Monday, 28 April 2014
The document is published here as a web page http://thanet.gov.uk/publications/peer-review/peer-review/ and here as a pdf http://thanet.gov.uk/media/1496880/Thanet-CPC-Final-Letter-280414.pdf
Thanet District Council has now received the final report after it commissioned a Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Review in March 2014.
Peer Review is a voluntary process offered by the LGA which seeks to benefit councils through constructive feedback from peers in other local authorities. Nearly a third of councils in the UK have undergone this process since 2011.
The council invited the LGA’s Peer Review team, made up of Councillors and senior officers from other councils, for an on-site visit between 11 – 13 March.
The Review focused on:
- understanding the local context and priority setting
- financial planning
- political and managerial leadership
- governance and decision making
- organisational capacity
For Thanet, there was also a request that the team also looked at the Council’s approach to Economic Development and its customer services strategy as these are priority areas for the council.
The purpose of a Peer Review is to help the council improve and to ensure there is capacity to continue to deliver local priorities in the current financial climate.
Chief Executive of Thanet District Council, Sue McGonigal said: ‘The Peer Review was an important opportunity to gain a valuable external perspective on the council as a whole. The team visited on-site and interviewed a wide range of different stakeholders, Councillors and staff to gain a 360 degree view of the organisation.
‘We’re grateful for all those who took part as this process has helped us identify the council’s strengths, highlight areas for improvement and the constructive feedback in this report will help inform our future plans.
‘We’re putting together an action plan to take forward the LGA’s recommendations and are confident that this process will help us to make positive changes as part of our commitment to continuous improvement and to make the council a better organisation overall.’
The peer review report is available to view on the council’s website.
Residents can have their say on how Margate should be governed in the future at a meeting at 7pm on Friday 9 May in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, CT9 1XZ.
A public meeting is to be held by the council in May to give residents the opportunity to discuss the options available to them for the future local governance of the unparished areas of Margate. These areas include Margate Central, Westbrook, Westgate, Garlinge, Palm Bay and Cliftonville.
This ‘Community Governance Review’ is being undertaken to give residents the opportunity to choose what type of local governance they would prefer for Margate. The town is presently the only unparished town in Thanet and is currently governed locally by the Margate Charter Trustees.
Some of the other options available include: Parish/Town Councils, Community Forums, Community Development Trusts, Neighbourhood Management, Residents Associations and Community Associations. At the session the review process and options will be explained by the Democratic Services team who will then answer any questions.
Full information about the review consultation process, the options for local governance and how to respond to the consultation can be found on the council’s website www.thanet.gov.uk/speakup
The full review will take place in three stages. This initial consultation is stage one of the review. Stage two will see residents’ responses considered by the council’s Boundary and Electoral Arrangements Working Party and draft recommendations made. Stage three will involve another public consultation on the draft recommendations and, informed by the results, final recommendations made to Full Council on 4 December 2014.
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
Thanet District Council is progressing with plans to create a world class leisure attraction at the Dreamland site in Margate.
The council, which owns the entire Dreamland site in Margate, plans to develop the whole site for leisure use and has assembled a funding package to bring forward the first stage of Dreamland’s restoration.
As the successful operation of an amusement park requires specialist technical expertise, the council is now looking to progress an open procurement process, to identify a suitable operating company to run the park.
An outline of this process is being taken to Cabinet on Thursday 1 May.
The council is working towards re-opening the first phase of the park in 2015 with a restored Scenic Railway, thrilling historic rides and top quality food and beverage outlets. Further phases would then follow.
The council has a professional project management team on-board to manage the project.
This team of professionals have pulled together detailed cost plans and are working through the costs and risks on a day to day basis. They meet regularly with council officers, and updates on progress will continue to be shared with Councillors.
Director for Community Services, Madeline Homer, said: “Dreamland has the potential to be a major economic driver for the district. We’re working incredibly hard behind the scenes to drive this development forward and will be doing all we can to keep the community up to date with our progress. Identifying a suitable operator to run the park is a major step in the journey, with the plan to open the first phase of the park in April 2015. Is this ambitious? Absolutely. Are there risks involved? Of course, but we’re committed to keeping the momentum going and involving those with the appropriate skills and expertise to see this project through.”
Freehold of the Dreamland site came into the council’s ownership at the beginning of September 2013.
On 8 October 2013, three Judges sitting in the Court of Appeal dismissed the former owners’ appeal (against the High Court decision to confirm the making of the compulsory purchase order), observing that “the need for regeneration for the economic and social benefit of Margate was overwhelming”.
There has been no further legal challenge by the former owners of the Dreamland site against the transfer of ownership of the land to the council.
Find out more about the council's history with Dreamland.
Find out more about the council's history with Dreamland.
Two men, who committed separate offences, have been successfully prosecuted for fly-tipping by Thanet District Council within a day of each other.
40 year old Glen Burns, of no fixed abode, was convicted and fined at Dover Magistrates’ Court last week (10 April 2014). The court heard that Mr Burns was witnessed dumping furniture with another man at Broadley Road, Margate. His accomplice will be sentenced on 2 May 2014.
Mr Burns was fined £622.75 plus a £60 victim surcharge and ordered to do 150 hours of community service.
Separately 38 year old Kevin Tritton of Lancaster Close, Ramsgate was convicted for fly-tipping household waste at Canterbury Magistrates Court last week (11 April 2014). Mr Tritton pleaded guilty to the fly-tipping offence which was committed at Conyngham Close, Ramsgate on 5 December 2011.
Mr Tritton was fined a total of £150 plus a £20 victim surcharge and order to pay legal, enforcement and clean-up costs of £695.45.
Director of Operational Services Mark Seed said, “Flytipping is an anti-social and potentially dangerous offence which has a negative effect on the entire community. By prosecuting offenders Thanet District Council aims to send a strong message to potential flytippers to discourage them from this unacceptable behaviour. Any residents who witness fly-tipping should contact the Council immediately on 01843 577000.”
Thursday, 10 April 2014
Cabinet members for Thanet District Council today (Thursday 10 April) presented progress on a number of key Ramsgate projects to the Ramsgate Matters Consultative group.
The group, which includes representatives from local businesses and residents associations, were given an update on programmes of work being undertaken by the council, in partnership with local organisations, to help improve and develop the town.
There was also an opportunity for questions and comments to ensure that members of the community have the chance to feed directly into how the projects develop.
Projects ranged from specialist cleaning of the town centre and re-planting of public gardens to the regeneration of empty properties and the creation of more affordable housing.
Opportunities to apply for external funding were discussed, with the submission of a £2m partnership bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund this Autumn as part of a Ramsgate Harbour Heritage Project as well as
European funding to support studies into energy generation at the Port and Harbour.
Tourism was a key feature with Ramsgate set to take centre stage in the latest Kent Contemporary
Campaign this year and plans by the Ramsgate Regeneration Heritage Trust to host a grand re-opening of the Ramsgate Tunnels in June.
Presentations were also made by the Steam Museum Trust on the Maritime Museum and from Janet Fielding on Project MotorHouse.
Council Leader, Clive Hart, said: “There are a fantastic array of projects and programmes of work going on in Ramsgate to help improve the town.
“The area has benefited significantly from regeneration over the years and we’re keen to keep the momentum going.
“Working together with the local community we’re making real headway and this is thanks to the dedication, commitment and passion of the people of Ramsgate.
“Today was a wonderful opportunity for Cabinet to share progress with Ramsgate Matters and this will continue as each of the projects develop.”
“In response to many rumours surrounding the proposed closure of Manston we wish to make it plain that our efforts to secure a buyer prepared to operate the airport continue.
We have been studiously careful not to seek to raise false hopes and we cannot guarantee that we shall be successful. Neither can we maintain a running commentary throughout what will clearly be sensitive commercial negotiations. We will, however, make a further statement as soon as, for good or ill, there is a definitive position.
Sir Roger will be meeting personally with Ms.Ann Gloag, the owner of Manston, in London next week and the Manston Working Group will be convening shortly thereafter.”
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
Officers from Margate Task Force have been recognised by the Department of Health for achievements in Public Health through Innovation Collaboration.
At a ceremony last week (Thursday 3 April) MP Jane Ellison commended Margate Task Force Community Engagement Advisors (CEAs) Debbie Lancaster and Joanne Hirst, who work for the Department for Work and Pensions and GP Dr Heather Scott, from Bethesda Surgery who volunteers with the Task Force. This was specifically around their work supporting individuals with a variety of health issues within Margate and Cliftonville to find employment.
Through the Margate Task Force (MTF) the trio have used their professional skills jointly to support local individuals; recognising the value and relationship between good sustainable employment and improvements in health and wellbeing. This is enhanced by the additional out of hours and voluntary contributions made to support the local population.
As part of the welfare reforms individuals who are signed off and in receipt of Employment Support Allowance are required to attend regular interviews at the Job Centre. For a cohort of individuals the local Job Centre has referred into the MTF Community Engagement Advisors for additional support. In partnership with the GP they have conducted joint home visits, enabling the needs of the individual to stay at the forefront, whilst conforming to national guidance.
This interaction is two way, as referrals have also been received from the GP by the advisor. An example of this is where a GP has medically managed a condition and then refers the individual to the advisors for a constructive way to improve wider wellbeing through working placements. The long-term aspiration would be to identify sustainable employment, which can then be supported through effective use of the Fit to Work Certificates and management of benefits.
MP Jane Ellison, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, commented that their work ‘’demonstrates opportunity for innovation to inspire others as they work to improve the health and wellbeing of their local communities. ‘’
Thanet District Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities Cllr Iris Johnston said, ‘I am absolutely delighted to see Joanne and Debbie recognised by this prestigious award. I cannot speak too highly of them both and the work they do to help individuals find their feet. I also have very good reason to be pleased for Dr Heather Scott. Whenever I meet her she is 'battling' for the best outcomes for our residents. Everyone in Thanet should be very proud of our 'winners' and the entire Margate Taskforce.’
To get in touch with the Margate Task Force, or for more information call 01843 577536 or email: MargateTaskForce@thanet.gov.uk For the latest updates residents can follow the team on Twitter @MTFThanet
Margate Lawn Tennis Club is announcing the introduction of a new membership category, designed to encourage new adult members to the club, build playing confidence and to develop their tennis skills and participation. The new scheme for Intermediates is specifically designed to bring those new, reasonably new and even rusty former players up to full club participation and playing ability within two years. Tennis is an enjoyable sport that also keeps you fit!
This exceptional value, confidence building new scheme involves Intermediate adult membership and incorporates a one hour, inclusive group coaching session per week on Friday evening, plus allocated social sessions also on Friday evenings, as well as Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings. There is also the added benefit of being able to join in with Club social tennis on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Additional Tuesday evening coaching, on a pay per play basis, will also be available during the Summer.
Total all inclusive Intermediate adult membership fees are £225pa, including the weekly coaching session, with continual reviews by the Head Coach and coaching team, all with the view to move up to Full membership and all its benefits within two years.
If you would like to take part in Intermediate membership or want more information on how you could benefit from a very easy start and good grounding in tennis, contact Head Coach Gavid Vickers on 07976-057 454, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Application forms can be downloaded from the club website at http://margatelawntennisclub.co.uk/.
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Monday, 7 April 2014
Cabinet Members for Thanet District Council have agreed to provide approximately £40,000 of funding to help improve the facilities at Memorial Park playground in Broadstairs.
The decision made at a meeting last week (Thursday 3 April), follows a 1,760 strong petition submitted to the council by local residents to undertake major improvements to the Broadstairs play area, and will include relocation of the play area to a more suitable place.
Cabinet Member for Safer Neighbourhoods, Cllr Iris Johnston, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support the sterling efforts of the Revive our Rec group in Broadstairs. I’ve had several conversations with Ms Merriman both before and since the petition, and I’m so pleased that officers have been able to help me identify the funding needed.
“Although this play areas was identified as a medium risk, I felt that the exceptional efforts of these residents to highlight their concerns, needed recognition. Officers and I will be meeting with them on site next week to start discussions around how the improvements could take place.”
Cabinet agreed to the refurbishment of four play areas across Thanet that were highlighted by ROSPA (Royal Society for the prevention of accidents) as a health and safety risk.
Although the Memorial Rec was identified as a ‘medium’ risk, members agreed that the site could benefit from funding due to its dated equipment, as the play area is not currently fenced off and as its current location does not provide easy access for those with pushchairs and wheelchairs.
The other four play areas to receive funding cover Margate, Ramsgate and the Villages, so undertaking improvements in Broadstairs also means the council will now be investing in play facilities across the whole district.
Additional improvement is already scheduled to take place at Memorial Recreation play area with the installation of a brand new skate park due to be built within two of the tennis courts, complementing the remaining tennis courts and basketball court to provide a better mix of facilities for all age groups.
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Government is now officially being asked to consider extending the current enterprise zone at Discovery Park in Sandwich to also cover Thanet.
The final draft of the Kent and Medway Growth Deal document, delivered to Government this week, features as a chapter in the South East LEP'S Strategic Economic Plan.
The strategic plan for Kent and Medway will take forward a coordinated approach to the development of Discovery Park and Manston.
It calls for Government to consider extending Enterprise Zone designation to Manston Business Park, Manston Airport and the Richborough Corridor.
It asks Government to permit Thanet District Council to retain 100% of business rate receipts within the Zone with no impact on their baseline, in order that discounts can be fully funded by receipts above the discount level.
It proposes to allocate £3.5 million in Local Growth Fund finance to support commercial development at Manston and Discovery Park.
It also proposes to support SEFUND investment in commercial and residential development.
Leader of Thanet District Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr Clive Hart proposed an emergency motion on Thursday 20 March to crucial regional meetings concerning exploring the extension of the enterprise zone. This was discussed at the Kent Leader’s meeting and at the Thanet Regeneration Board.
Thanet District Council Leader, Cllr Clive Hart, said: "The recent news of the proposal to consult on possible closure of the airport has been devastating. However, whether or not the site remains as an airport, the proposals to Government in the Kent and Medway Growth Plan for enterprise zone status will give us the very best chance to turn the current situation into a long-term success. I'd like to publicly thank leaders and officers from across Kent and Medway for their sterling support".
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Taste of the Med @ The Minnis - new seafront tapas restaurant
Healthy menus helped chef to lose 3 stone
Kent chef patron Jason Freedman is to open ‘Taste of the Med @ The Minnis’, overlooking the golden sands of Minnis Bay in Birchington, which nestles between the fishing ports of Whitstable and Ramsgate. The new menus draw heavily on the same dishes which have helped Jason lose 3 stone in weight over a two-year period.
Inspired by a cuisine which helped him achieve the sustained weight loss, Jason is to rebrand the first floor dining area of The Minnis Bar & Restaurant, with seating for 50 customers, which is normally reserved for private functions, with tapas and mezze style menus featuring dishes from countries that fringe the Mediterranean.
“Our olive skinned friends have their eating habits just right and because of this they have better cardiovascular health, lower levels of cancers and longer adult life expectancy,” said Jason, who believes there is also strong evidence that those eating a Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, lesser risk of strokes, lower risk of Parkinson’s Disease and, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
The diet in southern European consists of mainly beans, lentils, plants and whole grains, supplemented with fish, seafood, pasta and a small amount of red meat. A typical meal would be salad and vegetables with a small amount of meat or fish, a small side dish of pasta and maybe a slice of bread
They avoid processed foods and dine on home grown and locally sourced produce.
They drink wines and water rather than spirits and sugar-laden carbonated drinks. A glass and it is a proven fact that a glass or two of red wine is good for the Heart and also aids digestion but too much wine can have a negative effect on the body, so drink sensibly.
“Whilst losing weights I always enjoyed a glass of good quality wine – which aids digestion and is good for the heart – but I did cut back on the chocolate, which is my weakness,” said Jason, who reminds us that we should not overlook the social life aspect of the Mediterranean way.
“They don’t sit down for meals in front of a television set, they usually sit in groups with friends and family, they relax and enjoy their food at a leisurely pace and this is just as important as the food on the plate.” He added.
Jason opened a small 26-seater tapas restaurant, Café Bee, in Minnis Bay ten months ago, but it proved so popular it was regularly turning away customers. Bringing it in-house will allow him to expand and develop the menu, whist satisfying more diners. The new restaurant will open in May.
On offer there will be an average of 30 hot and cold, classic and modern dishes priced from £3.50 at Taste of the Med @ The Minnis.
“There’s a growing trend for casual dining, with sharing platters and small plates, with greater demand for healthy-eating options which are common to Southern Europe and North Africa,” said Jason, adding, “With fantastic sea view and spectacular sunsets, the ambience suits this style of eating perfectly.”
The Mediterranean menus and paella will also be available on the outside terrace on the warm summer evenings,
Many of Jason’s home cured dishes, produced the same way as his Curiously Kentish brand, utilise the food preservation methods brought to Britain 2,000 years by the Roman invaders. The Romans introduced many new culinary techniques - curing, drying, smoking, pickling and preserving – that not only kept food from spoiling, but greatly enhanced its flavours and textures.
The new seafood tapas menu features a wide selection of items including; Poached & Smoked Mackerel Croquettes with Tartar Sauce, Fresh North Sea Cod in Tomato & Lemon Sauce. Half Shell Green Lip Mussels served cold with Lemon & Cracked Pepper, Steamed Mussels with Homemade Chorizo & Tomato, Steamed Mussels with Kentish Cider & Cream, Pan Fried Butterfly Sardines with Tomatoes & Olives and Grilled Rock Oysters with Homemade Chorizo.
Meat options include, Skewers of Free Range Chicken with Mediterranean Vegetables, Fruit Fed Pork Marinated in Spanish Spicy Paprika, Chilli & Red Wine, Homemade Chorizo with Sautéed Potatoes & Onions, Plate of Homemade Charcuterie with Homemade Pickles & Chutneys, North African Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Sliced Homemade Chorizo Pan Fried in Red Wine and Homemade Chorizo & Black Pudding Pan Fried with Spiced Tomatoes.
Vegetarian selections feature Kentish Ashmore Cheese & Red Onion Croquettes, Goats Cheese & Sweet Red Pepper Kiev, Char grilled Aubergines, Courgettes & Peppers with Virgin Olive Oil, Artichokes, Olives, Sun Blushed Tomatoes, Garlic Fresh Herbs & Olive Oil, Roasted Sweet Potato, Parsnip & Onion “au gratin” and Wild Mushroom & Potato Risotto with Truffle Oil.
Jason’s tips for adopting a healthy Mediterranean lifestyle:
1. Always eat breakfast. Fibre rich foods are very good for starting the day, eat fresh fruits and whole grains, they will give you slow release energy and fill you up for longer.
2. Eat Meat? Although there are fewer vegetarian in Europe than the UK, we should cut down on meat, try and choose leaner cuts, switch some of the red meat diet to chicken, game, fish and seafood. Fish such as Omega -3 rich sardines, salmon, tuna are ideal. Shellfish such as mussels, oysters, cockles and clams are good “brain foods” and rich in minerals, trace elements and vitamin A and E.
3. Fats. A healthy diet should contain 30 percent fat. It is vital for good health, transporting nutrients round the body. It boosts moral and helps keep you satiated for longer. If you do not consume enough fat in your diet, your body will go into shut down mode and use less energy. Processed low fat and fat free products usually have high levels of salt, sugar and artificial additives to replace the flavours lost from fats. Nuts, sunflower seeds, avocados, extra virgin olive, sunflower and rapeseed oils are excellent sources of healthy fats in your daily meals. Use them for frying foods, instead of butter.
4. Veg. Eat Fresh fruits and vegetables with all meals if possible, and choose them for snaking.
5. Snacks. Chose fruit salad, crudités, dips, olives and nuts, instead of biscuits, sandwiches, cakes and chocolate. Root vegetable crisps are a delicious alternative to potato based snacks.
6. Carbs. Opt for whole grains and healthy breads in preference to those pastas and breads using refined wheat. Instead of eating sandwiches made with bread, try wraps with whole wheat tortillas.
7. Dairy. Be mindful of your dairy intake. Reduce full fat milks, cream and cheese. Goats and sheep milk are more widely consumed around the Med. Cows get to be that size for a reason.
8. Hunger pains. Don’t get hungry – you will over eat. Eat less, more often. Tapas style portions are ideal. “Grazing” will help boost your metabolism and aid weight loss.
9. Enjoy your food. Feed the palate, not your stomach. When you are cutting down, have better quality foods. Treat yourself.
10. Do not set weight targets or times scales. Most diets don’t work because they are seen as a quick, short term fix. Most dieters put back all the weight they lose – and more. Serial dieters end up on a cycle where their weight increases over time.
“My advice for people who want to lose weight is not to go on a diet, but change the way you eat and what you eat for good,” said Jason. “If you aren’t prepared to make a permanent change to your lifestyle, don’t go on a diet as you will end up putting on weight in the longer term.”