Barbara Cooper

Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport, Kent County Council

I have worked in local government for over 20 years and have managed a range of services in the London boroughs of Kingston upon Thames, Croydon and Bromley and in Portsmouth City Council and Swale Borough Council.

I am the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport at Kent County Council. The post includes both the strategic and the operational, ranging from the corporate running of the authority as well as responsibility for the performance of our front-line services. The services include economic development, highways, waste, planning, environment, community safety, trading standards, arts and sports. My priorities include ensuring that local and national partners share Kent’s aspirations and understand their challenges; developing positive relationships with local businesses and developers; working on unlocking growth in both jobs and homes across Kent but particularly in the Thames Gateway, Ashford and coastal East Kent. I work closely with district colleagues to properly calibrate the cost of growth and to understand the funding gaps that arise. Needless to say, no two days are the same.

Although originally from Portsmouth where the sea was my front door, I have set up home in rural Kent and share my garden (involuntarily) with pheasants, squirrels and rabbits. I actively champion local traders, cycle around the back roads of Kent and make a virtue of eating in as many local restaurants as possible.

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