Monday, 12 May 2014

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I therefore regretfully resign as the Leader of Thanet District Council.


This is what Clive Hart says on his Facebook page:

THE PAST TWO WEEKS

Manston has been the main focus of my efforts since the airports recent decision to consult on its own closure. Our local MP's have led the battle to retain the airport as a going concern and both TDC and KCC have done all we possibly can to support them.

I attended the public meeting at the Winter Gardens whereboth Roger Gale and I confirmed our firm pledges to work together on this issue.Indeed, I then attended a meeting of the Manston Taskforce with the Roger Gale,Laura Sandys, Paul Carter and various government agencies in Westminster. At the TDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee I outlined our approach to the Manstonissue and took questions and late one evening over the Bank Holiday weekend Idid an interview in my home for BBC South East News speaking against a largehousing estate.

Throughout, I gave my clear and consistent support forManston and steadfastly promoted my proposal for enterprise zone status for theairport site, the Richborough Corridor and Manston Business Park to improveviability.

I gave a presentation on TDC projects and our services forlocal business to the East Kent Channel Chamber of Commerce and I chaired a TDCCabinet meeting where we designated two neighbourhood plan forums and startedthe process to appoint an operating company for Dreamland. I also attended ameeting with skateboarders to support proposals for new skateparks acrossThanet.

At an executive meeting of Thanet Community Safety Partnership we were updated on local Police raids taking place to protectchildren from sexual exploitation and we put some finishing touches to theThanet Community Safety Plan for for 2014-15.

At the Thanet Health and Wellbeing Board we discussed challenging targets for our district; improving life expectancy, avoiding smoking during pregnancy and encouraging breast feeding, reducing the use of alcohol, reducing teenage conceptions and delivering universal child health programmes.

The Local Government Association TDC Peer Review has alsobeen a focus of my attention. I attended the LGA offices in London in aconcerted effort to get the very best for Thanet from the initiative and a verypositive day-long series of meetings took place. We entered into the schemevoluntarily in order to improve processes and procedures at the council and wepublished the final report on the Internet as soon as it was made available to us in yet a further effort to be as open as possible. 

On ward matters: I attended the Cliftonville Partnershipbusiness meeting and spent two half-day sessions escorting a panel of visitors from the Academy for Urbanism. The panel is preparing a report on Cliftonvillewhich will feed into the forthcoming Cliftonville Design Code. I also attendedour local Neighbourhood Engagement Forum where matters affecting local crimeand anti-social behavior were discussed with the relevant agencies. At Margate Civic Society town pride evening I was delighted and very proud indeed that TDC received two awards for prestigious housing and public realm projects that aretransforming our area. 

Unfortunately, during the same two weeks, a TDC General Purposes Committee, dominated by members of other political groups, behaved absolutely appallingly and played political football with a hard working council officers career and reputation, simply because having the majority - they could.

Ignoring, and worse still, attempting to overturn, the clear and very precise advice of an extremely highly qualified and experienced, independent and impartial barrister in favour of the latest allegations made by Cllr Ian Driver was a travesty of justice perpetrated simply for political vengeance by four Conservatives, one UKIP and one Independent councillor(s), with absolutely no regard whatsoever for a hard  earned reputation and longstanding career in public service.

Worse still, their ill thought through actions have fuelled yet a further spurious tirade of malicious abuse and totally false allegations, published on Driver’s internet blog which have even more deeply damaged the council as an organisation. Government changes to the standards system mean that any kind of redress for those affected appears virtually impossible.

I joined the council to ‘make a difference’for my local community. For eleven years I’ve done that to the best of myability for Cliftonville West, for four years I did it for Margate and Cliftonvilleat KCC and for two and a half years I’ve done exactly the same for Thanet as its Leader.

However, the actions of a tiny minority of councillors have overshadowed all the good work of the council, our staff and our partners in incredibly difficult times for our district.

For the past 2½ years I have succeeded in holding together a council consistently under siege from within due to Cllr Driver’s persistently negative and disruptive actions. Unfortunately, the ‘Green’ councillor now claims to have support in his vindictive campaign, not just from his small Independent group, but also from UKIP and the Conservatives.

All are now being led by a man whose futile and vexatious complaints and information requests regularly waste enormous amounts of valuable council timeand resources. A man who often disrupts meetings, who secretly films his fellow councillor colleagues, who callously publishes sensitive and confidential information on the internet, who asks that the police turn a blind eye to drugtaking, who has taken documents without permission from legal offices and whose actions have incited graffiti and fuelled public disturbances.

I simply cannot continue to take responsibility for a council which has such toxic behaviour within it, though I do understand and sympathise because current government rules on standards processes and procedures appear to work totally against our council in this regard.

I therefore regretfully resign as the Leaderof Thanet District Council.

As someone who was born, bred and has been alifelong resident here in Thanet, it’s been an absolute honour and privilege to represent the area I truly love and adore and I simply cannot thank Thanet residentsand TDC staff enough for such a wonderful, once in a lifetime, experience.

I do have one last parting request though:That the council acts swiftly to lobby government to put in place protection for local leadership at both officer and councillor levels. I would not wish the same situation I have had to face, on anyone.

Cllr Clive Hart.

Note:

For the past 2½ years we have been working our waythrough a number of huge legacy issues left over from from the previousadministration. A spine road at Westwood built but not funded, legalities withDreamland, Royal Sands, Ramsgate Royal Pavilion, live animal transport,Transeuropa etc.

Unfortunately, the same 2½ years hard work hasbeen completely overshadowed by the court case and subsequent prison sentenceof a former Conservative council leader and a relentless campaign of spuriousand often malicious complaints and allegations made against councillors andstaff from one particularly ‘toxic’ councillor.

Despite all of this, we have respondedpositively by reviewing council policies and procedures and more recently wevoluntarily opened TDC up to an independent peer review in order to improvematters further for the future.

Unfortunately, the events of the past 2 weeksare just the last in a long line of incidents that have occurred in-partbecause of changes the government has made to the standards system. Thesechanges mean that the standards system now simply does not work and someindividuals appear to be able to say and publish the most malicious commentswithout any fear of redress.


The past 2½ Years.

Fully functioning council despite challenging circumstances.

THE FIRST YEAR – DECEMBER2011 - 2012

Delivering local services through our balanced budget was important. Wereceived the auditors letter which said TDC 'has a good understanding ofits underlying financial position & sound financial systems'. It went on toconfirm TDC 'continues to demonstrate effective arrangements for budget &financial management'.

Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the East Kent Chamber ofCommerce on behalf of TDC. Underpining our more open and transparent ThanetRegeneration Board and both the board and the EKCC helped us to complete PhaseOne of our Draft Economic Strategy. All this came of course in the wake of ournewly formulated and agreed TDC Corporate Plan.

Thanet’s civic dignitaries signed our Thanet Armed Services CommunityCovenant. Regular meetings are held with Ramsgate groups. We also madeimprovements to our TDC resident’s petition scheme earlier this year.

That support for local residents continues with a new council taxdiscount scheme that thanks to our administration will protect as many peopleas possible given the impossible and ever-changing financial context imposed bycentral govt.

The Troubled Families Initiative process is now being planned inpartnership with KCC. Our Chief Executive is fully engaged with this processand Thanet is well ahead of other districts in relation to this type of worknow that the Margate Task Force is finally and properly co-located in TDCoffices providing a multi-agency approach.

We successfully defended the Judicial Review for our Selective LicensingScheme. I have to say our legal team really have been hard at work for thebenefit of our area this past year. They were successful with the first roundof our CPO of Dreamland and at every stage they have supported our moves to dothe ‘right thing’ with regard to live animal exports. We will continue to takea proactive and progressive role in challenging and addressing problems arisingfrom actions of third parties.

Attended the KLM/Manston announcement in Canterbury and warmly welcomedthe proposed services that fall within the existing 106 agreement. Earlier thisyear we brought the night flying consultation in-house saving tens ofthousands of pounds and gave the council’s considered response to night-flyingproposals.

The Ramsgate Swimming Pool project is well underway.  Plans wereagreed earlier in the year and I can report the project is on target forcompletion summer next year.

Works were started on Military Road Arches under the Yacht ValleyInterreg project and the Harbour Lights café is due to open for businessshortly. These improvements followed work where the Pier Yard ramp wasoverhauled and the King George historic section pontoons were all refurbished.The Commercial Quay was also fitted with new steel boarding ladders, new heavyduty fenders and new shore power electrical equipment.

The Margate flood defence scheme funded by Environment Agency is wellunderway and due for completion early in new-year. Being delivered well underbudget has allowed allocation of Environment Agency funding to other structuresrelated to flood defence in Margate, including refurbishment of the tidal pool.

Phase One of the Newington Development is complete. We have accessed £4million funding for empty homes projects and further funding to help with 30more properties.

Refurbishment of Pierremont Hall in Broadstairs started. This wasparticularly pleasing as earlier in the year we saved and protected public opengreen space in Pierremont Park, as we did in Hartsdown Park, Margate.

A Townscape Heritage Initiative scheme in Dalby Square in Cliftonvillecommenced and the Ramsgate Townscape Heritage Initiative was completed.

Solar Panels were installed on the main council office building, twopublic toilet facilities were renovated at Ramsgate Cemetery and Minnis bay andthe drainage scheme at Northdown Park and Coach House in Cliftonville shouldshortly be completed.

The Cremator Manufacturer and Building Contractor have been appointedand the crematorium project to replace burners and undertake refurbishment ison target to be completed by Christmas.

Kent Innovation Centre has over achieved on income against budgetforecast and Forresters Hall, Ramsgate is now fully occupied after being almostempty.

We’ve had a successful start to the Respect Ramsgate town centre streetcleaning project with excellent feedback from residents and businesses and Ilook forward to seeing similar schemes rolling out across the district.Numerous cleansweeps have taken place across the district and the project todeliver the new waste and recycling collection arrangements for the district ison track for completion in autumn 2013.

We accessed just under £1million funding to enable the council to improvethe service provided to our 10,000 more difficult to service households inrelation to refuse collection.

Thanet Sports Awards event was the biggest ever due to our communityinvolvement in many sports across the district. Sport for Energy and the KickOut Racism project are two examples.

Thanet’s Visitor Information Centre was awarded gold for being TouristInformation Service of the Year. Success indeed!

But what a fantastic ‘product’ they had to promote?  Inaddition to our beautiful beaches and growing facilities, we had TDC’ssuccessful organisation of Olympic Torch Relay, the successfulintroduction of the RNLI lifeguards to our beaches, the successful introductionof new seaweed control measures, the successful introduction of a HygieneRating Scheme, the successful opening of the Ramsgate Maritime Museumworking with the Steam Museum Trust and we saved the Theatre Royal inMargate from closure.

Just for good measure, we were awarded more blue flags for our beachesthan any other area in the country. Footfall in our visitor centrewas up on last year, tourism internet visits were the highest number ever andnumerous public events were supported through our new open and transparentevents funding scheme.

Lastly, our towns were also blessed with gorgeous floral displaysthroughout the summer months and Sundowner; Ramsgate’s famous DunkirkLittle Ship represented the town and our district, taking part in the QueensDiamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames.

That last small but significant matter sums up in a very visual way, thelarger changes to this council during our first year in control.

Under the previous administration, despite far easier financialcircumstances, Sundowner sat miserably deserted, high and dry on the harbourdock opposite a boarded up and neglected Maritime Museum whilst hundreds ofother craft re-enacted the historic crossing to France.

Under our administration, despite far more difficult financialcircumstances, Sundowner waved goodbye to a rejuvenated Maritime Museum andproudly set sail up the Thames with the finest vessels in the land for ourQueen and country! 

THE SECOND YEAR – DECEMBER2012 – 2013

The lives of many thousands of people are touched each and every day bythe work of our district council and there are many special and very distinctservices the council provides such as licensing and planning.

However, as a council we go way further in supporting local residentshere in Thanet.

·   Firstly, we’ve had no council tax increase in 2012 and2013, despite grant reduction.

·   We’ve implemented measures to reduce impact of reductionof council tax benefits. We’ve kept council tax reduction scheme charge toresidents down to 5.5 per cent – the lowest in Kent.

·   We’ve initiated a "Clear and Clean" cleansingapproach for high profile, high density areas.

·   We’ve further developed and implemented the RespectRamsgate approach to town centre cleaning.

·   We’ve implemented the new recycling and waste serviceacross the district on target and within budget. We’ve increased our recyclingrate here in Thanet to nearly 50% after first two weeks of the new service.

·   We’ve refurbished the Crematorium including thereplacement of all the cremator equipment ensuring we exceeded national andEuropean standards on controlling emissions. The project reduced energyconsumption and costs in order to assist paying back for the investment. TheCrematorium project saved £170K on budgeted costs.

·   We’ve refurbished the historical arches in Military Roadin Ramsgate bringing an additional 12 units back into use with extra incomestarting to pay back for the cost of the works. Half of the cost of the worksfunded through a European project.

·   We signed the option document for the Project Motorhouseproposals to bring the old Motor Museum building in Ramsgate back intobeneficial use.

·   Albion House in Ramsgate was sold to allow investment tobring site back into beneficial use.

·   Solar panel installations have been installed on councilbuildings to save energy and generate feed in tariffs to support costs.

·   We’ve had an increase of 28% in parking notices over thelast two years served on improperly parked cars. Improved enforcement stronglysupported in parking consultation.

·   The Margate Flood and Coast Protection Scheme wascompleted as planned by the council in April 2013 at a cost of £5.4m all fundedby the Environment Agency.
Works included refurbishing the tidal Pool and heritage railings onMargate sea front. These ‘extras’ were all made possible by council saving over£1 million on main scheme for Environment Agency.
The flood scheme won the Community Award at the Institution of CivilEngineers at the Engineering Excellence Award in June 2013 and will be testedover the next few hours by mother nature herself. A tidal surge due any hour.

·   The Pegwell Bay Flood Defence Scheme was completed inApril 2013 at a cost of £190k by the council with funding from the EnvironmentAgency.

·   The St Mildred's Bay Flood Defence Maintenance wascompleted in November 2013 at a cost of £45k by the council with funding fromthe Environment Agency.

·   A new Port Control Radar Tower is underway and to becompleted and commissioned by early December 2013. The scheme is completelyprivately financed and includes cutting edge R&D radar, CCTV and datalogger system. The council will have full access to the radar system andCCTV which will become ours after a maximum of 7 years. The tower was designedby TDC Engineering and Technical Services generating external income for theservice.

·   European funding has been secured for port diversificationstudy, including exploring the feasibility of an alongside quay. We met withdesign engineers from across Europe only this morning.

·   We’ve developed a long-term relationship with wind farmbusinesses in relation to Ramsgate being the main operational maintenance basefor the London and Thanet Arrays.

·   There has been significant maintenance investment in portfacilities in Ramsgate to ensure these meet modern requirements and canaccommodate a wider range of vessels.

·   We undertook significant lobbying of government tointroduce stricter controls over animal movements.

·   We’ve agreed and are implementing a new Equalities policyand action plan.

·   We’ve implemented a new protocol on unlawful encampmentsby travellers.

·   We’ve introduced a new scrap metal licence to reduce metalthefts.

·   We’ve also introduced a new licensing scheme for rentcars.

·   We’ve amended procedures for street collections -charities collecting money.

·   We’ve increased voter registration.

·   We’ve introduced free parking in each main town onSaturdays.

·   We’ve established a new airport Cabinet Advisory Group.

·   We commissioned a report on probity and reputation and ledto review of policies and processes here at TDC.

·   We’ve won a series of legal cases in relation to Dreamlandand we vested the site.

·   We’ve installed a new council telephone system.

·   We’ve created a new TDC website.

·   We’ve installed a new microphone system here in thecouncil chamber.

·   We’ve taken measures to mitigate the very worst effects ofthe nasty bedroom tax and we’re also lobbying Government.

·   We’ve created jobs at Manston assisting their designationas a port of entry.

·   We’ve implemented food hygiene inspections in spite ofshortage of staff for the DPE above.

·   We’ve had a very useful visit to Boulogne to make linksfor the future.

·   We’ve taken a tough stance on non-repayment of grants andinvolved the Police.

·   We’ve adopted an Air Quality Management Plan.

·   We’ve taken a leading role in setting up and encouragingmicro-chipping for dogs.

·   Since the beginning of 2013 our Community Development teamhave been leading 25 voluntary groups on the BIG Lottery ‘Fulfilling Lives:Ageing Better’ programme. If successful this project will bring £2-6M ofLottery funding into Thanet to improve the lives of those over the age of 55.Whopee – that’s me too!

·   The FITS project has delivered water safety lectures tothousands of young people across the district and is providing coastaleducation to numerous families that wouldn’t normally access theseopportunities.

·   Through Sport and Leisure the Dame Kelly Holmes LegacyTrust project phase 1 recruited 35 young people on unemployment benefits, 80%completed the 12 week course, 52% went onto employment or further education and38% increased their physical activity levels.

·   The Community Safety team have resolved 350 cases of ASBin the calendar year.

·   The Margate Masters hosted the National Volleyball EnglandBeach Tour Finals during the August Bank Holiday weekend, which was screened onSky Sports TV. 

·   The Summer of Sport programme attracted over 1,500attendances, providing opportunities for young people and families to engage inaffordable Sport & Physical activity opportunities.

·   Sport 4 NRG continued to make strides by signing up to theStreet Games Doorstep Sports Club scheme, working alongside the national streetgames charity to deliver doorstep sports activities in some of Thanet's mostdeprived areas.

·   Thanet Sports Awards 2013, provided another evening ofcelebration. The event was the biggest ever and attracted over 350 guests atthe winter gardens.

·   The Sport & Leisure team have supported localcommunity clubs in the successful Inspired Facility grants which has seen over£178,534.00 of funding being granted; clubs include, Margate Tennis Club,Minster, Cliftonvile and Margate Bowls Club.

·   In Building Control, through the worst recession in theconstruction industry in many years, the council is continuing to provide aservice valued by users. The financial trading position is sound and in thefirst two years under the new charging regulations the service has achieved aring fenced surplus for service improvement of £40k.

·   Through our Housing Regeneration team we have served 191enforcement notices on landlords.

·   1316 complaints about housing conditions have beenresolved.

·   Two rogue landlords have been prosecuted for not complyingwith Improvement Notices. One received the maximum fine of £5,000.

·   We’ve launched a tenant referencing scheme.

·   Selective licensing enforcement has now started followingthe Judicial Review.

·   We have a new Housing Strategy and a new AllocationsPolicy.

·   We’ve had a successful bid to the HCA for funding todeliver 15 housing units above empty commercial properties.

·   We’ve had the successful delivery of the Clusters of EmptyHomes funding from CLG with the target of 160 units brought back into use beingexceeded.

·   We’ve started works on the former Embassy Hotel andcompleted further works in September that created two beautiful large 4 bedroomcouncil houses.

·   We’ve purchased three former HMOs for conversion intofamily units under the Margate Housing intervention scheme.

·   We’ve launched a loan scheme for owner-occupiers who buyan empty property in the two wards of Cliftonville West and Margate Central.

·   We’ve purchased 5 properties in Ramsgate under the HCAEmpty Homes programme.

·   And120 empty units have been brought back into use.

·   We have begun our consultation on a new Local Plan forThanet. The Local Plan is a very important document that sets out how we willplan for the future growth in the District over the next 18 years. We carriedout public consultation in the Summer including a conference at the WinterGardens in which we heard the views of key Stakeholders. 

·   The road improvements at Westwood are underway with thecommencement of the new housing development. We have also secured further roadimprovements during the year. These are the proposed link road associated withSainsbury development between Margate Road and the new Haine Road. We alsosupported the successful bid by the County Council for "Pinchpointfunding" from Government, for the widening of and improvements to thejunctions at either end of Poorhole Lane.

·   We opened the new swimming pool and leisure facility inRamsgate.

·   We launched the SUCCESS funding scheme next week - a shareof £2m Regional Growth Fund monies will go directly to support the growth ofthe Creative Sector.

·   We also gave firm support to the successful GEEK 2013event.

·   We made sure the Port of Ramsgate had a strong presence atthe 2013 Boat Show.

·   We’ve developed the Destination Management Plan, workingdirectly with the Tourism Industry. Cabinet has adopted the plan and work isalready being planned for our beaches and coastline.

·   Working with business and regeneration partners fromacross Kent we’ve developed and adopted our Thanet Economic Growth andRegeneration Strategy.

·   The council Chairman and I carried out a successfulrolling programme of local business visits and we’ve recently had positivemeetings here at TDC with Peter Jones – the South East LEP Chairman and theKent and East Kent Chairmen of the FSB. Ann Gloag has also visited our businesssuite and Anne Barnes and leading police officers also spent a day with usgetting our TDC views.

·   We continued to host the Thanet Regeneration Board and theThanet Clinical Commissioning Group have now moved into offices here at TDC.

·   We have seats on the Thanet Health and wellbeing Board andI’m pleased to report the board is now gaining momentum and that a ThanetMental Health Summit is also planned for the new year.

·   We work closely with our neighbouringauthorities in East Kent and have developed a very close joint regenerationrelationship with Dover District Council.

·   Working with those neighbouring partners ourEast Kent Growth Strategy was launched in Canterbury earlier this year.

·   Our Visitor Information Service were winners of the Bronzeaward for 'Visitor Information Provider of the Year' at the VisitEngland Awardsfor Excellence 2013.

·   Our support for the ‘slipping house’ public art project inCliftonville has won worldwide acclaim and once more raised Thanet’s culturalprofile internationally.

·   We work closely with the Domestic Violence Forum and Oasisand  £40k has been allocated to employ Independent advisors.

·   The Community Safety Plan was signed with the Police andprogressed with excellent partnership working. On the12th December at the WinterGardens next years programme of joint working will be discussed.

·   Among many other excellent local groups, we’ve supportedthe Dreamland Trust, Ramsgate Tunnels, Margate Caves, Broadstairs with theirShed project, Margate Civic Society with their Timeball Project and the Friendsof Ellington Park.

·   We strongly supported Folk Week and our Community Safetyand street cleaning staff deserve a very special mention.

·   Numerous neighbourhood engagement meetings have takenplace across Thanet.

·   Numerous clean sweeps have taken place across thedistrict.

·   We’re working in the most challenging areas in thedistrict supporting the C2 project in Newington and the ABC project inCliftonville.

Lastly, I’m delighted to say – TDC has done all this and more as a‘Living Wage’ employer".

AND THISYEAR:

We have a number of projectsplanned across Thanet, from re-planting of public gardens to the regenerationof empty properties and the creation of more affordable housing.
Working together with the local communities we’re makingreal headway.
Some of the projects:

Ramsgate Harbour.

£2million partnership bid is proposed to be made to theHeritage Lottery Fund this Autumn (2014).
The bid will comprise:
•   Capital works to structures
•   Conservation Management Plan for the Harbour
•   Agreement with English Heritage as to whatrequires listed building consent
•   Funding of post to promote Harbour as aHeritage Destination and an educationand engagement programme

East Pier Yard Ramsgate.

Proposal to discuss whether to develop a town square forRamsgate in this location, with consideration given to the current publicparking.
This would involve:
•   Developing as town square for Ramsgate
•   Relocation of Saturday Market
•   Proposal to remove as off street car park

The Dolphin lights.

The Dolphin lights are a key heritage feature of Ramsgate.
Work will be undertaken to undertake repairs and willinvolve some changes to location of the lights to make the layout morerational.

The Planting of Royal Parade.

The arches opposite the dolphin lights on Royal Parade areto be cleared out and washed, with some replanting and the placing of largeseafront pots in some of the alcoves by Ramsgate Town Council.

The Eastern Promenade Gardens.

This will involve:

•   Formal planting scheme around the Bandstand
•   Friends of Ramsgate Seafront taking onplanting bed by Granville Theatre
•   Madeira Walk planting to match work atAlbion Gardens
•   Supporting potential HLF bid by RamsgateSociety on Ramsgate Heritage Promenades

The Centre Redevelopment Ramsgate.

The regeneration of The Centre at Newington is progressingwell with 37 new affordable homes delivered and 38 more homes with planningconsent due to be delivered by Orbit Housing.
The Council have transferred the Flowing Bowl site toOrbit to complete the regeneration of the area. This final phase of theregeneration should be complete by 2016.

Empty Properties Project in Ramsgate.

The regeneration of empty properties in Ramsgate isunderway with three new affordable homes complete and works due to start at 52Addington street and 59 Grange road providing an additional six new homes.
There are further properties and projects in the pipelineto provide a further 17 affordable homes.

Ramsgate Tunnels.

There are nearly 4 miles of disused tunnels underneathRamsgate which are the responsibility of Thanet District Council.
A Big Lottery grant of £53k was achieved by Ramsgate TownCouncil for feasibility work.
Thanet Council is providing £51k of funding to theRamsgate Regeneration Heritage Trust (RRHT) for safety equipment, services,security and asbestos removal.
The terms of a lease are being finalised for RRHT tooperate 'Tunnel Explorer' tours starting this summer.
RHRT have recently secured a further grant from HeritageLottery Fund for £84k.
The grand opening of the tunnels is programmed for thebeginning of June.

Harbour Projects.

Recent negotiation with the lead partner of the LOPINODInterreg project.
The aim is to develop self-funding investment projects.

Potential projects to be covered by study include:
•   Tidal turbines using Smeaton's inner harboursluices
•   Photo panels on port and harbour building
•   Micro- wind turbines and Marineheat pumps

The green Box.

Consultants are to consider the feasibility of developinga centre dedicated to the low carbon and environmental goods and servicessector in Thanet.
The proposed centre could provide a combination ofaccommodation for businesses, education and exhibition space, café/networkingspace and somewhere for people to find out more about renewable technologies.
This would form part of the Council’s Economic Growth andRegeneration Strategy – way to take advantage of a growing sector in thedistrict, taking advantage of the Operations and Maintenance bases of theoffshore windfarms, Thanet Earth, East Kent College’s EnvironmentalTechnologies training centre, developing solar farms and other renewableactivities in and around the district.
The aim would be to act as a catalyst for a step-change inthe acceptance of low carbon solutions as an important part of our economy

King Street Ramsgate.

King Street in Ramsgate has previously benefitted fromprevious interventions to convert underutlisied/derelict properties intoresidential use.Discussions are now underway to progress a deliverable visionfor the area.

Royal Pavilion.

•   Lease negotiations to proceed with JDWetherspoon.
•   Create a high quality restaurant/pub in twothirds of the building.
•   The other third will be available forleisure or retail offers.
•   But JD Wetherspoon must satisfy the Councillease terms, adhere to listed building requirements and gain planningpermission. 

•   Invest approximately £3 million pounds inthe building.
•   Create employment – 50/60 jobs in theirrestaurant.
•   The other third will be refurbished to ahigh standard ready for fit out.
•   Once open will draw people into the area.
Likely to stimulate other commercial activity in thevicinity.

 Dreamland Margate.

Thanet District Council is progressing with plans tocreate a world class leisure attraction at the Dreamland site in Margate.
The council, which owns the entire Dreamland site inMargate, plans to develop the whole site for leisure use and has assembled afunding package to bring forward the first stage of Dreamland’s restoration.
As the successful operation of an amusement park requiresspecialist technical expertise, the council is now looking to progress an openprocurement process, to identify a suitable operating company to run the park.
The council is working towards re-opening the first phaseof the park in 2015 with a restored Scenic Railway, thrilling historic ridesand top quality food and beverage outlets. Further phases would then follow.
The council has a professional project management teamon-board to manage the project.
This team of professionals have pulled together detailedcost plans and are working through the costs and risks on a day to day basis.They meet regularly with council officers, and updates on progress willcontinue to be shared with Councillors.

Broadstairs Play Area.

At Cabinet we agreed to provide approximately £40,000 offunding to help improve the facilities at Memorial Park playground inBroadstairs.
The decision follows a 1,760 strong petition submitted tothe council by local residents to undertake major improvements to theBroadstairs play area, and will include relocation of the play area to a moresuitable place.
Cabinet agreed to the refurbishment of four play areasacross Thanet that were highlighted by ROSPA (Royal Society for the preventionof accidents) as a health and safety risk.
The other four play areas to receive funding coverMargate, Ramsgate and the Villages, so undertaking improvements in Broadstairsalso means the council will now be investing in play facilities across thewhole district.

Skateparks across the District.

Thanet District Council has committed almost a quarter ofa million pounds to develop new skate park facilities across the district.
£220,000 has been set aside to develop three brand newstate of the art skate parks in Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate.
The council is very close to awarding the contract and hasbeen involving the local community and groups of young skaters in the plans forsome time.
I’m very keen keen to set the record straight followingrecent coverage of the demolition of the unofficial skate park constructed inCliftonville.
The council is serious about creating new opportunitiesfor our young people and has listened to the requests for the council todevelop more skate parks in Thanet.
Following a petition last year, we’ve set aside aconsiderable amount of money to achieve this and have been involving the youngskaters directly in the plans.
With hundreds of thousands of pounds committed todeveloping new state of the art skate facilities right across the district, webelieve we now need to move forward more positively in partnership with thelocal community and celebrate what’s still to come!

Manston.

I proposed an emergency motion on Thursday 20 March tocrucial regional meetings concerning exploring the extension of the enterprisezone. This was discussed at the Kent Leader’s meeting and at the ThanetRegeneration Board.
I put forward the emergency motion so that we couldexplore the possibility of extending the Enterprise Zone from Discovery Park atRichborough. I’ve suggested discussing extending this to cover the Richboroughcorridor, which is a former power station site, Manston Business Park and ManstonAirport itself.
The council has been clear that it has supported theairport and this could help us find the best opportunity to either save theairport in its current form or find the best possible future for the site,whichever scenario plays out. This proposal was well-received and it isreassuring that this has been discussed.
Government is now officially being asked to considerextending the current enterprise zone at Discovery Park in Sandwich to alsocover Thanet.
The final draft of the Kent and Medway Growth Dealdocument, delivered to Government this week, features as a chapter in the SouthEast LEP'S Strategic Economic Plan. 
It asks Government to permit Thanet District Council toretain 100% of business rate receipts within the Zone with no impact on theirbaseline, in order that discounts can be fully funded by receipts above thediscount level.
It proposes to allocate £3.5 million in Local GrowthFund finance to support commercial development at Manston and DiscoveryPark.
It also proposes to support SEFUND investment incommercial and residential development.
The recent news of the proposal to consult on possibleclosure of the airport came as a real shock. However, whether or not the siteremains as an airport, the proposals to Government in the Kent and MedwayGrowth Plan for enterprise zone status will give us the very best chance toturn the current situation into a long-term success.

The Shed Project Broadstairs.

Thanet District Council has supported the project byissuing a licence to the Broadstairs Town Team. The agreement has allowed theShed project to have base to work from and in return they will help TDC byrepairing some of the building at Pierremont and thereby reduce the potentialcosts the Council would have faced had it needed to pay for the repairs. TheShed project has the potential to work on improving projects in the local townand ideas have already included a temporary disabled ramp to the nearby WarMemorial for commemorative purposes and discussions possibly to provide a fenceto the proposed new play area at nearby Memorial Recreation Ground.

Ellington Park.

This has been the focus of a lot of local enthusiasm and abid to the Peoples Millions succeeded this last year and TDC has granted alicence for a wildlife garden to be installed which was . This is part of abigger project that officers have worked on to try and secure a HeritageLottery Bid that is being considered currently. Work has been undertaken toallow a mobile unit in the park to keep the public updated on progress and alsowork to install toilets for the events being held on a regular basis in thepark.

Other Projects. 

We are also supporting the Maritime Museum through theSteam Museum Trust, Project Motorhouse and Margate Caves Educational Trust whoeach have some very positive long-term plans.
The SUCCESS Programme

Last but far from least: The South-East Urban CoastCreative Enterprise Support Scheme (SUCCESS) provides grants for new orexpanding creative businesses that are creating jobs in the Hastings, Thanetand Tendring local authority areas.
It aims to help creative businesses to grow and flourish,and create new jobs.
I attended a governance meeting in Hastings on Thursdayand I’m pleased to report that Thanet projects look to be the first to besuccessful through SUCCESS”.

Picture Credit John Danton https://www.facebook.com/derick97

22 comments:

  1. unbelievable rewriting of the history books

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  2. I'm perfect I'm perfect. It come off in my hand guv. Why did the stupid man just go quietly and fade away.

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  3. Because he's made such a mess of everything and knows what's coming next.

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  4. The final straw for most people was his obvious lack of support for Manston. Good riddance!

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  5. Jumped before he was pushed. Riding two horses over EKO planning application for 550 houses, publicly says he was against housing estate at Manston, kept quiet about meeting with the airport owners to discuss 1000 dwellings development at north Manston.

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  6. The bird on top of the pole in your picture sums up the problem at TDC. Needs to jump off her perch too.

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  7. Why resign via FB? The kind of "Drama Queen" stuff that John Worrow would do!

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  8. I have checked with the council and yes he has officially resigned despite still being listed as leader on the council’s website at the time of writing. This involved what I can only call a surrealist phone call to the council, where I was put on hold by several officers in succession while they found out, eventually from the chief executive.

    I will put up a where do we go from here post and I have asked the council for permission to publish the EKO enquiry documents which I think actually caused the resignation, they say they will ring back.

    In all honesty I really don’t see that the council will be able to find a leader who would be able to continue for any length of time without asking for a change of chief executive.

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  9. Hear hear! She is at the hart of the problems TDC has.

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  10. At least Cllr Hart did the honourable thing and resigned, irrespective of the manner in which it was done or the diatribe that has to go with it. Looks like Driver 1, Thanet Labour 0 so far.

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  11. Ridiculous for Hart to blame Driver for Tdcs toxic reputation.

    Mcgonigal needs to go with vote of no confidence on Thursday and Independents withdraw support.

    We need a clearout who else should go? Poole? Bayford?


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  13. Thank you, I will give your advice the consideration it deserves Tim.

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  15. Who now for Leader?

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  16. Poole/Green/Iris seem the only viable ones in a very thin pool of talent. Who is the secret Rmasgate mayor and Dpeuty?

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  17. Why not Worrow or Cohen for Leader?

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    1. Don't know much about Cohen (though as my grandfather was also a Cohen I think it's a fine Jewish name), but Worrow would be a worse leader than anyone else at TDC... and that includes the cleaners!

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  18. Cheggers, I thought that you supported cleaners???

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    1. I do... which is why I want them to run TDC in preference to Worrow!

      And it's Mr Checksfield.

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