Sunday, 6 November 2011

Laura Sandys: are you really serious about splitting Margate in half?

At the Boundary Review Commission meeting in Maidstone last week we were astonished to hear what the MP for South Thanet had to say about the re-organisation of parliamentary constituencies in this area.
She spoke enthusiastically about the strong links between Little Stour and Ashstone and Ramsgate. According to her, it would be perfectly acceptable to exclude Salmestone from the new Margate and Ramsgate constituency, and not to include either Garlinge or Westbrook!
The QEQM hospital is in Salmestone. It has an A&E department and maternity service. This hospital serves the Thanet community, including Garlinge and Westbrook.
Can you imagine the new Margate Constituency without the QEQM? Without Margate Football Club? Without Margate Cricket Club? Without Hartsdown Technology College? Even without the Margate cemetery and Thanet crematorium?
No doubt Ms. Sandys was being very selective about what she calls ‘community links’.
What is shocking is that our current MP for South Thanet does not seem to want to represent the whole community of Margate and yet is prepared to get rid of significant areas of it in favour of Sandwich, Little Stour and Ashstone.
The proposal from the Labour Party is more logical and respectful of real community ties. Indeed we suggested that Garlinge and Westbrook be included in the new Margate and Ramsgate constituency together with Salmestone.
These wards form an integral part of Margate and share its geographical character as seaside suburbs.
As part of Thanet District Council, they benefit from national, regional and local authorities policies and initiatives.
Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate benefit from policies directed at economic and social regeneration for coastal towns with high indices of social and economic deprivation, with higher than regional averages for unemployment, health and poor housing.
Linking the 3 towns has the advantage that these initiatives can be applied seamlessly.
It is therefore important to recognise the cohesive effect on the whole Margate community of including Garlinge and Westbrook in its constituency as well as Salmestone. There are strong cultural links between these 3 wards and Margate, as the Margate community is closely-knit.
We also think that the proposed constituency name of ‘Margate and Ramsgate’ denies a significant place to Broadstairs.
Would it not be more fitting to call this new constituency: ‘Thanet Coastal Towns’?
As for Little Stour & Ashstone and Sandwich, we agree that they are linked and should remain together. They should not be included with Ramsgate and Margate, and certainly not to the detriment of Garlinge, Westbrook and Salmestone.
We strongly urge residents to write to the Boundary Commission (ADD ADDRESS) supporting the inclusion of the Margate Wards of Westbrook and Garlinge and keeping Salmestone in the proposed new constituency of Margate & Ramsgate as they form an integral part of Margate and Thanet.

Michelle Fenner and Alan Poole (Labour Party)


  1. This is pretty thin stuff from Labour. It looks like a draft rather than the finished article.

    Salmestone is part of the proposed Margate/Ramsgate seat. Would it matter if it wasnt? As far as I know, hospitals and schools dont discriminate on the basis of which Parliamentary seat they are in...

    What about Westgate? If Westbrook is included because its part of historic Margate then why not Westgate? Its quite possible Sandwich may drop off the Margate/Ramsgate seat and Westbrook included. The final positions are going to end up with big questions anyway given the size of Thanet...

  2. The main point being made is that the boundary commission uses the idea of community links to decide which wards go where. If we are looking at community links then Salmestone, Garlinge and Westbrook are all directly linked to Margate, while Sandwich and Little Stour and Ashstone are part of a different local authority. There are links between Sandwich and Thanet, but there are much stronger links from Salmestone, Garlinge and Westbrook to Margate. How can we have a Margate and Ramsgate seat whereby half of the wards that make up Margate are actually in a different constituency?

    (Agreed that Westgate should also be part of this because of its links with Margate, but then the constituency will get too big for the specifications.)

  3. Local links should definitely be taken into account but they are not the primary reason for this review. Given Labour's article last month on the "shrinking isle", adding more wards - even on the grounds of local links - might make the seat too large for the specifications which you are clearly aware of.

    With this in mind, has local Labour tried to work out the maths in removing Sandwich and adding Westbrook and Garlinge to the proposed seat? It would be genuinely interesting to see the analysis thats you've done to come to the proposed seat. Again, Salmestone is already part of the proposed Margate/Ramsgate seat.


Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive and anonymous derogatory comments about real people will be deleted. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.