Sunday, 28 February 2010

FUN POKER GAMBLING EVENING

THE MAYOR OF RAMSGATE
COUNCILLOR DAVID GREEN
AND HIS CHARITY COMMITTEE

ARE PLEASED TO INVITE YOU TO JOIN THEM FOR A

FUN POKER GAMBLING EVENING
HELD AT G CASINO, WESTWOOD CROSS, RAMSGATE.
ON SATURDAY 27TH MARCH 2010
7.00 PM FOR 7.30 PM – CARRIAGES 11.00PM.
£20 PER PERSON INCLUDING A HOT BUFFET.
(£5 for Mayor’s drivers only)
(VEGETARIAN OPTION AVAILABLE)
DRESS; SMART CASUAL.
THE EVENING WILL START WITH A TRAINING SESSION TO SHOW HOW TO PLAY THE GAME.
PLAY FOR PRIZES ONLY

Non-member guests are required to show photo ID to be registered. All guests must be over 18.
Please reply to the above address by 19th March using the reply slip below.

_____________________________________________________________________

Reply slip for the Fun Poker Gabling Evening.

I enclose a cheque for £_______________ payable to the Mayor of Ramsgate Charity
Committee for (number) _____ guests. (number of Mayor’s drivers if applicable, ___)

Print name _______________________. Tel no- _________________



____________________________________________________________________

TOWN OF RAMSGATE.
The Mayor’s Parlour Telephone/facsimile
Albion House 01843 591142
Albion Place e-mail address – mayor.ramsgate@btopenworld.com

Ramsgate
Kent
CT11 8HQ

Friday, 26 February 2010

Seagull bag scheme gets underway

Homes in Eastcliff in Ramsgate are starting a major new trial of seagull proof bags, in a bid to improve the cleanliness of their streets.

The idea came from the local PACT (Partners and Communities Together), residents’ groups and ward councillors, who wanted to put a stop to seagull attacks on rubbish put out in the area. As a result, the seagull proof bags, made out of polypropylene, which will protect the black sacks, have been delivered to homes, with the scheme due to start from Wednesday 3 March.

A total of around 250 homes in Augusta Road, Augusta Place, Artillery Road, Arklow Square, Shaftsbury Street, Waterloo Place, Irchester Street and Balmoral Place will be taking part in the trial, which will run until 30 September and will cover the seagull breeding season during the spring and summer months.

Homes have received one seagull proof bag free of charge, which can hold around two or three black rubbish sacks. These should be tied securely at the top and then put into the seagull proof sack. The lid of this sack needs to be closed correctly or the seagulls may still be able to attack the rubbish inside. Any waste put loose into the seagull proof bag or left outside of it will not be collected. People will need to put out their seagull proof bag on their day of collection at the front of their property by 6am.

As well as aiming to cut the amount of rubbish caused by seagulls splitting black rubbish sacks, the trial also aims to see how easy residents find using the bag and whether any improvements can be made.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Residents in Eastcliff came to us with the idea of the seagull proof bag and now they’re about to start trying it out to see how well it works. Seagulls are a menace in this area, particularly during the breeding season and they were one of the main reasons that we first introduced wheeled bins to Thanet, to try and stop them attacking waste. However, there are a number of areas across our district that aren’t suitable for wheeled bins, so we need to look at other possible solutions. It will be interesting to see how well this scheme works over the next few months and what we can learn from it. Most of all, we will wait to see if these bags do stop the seagulls!”

At the end of the trial, it will be reviewed to see how well it has worked, whether it has helped to keep the streets cleaner and whether it represents good value for money for the council. A decision will then be taken on whether to continue with it and whether to expand it into other areas, if it is successful.

“You Catch It – We Cook It!” offer from Ramsgate’s Eddie Gilbert’s Restaurant

Eddie Gilbert's, the award-winning Ramsgate fishmonger, wholesaler, chippy and gourmet fish restaurant, is offering a “You Catch It – We Cook It!” deal to the hundreds of anglers who descend on the seaside resort each summer.

Michelin-trained head chef Craig Mather will prepare and cook whatever visitors catch. At the moment this is largely cod and skate, as flat fish such as Dover sole are less abundant in the colder months. But mid June to September is peak season, when serious sea anglers and tourists visit the area to fish for Sea Bass.

Within six months of opening in 2007, Eddie Gilbert’s wet fish shop scooped a prestigious Taste of Kent Award for ‘Best Fish Retailer’. In January this year the first floor restaurant that opened in October, was awarded ‘Best Newcomer’. In February the downstairs take away fish and chip shop was nominated for the Potato Council’s ‘Perfect Portion’ awards during the National Chip Week and was recognised as serving the best chips in Thanet by the local press.

Soon after opening the fishmongers, owner Jonny Dunhill had local anglers coming in to sell their excess catch, which he was pleased to buy. Now, with the new 50-seater gourmet restaurant, the “You Catch It – We Cook It!” offer seems a natural progression.

Anglers receive a 20 per cent discount from the menu price when they supply the fish.

“It fits perfectly with our philosophy of selling the finest quality food sourced as locally as possible,” said Jonny, who buys fish direct from the local fishing boats every day. He will promote the scheme through boat owners who charter for fishing trips.For Dunhill, who ran a wholesale shellfish business in London for 12 years, opening the restaurant was the fulfilment of a long-held ambition. Whilst supplying top London establishments such as Le Gavroche, Harrods, The Ivy and Conran Restaurants, Jonny became inspired by the motivation of the talented chefs he met, many of who are now household names.

Click on the link for more pictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/43030751@N08

THANET DISTRICT COUNCIL BUDGET 2010/11

Council services have been preserved and the lowest Council Tax rise in at least a decade delivered in Thanet District Council's 2010/11 budget, despite a massive slump in income.

The budget was approved last night (Thursday 25 February) at a full Council meeting, with Thanet's share of the Council Tax rising by just 2.46%, less than 10p per week for most homes in the area. Council Tax increases of just 2.5% are also planned for the next four years.

In the past year, the council has seen income fall by more than three quarters of a million pounds, with reductions in the money it receives from planning fees, parking, bulky waste collections and land charges. Despite this, a balanced budget has been produced, not only for 2010/11, but also for the following four years.

From 2011/12, the council is forecasting that its budget from central government will be cut each year by 3%, meaning savings are needed of more than £6 million over the next five years. To achieve this, a number of proposals were agreed, including reviewing staff contracts, merging functions internally and sharing services with other councils in East Kent. Plans to share housing, waste and a range of other services such as IT, building control, revenues and benefits and customer services were agreed at a meeting of full Council last week (Thursday 18 February).

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: "This year has not been an easy year for anyone, as many people will know themselves. The situation is no different in local government, with all councils seeing their income falling. Fortunately, in Thanet, we took quick action to address that and made savings to ensure that we could balance the books for this year. In 2010/11, we at least know exactly how much money we're getting from central government, which makes up the majority of our funding, as that figure's already been set.

"From next year, there's no guarantee on that. I'm sure that most people will agree, whoever wins the next election, they're going to need to make cuts and that's going to impact on everyone in the public sector. We're already budgeting for a cut of 3% and we're determined that the shortfall should not come from the taxpayers' purse.

"We've already taken steps to maximise efficiencies in all our services in recent years and that's why we're now looking at how we can make even more savings by sharing our services with other councils in East Kent. We need to make radical changes to ensure that we save the £6 million plus that we need to find over the next five years. I'm sure residents would agree that they would rather we did that than make cuts to the services they receive from us."

PASSIONATE PLEA FOR THANET'S DISABLED

At Thursday's council meeting to discuss the proposed TDC budget for 2010/2011, Cllr Iris Johnston made a passionate plea to safeguard £400,000 for the Thanet's disabled residents.
At the meeting Cllr Johnston said "It is good to see that despite the pressures on the capital budget the Council's contributions to the Disabled Facility Grants is planned to be held at the same level as was originally set last year, which was £400,000. But I would hope that after having cut this budget back by £200,000 in 2009/10, that this faces no further cuts in the forthcoming year. Although I appreciate that the level of capital receipts planned for may not be achieved, on looking at the planned capital programme I can see that there are other areas which could be cut back, before cutting back on the DFGbudget, on which so many people rely.
I would ask to table an amendment for Cabinet to consider, which seeks to ring-fence the agreed budget of £400,000 to preserve the Council's contribution at this level for the forthcoming financial year."

The ruling Conservative administration at TDC were either unable or unwilling to make such a commitment and at voted down the amendment.
Councillor Johnston said after the meeting "I am very disappointed the Conservative Group refused to outright support this amendment. Resident’s who are waiting over 18 months for adaptations urgently need to get their facilities in place to make life bearable. I will be watching very closely to ensure the 400k is kept intact to part match nearly £900k from Central Government.’

Cllr. Iris Johnston - 01843 299207
Published by the Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 3DP.

SHARED GAMBLE CONFIRMED

They say a week in politics is a long time!

Last week, during an extra-ordinary meeting of Thanet District Council called to discuss 'shared services' in East Kent, proposals for changes to council housing, waste collection and support services were over-confidently pushed through by the ruling Conservative administration, despite very serious concerns outlined by Labour group members.

Last night, at a council meeting held to discuss the 2010/2011 TDC budget (at item 12 - Annex 3 - the Financial Risk Assessment - pages 121 & 122) council officers reported 'shared services' as probably the largest risk facing the council to date and that the likelihood of shared services not being progressed is also deemed to be high risk.

As Labour Group Leader I repeat "decisions were made at last weeks rushed extra-ordinary meeting that will significantly change the shape of local government here in Thanet. They were made hurriedly and without proper consideration of the long-term consequences. The current Conservative administration obviously wants rid of these services which it is finding increasingly difficult to manage. To cover this Conservative leadership's abject failures, the residents of Thanet could be left with the worst of all worlds - distantly managed and expensive services over which they have little or no control".
______________________________

Last week's meeting - 18/02/2010

SHARED GAMBLE

Having lost effective control of several key services at TDC, the Conservative administration has now launched the authority into the unknown following Thursday's full council meeting held to discuss shared services across East Kent. Decisions were made that could see TDC tied in to long, expensive and binding agreements with it's neighbouring authorities with no clear financial savings yet established, but substantial financial penalties should the ventures prove to be failures.

For the past week or so council members have been bombarded with a relentless series of hefty documents, one arriving at their homes by last minute post on the day of the meeting and yet another on their respective benches as they walked into the chamber for the debate, and no time allowed for members to read it properly.

Throughout the debates on council housing, waste collection and support services, Labour members warned of concerns that matters were being rushed and decisions being made without fully considering the long term effects and costs the changes will make for ratepayers in the future.

Labour members also voiced serious concerns regarding the loss of local democratic control of services, especially as major decisions could now often be made by just a small number of council Chief. Executives with the district's council leaders. That would mean no political balance on key matters and leave all the other elected councillors in several districts with little or no say over services which residents had elected them to control.

Jobs could also be lost to Thanet, as due to our geographical position any centralising of management would be unlikely to be based here.

Several common-sense amendments were put forward by the Labour group that met with strong resistance from the Conservatives, but in the end the Labour's crucial claim to review the results of the consultation process with tenants and leaseholders on housing changes with a final chance to ballot residents was finally accepted.

Labour Group Leader Cllr Clive Hart said "decisions were made on Thursday evening that will significantly change the shape of local government here in Thanet. They were made hurriedly and without proper consideration of the long-term consequences. The current Conservative administration obviously wants rid of these services which it is finding increasingly difficult to manage. To cover this Conservative leadership's abject failures, the residents of Thanet could be left with the worst of all worlds - distantly managed and expensive services over which they have little or no control".

Published by the Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 3DP.

"I call upon the leader and deputy leader to go"

"I call upon the leader and deputy leader to go"

Copy of speech made by Cllr. Alan Poole - Shadow Member for Environmental Services - at last night's council meeting to discuss the Thanet District Council Budget for 2010/2011.

"This Labour Government has provided more than generous Formula Grant funding since 1997; it has provided millions in additional grants and still this Conservative Administration has managed to get itself into a financial mess whereby it continually has to dip into its reserves to balance the books; a cynical attempt to keep the Council Tax increase to 2.5% in an election year?

There appears to be very little to show for all this extra government money, which has been used to little or no effect in Margate to the detriment of neighbouring Ramsgate; additionally this Conservative Administration has done its best to dump extra burdens on the fledgling Ramsgate Town Council. This is disgraceful.

I am very disappointed by the closure of the award winning Visitor Information Centre in Ramsgate and also the closure of the Visitor Centre in Broadstairs but for some reason the Margate Visitor Centre is remaining open…………is this Council penalising Ramsgate and Broadstairs for having Town Councils? Or is it just trying to force Ramsgate and Broadstairs to fund the Visitor Centres from their precept? This is disgraceful.

This Conservative Administration has attempted to flog-off as many assets as possible, even some they don’t own………yes, it is this Government’s policy to dispose of underused and unwanted assets….note underused and unwanted……you really shouldn’t need to consult a dictionary to understand those two words!

This Conservative Administration has tried unsuccessfully to sell Albion House……….a listed historical building that is very important to the people of Ramsgate; they have continually failed to maintain this building in a decent condition……….its present condition would surely warrant ‘enforcement action’ if it were in private ownership………they then tried unsuccessfully to get Ramsgate Town Council to pay for its maintenance. This is disgraceful.

Another disposal attempt, which seems to have spectacularly back-fired, is the proposed sale of the much used Montefiore Tennis courts. This asset was purchased by the people of Ramsgate in 1948……..an asset purchased for the use of the residents. Local residents recently signed a petition demanding that it be kept in public use……not only has this Conservative Administration ignored the wishes of the local residents but it has gone out of its way to pick a fight with them using public funds.

The use of public funds to fight our own residents note ‘fight our own residents’ and the even more questionable use of a highly paid barrister to interrogate old ladies in the witness box is an appalling misuse of power and public monies. The amount of money and time wasted must surely be running into tens of thousands of pounds.

Whatever the outcome of the Village Green Enquiry it is the negligent lack of maintenance of the fence that has allowed the situation to progress this far……a few hundred pounds spent on fence repairs could have saved all this time and expense. This is disgraceful.

This Conservative Administration simply doesn’t have a clue…..I call upon the leader and deputy leader to go"

Cllr. Alan Poole - Phone: 01843 602594

Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 2RW.

CALL FOR TDC LEADER & DEPUTY LEADER TO GO!

(after appalling misuse of power and public monies).

Cllr. Alan Poole, Shadow Cabinet Member for Environmental Services at Thanet District Council, called on the leader and deputy leader at TDC to go at the end of an impassioned speech during discussions over TDC's budget proposals for 2010 to 2011.

Cllr. Poole was angry about large sums of money given to Thanet by the Government with all the best intentions that TDC had used with little or no effect and to the detriment of Ramsgate. He said he was also concerned about the closure of Visitor Information Centres in Broadstairs and Ramsgate and asked if these were attempts to make the town council's pay for a district service.

Cllr. Poole then attacked the ruling Conservative's asset disposal programme and explained that Government advice was that it should only be applied to 'underused or unwanted' assets. He was scathing of Conservative unsuccessful attempts to sell Albion House to Ramsgate Town Council in such an appalling state that it would probably merit enforcement action by TDC if it were in the private sector.

Finally, on the Montefiore Tennis Courts, Cllr. Poole attacked the Conservative administration's needless confrontational tactics in using public funds to interrogate old ladies in the witness box during the enquiry as "an appalling misuse of power and public monies".

Cllr. Alan Poole - Phone: 01843 602594

Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 2RW.

CLIFTONVILLE PLAN FORMALLY ADOPTED

CLIFTONVILLE DEVELOPMENT PLAN DOCUMENT ADOPTED

(Agenda item 17 - Thanet District Couincil meeting - 25/02/2010).

The Cliftonville Development Plan Document was formally adopted by Thanet District Council at its meeting this evening (Thursday 25th February). It now becomes council policy within the Local Development Framework.

Cliftonville West Ward councillor Doug Clark said "the Cliftonville Development Plan Document, covering parts of Margate Central and Cliftonville West that have been better known as the Neighbourhood Renewal Area, is yet another step forward and all five ward councillors welcome its formal adoption by the council.

We were disappointed that the ruling administration chose not to back our proposal, supported by several residents groups in the area, to enlarge minimum sizes for new homes, but following the lack of support on this issue, we now intend to fight that battle across, and for, the whole District.

The problems facing Cliftonville West and Margate Central are all very well known and within his report the independent inspector accepted that Cliftonville was 'showing clear signs of social, economic and physical stress' but we have had some success in the past with our unique 'no one bedroom' policy and if implemented properly this plan should help further".

Published by all 5 Cliftonville West & Margate Central ward councillors:
Cllrs. Aldred, Clark, Hart, Johnston & Watkins
44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 2RW.

MARGATE CENTRAL & CLIFTONVILLE WEST - LATEST

(Agenda item 11 - Thanet District Couincil meeting - 25/02/2010).
In a report presented to Thanet District Council on Thursday evening the Leader & Chief Executive accepted that in Margate & Cliftonville (to quote the report at paragraph 6.1) 'things are getting worse' and that 'if nothing changes the cycle of deprivation will continue'.
The eleven page extract from a KCC report released only this week, outlines a sad and sorry catalogue of problems that affect two of the poorest wards in the country and the Governments Total Place scheme that will make all local agencies work much more closely together from now on, in order to tackle what is a very daunting task.
Margate Central ward councillor John Watkins said "all five ward councillors meet regularly with council officers and other agencies and we consistently call for more joined up working. Only when all agencies work closely together can these problems be tackled. We welcome the governments Total Place scheme. To date TDC, KCC and the other agencies involved have too often been working individually and that approach just will not work here locally".
Cliftonville West ward councillor Linda Aldred said "our two wards have very serious issues to contend with, particularly concerning poor housing, health and education. These issues also fuel other problems such as crime and anti-social behaviour. Lasting solutions can only be found when all the agencies concerned come together and work with a common purpose. Although agencies have been moving in the right direction a real step-change is needed and we sincerely hope the Total Place project will provide just that".
Published by all 5 Margate Central & Cliftonville West ward councillors:
Cllrs. Aldred, Clark, Hart, Johnston & Watkins
44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 2RW.

COUNCIL WARNED OF LOW RESERVES

Speech by Cllr. David Green - Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance & Corporate Services in response to the Conservative administrations proposed budget.

"My impression is that (Conservative Cabinet Member) Cllr Wise is betting very heavily on Labour winning the forthcoming general election.

I say this, because the assumptions in the Medium Term Financial Plan are that Thanet’s Formula Grant will be cut by 3% in each year from 2011/12 to 2014/15 and Council Tax rises of 2.5% each year over this period.

Also implied is that all the other generous Labour Government Grants this Council receives, such as Community Cohesion and Working Neighbourhood funding and the £8m of ring fenced grants will all continue.

Unlikely though a Conservative government is, I would have thought that this current administration would have at least conceded the possibility, however remote.

It is clear that the prudent approach to cutting public debt, that underlines the assumptions in our financial plan are not what any potential Conservative Government have in mind.

They have indicated drastic cuts to local government funding, and that these cuts would take effect immediately on them taking office. They also propose a freeze on Council Tax increases for at least three years.

The reason these assumptions in the Financial Plan are so important, and why they, at these difficult times could almost be considered reckless is because, as I warned last year, the Council’s reserves are dangerously low.

The Director of Finance and Corporate Services in her report (page 63) says that it is considered appropriate that the optimum level of general reserves should be 10% of the net revenue budget.

I quote from the report:

“This balance is expected to drop to £1.883M by March 2011. This is JUST 8.16%.”

Last year we were promised action to restore the level of reserves. This has not occurred, and the situation is compounded by the intention to take £1.8m from various earmarked reserves, reducing them from £4.8m to £3.1m.

This is an enormously risky position for the Council to take, especially when entering what are considered to be very difficult economic times.

Chair, Could I give notice of my intention to propose an amendment on this subject after my speech?

Reserves also provide the essential buffer to aid cash flow. We are already seeing signs of cash flow problems, with officers being told not to spend agreed budgets and various grant schemes remaining unspent from year to year.

Each year this administration promises a number of savings in order to balance the budget. Each year, we on this side (Labour) express skepticism, and each year we are proved correct.

This year, only £261k of £741k promised are still considered achievable, and we are offered savings through a new contract with staff, cutting overtime, agency and consultants and cutting staff perks, all measures that we have advocated over many years and have been ignored. As the editor of the Gazette said last week, “why weren’t these things dealt with years ago?”

In conclusion the Council’s budget is still dangerously over-committed.

The failure to deal with the depletion of reserves is irresponsible, considering the predicted economic situation. There is still no sign of this administration gaining control over employee costs. We have a situation where two thirds of the District is starved of funding and where the remaining third shows little benefit for all the money thrown at it.

As the Sun newspaper said recently:

“MARGATE was once Britain’s holiday resort of choice, with crowds packing the beaches for more than two centuries. But today, it is strewn with dilapidated attractions and boarded up shops - presenting a sorry picture postcard view of this ravaged east Kent town. A survey has named Margate the ghost town of Britain with more than a quarter - 27.2 per cent - of its shops shut.
Now, the once majestic seafront is a patchwork of vacant shops and arcades set among the remaining pubs and slot-machine joints.

This after 7 years of this (Conservative) administration!

Proposed amendment: That Council instructs officers to commission and publish an urgent independent review of the exact extent of its financial reserves, the adequacy of the reserves to deal with events in the light of any anticipated economic developments, and to provide the necessary buffer to achieve an efficient cash flow.

The Conservative group voted down the amendment.

Cllr. David Green - Phone: 01843 591495

Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 2RW.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

GET INTO COACHING

If you're over 16 and want to get into sports coaching, then a new free course, taking place in Westgate could be for you.

Get Into Coaching has been organised by the Thanet Sports Network, which includes the council's Sport Matters team, Sport England, Kent County Council Sport, Youth Sport Trust and Ursuline College Specialist Sport College.

The course offers free training, support and placement opportunities to people who are interested in coaching, but do not have a relevant qualification. On completion of this training and volunteering, those taking part will be put on to a National Governing Body Level 1 award .

Currently, the sports available on the course are football, cricket, gymnastics, health and fitness, rugby, tennis, athletics, netball and basketball.

The next induction day is on Saturday 6 March, between 9.30am and 4.30pm, at Ursuline College, Westgate.

To book your place, call 07881 917473 or e-mail coach.manager@ursuline.kent.sch.uk

Monday, 22 February 2010

LIMO COMPANY LICENCE SUSPENDED

A Broadstairs limousine company has had its licence suspended after 15 women were crammed into a limousine only licenced for eight passengers.

Chapel Hill Limousines was licenced by the council in July 2009 for 12 months. David Crow (41) from Stone Road, Broadstairs, was granted the operator licence and was also granted a private hire vehicle driver's licence in June 2009, which was valid for 12 months. The licence covered a white Ford Excursion stretch limo to take up to eight passengers.

In January 2010, the council's Licensing Department received a complaint from a member of the public that 15 women had booked two limousines with Chapel Hill to take them on a shopping trip to Harrods in London in December 2009. Only one limousine arrived at the pick-up point.

The driver, Mr. Crow, told them that only one vehicle would be taking them and all 15 were taken to London and back in one vehicle.

There were not sufficient seats or seatbelts in the vehicle, with some of the women having to sit on the floor. In particular, one woman described how four of them sat on the floor in the rear of the vehicle. It was so uncomfortable that they had to stop at Farthing Corner Services on the M2. She moved to the front of the vehicle beside the driver, but again had to sit on the floor because there was no seat.

Booking records were obtained from Chapel Hill Limos and photographs taken of the vehicle. Mr. Crow was interviewed under caution and confirmed that he was the driver and that the booking records were not up-to-date. If the vehicle had been involved in an accident, any insurance covering the vehicle would have been invalid.

As a result, both the operator and driver licences were suspended by the council on 28 January 2010. This was subject to a right of appeal to the Magistrates' Court within 21 days, which has now expired.

Cllr. John Kirby, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and Ramsgate Marina, said: "This is a case where the council had no choice but to take action. It's no overstatement to say that people's lives were potentially being put at risk here. There can be no excuse for taking passengers in a car where they don't have enough seats or seatbelts. Imagine what could have happened had there been an accident. The consequences are too terrible to consider."

DON’T LOSE YOUR VOTE WHEN YOU MOVE HOUSE

Thanet District Council is warning residents who have moved house that their chance to vote in this year's General Election may have been lost in the move, unless they take action.

"That's because when you change address, you need to re-register with your new details," explains Richard Samuel, Electoral Registration Officer. "Just because you are paying Council Tax at your new address doesn't automatically mean that you will be on the electoral register there, you need to contact us separately. This applies whether you have bought your home or whether are renting."

It only takes a few minutes to re-register. All you need to do is print off a registration form from www.aboutmyvote.co.uk and return the completed form to Electoral Services, Thanet District Council, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent, CT9 1XZ. The website, by the independent elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, also has details of different ways of voting in elections. You can also phone Electoral Services on (01843) 577500 for information.

"With a General Election due to take place by June at the latest, I'd encourage everyone entitled to vote to take a few minutes now to make sure they are registered to do so," says Electoral Commission Regional Manager Phillippa Saray.

"A General Election can be called at short notice, so don't wait until the election date has been announced to secure your vote. I'd encourage anyone who has moved house, or who is going to do so soon, to make sure registering to vote is on their list of things to do, along with telling utility suppliers and others of their new address. If you are not registered, you can't vote, it's as simple as that."

You can register to vote as a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen. You can also register if you are an EU citizen resident in the UK, as you are eligible to vote in local elections, but not the General Election. British citizens living abroad can also register to vote, as long as they have been on the electoral register at a UK address no more than 15 years ago. There are also special provisions for those serving abroad to vote - for more information, go to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk Although you cannot vote until you are 18, you can join the electoral register from the age of 16.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Last weeks planning applications,

Ed. The TDC planning website is one of the most bizarre websites I have ever come across in as much as the web addresses of the pages on it change after a few hours so you can’t publish links to them. If you want to look at any of the applications you need to go to the site and enter the application reference in the search box, this link takes you to the site http://www.ukplanning.com/thanet


18 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0054
PILGRIMS HOSPICE RAMSGATE ROAD MARGATE CT94AD
current
18 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0086
19-21 MARINE TERRACE MARGATE CT91XJ
current
18 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0096
LARKSFIELD WAY HILL MINSTER RAMSGATE CT124HU
current
18 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0100
125A NORTH DOWN ROAD, MARGATE, CT9 2QY
current
18 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0121
6 NORTH FORELAND ROAD BROADSTAIRS CT103NJ
current
16 Feb 2010
A/TH/10/0078
UNIT 5, 33 OZENGELL PLACE, EUROKENT BUSINESS PARK, RAMSGATE, CT12 6PB
current
16 Feb 2010
C/TH/10/0122
VEG (UK) LTD THE STREET ST. NICHOLAS AT WADE BIRCHINGTON CT70NP
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0019
88/90 RAMSGATE ROAD MARGATE KENT CT9 5RY
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0053
38 QUEENS GATE ROAD RAMSGATE CT117RG
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0071
7-9 PARK LANE BIRCHINGTON CT70AN
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0079
1 BOUNDARY ROAD RAMSGATE CT117NA
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0093
CLIFF COTTAGE HERSCHELL ROAD BIRCHINGTON CT79JU
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0103
VEG (UK) LTD THE STREET ST. NICHOLAS AT WADE BIRCHINGTON CT70NP
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0108
THE PACK HOUSE WANTSUM WAY ST NICHOLAS AT WADE CT70NE
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0111
36 GROVE ROAD RAMSGATE CT119SH
current
16 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0114
47 PRINCES GARDENS MARGATE CT93AS
current
16 Feb 2010
L/TH/09/0120
CECIL SQUARE 13 MARGATE CT91BL
decided
16 Feb 2010
L/TH/10/0123
MINSTER ABBEY, CHURCH STREET, MINSTER, RAMSGATE, CT12 4BX
current
15 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0066
38-40 HIGH STREET, MARGATE
current
15 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0070
22 BARRINGTON CRESCENT BIRCHINGTON CT79DF
current
15 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0073
30 MILLFIELD ROAD RAMSGATE CT126QW
current
15 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0104
1 KING EDWARD AVENUE BROADSTAIRS CT101PH
current
15 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0112
89 HIGH STREET GARLINGE MARGATE CT95LX
current
15 Feb 2010
OL/TH/09/0776
30 CONVENT ROAD BROADSTAIRS CT103BE
current

"A Future Fare for All" - and we shall all be paying it for years to come!

North Thanet's veteran Tory MP Roger Gale has this (Saturday) morning derided the Labour Party's new campaign slogan launch as mis-spelt!

Speaking at a meeting in Margate the MP said:

"It ought to read ` A future Fare for All` because that would be more honest. The "fare" for Labour`s failure is going to be paid by my constituents and their children and their grandchildren for years to come and I regard this gimmick as a spectacular own-goal.

It is not remotely surprising that the Prime Minister is now trying to air-brush his record out of the picture and to try to campaign upon some blue-sky dewy-eyed future instead of his record: I cannot imagine any politician of any party wanting to campaign to seek re-election on Gordon Brown`s performance as either Chancellor or as Prime Minister.

Unfortunately for him, however, public memories are neither as short or as pliable as his advisers appear to think. He is in a hole and today he is taking another massive shovelful downwards.

Like South Eastern Railways and the Secretary of State for Transport, under Labour, fares keep going up - and Brown's "fair" is no fun for those paying the bill"

SHARED GAMBLE

Having lost effective control of several key services at TDC, the Conservative administration has now launched the authority into the unknown following Thursday's full council meeting held to discuss shared services across East Kent. Decisions were made that could see TDC tied in to long, expensive and binding agreements with it's neighbouring authorities with no clear financial savings yet established, but substantial financial penalties should the ventures prove to be failures.

For the past week or so council members have been bombarded with a relentless series of hefty documents, one arriving at their homes by last minute post on the day of the meeting and yet another on their respective benches as they walked into the chamber for the debate, and no time allowed for members to read it properly.

Throughout the debates on council housing, waste collection and support services, Labour members warned of concerns that matters were being rushed and decisions being made without fully considering the long term effects and costs the changes will make for ratepayers in the future.

Labour members also voiced serious concerns regarding the loss of local democratic control of services, especially as major decisions could now often be made by just a small number of council Chief. Executives with the district's council leaders. That would mean no political balance on key matters and leave all the other elected councillors in several districts with little or no say over services which residents had elected them to control.

Jobs could also be lost to Thanet, as due to our geographical position any centralising of management would be unlikely to be based here.

Several common-sense amendments were put forward by the Labour group that met with strong resistance from the Conservatives, but in the end the Labour's crucial claim to review the results of the consultation process with tenants and leaseholders on housing changes with a final chance to ballot residents was finally accepted.

Labour Group Leader Cllr Clive Hart said "decisions were made on Thursday evening that will significantly change the shape of local government here in Thanet. They were made hurriedly and without proper consideration of the long-term consequences. The current Conservative administration obviously wants rid of these services which it is finding increasingly difficult to manage. To cover this Conservative leadership's abject failures, the residents of Thanet could be left with the worst of all worlds - distantly managed and expensive services over which they have little or no control".

Published by the Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 3DP.

Friday, 19 February 2010

CLEAN SWEEP TARGETS BIRCHINGTON AND WESTGATE

Fire safety concerns and problems with cleanliness in restaurants are just some of the issues that have been uncovered in the latest Operation Clean Sweep in Birchington and Westgate.

The operation is led by Thanet District Council, with help from Kent Police, the UK Border Agency and Kent Fire and Rescue Service. The teams have spent the last two days (Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 February) inspecting properties in the two areas and checking to see if people have any problems that the teams can help with.

A property in Station Road, that had been operating as an unregulated House in Multiple Occupation, was closed down by the Kent Fire and Rescue Service, because it had inadequate means of escape. The council's Environmental Health team also spoke to the owners about a blocked drain at the property. If it re-opens at any point, then further action may also be taken by the council's housing team.

A restaurant in Westgate has now been told to clean up its act and undergo a thorough cleaning, after dirty washing was found in the food preparation area. Officers from the council will be returning to the premises to ensure that this is done. Two food premises, one in Birchington and one in Westgate, were not regulated by the council's food safety team. A store in Westgate voluntarily threw away nine items of food, as they had been stacked above the freezer line. Checks were also carried out to ensure that businesses had trade waste licences. Of 15 properties checked in Canterbury Road, Westbrook, only three had a licence.

After shopkeepers in Canterbury Road highlighted a problem with dumped rubbish behind their shops, Pipeline moved in the following day to clear up the rubbish. They also tackled dumped rubbish in Linksfield Road in Westgate. Council officers are also investigating a large amount of rubbish found at the Square in Birchington, which may lead to further action.

From talking to people, a number of concerns were raised about anti-social behaviour, with details given out of local PCSOs and wardens that people can discuss these problems with.

Planning concerns were raised about a room in the loft of a property in the Square, while the UK Border Agency arrested one person on suspicion of them being an illegal immigrant and collected intelligence for further investigations.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "The latest Clean Sweep has had a great response from everyone that our officers have spoken to in both Birchington and Westgate. There have been so many positive comments from people and everyone's been really pleased to see them. It's clear that Clean Sweep is really well thought of by both local residents and shop keepers. The message that we've been getting out to people is that if you do have any issues, please talk to us about them, so that we can take action for you."

EAST KENT JOINT WORKING REACHES NEW MILESTONE

Proposals to share services with other councils in East Kent have been approved at an extraordinary meeting of full Council.

The proposals aim to provide more cost effective services across East Kent and make the best possible use of the individual councils' resources and staff expertise. Members at last night's (Thursday 18 February) full Council meeting looked at three different plans in total.
The first proposal to be debated was to share a number of different services with Canterbury and Dover councils, including IT, building control, revenues and benefits and customer services, both face to face and telephone services. Initial proposals suggested that a business case would have to be agreed showing at least a 10% saving across the three councils in the first two years, before any service goes into the project. Members agreed instead that a level should be achieved of at least 10% savings within Thanet, with no reduction in service, if possible. Each council will still have the final decision on which services go forward into this scheme.

The second project discussed was an East Kent Shared Housing Service. This scheme proposes that Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet councils jointly manage council housing in East Kent. It aims to bring improvements for tenants and leaseholders, with savings then being re-invested into the service across the area.

This saw lengthy discussion of how tenants should be consulted over this issue, following a recommendation from the council's Overview and Scrutiny Panel that a ballot should be held of tenants and leaseholders in Thanet. It was finally agreed that the question of whether to hold a ballot or not would not now be looked at again by full Council until the outcome of the consultation with tenants is known.

Cllr. Zita Wiltshire, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: "It's vital that we properly consult with tenants and leaseholders about these proposals and they have the opportunity to voice any views that they have about the plans. I think it's encouraging that we were all able to agree on the importance of a detailed consultation with the tenants, before any further consideration is given to a ballot. I think we can all agree that we need to ensure tenants' and leaseholders' voices are clearly heard and their views are taken into account before any decisions are made."

The final subject discussed was the East Kent Joint Waste Project, which will see Thanet joining with Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Kent County Council to introduce common collection arrangements for waste and recycling in all four districts over the next four years.

Leader of the Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: "Like everyone else, we're in a tough financial position right now, due to the impact of the recession and the pressure on public spending, with the likelihood of serious cuts in our funding over the next few years. That means massive pressure to make savings. At the moment, we're estimating we need to save more than £6 million in the next five years. Doing that, while preserving the level of services that we currently provide is not going to be easy. We need to look at options that maintain our services to local residents at an acceptable level and the best way we can see of doing that is by sharing our services with neighbouring councils."

Thursday, 18 February 2010

New documents published by Thanet District Council,

18/02/2010 - Meeting scheduled: Feb 18 2010 7:00PM, Council

18/02/2010 - Agenda supplement published - SEERA Ltd : SEERA Ltd: Meeting of Feb 25 2010 7:00PM, Council

17/02/2010 - Meeting held: Feb 17 2010 7:00PM, Planning Committee

17/02/2010 - Agenda supplement published - Draft Budget Paper and Consultation Process : Draft Budget Paper and Consultation Process: Meeting of Feb 25 2010 7:00PM, Council

17/02/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Feb 25 2010 7:00PM, Council

17/02/2010 - Agenda supplement published - Cabinet response to Overview and Scrutiny Panel recommendations : Cabinet response to Overview and Scrutiny Panel recommendations: Meeting of Feb 18 2010 7:00PM, Council

16/02/2010 - Meeting held: Feb 16 2010 5:30PM, Cabinet

15/02/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Feb 23 2010 10:00AM, Licensing Board

15/02/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Jan 26 2010 5:00PM, Asset Management Working Group

12/02/2010 - Agenda supplement published - 2010-11 Budget and Medium Term financial Plan 2010-15 : 2010-11 Budget and Medium Term financial Plan 2010-15: Meeting of Feb 16 2010 5:30PM, Cabinet

12/02/2010 - Publication of plan: Forward Plan for period from 1 March 2010 to 1 September 2010; Cabinet

12/02/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Feb 16 2010 5:30PM, Cabinet

12/02/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Feb 9 2010 3:00PM, Local Development Cabinet Advisory Group

11/02/2010 - Meeting held: Feb 11 2010 7:00PM, Cabinet

11/02/2010 - Agenda supplement published - LANDLORD SERVICES JOINT WORKING ARRANGEMENTS – CONSULTING TENANTS : LANDLORD SERVICES JOINT WORKING ARRANGEMENTS – CONSULTING TENANTS: Meeting of Feb 11 2010 7:00PM, Cabinet

09/02/2010 - Meeting held: Feb 9 2010 3:00PM, Local Development Cabinet Advisory Group

09/02/2010 - Agenda supplement published - OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY RECOMMENDATIONS TO CABINET – SHARED SERVICES VEHICLE, HOUSING LANDLORD SERVICES AND WASTE AND RECYCLING : OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY RECOMMENDATIONS TO CABINET – SHARED SERVICES VEHICLE, HOUSING LANDLORD SERVICES AND WASTE AND RECYCLING: Meeting of Feb 11 2010 7:00PM, Cabinet

09/02/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Jan 26 2010 3:00PM, Corporate Improvement & Budget Working Party

08/02/2010 - Agenda supplement published - Supplement Agenda : Supplement Agenda: Meeting of Jan 26 2010 7:00PM, Overview and Scrutiny Panel

08/02/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Feb 17 2010 7:00PM, Planning Committee

08/02/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Feb 18 2010 7:00PM, Council

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP QUAD BIKE RACING FOR MARGATE

National championship quad bike racing comes to Margate Main Sands for the first time next month (Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 March).

Although the QRA Margate Beach Cross event is now into its fifth year, it's the first time that it has hosted rounds one and two of the new QRA UK Beach Cross Championship. This new six round championship, being held over three weekends at different beaches across the UK will expand into Europe in 2011, with the Margate event being the starting point each year.

Drawing in thousands of spectators, this free event will see two full days of racing by solo motorcross bikes, adult and youth quad bikes competing in a minimum of ten races, with action getting underway on both days at 9.30am.

More than 50 quad bike racers will be taking part in the event, including the reigning King of Margate and ten times ACU British Quad Champion Paul Winrow, who will be looking to retain his title. He will be making his debut riding for Austrian KTM Factory team. He is likely to be pushed all the way by French sand specialist Jérome Bricheux, who is crossing the channel once again, along with a number of fellow European competitors.

More than 40 solo motorcross riders are expected to take part in the action, with Paul Winrow amongst them. In addition to the adult classes, the 200/250cc Youth Quads join the event once again, after the success of their first steps on Margate Main Sands last year. Harry Miller and team mate Jak Griffiths of Jaks Quads will be out in the sand, looking to lift the youth title, being chased all the way by many other budding future stars of the sport.

There will be three races per class each day, along with practice and Quad Qualifier races on Saturday morning. In addition to the three races in each class on the Sunday, there will also be the Dash for Cash finals in the Adult Quads and Solo, bringing an exciting conclusion to the weekend.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: "The quad bikes always make for a thrilling weekend of entertainment, with lots of exciting races over the two days. They always draw the crowds and now there's an additional reason to come along and see them in action, as they compete in the national championship. We're delighted that Margate is the starting point for that and I'm sure people will turn out to support the competitors in their first two races for that UK crown."

The event will be supported by a fairground and local market. To find out more, visit www.margatebeachcross.com

GRANTS TO HELP FILL UP EMPTY SHOPS

Grants of up to £2,500 are being offered to encourage businesses to move into vacant shops in the centres of Margate and Ramsgate.

The money, which has been given to Thanet District Council by the government, aims to boost town centres and bring empty shops back into use.

The Business Support Grants are limited and those applicants that best fit the criteria will have a better chance of funding. The grants can be used to fund a number of things, including the fit-out of the premises, buying assets such as equipment, and cleaning and decorating the premises.

Businesses must set up in property that has been empty for at least a month and will need to be accessible to the public and have a sound business plan. The money cannot be used for day to day management or administration costs and will be aimed at specific business types. Support is not available to high street chains or if public funding has already been used to refurbish the empty unit.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said: "This money gives us the chance to bring some of the empty shops in Margate and Ramsgate back into use. We want to see new facilities being provided for both residents and visitors, which will also bring much-needed jobs back into our town centres. We want to use this money to give small businesses a boost and, at the same time, stop empty shops becoming an eyesore. I'm sure this will be a popular scheme and we look forward to seeing lots of applications coming forward."

Applications must be made before any work starts. Applications forms are available at http://www.thanet.gov.uk/business.aspx You can find out more about the scheme and whether your business would be eligible by contacting Louise Askew, Economic Development Officer, on 01843 577178 or by e-mailing louise.askew@thanet.gov.uk

Zine Fair This Saturday! | 'History of a Time to Come' exhibition continues

S Mark Gubb and Road Kill
History of a Time to Come
+ Zine Fair
The Old Printworks, Bilton Square, Margate, CT9 1DX
http://cratespace.co.uk programme@cratespace.co.uk
Exhibition Opens: 19-21/2/2010 12-5pm
Zine Fair: Saturday 20 Feb 12-5pm
Free Entry

Zine fair this Saturday 12-5pm!
Zines from: A Typical Dutch Cat 88 Shades of Grey An Accident-Free guide to Amsterdam Brick Lane Collective Craig Scott Dan Singer Duif & Pigeon Errant Dog Family Wallet Girls Grumble Intercity Mainline Knock, Knock at Number 13 Lost in Haste Mail me - a small guide to Amsterdam People are Strange Postcard Road Kill Robot Rossebuurt Suck Me Beautiful You Pretty Things Artworks in print and artist publications from: Andy Malone Club Shepway Duck ‘n’ Cover Limbo Arts Lucy Harrison Plan 9 Rob McDonald
For further details see http://cratespace.co.uk

Also in East Kent:

06/02/10 Margate Ingoldsby gallery open the February Show
13/02/10 Margate Limbo continue their Dead Season Live Art programme with a live work by Anthony Schrag – Who will be challenging members of the public to wrestle him on Margate beach!! They are also hosting a free film screening in the evening featuring works by Michael Curran Wojciech Bruszewski Franko B Anne Course Jane Prophet George Barber James Unsworth
16/02/10 Canterbury Alturnertive have the private view for their 100 Journals project at the Herbert Read.
03/03/10 Margate Turner Contemporary run the second of artist Hamish Fulton’s group walks.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

MESSAGE SENT TO MARGATE CHARTER TRUSTEES

Please find below a message sent to 'my fellow' Margate Charter Trustees:

Dear Charter Trustees

I'm afraid I can't make tonight's meeting - I have an important TDC Planning Committee to prepare for and then attend.

However, I understand Margate Charter Trustees are in 'something of a pickle' following recent developments. I would argue strongly that what has happened recently is only the latest in a long line of appalling events that I have consistantly warned you all of, time and time again.

All was reasonably OK at the Margate Charter Trustees until my good friend and colleague Cllr. Doug Clark was democratically chosen as Mayor by the members. Despite winning the vote at the Mayor's request meeting and receiving well deserved praise, from the moment he was elected, some of those who didn't really agree with the majority decision made his year as Mayor an absolute misery for him presonally. Doug being the absolute gentleman he is, tried extremely hard to ignore the vendetta against him but all of us witnessed the seriously detramental effect it had on his health (at one point even collapsing at full council). Indeed, the nasty and spiteful vendetta has continued to this very day and consequently Doug has sadly not fully recovered even now.

I further warned Trustees not to go ahead with a 'Kangaroo court' where the vendetta mentioned was taken to new heights of absurdity, but the vendetta continued and the 'Kangaroo court' went ahead confirming my worst concerns about the organisation and selfish, nasty, motives of several Trustees.

Fact is, though I regularly attend civic events, dress smartly and respectfully and behave decently and respectfully, I'm afraid I cannot say that all other Trustees have always done the same. I have witnessed a Trustee, in full robes, so 'leglessly intoxicated' that they were hardly able to stand.

I stopped attending your formal (and I must say - over-secretive) meetings after I was personally and disgustingly verbally abused, goaded and threatened at one of the Charter Trustees own civic events at the Winter Gardens a couple of years ago. The Trustee who behaved so badly also threatened the elderly Mayor and used appalling language in front of my wife (who now finds herself as a Trustee*) for which he has never apologised.

I simply turned and walked away in disgust, but in a desperate attempt to cover up his own appalling behaviour the Trustee concerned then made outrageous allegations to the Police about those of us who were the victims of his disgusting outburst - all later proved to be utterly spureous.

Even worse, when another upstanding Charter Trustee informed the offending Trustee that his outburst was totally unacceptable and that he was therefore going to report him, that very brave Trustee was called a 'gutless bastard' and a series of attempts were made to also make him appear a liar.

Now the Trustees find themselves in one hell of a mess because of further repeatedly poor judgements. I believe your chosen Mayor, who has now pleaded guilty to two charges of animal cruelty, actually oversaw the 'Knagaroo court' I refered to earlier. I know he, like some others, was simply a puppet, but what goes around comes around.

I'm sorry I can't be there today - but I do sicerely hope you can start to clear up this whole appalling mess!

Kind regards

Clive

(Cllr Clive Hart) *incidently, when my wife became a Charter Trustee just a few weeks ago, she received a very rude welcome from another Trustee for which he has never apologised either.

PLANNED COUNCIL TAX INCREASE LOWEST FOR A DECADE

The lowest increase to Thanet District Council's share of the Council Tax in at least a decade, of just 2.46%, has been proposed.

That would mean an increase for the average household of just £5.13 a year, which means a rise of less than 10p per week for the vast majority of homes in Thanet, which fall into Bands A to C. The council is also forecasting rises in its part of the Council Tax of just 2.5% for the following four years.

This comes despite the grim financial climate, with the council budgeting for a 3% cut in the money it receives from central government in the three years from 2011/12. As a result, the council will need to save an estimated £6.3 million over the next five years.

The council has already seen its income decline by £762,000 in 2009/10, which has added to the pressure on the council's budget. This includes reductions in the income from parking, planning fees, land charges and bulky waste collections.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: "There are always pressures on the council's budget, but those pressures have been more intense than ever this year. We've already had to take swift action to deal with the reductions we've seen in our income levels over the past 12 months. Thanks to that prompt action, we've been able to produce a balanced budget, not just for 2010/11, but for the following four years as well. In all of those years, we're looking at an increase in our share of the Council Tax of no more than 2.5%, which I'm sure will be warmly welcomed by local people. Bearing in mind the pressures we're facing, that's no mean feat and I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the officers who've been able to help deliver this."

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Last weeks planning applications

Ed. The TDC planning website is one of the most bizarre websites I have ever come across in as much as the web addresses of the pages on it change after a few hours so you can’t publish links to them. If you want to look at any of the applications you need to go to the site and enter the application reference in the search box, this link takes you to the site http://www.ukplanning.com/thanet


11 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0044
JOLLY FARMER 3 MANSTON HIGH STREET MARGATE
current
11 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0068
FLAT 23 2-8 ATHELSTAN ROAD MARGATE CT92BA
current
11 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0101
GARAGES ADJACENT TO 143 HUGIN AVENUE BROADSTAIRS
current
10 Feb 2010
F/TH/09/1026
18-21 MARINE TERRACE, MARGATE, CT9 1XJ
current
10 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0091
30 ST. AUGUSTINES PARK RAMSGATE CT110DE
current
10 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0097
16 CHATHAM STREET RAMSGATE CT117PP
current
10 Feb 2010
L/TH/10/0055
FLAT 5,39 BELVEDERE ROAD, BROADSTAIRS, CT10 1PF
current
10 Feb 2010
L/TH/10/0087
FLAT 1 30 HAWLEY SQUARE MARGATE CT91PH
current
08 Feb 2010
A/TH/10/0082
NEW LOOK, WESTWOOD CROSS, MARGATE ROAD, BROADSTAIRS, CT10 2BF
current
08 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0027
RAMSGATE METHODIST CHURCH MARDRES STREET CT118QD
current
08 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0060
14 GLOUCESTER AVENUE BROADSTAIRS CT102HP
current
08 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0064
ARGYLE HOTEL 63 WESTGATE BAY AVENUE WESTGATE-ON-SEA CT88SW
current
08 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0080
23 WESTERN ESPLANADE BROADSTAIRS CT101TD
current
08 Feb 2010
F/TH/10/0081
11A THE VALE, BROADSTAIRS, CT10 1RB
current

FORUM & COUNCILLORS BACK RESIDENTS (EVEN IF THANET DISTRICT COUNCIL DOESN'T)

Thanet District Council should complete refurbishment of the Oval Arena in Cliftonville, start to maintain the venue properly for the future and provide more long-term support for Cliftonville Residents Association. That was the conclusion of a debate at last night's Cliftonville West Community Forum.

A proposal to apply for village green status for the Oval lawns as a tribute to the CRA's long and hard work in the area also met with support from the ward councillors and other resident and voluntary groups from across Cliftonville West.

Ward councillor Clive Hart said "several years ago now, Cliftonville Residents Association raised funding and refurbished the bandstand and the inner level of the arena, but TDC, the venue owners, have done nothing to help finish the project and just getting them to maintain the arena is proving increasingly difficult year on year.

Among many other events, Cliftonville Residents Association provide the - three times 'best in Kent' Farmers Market's - and the popular series of summer Sunday concerts for local residents.

As ward councillors Linda Aldred, Doug Clark and I have consistently warned leading officers and the Chief. Executive at TDC that the residents ability to continue their excellent work is in jeopardy due to the lack of real support from the council.

To plan their series of summer concerts the residents need a safe and clean arena and funding in advance to meet the cost of booking performers, but the council appears unable or unwilling to provide either. The lack of support for an organisation doing so much for Cliftonville is simply appalling".

Following Monday evenings meeting, the ward councillors Linda Aldred, Doug Clark and Clive Hart immediately contacted the TDC Chief. Executive Richard Samuel demanding swift action on the Oval Arena and urgent support for Cliftonville Residents Association.


Published by Cllrs. Aldred, Clark & Hart - 44 Northdown Road, Cliftonville, CT9 2RW.

Monday, 15 February 2010

K6 PHONE BOX - IT'S GOT TO GO BUT NOT TOO FAR PLEASE

IT'S GOT TO GO

BUT NOT TOO FAR PLEASE

A red (K6) phone box in a tucked away corner of Norfolk Road in Cliftonville has 'got to go - but not too far' say ward councillors Linda Aldred, Doug Clark and Clive Hart.

The telephone box stands on what was originally the side entrance to the St Georges Hotel but following the hotels demolition it is now left secluded on the corner of an empty area that has been boarded up. For the past two years the ward councillors have been negotiating with TDC and BT to get the telephone box removed, following reports from residents that it was often being used for all kinds of illicit activities, including drug dealing.

Cllr. Clive Hart said "locally, BT originally wanted several thousand pounds to remove the telephone box and finding the funding was proving difficult. However, it now looks like we can move it from the old St Georges site and keep it for the town for just one pound".

The councillors discovered a national scheme on the internet where BT were allowing organisations or individuals to take some of the last remaining historic red K6 phone boxes for a one pound payment, and Margate Charter Trustees then offered to help.

Justice of the Peace and Chair of the Cliftonville PACT, Cllr. Doug Clark said "we love this piece of street furniture but it's secluded position in Norfolk Road made it very difficult to use it for it's proper purpose and unfortunately, ideal for all the wrong purposes".

Cllr. Linda Aldred said "we sincerely hope an innovative way to keep the red telephone box locally can be found, but it really needs to be in a prominent position for all to safely enjoy our little bit of telecommunications heritage".

BT have now removed the payphone apparatus from inside the phone box in Cliftonville and a planning application has recently been received by TDC to site a K6 type phone box on the stone pier harbour arm in Margate, together with advertisements and a parking meter (application no: F/TH/10/0032).

Note: Seventy-thousand K6 phone boxes were installed in Britain’s streets. It reigned unchallenged as the public call-box until the 1960s, when incessant vandalism and the high cost of maintenance led the Post Office, and subsequently British Telecom, to commission a new generation of more accessible phone boxes.

Published by Cllrs. Linda Aldred, Doug Clark & Clive Hart - 44 Northdown Road, Cliftonville.

Friday, 12 February 2010

HOUSING INSULT

TDC REPORT INSULTS ITS OWN RESIDENTS!
Council tenants are simply not clever enough to vote on the future management of their own homes - that is the view taken in a report tabled for the Conservative TDC Cabinet (now to be re-run next Tuesday).

The last minute report, hastily produced just before Thursday's cabinet meeting, totally ignores the expressed wishes of the TDC Overview & Scrutiny Committee, and council resident / leaseholder representatives.

Labour Group Leader Cllr. Clive Hart said "over more than six years as a councillor at both District and County level I've heard some extremely arrogant opinions voiced, but nothing comes anywhere near this report. Despite the pleading of residents representatives and strong views expressed by members of the TDC Overview and Scrutiny committee, this report seeks to overturn their request for a ballot of residents on significant management changes affecting TDC's own residents".

Cllr. Iris Johnston said " I was already concerned that mostly the views of Conservative Scrutiny Chairman, Cllr Bob Bayford were sent on to the Overview & Scrutiny meeting of 4th February. Tenant’s are quite rightly concerned about the long term future of Council Housing under the Tories and MUST have a ballot before they find themselves in a situation where their homes could be privatized. I would urge tenants to attend the Council meeting on 18th February where the final decision will be made, and help Labour ensure tenants are at least balloted on this matter".

Recommendations in the report:

5.1 Members are asked to endorse the consultation programme that has been developed in conjunction with tenants’ representatives from all four councils.

5.2 Members are recommended to reject the recommendation of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel to hold a ballot of tenants in Thanet
Full report:

http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/Published/C00000151/M00001653/$$Supp2422dDocPackPublic.pdf

Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 2RW.

TDC CONSERVATIVE CABINET SHAMBLES

Following a day of utter confusion at Thanet District Council it has now finally been decided that Thursday evenings Conservative Cabinet meeting was not quorate and will have to be re-run on Tuesday 16th February. All decisions made were completely invalid!

Leader of the Opposition at TDC Cllr Clive Hart said "I honestly can't believe how poorly the Conservative Cabinet is handling matters at TDC.

Starting early this morning and continuing throughout the day I've been debating with leading officers conflicting reports as to what was actually agreed at last night's Conservative Cabinet meeting and then at 4.30pm today I'm suddenly informed there were insufficient cabinet members at last night's meeting, so it was not quorate and will now have to be re-run all over again next Tuesday.

Did Cllr Ezekiel really chair a whole meeting that he knew to be completely invalid? It absolutely beggars belief".

Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 2RW.

EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF CABINET

An extraordinary meeting of Cabinet has been called for Tuesday 16 February at 5.30pm in the Council Chamber.

The meeting has been called, as the Cabinet was unable to carry out the business on the agenda during their scheduled meeting on Thursday 11 February. Because of the exceptionally bad weather, this resulted in not enough Cabinet members being present, so the meeting was inquorate.

As a result, it has therefore been agreed that an extraordinary meeting will be held to consider the business from the previous meeting. This includes the council's Budget for 2010/11 and proposals to share services with other councils in East Kent.

WASTE AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS UNDERWAY * FRIDAY 12

Waste and recycling collections across Thanet are now underway. (Friday 12 February)
The intention is that the crews will collect what they can today. However, some pavements and side roads remain treacherous, so it is unlikely that all collections will be made today, as the crews have to move much more slowly than normal.
If your rubbish or recycling is not collected today, please take your wheeled bins or black bags back in and put them out again next Friday (19 February). For residents who use black bags, please do not leave black bags out on pavements.
If anyone on the wheeled bin rounds does miss their collection today, they should put both their bins out next Friday. Priority next week will be given to picking up from any homes that miss today's collection, although the council will be working to ensure that both bins are picked up.
For those who missed their collection yesterday (Thursday 11 February), they should put out their rubbish and recycling next Thursday (18 February). Those on wheeled bins rounds should put both their bins out next Thursday. Priority will be given to ensuring that those homes that missed their waste collection this week have that taken next week, although the council will be working to ensure that both bins are picked up.
From the following week (Thursday 25 and Friday 26 February), collections will return to normal, as per the wheeled bin calendar. You can check these details on the council's website at http://www.thanet.gov.uk/databases/refuse/

SHADOW UPDATE - 11/02/2010

SHADOW UPDATE

(11/02/2010)

Labour Shadow Team comments & questions for Thursday evenings TDC Cabinet meeting.

INTRODUCTION - Labour Group Leader - Cllr. Clive Hart.
As per an agreement made this morning between myself and the TDC Chief Executive concerning his and the leaders wishes to keep proceedings to a minimum this evening and to prevent unnecessary journeys in appalling weather, the comments below, sent in advance from Shadow Cabinet members, were to be presented to the TDC Cabinet at this evenings meeting.
Nevertheless, I cannot stress enough just how significant tonight's Cabinet meeting agenda is in exposing the desperate situation that the current Conservative administration has created.
At agenda item 4 below, Cllr David Green explains the Conservative financial mismanagement that has occurred despite enormous help from the Government.
Worse still, the Conservative's inability to face up to emerging problems over the last six years has meant that last minute panic has now hit TDC with proposals to move the management of a whole raft of services away from TDC. Any argument that people in Thanet will receive poorer services, jobs will be lost from our area or that democratic control will be diminished are met with derision by a blinkered administration that is simply clutching at straws with their hasty and poorly thought through proposals.
The current Conservative administration is gambling with our council tax, our jobs and our District Council.
Cllr. Clive Hart - Phone: 01843 298770

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AGENDA ITEM 4 - 2010-11 BUDGET & MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL PLAN 2010-15.
Cllr David Green - Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance & Corporate Services.
Thanet Labour Councilors would like to congratulate the officers concerned on a clear and skillful report, free of the anti government rhetoric that has been present in past years.

This year, is the third year of a three year settlement on Formula Grant. This years 1.1% increase, first announced in Jan 08 was confirmed in Nov 09. It is with some relief that we welcome the Government sticking to this increase in funding under current economic conditions and against Conservative party pressure to cut funding immediately.

The Formula Grant is by no means the only Government help for Thanet, and this year sees an increase Community Cohesion funding from £132k to £205k, Working Neighbourhood funding from £1,482k to £1614k and two new grants for Climate change work of £23k and Economic Assessment of £6K. None of these are ring fenced, giving the Council welcome freedom to use them as it wishes, something that this Council and others have argued for.

Tables 4 and 5 in the report list various other Government Grants amounting to £963.2 in revenue and £7.620k in capital. Admittedly, these are essential ring fenced, but as the report says “they still represent excellent value for the Council as they enable additional resources to be made available to fund activities, projects and investments. They include, £200k from a grant from English Heritage for Margate Arts Culture Heritage, £90k from SEEDA for Margate Renewal Partnership, and increased grant from the Regional Housing Board for decent homes in the private sector from £795k to £1212k, the first £1,000k of a £5.500k grant for Margate Coast protection and £4,000k Heritage Lottery funding for Dreamland.

Strangely, not mentioned in the report are the capital investment in Margate from SEEDA represented by the empty Marks and Spencer site, the massive investment of both capital and revenue from the Arts Council in Turner Contemporary and the capital investment through the sea change programme.

The Sea Change programme has benefited 32 seaside resorts including Margate where it has provided the bulk of the match funding required for the Heritage Lottery grant, and there has been £38 million in extra funding-money that would not be available if there were ever a Conservative Government.

Regional development agencies are helping coastal towns including Margate, to fulfill their economic potential-again, RDAs that would be abolished under a Conservative Government.

This list still does not exhaust the major sources of funding receive by Thanet Council from the Labour Government. Over £4,000k has been received by TDC from the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive (LABGI). We have criticised the way this money has been used in past years. This has not invested in spend to save scheme schemes or vital one off projects to improve the future economic viability. Instead £1,890K of the total has been used to shore up the base budget and another £969k on Corporate Improvement projects unrelated to improving economic viability.

Two years ago and again last year, the Labour Group warned that the current administration needed to regain control over employee costs. That it has demonstrably failed to do this means that despite the monies flowing into the Council from Government described in detail above, and despite the above inflation Council Tax rises and increases in charges for services that we have seen, we appear to be in constant budget crises.

With a net base budget of £23,109k, the current salary bill is £18,000k plus £1.4000 employers national insurance contribution, £2,000k for current pension contribution and £2,000k for .. There is every reason to believe that the current provision for pensions is inadequate and we question whether the proposed contribution to an earmarked reserve is adequate.

Each year we have been promised a number of savings in order to balance the budget. Each year we express skepticism, and each year we are proved correct. This year, only £261k of the already inadequate £741k of savings promised last year are now consider achievable. This year we are promised another £400k of savings through a new contract with staff, cutting overtime, agency staff and consultants, and cutting staff perks, all measures that we have advocated over many years and have been ignored.

Last year, we warned that the Councils reserves were becoming dangerously low. It is generally accepted that a prudent level of reserves for the Council is around 10% of the net service revenue budget, £2.311m, This year the opening balance in the general reserve is predicted to be £1.883m, or 8.16%. Last year we were promised action to restore the level of reserves. This has not occurred. In fact it is proposed to take £1.8m from various earmarked reserves reducing them from £4.841m to £3.095m. As well as the obvious risks in this a unforeseen disaster situations, reserves also provide the essential buffer to aid cash flow. There have already been signs of cash flow problems, with officer being told not to spend agreed budgets, and spending on various grant schemes being held over from year to year.

In conclusion, TDC’s budget is far from healthy due to mismanagement over a number of years. The situation is gradually becoming more critical, and this at a time when we are told funding will tighten.

The elections next year and a new administration cannot come soon enough.

Cllr. David Green - Phone 01843 591495

Cllr Iris Johnston - Shadow Cabinet Member for Community Services (Housing).
Following a meeting with senior officers and members of the Thanet Disability Forum I would ask Cabinet to ring fence all monies designated for disability facility grants in the coming budget. A great deal of distress has been caused by the removal of the £2000 last September from last year’s £4000 allocation.
Residents who believed they would have had essential work carried out ‘within 6 months’ were later told at least 18 months. This has caused a great deal of distress.
I would also ask for a review of the charges and competence of the work on some properties and for pressure to be put on all Housing Associations to fund their own adaptations.
Cllr. Iris Johnston - Phone: 01843 299207
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AGENDA ITEM 5 - SHARED SUPPORT SERVICES FOR THANET, CANTERBURY, DOVER & SHEPWAY COUNCILS.
Cllr Clive Hart - Leader of the Opposition.
Firstly I would like to give sincere praise to Donna Reed, the Director of Customer Services, whom I know to be an excellent officer for this council. Please understand, none of my comments are aimed at her personally, indeed, I believe Donna has been presented with a virtually impossible task by the current administration.
The following matters will be the subject of further debate at full council so I will be very brief at this point:
We in the Labour Group have serious concerns about the proposed joint services initiatives. Much of the process has been, and still is being, extremely rushed and this has led to further concerns regarding the models of governance and management systems being proposed. Through the information provided to date, we are not at all convinced of any financial savings and we have grave concerns about the serious loss of democratic control over these services for the future.
I attended the last scrutiny meeting where these issues were discussed and I was absolutely shocked by the lack of detail available whenever anyone asked a really pertinent question - always 'something more to come' or 'detail will follow later'. I can only describe what was outlined at Scrutiny as 'the contents of several bowls of spaghetti thrown high in the air, with the desperate hope of catching all of it in one larger bowl on its way down'. Just give that a try sometime and see what happens.
It appears that the current administration is totally incapable of managing these services effectively and simply cannot wait to offload the responsibility. As always, ratepayers will pay for any mistaken decisions made in such a desperate panic!
Cllr. Clive Hart - Phone: 01843 298770
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AGENDA ITEM 6 - LANDLORD SERVICES - JOINT WORKING PROPOSALS.
Cllr Iris Johnston - Shadow Cabinet Member for Community Services (Housing).
I would ask Cabinet to support in full the recommendations from Scrutiny from 4th February to arrange a vote of all Council tenants before we take the case to the Secretary of State. It has always been my view that we cannot prove that our tenants wish to join an East Kent shared housing landlord scheme unless we put this to a ballot for a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Dane Valley tenant’s representative Mrs Maureen Thoroughgood made it very clear in her statement to Scrutiny that she should not give her own reading of the tenants views and a ballot was essential. We should honour her and Scrutiny’s wishes.
I should also point out that Councillor Bayford’s synopsis of our working party’s discussion was not quite accurate.
I also feel it was important to have invited Unison to Scrutiny on 4th February and I understand when I questioned why they were not in attendance that they had not been formally invited. I would like to have heard their views.
Cllr. Iris Johnston - Phone: 01843 299207
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AGENDA ITEM 8 - BUDGET MONITORING REPORT.

Cllr Peter Campbell - Shadow Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Economic Development.

Page 164 Risks Para 8.1

Would the cabinet member responsible for the Port & Harbour, Cllr John Kirby, please explain why on the 26th January at Overview & Scrutiny committee he failed to mention, in his presentation to the committee, the meeting of the 19th January which determined the detailed level of required capital & revenue spend at the Port & Harbour. Indeed when pressed by myself for some paper record of the spend required he stated that, no detailed costs have yet been apportioned & no paper trail yet exists. Was he at the meeting of the 19th January if so was the detailed spend determined by memory only or did he mislead the overview & scrutiny committee. If he was not at the meeting why not as this is within his area of responsibility.
Would he also inform us of “the various assumptions” that have been made to source the £2.5Million funding gap that now exists.

Cllr Campbell's questions require response, but he is prepared to ask the same question again when full council considers this matter.

Cllr. Peter Campbell - Phone: 01843 585738


Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 2RW.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

WEATHER DISRUPTIONS TO COUNCIL SERVICES

Severe winter weather has hit some of Thanet District Council's services, with Thanet's Gateway Plus closing earlier than usual.

Waste and recycling collections have been suspended today (Thursday 11 February).

Thanet's Gateway Plus, which was due to be open until 8pm tonight, as it is every Thursday night, will now be closing at 5.30pm instead. It is planned that it will re-open at 9am tomorrow morning (Friday 12 February) as usual.

The council's telephone switchboard will remain open as usual until 5.30pm tonight. Tonight's planned Cabinet meeting, which will discuss the budget and plans to share some services with other councils in East Kent will take place, will go ahead as planned, at 7pm.

The council's parks and grounds maintenance team have been working under the direction of Kent County Council's highways section today, helping to clear footpaths in the busiest public areas.

ERA Talk cancelled

The talk tonight (11th Feb) has been cancelled due to the weather conditions.Vera Elliott will hopefully tell us about how to achieve a Sustainable Environment next month on 11th March.

WASTE AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS SUSPENDED - THURSDAY 11 FEBRUARY

Waste and recycling collections across Thanet have been suspended today (Thursday 11 February), due to the poor weather conditions.

The heavy snow overnight has left both main roads and side roads across the district exceptionally treacherous. Some of the council's waste and recycling collection crews have been unable to make it into the depot this morning from their homes, due to the snow.

Conditions are so bad that the council has been unable to get even the smaller refuse trucks out on the roads that it was able to use during the last period of bad weather in January. A skeleton crew is being kept on hand and, if conditions improve, these small trucks will go out to collect black sacks.

Residents who were due to have either their rubbish or recycling collected today are asked to take their wheeled bins or black bags back into their properties and put it out again next Thursday (18 February). For residents who use black bags, a double collection will be undertaken next Thursday, so householders are asked not to leave black bags out on pavements.

For those on the wheeled bin rounds who have missed their collections today, they are being asked to put both their bins out next Thursday. Priority will be given to ensuring that those homes who missed their waste collection this week have it taken next week, although the council will be working to ensure that both bins are picked up. From the following week (Thursday 25 February), collections will return to normal, as per the wheeled bin calendar. You can check these details on the council's website at http://www.thanet.gov.uk/databases/refuse/

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "Once again, our waste and recycling crews have done their best to get into work, but the weather has not allowed them to get out on the rounds. As many people across Thanet will be aware, the conditions out on the roads are pretty treacherous and we simply cannot risk sending out our refuse trucks in these conditions. As we've said before, the last thing we want is an accident and I'm sure residents can understand that. I'd like to thank them for their patience during this time. As soon as it is safe for our teams to go out, they will be back out collecting again."

Waste and recycling staff will be coming into work tomorrow morning (Friday 12 February), but there is some doubt over whether waste collections tomorrow will be possible, as conditions will need to significantly improve during the course of today. A final decision will be made tomorrow morning. Updates will be put on the council's website at www.thanet.gov.uk and given to the local media as soon as a decision is made.