With an election victory in the bag, Dartford's MP Dr Howard Stoate has laid out his goals for the next five years.

Dartford has had its fair share of problems over the past four years including a shortage of police, nurses, and an over-stretched education system.

But it's not all doom and gloom. Once known as Dirty Dartford, the area has seen regeneration in a number of areas, including 9,000 jobs at Bluewater, and the promise of international investment with the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Outlining the challenges ahead, Dr Stoate, said: “My aim for the next four years is to provide a decent standard of living.

“One of the key issues will be more affordable housing. A shortage of houses in Dartford has pushed up house prices, forcing police and nurses out of the area. These people are essential for providing a community with a high standard of living.

“But we must build on brown-field sites and preserve as much of our natural environment as possible.”

Then there is education.

With the closure of Dartford West for Boys' secondary school and Greenwich University's Dartford Campus, parents have complained about the squeeze on education, fearing their children's future has been compromised before they have even left home.

Dr Stoate agreed: “We must have more investment in education. Over the next four to five years I will be putting pressure on Kent County Council (KCC) to cater for the growing demand in school places, now, rather than waiting for crises to hit us.

“I was disappointed with KCC over the closure of Dartford West for Boys, and the depleting number of secondary school places.

“The closure of Greenwich University's Dartford campus was due to financial mismanagement by the university, which invested too much in their Medway campus. It was very short sighted of them.

“I will be working with my ministerial colleagues to get the best education system for Dartford.”

Falling police numbers, nuisance crimes such as graffiti, and a burgeoning night-life scene have led some people to brand Dartford a no-go zone.

Dr Stoate challenged this: “There's no doubt there's been a shortage of police, which has been partly redressed with a 70 per cent recruitment increase.

“But it's rubbish to brand Dartford a no-go zone. The police are working hard with a 10 per cent drop in crime.

“Also, there's now an extra 23 police officers, and the Home Office has given money to extend CCTV coverage around the borough.”