to ensure growth in our borough is sensitive and supportive.”

To watch the debate, visit the council’s livestream website.

Sign up to the council’s engagement portal to have your say on local issues.