The Big Conversation: Highways, Transportation And Waste

26th June 2018
Paul Brooks



What is the Big Conversation? We want to find out if there is a better, more sustainable way of providing transport to rural communities not currently served by commercial operators. We are working with our partners and communities across Kent to identify potential ideas to develop new ways of delivering rural transport.This is an exciting opportunity for all stakeholders to provide feedback on the ideas presented as we develop potential alternative delivery models for rural transport.


We want to explore how we can improve connectivity and evaluate the feasibility of delivering alternative services. Through engagement with all stakeholders, the “Big Conversation” programme will identify potential delivery models and test feedback and support. Once we have explored potential ideas with the market and completed engagement with resident’s future delivery models will be further developed.

The main objectives of this programme are to:

  • Maintain and, where possible improve rural accessibility for those without alternative means of travel
  • Help tackle social isolation
  • Improve the use of existing transport resources including Community Transport and integrate those services with the wider commercial transport network
  • Contribute to increasing resilience and continuity of service delivery
  • Improve the sustainability of services
  • Make best use of technology to transform access to public transport
  • Understand acceptability of interchange from connector to main line bus services?
  • Test public acceptability of potentially charging for services, even if holding a bus pass
  • Provide the “right transport solution for the right client need for the right price”


The consultation was launched on 13 June 2018 and will be open for 8 weeks concluding on 8th August 2018. This is an opportunity for all residents and other stakeholders to have their say on the Big Conversation. We want to hear about:

  • the use of public transport and the journeys taken
  • the priorities for a sustainable rural transport service
  • the thoughts on the 3 initial ideas we have developed
  • any additional information that we need to consider when shaping the services for the future

Full details of the consultation and how to complete the questionnaire (online or hard copy) can be found at

Public Meetings
We will be facilitating public meetings in each district (except for a joint meeting for Dartford and Gravesham) that will take place between 19:00 and 21:00. This is an opportunity for members, residents and other stakeholders to attend and ask questions. Should interested parties be unable to attend, the presentation and FAQs will be uploaded to the website. The dates and venues are as follows:

Dover District – Tuesday 19th June
Dover Town Hall, The Maison Dieu, Biggin Street Dover CT16 1DL

Thanet District –Thursday 21st June
Margate Football Club, Hartsdown Road, Margate, CT9 5QZ

Gravesham/Dartford Boroughs – Tuesday 26th June
Elite Venue Centre – Dunkirk Close, Gravesend DA12 5ND

Sevenoaks District – Wednesday 4th July
Stag Theatre, London Rd, Sevenoaks TN13 1ZZ

Tonbridge and Malling Borough – Thursday 5th July
Borough Green Village Hall, Borough Green, TN15 8DG

Canterbury District – Tuesday 10th July
University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NZ

Tunbridge Wells Borough– Wednesday 11th July
The High Weald Academy, Cranbrook TN17 2PJ

Folkestone & Hythe District – Thursday 12th July
St Mary’s Bay Village Hall, Romney Marsh, TN29 OSW

Ashford Borough – Tuesday 17th July
Homewood School, Tenterden, TN30 6LT

Swale Borough – Wednesday 18th July
UK P Leisure, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne ME10 4DE

Maidstone Borough – Thursday 19th July
Lecture Theatre, Sessions House, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ

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