Thursday, 28 November 2013


A series of on-line polls have been conducted asking one simple question – Is Thanet District Council Fit For Purpose?

The question was posed in eight Thanet on-line forum and 402 people responded. 380 (94.5%) said ‘no’ to the question whilst 22 (5.5%) said ‘yes’.

The question was posed after Thanet Councils Standards Committee rejected a report from Independent Members on 21st November, 2013 stating that the public had lost trust in the organisation.

‘What Absolute Nonsense’
Leader of the Council, Clive Hart, said “I’m pretty certain that virtually every councillor will agree that there is now just one particular councillor whose anarchistic tendencies and total disrespect for Chairmen, the constitution and procedures is trying to bring the council and every one of us into disrepute.” He went on to say “in relation to the wording - councillors are ‘distrustful of the public’. What absolute nonsense!” Responding to being out of touch with residents of Thanet, Cllr Hart said, “It’s nothing short of an insult to describe Labour Group members as in any way ‘distant from the realities of peoples lives’.”

Cllr Michelle Fenner responded by saying, “blaming all Cllrs for the misconduct of a handful is PLAIN WRONG”. She went on to say “The real true culprit in all of this, is the austerity policy from Central Government”
Speaking after the resignation of the Independent members , Green Councillor Ian Driver said, “This unfortunate event will serve to strengthen the public perception that Thanet councillors do not listen to their constituents and are out of touch, unresponsive and defensive. Instead of being an opportunity for Thanet Council and its councillors to move forward and become more open and democratic, the meeting last night took a big step backwards. This was a classic case of shooting the messenger.”
Conservative Group leader, Cllr Bob Bayford stated: “The report reflects very accurately the fears of members of this group, who believe the council’s reputation is in real difficulty. I pledge both my personal and my group’s support for steps which will change the public perception of council affairs.”

‘Councillors Need To Listen More’
Responding to the poll, Cllr Chris Wells said, “Whilst any survey must be treated with caution, it is hard not to recognise the similar responses found within the independent standards report in this one. And draw the conclusion that damning their view of public perception of the council is dangerous, simply underlining most people's fears. Cllrs need to listen to public views more frequently, more consistently, and more humbly in future.

Green Party Councillor Ian Driver said “This astonishing figure lends support to the Report of the Independent Standards Committee which was criticised and rejected by senior councillors just last week. It's clear to me that big changes are needed at the Council.” He went on to say his opinions will be made public in coming weeks

Councillor Julie Marson said, “As a member of Standards Committee present at the meeting, I spoke against the self pity and denial displayed by the Labour cabinet and members. I did not vote to return the report to the independent members and said that instead of trying to blame everyone else, we should be discussing how to improve the council's reputation in the eyes of the public. I remain of that view.”

Councillor Roz Binks stated that cross-party committees generally operate without a problem and that “most councillors hold their positions for the right reasons - to contribute something to their community”, but “there seems to have been an acceptance amongst some councillors that personal and often pretty much slanderous slurs are permissible within Council Chambers.” She goes on to say, “Cllr Fenner's statement is absurd - you can't blame austerity for lack of manners or for the spiteful comments, verbal slurs and downright lies that have been traded across the council chamber on many occasions.”

Other councillors were asked to respond but did not comment.

Thanet Councils reputation has suffered a number of blows in the past year with the announcement that there were £3.4M losses over TransEuropa Ferries, £2.7M paying for road improvements around EKO land, a potential Judicial Review over the lease to The Pavilion in Ramsgate, the former leader of the council being jailed for misconduct in public office, a court case over live animal export in December which could result in payments of over £1M in damages, on going problems with the Royal Sands development and the roll out of a new waste recycling scheme which has resulted in numerous homes without waste collection.

The Independent members of the public who produced the report resigned after Councillors responses and were unavailable for comment.

The question was asked in eight on-line polls: Eastcliffe Richard blog spot, and Facebook pages/groups In Touch With Thanet (x2), Save Margate A & E, Ice Rink In Thanet, Friends of Ramsgate Seafront, Broadstairs! & Ramsgate


  1. hmm, "polls" in 8 grps, all populated by the same whining nimbys. Unsurprising that those same whiners voted on every poll. What a meaningless waste of time, that proves absolutely nothing,

    1. John, Don’t go out and ask a dozen people on the street if the think the council is fit for purpose or corrupt, just go out and ask what they think of the council and tell me how many of them tell you it’s unfit for purpose or corrupt.

    2. I wonder how many people anywhere in the country love their council mid term...

      Certainly pretty much everyone I know is bored to death with people whining over every attempt to make any progress in Thanet.

      I wonder whether any of those bandying accusations of corruption will ever produce any evidence to prove their claims, or whether it will always simply continue be a case of keep shouting it long and loud enough, and hope those not bight enough to think from themselves will simply swallow it, and parrot it to others.

    3. John you have missed the point here, this isn’t about councillors being corrupt, the fit for purpose is a bit of an open question admittedly, but corrupt I concede that there will always a few corrupt individuals in any large organisation, but basically I doubt there is large scale corruption.

      What this is about is the public’s perception of TDC and what is getting people, myself included, very annoyed is that pretty much everyone in Thanet is aware of this public perception problem, which certainty extends back the 27 years since I came back to live and trade here. Yes. Annoyed – very annoyed that the council shot the messenger, also exceedingly annoyed that this sends out the message that nothing is to be done about this problem.

    4. Perception in Ramsgate in particular is bad as the residents of this town see money being spent in Margate (Turner, Old town, and flood defenses) but we see no perceived benefits over here. For instance Project Motorhouse has taken 3 years to get off the ground, Albion House has taken 2 years for the new owner to get keys from TDC, and the old marina car park has been on the disposal register for at least 2 years without being advertised appropriately.
      It is about time some action is taken and there needs to be a shake up instead of Margate 1st, 2nd and 3rd

    5. Not at all Micahel. The "polls" are fatally flawed, and you amongst continue to bandy accusations of corruption around without the benefit of the slightest shred of proof.

      I doubt know what the usual suspects think these laughable and fatally flawed "polls" prove, but they only really serve to demonstrate how far they are willing to misrepresent the truth.

      No James YOUR perception is that Margate gets more money, you represent nobody, and have absolutely no evidence whatsoever to demonstrate that anyone beyond the usual suspects shares your inaccurate whining.

  2. Why you are there name all the people that voted so we can see your "investigative skills" in action. Be interested in how you "know" who voted on Eastcliff poll as it was anonymous

  3. Sorry james, but your post is incomprehensible. Would you like to try and write it properly so I may properly address your desperate attempts to lend credibility to these clearly fatally flawed "polls"...

  4. The groups displayed an even distribution of the population. As you would know if you were around here John, there are a number of issues at the moment - how have you found the new recycling scheme? Is it working for your house? The sample size was 80% of the survation sample that has just made national news.

  5. You saying sorry that is a first.
    "all populated by the same whining nimbys" as the people responding to Eastcliff Richard were all voting anonymously how do you "know" they are the same people that voted on other polls?
    There is that simple enough for you?

  6. If we are to talk polls, interesting that 75% of the councillors who responded to the poll indicating that councillors should listen were Conservatives, 25% Green and 0% Labour. Does that mean that not one Labour councillor at TDC is actually concerned about public opinion?

    I am not a big fan of polls, unless conducted by professionals and over a properly representative cross section of a community. As those of us that follow the blogs know, the same group of names crop up in the comments around the Thanet sites, so one poll is very likely to reflect another in its result and how truly representative is it? That said, where the majority is so large, I do think the council should take it on board and do everything possible to improve communication.

  7. William I think you have hit the nail on the head. Despite local consevative history being somewhat cloudy to say the least, there are clearly moves to distance themselves and become more user friendly. The Labour Party on the other hand appear autocratic almost dictatorial but totally incompetent, with their members not caring a jot for public opinion. Arrogance at it's best.

  8. Paul, it might be the incompetence that is feeding both the bluster and the secrecy. To put it crudely, if you make enough noise folk might not notice you just broke wind where, "sorry about that but had baked beans for supper," might go down better.

  9. From personal experience I have twice as a resident tried to contact my two labour ward councillors I have "e" mailed phoned and written a letter and never had the slightest inkling of a reply I am only five minutes walk from the two of them I also spoke to Will Scoby a few weeks back no answer as yet so have moved on to the Tories but will not hold my breath.

    1. Stargazer, no idea where you live, but I always get back to people in my ward even if there is little I can do sometimes. Hopefully you will get a response from the Conservative you have contacted though you do not mention if they are representing your ward. Protocol makes it difficult if not, for it is normal procedure, when getting a query from elsewhere, to pass it on to the appropriate councillor. Try writing to the appropriate party leader if your ward councillors are ignoring you.

  10. John, May I enquire please if your 'comments' are aimed at me?

  11. Ow bless, poor ole james has to be protected by the grown ups who have to make sure he's not humiliated TOO much.


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