Friday, 29 January 2010


Margate has been described as a great venue by those attending a national conference in the town, with many pledging to return in the future.

The two-day event, organised by the Coastal Communities Alliance (CCA), called for greater recognition at a national level of the issues facing seaside resorts around the country. It brought together policy makers and practitioners in seaside regeneration.

A new publication 'Coastal Regeneration in England 2010' and website were also launched at the conference. They aim to stimulate new thinking about local solutions and clarify "who's who" and "who's doing what" in coastal regeneration.

Leader of the Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: "We were very proud to see Margate hosting this conference and I was delighted with the feedback that I got from delegates. Many of them were talking about coming back to Margate in the future and they were full of praise for the work that's going on down here. There was a lot of talk about our regeneration plans and we were able to show them exactly what we are doing here, with Turner Contemporary underway and the changes in the Old Town. It would be great to welcome them back again in the future, so that they can see the difference in Margate when they return here. I think, from talking to various people, including some of the organisers of the conference, that's something they'd be very keen to do. They were certainly talking about wanting to return to Margate for more conferences, which is very encouraging."

The keynote speech at the conference came from Dr Phyllis Starkey MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, which led an influential review into the problems facing seaside resorts. She told the conference that the coast has a great deal to offer the country and spoke about the importance of ensuring that different organisations in seaside areas work together and aim for the same result.

Other speeches were made by Mark Simmonds, MP for Boston and Skegness, and Dr. Stephen Ladyman, MP for South Thanet.

The Coastal Communities Alliance is a UK-wide umbrella group, made up of more than 100 organisations and local authorities, with Lincolnshire County Council as the Secretariat. It was started in 2007, after the Government's initial rejection of the recommendations from the Select Committee Inquiry into Coastal Towns.


Proposals to share services between councils in East Kent are going forward to three different council meetings in Thanet over the next few weeks. (February)
The project aims to provide cost effective services across East Kent and make the best possible use of the individual councils' resources and staff expertise.

In total, three different schemes will be discussed. The first is the East Kent Joint Waste Project, which involves Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet working on a ground breaking partnership with Kent County Council, to introduce common collection arrangements for waste and recycling in all four districts over the next four years.

The second is for an East Kent Shared Housing Service, which would see Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet councils jointly managing council housing in East Kent. Sharing the service is expected to deliver improvements for tenants and bring savings, which would be re-invested into council housing services.

The final proposal would see a number of services being shared between Canterbury, Dover and Thanet councils, including revenues and benefits, IT, building control and customer services, including face to face and telephone.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: "Everyone is well aware of the pressures that councils are facing to save money. We're no exception to that. Over the next five years, we have to find savings of more than £6 million. It's not a new position to us, as we've had to make significant savings over the last few years, but as time goes on, finding savings becomes harder and harder. We are determined that the level of services we provide remains at an acceptable level for our residents and we believe that one of the ways that we can achieve this is by sharing services with our neighbouring councils, which is why we're looking at this project. It's not all about saving money though. It's also about providing more resilience to our services and looking at how we can improve in the future."

The first meeting to look at the three different proposals will be an Extraordinary Meeting of the council's Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which begins at 10am on Thursday 4 February. Any proposals coming from this meeting will then go forward to the council's Cabinet, which is due to meet at 7pm on Thursday 11 February. All councillors will then be able to have their say on the plans, when Full Council meets in an Extraordinary Meeting at 7pm on Thursday 18 February.

All three meetings take place in the council chamber at the council offices in Cecil Street, Margate and all the meetings are open to the public.

3 out of 4 people in Thanet back Airport Development says survey.

A survey into Thanet attitudes, carried out by local MP Stephen Ladyman and the Labour Party, has shown 3 out of 4 people support the development of Manston Airport.

“This is an overwhelming majority in support of Airport development. Even in the areas of Ramsgate closest to the Airport, including the Nethercourt Estate, Southwood and Central Ramsgate, 60% backed the growth of the Airport” said Dr Ladyman.

The survey was carried out over twelve months and received 1501 replies. There were over 600 replies from people living in Ramsgate on the flight path and close to the Airport.

“The average newspaper opinion poll quizzes fewer than 1100 people so our survey of 1501 replies is certainly enough to give us a clear idea of local feeling.”

There was, however, a warning for Thanet Council and the Airport owners in the figures. The survey included 728 replies to a questionnaire that included questions about airport noise. Those replies showed that 50% of people are worried by aircraft noise and night flying and, among people living close to the airport, about 62% are worried. The Council and the Airport owners are currently in discussion about night flying policy.

“Many of these people are currently backing the Airport but clearly their support could easily shift if night flying grows or noise becomes more intrusive. If the Council allows too much flexibility and fails to protect the quality of local life then support for the Airport will quickly turn into opposition” concluded Dr.Ladyman.

Note to editors:

The survey included general questionnaires delivered in Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Cliftonville and Margate. 641 replies were received.

3000 detailed questionnaires were delivered in areas of Ramsgate on the flight path and near the airport and 728 people replied.

132 people completed an on-line survey

Total respondents were 1501, of which 626 replies were from people close to the airport.

1092 respondents support the Airport with 328 opposed and 81 undecided. Of those living closest to the Airport 373 favoured the Airports development, 177 were opposed and 76 were undecided.


The appeal lodged by Roger Gale MP (North Thanet) against Sir Thomas Legg's ACA repayment demand has been allowed in full.

The MP, who had faced demands for the repayment of Parliamentary business telephone bills and for the alleged payment of "13 months' rent" in the 2008/2009 financial year said, following Sir Paul Kennedy's findings:

"I am, first, grateful to Sir Paul for quite clearly studying with care the information provided and for then reaching the only fair conclusion based upon the evidence that I had previously submitted to Sir Thomas Legg.

I had never refused to repay any sums properly due and, indeed, had indicated to Sir Paul that if he found any repayment to be warranted then I would accept his adjudication without question.

So far as I am concerned, this has never been about money but about reputation and I am naturally, therefore, pleased that Sir Paul's findings will be reflected in his report to the Members' Estimates Committee."

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Earlier this morning (Monday 25th January) all members of Thanet District Council were summoned to an extraordinary meeting of the council (apparently secretly) planned for Tuesday 23rd February. There then followed a day of heated negotiations and seven hours later, the date for the meeting was changed to the 18th February.

Labour Group Leader Cllr. Clive Hart said "this afternoon, it became very clear indeed that the Chairman of the council was not at all happy with the extra-ordinary meeting of the council being planned for 23rd February without even consulting her".

More worrying still, was that council leader Cllr. Ezekiel then also claimed that the meeting came as a surprise to him too:

"I got back from holiday and the meeting had already been arranged" Cllr Ezekiel told a chamber packed full of councillors, together with financial and legal officers.

Cllr. Clive Hart says "you have to ask - just who is running TDC? The council's Conservative administration appear to have lost control. If what we were told is true, it can only be council officers making these decisions. I thought they were supposed to take direction from members but it appears to be yet another case of 'the tail wagging the dog'.

Even more worrying is that the only issues to be discussed at the proposed extra-ordinary meeting will be shared services in East Kent. These are extremely complex arrangements concerning housing, waste and back office services that many fear could put their management ever more 'distant' from the local residents who pay for and use them. The end result could well be that many of Thanet's services will be run from other parts of East Kent through new procedures from which TDC may never be able to withdraw.

The shambolic way in which this meeting has been planned does absolutely nothing whatsoever to create confidence in the shared service proposals, and if the current Conservative administration can't even organise a meeting to discuss them, how on earth can we trust them to retain democratic control over them for the people of Thanet?"

One further comment on the Conservative council meeting fiasco (below):

Thanet Labour councillors have had an internal group meeting booked for the 18th February to discuss our response to the Conservative's budget proposals. TDC were notified of that meeting many months ago but now the ruling group have re-arranged their proposed extra-ordinary meeting to fall on that date.

Once more this change has been implemented without consultation and effectively interferes with our efforts to respond -not just to the Conservative's proposals for the council budget - but also on East Kent Shared Services.

I can't help feeling this is an attempt to frustrate any opposition to the Conservative's budget proposals and East Kent Shared Services changes. Yet again we are being bounced into decisions, but this time the issues are simply enormous with outcomes that could significantly change the way the council works and seriously reduce local accountability!

Cllr. Clive Hart - Labour Group Leader - TDC.


Thanet residents are to get more say over where they want to live and what housing options they have, with the expansion of the country's biggest choice based lettings scheme.

Kent Homechoice, made up of 33 councils and registered social landlords, has been awarded just under £50,000 from the government to expand the scheme into Medway. The scheme already covers all other parts of Kent and includes all district and borough councils and the vast majority of the area's housing associations.

The scheme offer tenants greater mobility, choice and flexibility when looking at their housing options, enabling them to choose what homes they wish to be considered for. Available homes are advertised on the Internet and through digital TV and people can put in bids for homes. On average, around 165 properties are advertised each week by Kent Homechoice to the 31,000 people currently on housing waiting lists.

Housing Minister John Healey said: "Thanks to this funding, more councils and housing associations will be able to offer their tenants more choice in where they want to live beyond the traditional boundaries. These schemes mean that local authorities have another tool to manage their waiting lists more effectively, by ensuring each home is matched to tenants more suited to the property. This is not just a good deal for local authorities, but a good deal for tenants too, enabling those who need to move, perhaps for work, to do so."

Cllr. Zita Wiltshire, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: "Before Kent Homechoice was introduced, people were allocated homes depending on their needs, the preferences that they gave and the suitability of accommodation. Now applicants, including homeless families, are free to choose what homes they want to be considered for and where. That opens up the choice to them of selecting homes either in the area they currently live in or elsewhere in Kent. With the addition of Medway to the partnership, this will increase choice even further for everyone on housing waiting lists."

For more information about Kent Homechoice, visit Kent Homechoice was first introduced in summer 2008 and has since expanded to cover all of Kent, with the exception of Medway. During this time, over 200,000 bids from customers have been made and approximately 4,500 properties have been let. A survey, which received over 7,000 responses, showed that around 80% of people found the Kent Homechoice website easy to use.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Ladyman welcomes extra help to tackle house repossession in Thanet.

The Government's Drive to tackle home repossesions is being extended. John Healey, Minister for Housing, has announced that Thanet is among 56 repossession hot spot areas that is being targetted for extra help.

"I am delighted that the Minister has recognised the need for extra help for Thanet. I don't want to see anyone lose their home and people threatened by repossession need all the help they can get" said South Thanet MP, Stephen Ladyman.

"Thousands of people have already been helped by the Government at this difficult time but there are still people in Thanet having trouble keeping up the mortgage and good, independent advice is vital for them."

John Healey's press statement follows:

JOHN HEALEY EXTENDS GOVERNMENT DRIVE TO TACKLE REPOSSESSIONS Housing Minister John Healey is today extending the Government’s campaign to help struggling homeowners get a grip on their finances and avoid repossession. In a major extension of the campaign to promote the free help and advice available the minister has announced a new advertising drive and local mortgage help events in 56 repossession hotspot areas starting next week . And he is also announcing local promotion of a special helpline and website in another 30 hotspot areas with high risk of repossession.
Over 330,000 households have had help and advice with their mortgages over the past year, and repossessions are currently running at nearly half the rate of the last recession. But with the pressure on families likely to remain high throughout 2010, the Government is working with the Citizens Advice Bureau to run a string of local help events in 56 repossession ‘hotspots’, so that struggling homeowners can get impartial face-to-face help and advice to keep their home. New radio and local press advertising in all 56 areas will also promote the special website and free telephone advice line to help homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments
John Healey said today: ”With the pressure on homeowners set to continue this year, I’m determined that they get the help they need. “That’s why I’m extending our campaign so families across the country can get the free, impartial advice they need online, on the phone or on the high street.
“The comprehensive range of Government help available – and tougher rules on lenders - will mean that repossessions remain the last resort.”
Nearly 88,000 people have gone to since its launch in September, over 26,000 of whom have used it to develop personal action plans tailored to their individual circumstances. This help has also proved valuable for those feeling the pinch after Christmas – over 17,000 people have visited the website since 1 January.
The additional areas now receiving repossession hotspot help are:
· Basildon
· Bolsover
· Broxbourne
· Bury
· Coventry
· Darlington
· Dartford
· Dudley
· Enfield
· Erewash
· Gateshead
· Gloucester
· Gravesham
· Harlow
· Ipswich
· Kirklees
· Lambeth
· Leeds
· Leicester
· Mansfield
· Medway
· Milton Keynes
· NE Lincolnshire
· Redbridge
· Slough
· Southend-on-sea
· Stevenage
· Thanet
· Wakefield
· West Lancashire

Saturday, 23 January 2010


Cinema-goers in Broadstairs will get an extraordinary musical treat on Sunday February 7th when Thanet’s own master soprano will attempt to recreate the melodies of the Middle Ages.

Sarah Hale, who recently completed a master’s degree in musical performance in Canterbury Christchurch university, will be singing live before a showing of “Thanet and the Black Death” at the Palace Cinema in Broadstairs.

Sarah, from Broadstairs, said: “The events in the film date from 800 years old ago and I want to use my music to transport the audience back into the right medieval mood to watch the film.”

Sarah will be aiming for a uniquely authentic feel to the music.

“No one knows exactly how these songs were performed – recordings, of course, don’t exist –
but I’m going to do my best to convey the spirit of them, to show how atmospheric and wonderful they are,” she said.

Set in 1348, the film “Thanet and the Black Death” tells the story of a medieval Thanet village devastated by the bubonic plague. It was shot on location in Thanet, using a cast featuring many local people

As well as singing live before the screening, Sarah also stars in the film, playing one of the few people to survive the plague.

“I’ve always acted as well as sung,” said Sarah, “But it will feel strange to being performing live before I’m up there on film, too. It will be a real multi-media occasion!”
Another musician to star in the film will also be performing before the screening. Geoff Huggins, from Ramsgate, will be using his own remarkable collection of early music instruments to add to the medieval atmosphere.

“Thanet and the Black Death” will be shown for one day only on Sunday at 5pm, on February 7 at the Palace cinema, Harbour St, Broadstairs. To book to see the film ring the Palace Cinema on 01843 865726.


Free sports related qualifications are on offer to young people in Thanet who are not in education, employment or training.

The Worx Project is being led by Thanet District Council's Sport 4NRG team and Pipeline, with funding from Thanet Works, which aims to help people get off benefits and into training and/or work. Two courses are being offered, taking place during the February half term weeks. There are 15 places on offer for each session of each course.

The first course is the Level 1 Award in Dance Leadership, which will be 30 hours of active learning, taking place at the Ursuline College from Monday 15 to Friday 19 February 2010. To take part, you must be between 14 and 22 years old.

For the second course, the Level 2 Award in Community Sports Leadership, there are 36 hours of active learning, including practical sports sessions, sessions at local sports clubs and classroom sessions. Participants must be aged between 16 and 22 years old. This also takes place from Monday 15 to Friday 19 February.

As well as the learning, those taking part in the courses are expected to do 10 hours of volunteering at places such as leisure centres, swimming pools, after school clubs or Sport 4NRG, which will be arranged by the Worx Project. Once the course has been completed, Sport 4NRG will then find further training for your CV or to help you get a college place or proper sports related employment.

James Gregory from Sport 4NRG said: "Aspire and Sport 4NRG are both committed to making a real difference to the lives of young people in Thanet. That's not just in terms of fun sports activities, but now with the Worx project, we can make a difference in terms of education and employment, the real-life priorities that matter to young people. These courses are very different, as they're all about something that many young people are already interested in, sport. Therefore, they're more likely to enjoy the learning, get more out of it and be more successful."

For an application form for any of the courses, either e-mail James at or text your details to 07770 828 582.


Plans to build a health care centre and pharmacy in Ramsgate have been given the go-ahead.

The proposals are for land between 156 and 162 Grange Road, which was previously used as the outside playing courts for the Ellington Girls School.

The health care centre has been designed to replace the existing surgery at Dashwood House on South Eastern Road and will offer additional patient services to the local community.

Last night (Wednesday 21 January), members of Thanet District Council's Planning Committee approved the plans, after visiting the site to see for themselves concerns that had been raised by local residents and businesses, primarily about the impact on parking for the area.

Chairman of the Planning Committee, Cllr. Ken Gregory, said: "Members of the Planning Committee had a difficult decision to reach about this application. There was a careful balance to strike here, as there were concerns about the parking in the area. However, the applicants did agree to introduce highway improvements that should help the situation."


Labour Group Leader and planning committee member Cllr. Clive Hart has called for an investigation and/or review of the way TDC monitors its planning applications and building controls

At Wednesday evenings Planning Committee meeting Cllr. Hart explained:

"I have been a member of the TDC Planning Committee for over six years now, and during the first five years I cannot remember having to discuss issues like buildings or parts of buildings being built without planning permission, or in the wrong place or built completely differently to the plans that were approved. Indeed, if there were one or two cases in that time they must have been so minor as to be almost insignificant.

However, over the past year or so we now appear to discuss such matters and virtually every meeting and I think it is time that TDC investigated or reviewed their procedures".

Following a brief comment by another planning member Cllr. Hart said "we simply cannot let the current situation continue. We should investigate matters and where breaches are the responsibility of TDC, make appropriate adjustments to procedures. Where the responsibility is shown to lie with other authorities we should make the strongest possible representations to them from this committee".

The planning chairman said that Cllr. Hart's request had been noted.

Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office, 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 3DP.


During their regular monthly meeting at TDC on Wednesday evening (20th Jan), members of the cross party Planning committee were told that 600 homes proposed for Eurokent Business Park at Westwood through the Local Development Core Strategy were completely unnecessary.

After a brief presentation by a TDC Officer on the core strategy the only comment made came from Labour member Cllr. Alan Poole who explained:

"The Government require Thanet District Council to build 7500 homes in the 25 years to 2026. TDC are currently well ahead of the new build target having already completed 1983 and have granted planning permission for a further 4624. This makes a total of 6607 from the target of 7500 and 16 years still to go".

Confirming the Labour Group position Cllr. Poole said:
“We do not see the necessity for building a further 600 homes on what is dedicated employment land at EuroKent".
Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office - 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 2RW.


Thanet Council's Sport Matters team will be returning this month (January) with more slam dunking fun.

The first event of the year takes place on Sunday 31 January, between 5pm and 7pm at the Ramsgate Sports Centre. It aims to create an urban and fun atmosphere, with the opportunity to take part in either competitive games or just turn up for fun to show off your free styling skills.

Street Hoops basketball was launched in September 2008 to encourage young people aged 11 and over to try out basketball in a safe, fun environment with urban tunes.

The event, which is supported by Thanet Leisure Force, Ursuline College and the Thanet Rhinos, has been held monthly, and on some occasions, special guests the Streetball Extreme team have also turned up to showcase there skills and tricks.

Colin Rouse from Sport Matters said: "Street Hoops has been a massive success since its launch back in 2008, and we want to make 2010 bigger and better. Basketball is a fun, energetic sport, so not only can you improve your skills and personal development, but it's also a great way to keep fit and healthy."

Street Hoops events take place on the last Sunday of each month with a summer break in June. The next dates are Sunday 31 January, Sunday 28 February, Sunday 28 March, Sunday 25 April and Sunday 30 May.

To find out more about Street Hoops, visit or contact Colin Rouse on 01843 577032.

South Thanet MP flexes political muscle in the fight for better muscle disease services

South Thanet MP Dr Stephen Ladyman backed a local campaigning dad today in his fight for better muscle disease services.

Dr Ladyman attended the All Party Parliamentary Group for Muscular Dystrophy’s (APPG) meeting with South East Coast NHS decision makers to find out why the region is not providing a better service for families with muscle disease.

Dr Brijender Rana, Public Health Lead for the South East Coast Specialised Commissioning Group, was asked to come to the Houses of Parliament and explain why his region, along with three others in the UK, has not made vital improvements to their health services for muscle disease patients.

The improvements were recommended in the Walton Report, an investigation into healthcare for muscle disease published last summer.

Stephen Ladyman was there to ask tough questions of the South East Coast Specialised Commissioning Group and to support his constituent Tony Lewis whose son David has Becker muscular dystrophy.

Key issues still affecting South East Coast muscle disease patients:

There is still no regional care advisor for the South East Coast.
There is no specialist muscle disease support in the South East, so patients have to travel to London for all appointments.

Dr Stephen Ladyman MP said:

“It’s vital that vulnerable local families like Tony’s are able to access the care they need.

“It’s high time that NHS bosses improved muscular dystrophy services.”

Dr Ladyman challenged Dr Brijender Rana on the lack of support for South East Coast muscle disease patients and backed calls for quick action on improvements to their healthcare.

Robert Meadowcroft, Director of Policy at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, commented:

“We are pleased that Dr Stephen Ladyman MP has thrown his weight behind the campaign to improve essential services for people living with muscle disease.

“He is strong voice in Parliament for local patients and their families.”

To find out more about the Walton Report go to

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the leading UK charity focusing on muscle disease. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for 50 years, and is dedicated to improving the lives of all people affected by muscle disease. It funds world-class research to find effective treatments and cures; provides free practical and emotional support; campaigns to raise awareness and bring about change and awards grants towards the cost of specialist equipment.


Proposals to share services between three councils in East Kent, which are set to bring significant savings for each council, will now go forward for further discussion in Thanet.

The plans, which would see a number of services being merged between Dover, Canterbury and Thanet councils, were given the seal of approval (Wednesday 20 January) by lead councillors from the three authorities at the East Kent Joint Arrangements Committee. Each individual council will now decide whether to sign up for scheme, with Thanet scheduled to discuss the subject at Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Thursday 4 February, at Cabinet on Thursday 11 February and Extraordinary Full Council on Tuesday 23 February.

Services being considered for the first phase of the project include:
Revenues and benefits
Building control
Customer services, including face to face and telephone

Before any service goes into the project, a business case will be proposed and agreed that needs to show at least a 10% saving in the first two years. This will also have to show what level of service the new arrangement will deliver. The decision on which services progress forward will be made by each council. The project could generate up to £3.5 million of savings over the next four years for the councils involved.

Deputy Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Roger Latchford, said: "We believe this project is in the interest of local people and the public purse. As a council, we need to find over £5 million of savings over the next five years. We have to use our resources even more effectively, especially with government funding for councils likely to reduce. If we don't change the way we work and make significant savings, cuts to services are inevitable. We firmly believe sharing services with our neighbouring councils is the best way to deliver both the best possible service and achieve significant savings for our residents."

The decision for the three councils to move forward came despite the news that Shepway District Council is taking a step back from these plans. Shepway remains part of the plans to share human resources, waste and recycling collections and landlord services with Canterbury, Dover and Thanet and, in due course, may wish to consider joining for other services in the future.

Cllr. Latchford added: "We fully respect Shepway's views on this project and the fact that the savings may not be as great to them, as they will be to us. Each council has to do what it feels is right for its residents. We believe this is the right way forward for Thanet and remain fully committed to this project."


More than 100 council homes in Millmead have been inspected, as part of the latest Operation Clean Sweep.

The operation, led by Thanet District Council, also brought in officers from Kent Police and the UK Border Agency.

The latest crackdown checked council homes for any damage and gave tenants the opportunity to raise any concerns that they had about their properties. Of the tenants that were spoken to, 81% said that they were satisfied with Millmead as a place to live.

The two day operation, held last week (Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 January) identified a total of 20 repairs that need to be carried out to council homes.

A number of issues were also reported by residents, including more than 20 reports of anti-social behaviour, such as graffiti, drug dealing and youngsters playing football. Individual complaints about dumped rubbish in the car parking area to the rear of Biddenden Close and one complaint about bins not being emptied regularly enough will also be investigated.

Cllr. Zita Wiltshire, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: "The results of the latest Operation Clean Sweep were really positive, particularly the fact that the vast majority of the tenants that our officers spoke to were satisfied with Millmead as a place to live. That reflects the enormous amount of work that both the council and the Thanet Community Safety Partnership have done there in recent months to tackle the problems that matter to residents there. We'll now be working to deal with the issues that were reported to us during the operation."

Tuesday, 19 January 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

13 Jan 2010
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07 Jan 2010
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30 Dec 2009
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New documents published by Thanet District Council,

20/01/2010 - Meeting scheduled: Jan 20 2010 7:00PM, Planning Committee
20/01/2010 - Meeting scheduled: Jan 20 2010 10:00AM, East Kent Joint Arrangements Committee
20/01/2010 - Meeting scheduled: Jan 20 2010 10:00AM, Corporate Improvement and Budget Working Party - Sub Group - Waste & Recycling
18/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 27 2010 10:00AM, Licensing Sub Commitee
18/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 26 2010 5:00PM, Asset Management Working Group
18/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 26 2010 3:00PM, Corporate Improvement & Budget Working Party
18/01/2010 - Agenda supplement published - Supplementary Report : Supplementary Report: Meeting of Jan 20 2010 10:00AM, East Kent Joint Arrangements Committee
18/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 26 2010 7:00PM, Overview and Scrutiny Panel
18/01/2010 - Meeting held: Jan 18 2010 9:00AM, Corporate Improvement and Budget Working Party - Sub Group - Shared Services Vehicle
15/01/2010 - Meeting held: Jan 15 2010 2:00PM, Corporate Improvement and Budget Working Party - Sub Group - Housing Landlord Service
15/01/2010 - Publication of plan: Forward Plan for period from 1 February 2010 to 1 August 2010; Cabinet
14/01/2010 - Meeting held: Jan 14 2010 9:30AM, East Kent Joint Scrutiny Committee
13/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 20 2010 10:00AM, East Kent Joint Arrangements Committee
13/01/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Dec 9 2009 8:30AM, Corporate Improvement and Budget Working Party - Sub Group - Housing Landlord Service
12/01/2010 - Meeting held: Jan 12 2010 10:45AM, Licensing Sub Commitee
12/01/2010 - Meeting held: Jan 12 2010 10:00AM, Licensing Board
11/01/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Dec 14 2009 4:00PM, Airport Working Party
11/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 20 2010 7:00PM, Planning Committee
11/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 20 2010 10:00AM, Corporate Improvement and Budget Working Party - Sub Group - Waste & Recycling
11/01/2010 - Decision Published: Approval to provide land usage in the Royal Harbour free of charge, discounted moorings and officer time for the staging of Ramsgate Regatta Week between the 16 and 21 August 2010.; Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and Ramsgate Marina
11/01/2010 - Issue Published: Approval to provide land usage in the Royal Harbour free of charge, discounted moorings and officer time for the staging of Ramsgate Regatta Week between the 16 and 21 August 2010.
11/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 18 2010 9:00AM, Corporate Improvement and Budget Working Party - Sub Group - Shared Services Vehicle
08/01/2010 - Issue Published: Victoria Parade Handrail Plinth - Emergency Works
08/01/2010 - Decision Published: Victoria Parade Handrail Plinth - Emergency Works; Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Economic Development
06/01/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Dec 23 2009 9:00AM, Corporate Improvement and Budget Working Party - Sub Group - Shared Services Vehicle
06/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 14 2010 9:30AM, East Kent Joint Scrutiny Committee
05/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 15 2010 2:00PM, Corporate Improvement and Budget Working Party - Sub Group - Housing Landlord Service
05/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 12 2010 10:45AM, Licensing Sub Commitee
05/01/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Jan 12 2010 10:00AM, Licensing Board
05/01/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Nov 26 2009 6:00PM, Joint Transportation Board
24/12/2009 - Minutes published: Meeting of Dec 17 2009 7:00PM, Council
24/12/2009 - Minutes published: Meeting of Dec 18 2009 11:00AM, East Kent Joint Arrangements Committee

Refuse Collection Service (part 2)

From Cllr. Alan Poole (Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Environmental Services).

The Thanet refuse collection saga continues with large amounts of recyclables remaining uncollected. After nearly four weeks without a ‘blue bin’ collection many residents have been forced to make trips to the dump. This is not acceptable service from our supposedly ‘environmentally friendly’ council.

I am informed that a recent meeting of Parish Council Representatives was told TDC that the Refuse Collection and Street Cleaning budgets could well be slashed. Such cuts to the budget would be totally unacceptable as this basic council service is certainly not ‘fit for purpose’ as the Christmas collection fiasco clearly demonstrated.

What is Cllr Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Refuse Collection doing about this appalling state of affairs? She appears to be filling much of her time substituting on the TDC Planning Committee!

Cllr Alan Poole (Tel: 01843 602594)

Note: I am also receiving complaints about the large amount of dog mess now appearing on our pavements. It appears that some inconsiderate dog owners have taken advantage of the snowy conditions to allow their dogs to mess in the snow, the mess only being revealed as the snow melts.

Ramsgate Town Council - Consultation Meetings

Ramsgate Town Council has promised to consult with the electorate concerning its plans for the coming year and next years budget proposals.
Meetings for this purpose have been arranged.
Friday 22nd Jan 2010 St Lawrence Church Hall, St Lawrence High Street (Nethercourt Ward)
Tuesday 26th Jan 2010 St Marks Church Hall, Margate Road (Northwood Ward)
Wednesday 27th 2010 Jan Albion House (Pegwell, Central Harbour, Eastcliff & Sir Moses Montefiore Wards)
Thursday 28th Jan 2010 Newington Community Centre (Newington Ward)


Cliftonville West councillors Linda Aldred, Doug Clark & Clive Hart have called on Thanet District Council to get the large hoarding which has completely blocked a wide pavement outside 254 to 258 in Northdown Road since last May, removed as soon as possible.

The hoarding has been in place since fire destroyed the adjacent former hotel building and the ward councillors had to demand proper safety barriers through Kent Highways to protect residents from busy traffic when it was first erected. Now demolition of the building is almost complete and the councillors want the pavement reopened and public access restored as a matter of urgency.

Cllr. Linda Aldred said "residents have had to put up with the pavement being totally blocked for over eight months and now that the building has been demolished to ground floor level and the ugly shoring scaffolding has finally been removed, we would like to see the hoarding dismantled as soon as is possible.

This ugly obstruction has done nothing to help our struggling Northdown Road and the least our local authorities can do now is to quickly restore the pavement and improve public access for the benefit of local residents and traders".

Last Thursday (14/01/2010) the three ward councillors jointly called on TDC officers to negotiate the safe and swift removal of the hoarding and they report the following progress:

Some working scaffold may need to remain along the property frontage whilst site clearance of building debris continues.It follows that now the shoring scaffold has been removed and when adjustments have been made to any working scaffold that remains, then the site hoarding can be repositioned and the footpath cleared and opened.
TDC are now liaising with KKC highways regarding the removal of highway barriers/ repairs to footpaths etc at the earliest opportunity following removal of the scaffold and hoarding. And, reopening of the footpath.

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

Friday, 15 January 2010

Ramsgate Town Council Response to `Shaping Our Future'

Click on the link to read the RTC response to the TDC core strategy

Thanet Refuse Collection Service over the Christmas period.

From Cllr. Alan Poole (Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Environmental Services).

I have received a large number of complaints about the totally inadequate refuse collection service over the Christmas period. Many households have not had a refuse collection since the week before Christmas. This level of service is totally unacceptable.

When asked about refuse collection problems over the Christmas period Cllr Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member responsible for the refuse collection service, responded to a resident “Yes this does fall within my portfolio but I will leave my Director of services to respond as it is more operational”. This reply indicates the total lack of understanding of the problem faced by many households with large amounts of refuse requiring storage.

As TDC have apparently been ‘concentrating on collecting refuse’ there is also now the growing problem of uncollected recyclables, much of which will inevitably now go to landfill.

It appears Christmas and Winter have yet again come as a surprise to the Conservative administration at Thanet District Council!

Cllr Alan Poole (Tel: 01843 602594)

Note: Whilst visiting my daughter in Brisbane, Australia I took the attached photo…… it shows a one man operated collection service that is collecting refuse and recyclables (they use a divided bin). This is a weekly service……..not that remarkable you think until you realise this collection was 10:00 on Christmas day!


Thanet District Council to build new council houses for first time in 20 years.

Thanet is one of only 10 councils in the south east to receive the government funding to build new council houses. The money, £374,424 will be used to build five new homes on former garage sites in Hugin Avenue and St. Christopher's Close in St. Peter's.

All bids were subject to tough testing, with seven councils in the region unsuccessful. The projects given the go-ahead had to show good value for money, meet specific local housing needs and be completed by March 2011.

Cllr. Zita Wiltshire, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: "This is great news for Thanet and something that I'm sure everyone will warmly welcome. More affordable homes are desperately needed in the district and, although it is only five houses, this will make a big difference to the lives of the five families that will one day live there. I now look forward to seeing work starting on these homes and seeing people move into them, when they're completed."

Once the homes are completed, they will be allocated using the council's choice based lettings scheme, which allows anyone seeking housing to express an interest for homes advertised by either the council or housing associations.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


In response to the Thanet District Council Core strategy Consultation the East Cliff Residents Association has called for the benefits of airport expansion to be weighed against the possible detrimental effect on Ramsgate.

Paul Warrick, acting Chairman of the Association said: “Expansion of Manston has the potential to bring great benefits to Thanet – but will undoubtedly have a blighting effect on Ramsgate. The core strategy plan doesn’t recognise that the quality of living of 33 % of Thanet’s residents and the values of their homes could be seriously affected by insensitive airport expansion. Obviously ERA does not want to see Ramsgate suffer because of airport operations – and we believe development of the airport should only proceed if the quality of life in Ramsgate is preserved.

The new high speed rail connection, if combined with intelligent strategy set in place by the Ramsgate Town Council, give Ramsgate the potential for substantial regeneration and for large growth in property values. The true cost of insensitive expansion of the airport includes sacrificing that potential. Ramsgate property owners should receive compensation from TDC or the airport operator for the millions of pounds the town will miss out on if TDC puts the needs of Thanet as a whole ahead of , and to the detriment of , Ramsgate.

ERA calls on the RTC Councillors , especially the Councillors who are also on TDC, to put serious effort into ensuring that proper compensation is paid if Ramsgate is going to be sacrificed for the greater good of Thanet.”

Ed. for ERA’s full response to the core strategy consultation click on the link


See life on the Isle 800 years ago!

A remarkable film will be screened in Broadstairs on Feb 7th showing Thanet in the grip of the catastrophic plague known as the Black Death.

Set in 1348, the film tells the story of a medieval Thanet village, the people who live in it and the shocking impact the plague has on their lives.

Shot on location in Thanet, using a cast featuring many local people, the film vividly recreates the life of the period, including attitudes to women and the central role of religion.

Producer Norman Thomas said: “The film was based on extensive research into the period, but the thing that really brings it to life is the contribution of the local people.

“We explained to them what the plague would have been like and asked them to imagine what it would have meant to them, to see relatives and loved ones die, and to increasingly realise that they could do nothing about it.

“Our local “actors” really rose to the challenge and this gives rise to some truly moving moments.”

There are few written records of the impact of the Black Death on Thanet, but it is known that most of the people in the village of Acol died in the plague. The village was burnt to the ground in an attempt to stop the disease spreading.

The film also illustrates the weird and wonderful approach to health and medicine of the time. Mr Thomas said: “One of the strongest beliefs was in bleeding people to cure them. But there were many other odd ideas – for example, they thought goat’s droppings could cure gout or that wearing a toad around your neck would help cure internal bleeding.”

Based on a series of educational films made in 2002, “Thanet & The Black Death” is produced by the same people who made the much-acclaimed “Thanet On Film”, which featured footage of Thanet from the 1920s to the present days.

Originally intended for a single showing in November, “Thanet On Film” has been sold out every week since and is still showing at Broadstairs’ Palace Cinema every Sunday. Mr Thomas said: “Our previous screening was Thanet On Film, this is Medieval Thanet On Film. We hope people will be as interested in what was happening here 800 years ago as they are in Thanet 80 years ago!”

The film will be shown for one day only on Sunday at 5pm, on February 7. To book to see the film ring the Palace Cinema on 01843 865726.


Homes on the wheeled bin scheme across Thanet, who were originally due to have their recycling collected this Thursday and Friday (14 and 15 January) are being reassured that it will all be taken in due course.

The service had to be suspended for two days last week (Thursday 7 and Friday 8 January), due to the adverse weather. As a result, this Thursday and Friday (14 and 15 January), only non-recyclable household waste will be collected from all homes on the wheeled bin scheme that missed out on a collection last week. No recycling will be collected on those two days.

If your wheeled bin collection calendar shows that your blue-lidded recycling bin was due to be collected on either Thursday 14 or Friday 15 January, then your next recycling collection will now be on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 January. This applies to homes mainly located in Nethercourt and Pegwell in Ramsgate, Westbrook, Westgate, Birchington, Palm Bay, Salmestone, Margate and the Dane Valley area.

On Thursday 28 and Friday 29 January, all recycling, including any that will not fit into your wheeled bin, will be taken by the waste and recycling team. If you do want to put extra recycling out for collection on those two days, please put it into either clear plastic sacks or shopping carrier bags. Please do not put extra recycling into either black sacks or cardboard boxes.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "We're aware that last week's suspension of waste collections due to the recent adverse weather left some of our residents waiting weeks for their recycling bins to be collected. In response to comments from previous years, we've deliberately given priority to taking the black bins and people's non-recyclable rubbish, as we know that's more important for many residents. However, we also know that, at Christmas, people often produce a lot more recycling. That's why we're very happy to take all additional recycling for the properties that were affected by our decision to suspend services."

To check which bin is due for collection from Monday 18 January, you should refer to either your wheeled bin collection calendar or check your collection details online on the refuse collection database on the council's website at All collections are weather permitting. You can also call the council on 01843 577115 if you have any queries about your forthcoming collections.


Thousands of velvet swimming crabs have become the latest victim of the recent cold weather in Thanet.

Volunteer coastal wardens from the Thanet Coast Project have been out surveying the coastline and have found hundreds of the creatures either dead or dying, washed up on the shore. So far, crabs have been reported mainly between Westbrook, Cliftonville and Kingsgate. However, there are also reports of lower numbers from Broadstairs to Ramsgate. The discovery was made after the recent snow melted, exposing the crabs.

It follows a similar incident in early 2009, following another snowfall, when investigations by the Environment Agency showed no evidence of virus or disease. The conclusion is that it looks increasingly like the crab deaths are linked to the cold weather.

Although the velvet swimming crabs make up approximately 95% of the affected coastal wildlife, a variety of other marine life has also been affected from edible crabs, common whelks, sponges, dead man's fingers and anemones. Unusual shoreline finds during this cold spell have included two sunstars, a masked and a circular crab.

Tony Child, Thanet Coast Project Manager, said: "This shows just how much severe weather can disrupt marine life, as well as our own lives. In our own gardens, we can see the effect that the snow and ice has on feeding birds and local wildlife, but of course severe weather can also have an impact on our local shorelife. Usually the temperature of the marine environment is much more stable than our air temperatures. However, investigations into a similar incident we had along the Thanet coast last year now make it more likely that the crabs just couldn't cope with the severe cold. Obviously with the recent cold weather, the sad discovery that our coastal wardens have been making over the last few days is not entirely unexpected. I'd like to reassure people that the crabs shouldn't pose any danger to either people or animals. As happens with the circle of life in nature, we expect the crabs to be naturally dispersed from our shores very quickly by our local seagulls."

He added: "Local people can help local wildlife by becoming a Thanet coastal warden. They were the first ones to discover the crabs and are the 'eyes and ears' of our coastline, helping to monitor wildlife and coastal activities and report incidents like this."

This year's induction training for voluntary coastal wardens is being held on Saturday 30 January 2010 and you can register your interest by e-mailing or calling the Thanet Coast Project 01843 577672.


A project that helps to get young people a recognised qualification in numeracy, literacy, volunteering or enterprise has itself been given a new award.

The Pipeline Youth Initiative is celebrating its new status as an examination centre from national awarding body, NCFE. Pipeline leads on the Worx Project, with support from Thanet District Council's Sport 4NRG team. Funding comes from Thanet Works.

The project includes Aspire, which gives young people currently not in education or employment the chance to gain their adult numeracy and literacy qualifications, as well as work experience and youth training.

Pipeline, which is based at the Global Generation Centre in Westwood, has a qualified teacher, who works with the young people in a specially designed classroom. Any young people working with Pipeline or Sport4NRG will now have the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification in adult numeracy and literacy, volunteering or enterprise.

Naomi Evans, who leads Aspire, said: "We are very excited about the opportunity this will give young people in Thanet, who may have missed parts of their education or need extra support. We are calling it Aspire4Learning and already have a group ready to start."

James Gregory works with Naomi on the Worx Project and already trains young people in Level 1 and Level 2 Sports Leadership. He said: "Aspire and Sport 4NRG go hand in hand. Now we can offer young people vocational training, as well as skills for life, with literacy embedded in this."

If you would like to find out more, please contact Naomi at Pipeline on 01843 226232 or James at Sport4NRG on 01843 577728

Monday, 11 January 2010


Waste and recycling collections across Thanet have returned to normal today (Monday 11 January), following the two-day suspension last week (Thursday 7 and Friday 8 January) due to the adverse weather.

Waste and recycling crews will be collecting from all homes due to have a collection on a Monday and, where time allows, will also be revisiting those homes which missed collections last week. On Thursday and Friday of this week (14 and 15 January), the council will be collecting non-recyclable household rubbish. Any additional waste, outside of wheeled bins, will be collected on those two days only. For those on the wheeled bin scheme, the council will only be collecting black bins and household rubbish and not recycling. Any recycling that is put out for collection on these two days will be taken to landfill. Blue-lidded bins will not be emptied.

Although the refuse trucks, which can hold up to 12 tonnes of waste, were unable to go out for two days last week, the council did send out much smaller trucks, which can hold between 1.5 and 2.5 tonnes of waste, to clear the backlog. They were able to collect up to 2,000 black sacks, dealing with the majority of homes not on wheeled bin rounds who missed their collections last week.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank our residents for their understanding during this difficult time, which we could not have foreseen. Our crews will be working hard this week to catch up with the backlog. Along with many other councils across Kent, we had no choice but to suspend our waste services. It wasn't a choice we took easily, but it was the right one, given the conditions we were faced with and the possibility of accidents with our trucks. Weather permitting, by the end of this week, we are aiming to be back up to date with our waste collections and we made a good start on that last week, with the majority of the black sacks collected by our teams. This week we'll be concentrating on getting all the waste collections back on track for those with wheeled bins."

For homes with wheeled bins due a collection either today, Tuesday or Wednesday, it's business as usual, with either their rubbish or recycling due to be collected, depending on the round they are on. To check which bin is due for collection, you should refer to either your wheeled bin collection calendar or check your collection details online on the council's website at All collections are weather permitting.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Eddie Gilbert’s free offer for National Chip Week

Ramsgate chippie nominated for Potato Council Award

New restaurant manager hired

Eddie Gilbert's, the award-winning Ramsgate fishmonger that recently opened a fish and chip shop (and 50-seater gourmet fish restaurant,) is to give away a free portion of chips with every large portion of fish bought from the chippie during National Chip Week 2010 (15th – 22nd) February.

A former winner of the Taste of Kent of Fish Retailer of the Year, Eddie Gilbert’s has been nominated for the Potato Council’s “Perfect Portion Awards”. Kent chip lovers can voted for Eddie Gilbert’s online at Voting closes on 10th February.

Now in its 19th year, National Chip Week is organised by the Potato Council to promote home grown spuds. Last year over 800 fish and chips shops actively participated in National Chip Week. Over a quarter of the country’s potatoes are made into chips, with the fish and chips shop sector alone worth £1.2b accounting for 13% of the entire UK crop.

The art of cooking the perfect chip, according to Eddie Gilbert’s Michelin-trained chef Craig Mather, is to “Fry quality potatoes with a low moisture content, in small quantities, in beef dripping at a consistent temperature.” Although Eddie Gilbert’s also offers customer the choice of fish and chips cooked in vegetable oil.

At Eddie Gilbert’s each portion of chips is cooked to order, which maintains the right cooking temperature. Owner Jonny Dunhill sources locally grown Maris Piper potatoes, but admits that he had to “hunt around a bit” to find the right quality.

Dunhill has a recruited Nick MacAskill from the Yew Tree Inn in Barfestone to manage the front of house at 50-seater gourmet first floor restaurant.
For details of National Chip Week visit
Photo Jonny Dunhill

Friday, 8 January 2010


Waste and recycling collections across Thanet have been suspended for a second day running, with normal collections not operating today (Friday 8 January), due to the poor weather conditions.

Despite the suspension of waste and recycling collections, the council's team is out today, clearing limited amounts of waste. The large refuse trucks, which can take up to 12 tonnes of waste, cannot safely be taken out on the roads, following tests earlier this morning. The council is using much smaller trucks, which can carry between 1.5 and 2.5 tonnes of waste to start clearing the backlog. On-street community bins, which generally serve blocks of flats and litter bins are being emptied and the team are removing any black sacks that were due to be collected either yesterday or today that they can safely reach.

Waste and recycling staff came into work at 5.30am this morning, but were unable to take the trucks out, as the area's pavements remain icy and dangerous, while the side roads, where most homes are located, are also extremely treacherous for the freighters.

Today's missed waste collections will now be collected next week on Friday 15 January. Those due to have their rubbish or recycling collected today should only put out their non-recyclable household rubbish next Friday. The council will also be collecting any additional waste that day. For those on the wheeled bin scheme, please note that we will only be collecting black bins and household rubbish and not recycling next Friday.

The council's street cleaning and grounds maintenance teams are also joining in the effort, helping Kent County Council, by clearing snow and salting pavements in the town centres outside the shops. Key car parks across Thanet were also salted yesterday by the council.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "Once again, we've had our waste and recycling team turn out, ready to go out and do collections, but the story is the same as it was yesterday. It's just not safe to send out 26 ton trucks in these icy conditions. Our priority is the safety of our staff, who have to deal with black sacks and wheeled bins, and our residents. The last thing we want is an accident and that's why we've suspended collections today.

"Our teams are out and about, doing everything they can to deal with the backlog. Although we can't get the trucks out, we are using every available small van that we have and we have staff out across the area, trying to do whatever they can. However, people need to bear in mind that these vehicles just can't pick up the volume of rubbish that the trucks can. As soon as we can safely get out, we will be resuming rubbish collections and we will be putting extra resources, as needed, into next week's collections, to help deal with the backlog."

Residents with collections on Thursday, who missed their collection yesterday (Thursday 7 January) should put black wheeled bins and black sacks out next Thursday (14 January). As with the Friday collections, additional waste will be taken on that date, but no recycling will be collected.

Residents who have collections on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have, to date, been unaffected by the adverse weather. As a result, black sacks and wheeled bins should be put out as normal on your usual day of collection next week. For those on wheeled bin rounds, they should refer to their wheeled bin collection calendar and put out the correct bin on their usual day of collection, as specified on their calendars. You can also check your collection details online on the council's website at

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Severe winter weather has hit a number of Thanet District Council's services, with Thanet's Gateway Plus and the council offices closing earlier than usual and some of the area's public toilets closed.

Waste and recycling collections have been suspended today (Thursday 7 January). Thanet's Gateway Plus, which was due to be open until 8pm tonight, as it is every Thursday night, will now be closing at 5pm instead. This is earlier than the previously advertised time of 6pm. It is planned that it will re-open at 9am tomorrow morning (Friday 8 January) as usual.

The council offices in Margate and the telephone switchboard will now close early tonight at 5pm, as opposed to 5.30pm and will re-open at 8.45am tomorrow morning.

Although most of the area's town centre public toilets have been open today, a number of toilets, mainly in parks and on beaches, have been closed today:

Minnis Gap car park, Birchington
West Bay, Westgate
St. Mildred's Bay, Westgate
Harbour Arm, Margate
Dane Park, Cliftonville
Broadstairs Harbour
Screaming Alley, Ramsgate
King George VI Park, Ramsgate


Severe winter weather has hit a number of Thanet District Council's services, with Thanet's Gateway Plus closing earlier than usual and some of the area's public toilets closed.

Waste and recycling collections have been suspended today (Thursday 7 January). Thanet's Gateway Plus, which was due to be open until 8pm tonight, as it is every Thursday night, will now be closing at 6pm instead. It is planned that it will re-open at 9am tomorrow morning (Friday 8 January) as usual.

At present, it is planned that the council offices in Margate and the telephone switchboard will be open until their usual closing time of 5.30pm tonight and will re-open at 8.45am tomorrow morning.

However, these opening hours are subject to weather conditions, which the council will continue to monitor throughout the afternoon. Should any changes be made to opening hours of either Thanet's Gateway Plus or the council offices, we will update you.

Although most of the area's town centre public toilets have been open today, a number of toilets, mainly in parks and on beaches, have been closed today:

Minnis Gap car park, Birchington
West Bay, Westgate
St. Mildred's Bay, Westgate
Harbour Arm, Margate
Dane Park, Cliftonville
Broadstairs Harbour
Screaming Alley, Ramsgate
King George VI Park, Ramsgate


An open day is being held next week (Wednesday 13 January) for adults in Newington, Eastcliff and Northwood to find out more about free courses available to them.

Amongst the free courses on offer to those aged 19 or over in these areas through the doorstep learning scheme are Computers for Absolute Beginners, gardening skills, English, Maths and cake decorating. You can also take a first step towards a career in early years childcare and education, with a course that introduces you to working in a pre-school setting.

All courses are run in local venues, during school times, with breaks for school holidays and people can attend as many courses as they want.

People can find out more about how to apply for the courses at the doorstep taster and information day at Newington Community Centre in Princess Margaret Avenue in Newington between 11am and 2pm, on Wednesday 13 January.

They can also enjoy short introduction tasters in courses as diverse as cooking, confidence building, flower arranging, massage, psychology and gardening.

The courses are funded by Thanet Works and provided by Amicus Horizon, working with Thanet District Council, Thanet College, Kent Adult Education and the Orbit housing group.

To find out more, contact Lewis Watkins on 0800 121 6060 or text, 'TDSL' to 07894 799591.


Waste and recycling collections across Thanet have been suspended for today (Thursday 7 January), due to the poor weather conditions.

Although the main roads in the area are fairly clear, the footways are very icy and dangerous. The side roads, on which the vast majority of homes are located, remain extremely treacherous.

Priority will now be given to collecting today's missed waste collections next week (Thursday 14 January). Those due to have their rubbish or recycling collected today should only put out their non-recyclable household rubbish next Thursday.

Waste and recycling staff will be coming into work tomorrow morning (Friday 8 January) at 5.30am, as they did this morning, but there is serious doubt whether waste collections tomorrow will be possible. Unless conditions dramatically improve overnight, it is very unlikely that waste and recycling will be collected tomorrow. A final decision will be made tomorrow morning. Updates will be put on the council's website at and given to the local media as soon as a decision is made.

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 (14 January). The council will also be collecting any additional waste that day. For those on the wheeled bin scheme, only rubbish in the black lidded wheeled bin will be collected next Thursday.

The council will be aiming to put additional resources next week into areas that have missed collections this week to ensure that we can deal with the extra rubbish. The council has also been trying to assist Kent County Council in treating key locations across Thanet.

Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "Although many of the main roads in Thanet are clear, the issue we've got is that most of the houses we collect from are on the smaller, more minor roads. As many people will be aware from first-hand experience this morning, these roads are still icy and very treacherous. The pavements are also exceptionally dangerous and even more so, when staff are trying to deal with wheeled bins and carry black bags. Anyone who's been out walking today will be aware of how slippery it is under foot.

"We have to think of the safety, both of our staff and our residents, before we send our trucks out on the roads. These are all 26 ton trucks and you can imagine how much damage they could do in icy conditions. Our staff came in at 5.30am this morning and I'd like to thank them for coming in and waiting for so many hours to see if they could get out or not. They've been willing and able, but the weather just hasn't cooperated with us at all."

She added: "We are keeping a very close eye on weather conditions and I'd like to take this opportunity to assure residents that, if we can safely collect waste and recycling, then we will do so. However, safety always comes first for the council and if there is any danger to anyone, then we won't risk collecting. Our aim is to catch up on collections next week, if at all possible, and we are hopeful that weather conditions will improve and allow us to do that."

Residents who have collections on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have, to date, been unaffected by the adverse weather. As a result, black sacks for those not on a wheeled bin round should be put out as normal on your usual day of collection next week. For those on wheeled bin rounds, they should refer to their wheeled bin collection calendar and put out the correct bin on their usual day of collection, as specified on their calendars. You can also check your collection details online on the council's website at

Monday, 4 January 2010


Time is running out for local people to give their views on how the council should be spending its money for the next year.

Your district. you decide is the name of Thanet District Council's budget consultation, which was launched at the beginning of December and ends on Friday 15 January.

In the 2010/11 budget, the council will need to find £1.8 million worth of savings. To help it decide how best to do this, local people are being asked to prioritise a number of services that the council is not legally required to provide. This includes events, benefits advice, sports facilities, the Port of Ramsgate, tourism, supporting the voluntary and community sector, parks and open spaces, economic development and regeneration and culture and heritage, like the Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal. Residents are also being asked to list the three most important council services to them.

The survey goes on to ask people for their views on how savings could be made, with a number of ideas put forward, to see how strongly people support each of them. They can also put forward any suggestions they have for saving money.

Last year's budget consultation led to extra resources being put into waste collection and street cleaning, as local people said these were their top priorities. People thought savings should be made by re-organising staff and sharing services with other councils, so the senior management structure was reduced, with a staff vacancy freeze imposed.

Plans are also being considered to share services with Canterbury, Dover and Shepway councils, with housing, waste and services such as IT, building control and revenues and benefits all being discussed. This could lead to savings of up to £3 million over the next five years.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: "It's really important that local people give us their views on our budget plans and where they want to see their money being spent. It's important to remember that we're all facing a tough time at the moment, with everyone having to tighten their belts. Local government is no different. We have to make savings like the rest of the country, but the difference is that people pay for those services through their Council Tax. That's why it's vital that local people give us their views on how they want to see savings being made and which services matter most to them."

Survey questionnaires are online at the council website at, or you can pick up a questionnaire from Thanet's Gateway Plus or local libraries. You can also get a copy by calling 01843 577120 or e-mailing


VAT rates on the vast majority of Thanet District Council's fees and charges will be remaining at 15% until 31 March 2010.

Nationally, VAT was increased back to 17.5% on 1 January 2010, but when the reduction was first announced, the council decided to pass on the reduction over the 2009/10 financial year. This meant that the 15% rate would apply from 1 April 2009 until 31 March 2010.

The only exceptions to this are the fees for the miniature remembrance book and memorial cards at Margate cemetery, which have now reverted to the 17.5% VAT charge. This is because these two items have VAT added to the charge, whereas all other fees and charges are inclusive of VAT.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "When we looked at implementing the government's reduction in VAT, we decided to do it over the council's financial year. That meant, although the reduction took a little longer to arrive, people will now benefit from the continued lower rate of tax through until the end of March on the council's various services."

Putting us at the Head of the Queue not left at the end of the Line:

Laura welcomes Conservative Policies for Coastal Towns

“We all recognise that costal towns, particularly here in East Kent, are very different from communities and towns just 15 miles inland, and for these to thrive we need policies that focus directly on our needs. I am very pleased to welcome such a comprehensive range of policies from the Conservative Party that aim to address those needs and offer real change for South Thanet and Sandwich,” said Laura.

With unemployment rising month - on - month in Thanet and Sandwich, we need to develop policies to help people back into work through initiatives that will specifically assist us in this area:

TOURISM: We want to support local tourism more and in keeping with our policy on encouraging local decision making, we would encourage councils to form Local Tourism Partnerships and produce tourism development plans. Visit England could then provide funding for large scale tourism projects proposed by these partnerships.

GREEN COLLAR JOBS: We propose to use £50 million to establish a network of large scale Marine Energy Parks, and we will also lay DC cables to support the development of offshore wind farms. Thanet is already recognised as an area that could qualify for Marine Energy Park status.

INSHORE FISHERIES: We need to reverse Labour’s centralising approach to fisheries policy that has alienated fishermen and failed to address our dwindling fish stocks. There must be a fundamental shake-up to encourage sustainable practices, give local communities a greater say over the future of their fishing industry and bring to an end to the scandal of fish discards – with fish being regularly dumped back into the sea.

This is in addition to the wider policies for getting people back into work that include:
APPRENTICESHIPS: Creating 400,000 apprenticeships, college and training places over two years.
NATIONAL CITIZEN SERVICE: Introducing a National Citizen Service for 16 year olds to provide a compelling and challenging programme that will help teach young people about their responsibilities in society and provide a focus for participating in community service.
TAX BREAKS FOR NEW FIRMS: Introducing new tax breaks for local firms - including local business rate discounts, lower corporation tax on small firms, and waiving National Insurance on new firms which create jobs.


We will cancel Labour’s plans after the general election for an expensive and intrusive council tax revaluation in England which would put a premium on our sea views.

We will help elderly homeowners protect their home from being sold to pay for residential care costs through the payment of a one off £8,000 insurance premium upon retirement. In seaside towns that have a much higher percentage of older residents than our inland neighbours, this will make a difference to the lives of many in our communities.


CENTRAL HOUSING TARGETS SCRAPPED: We would abolish the unsuccessful regional planning system and the counterproductive regional housing targets – under the Conservatives local people would once again be in charge of delivering the housing they need.

RIGHT TO BUY: We will legislate to provide a ‘Community Right to Buy’ for threatened community assets.

GREEN TRANSPORT: As part of commitment to green transport we will require all electricity network operators to provide electric car charging points

HOUSEHOLD INSURANCE: We would also undertake negotiations with insurers to ensure as many householders and property owners as possible who live near the coast have access to flood insurance.

SEASIDE HERITAGE AND THE PUBLIC REALM: We would allow privately owned, listed seaside-heritage attractions, such as piers, to apply for Lottery funding.

It is also vital that the ‘public realm’ of our seaside resorts is maintained and enhanced, not only to attract visitors, but also to make them pleasant and attractive places to live all year round. Despite the challenges of maintaining these properties it is important we acknowledge them as assets which attract visitors, provide a focus for events, and offer a quality of townscape difficult to replicate in modern developments. They are also valuable icons in publicising and attracting visitors to these towns, and must be maintained and cherished.


ALCOHOL SALES: We would seek to impose significant tax increases on strong alcohol which contributes to violence and disorder on our streets, such as alcopops, strong beer and strong cider.
We would ban retailers from selling alcohol below cost price and would give local councils and the police new powers to restrict the large number of late licences awarded to shops, takeaways and other venues.

POLICING: We need to give the police more power to impose law and order in coastal towns. Under Labour, policemen and women spend too much time behind their desks doing paperwork instead of out on our streets tackling crime. We would scrap the form filling that goes with ‘stop and search’ powers and cut the paperwork associated with carrying out routine surveillance.

“Labour has ignored and marginalised our coastal towns like Thanet and Sandwich, and this must change. This action plan is proof that Conservatives want to reinvigorate our coastal towns, so that they are not just places for a great day out, but are also successful and attractive places to live and work. Conservatives will ensure that our coastal towns are no longer left at ‘the end of the line’.”