Kent is positioned on the main historic route between Europe and Great Britain. It is endowed with many historic towns and villages, rich farmland and a coastline on about two-thirds of its borders, which extend as far as London. This endowment has brought great wealth, as well as planning and management responsibilities, to its inhabitants.
Throughout Kent there are over four hundred local amenity societies, residents’ associations, parish councils and action groups, both rural and urban. All seek to maintain and improve the quality of their towns and villages, to conserve their character, and to encourage high standards for new development.
Successive governments have put increasing emphasis on the need for public consultation. There has been a move to handling issues on a local basis. It becomes even more important to have an amenity organisation which looks at the county as a whole. This is our objective in collaboration with other county-wide organisations.
The Kent Federation of Amenity Societies (KFAS) was founded in 1964 and celebrated its 50th Anniversary in May 2014. KFAS was formed as a networking organisation for civic societies in Kent at a time when many of our towns and villages were under threat from the prevailing attitude towards the demolition of historic buildings to make way for new buildings of inferior or unsuitable design. Civic Societies such as the original Canterbury Society, The Ramsgate Society, The City of Rochester Society, The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, The Weald of Kent Protection Society, The Sevenoaks Society, The Margate Society and many others were all formed at about this time and continue to be active in their local areas.
Our concerns are still very much the same as when these societies were originally founded. Town planning has always been high on the agenda and civic and amenity societies nationally are the largest single participants in the planning system. The range of activities varies from society to society and many are engaged in securing improvements to the public realm, in tree planting, litter campaigns, issues around local democracy such as governance in their local authorities, and generally acting as custodians of the civic realm in their areas.
KFAS aims to organise meetings and conferences each year, which provide opportunities for civic societies across Kent to get together and talk about matters of mutual interest.