Published: 13:55, 06 March 2003
THE Lord Lieutenant of Kent has warned the Government's threat to interfere with the way the county is run could weaken "the name of Kent and the cohesion of the community”.
Allan Willett, 66, appointed as the Queen's representative in the county a year ago, identifies the threat as one of a "daunting array of forces of change" Kent must confront in the coming years.
In a special article for the Kent Online, Mr Willett writes about his intention of being a champion and defender of the county and his belief the Lieutenancy has a unique role as "a cohesive force that binds the county together."
He says the prospect of huge developments in North West Kent will have a "profound and far-reaching" effect across the entire county, while the ability of people to reach London from towns like Ashford will transform the east of the county.
"Furthermore, the current government, like its predecessors, is once again threatening to disrupt how our county is administered and there is a danger this could weaken the name of Kent and the cohesion of our community," he writes.
It was vital the Lieutenancy evolved in the same way as the monarchy if it was to be relevant to the communities it served and fulfilled his aim of "adding value" to them.
Mr Willett, who lives in Chilham, near Canterbury, also reveals that he has set up an "honours committee" to assess the suitability of those put forward for honours.