Friday, 30 April 2010

SHADOW UPDATE 29/04/2010

Labour Shadow Team comments & questions for Thursday afternoon's TDC Cabinet meeting.

INTRODUCTION - Labour Group Leader - Cllr. Clive Hart.

Cllr Ezekiel's last cabinet meeting as leader was very brief, despite covering some very serious issues, especially regarding regeneration across our island. These included the situation in Margate concerning Dreamland, at Westwood concerning the Conservative's East Kent Opportunities project and in Ramsgate concerning the Marina. The CRB checks for District Councillors debate also rolls on with Cllr Ezekiel still apparently refusing to make them compulsory under his leadership.

Cllr. Clive Hart - Phone: 01843 298770

The meeting was moved to 5pm (2 hours earlier than usual) and this made it difficult for some members to attend.


Cllr Clive Hart - Labour Group Leader.

With regards to the new objective at section 2a of the report which stated 'all members who wish to be are CRB checked', Cllr Hart said: "I welcome this new objective which we in the Labour Group at TDC have been arguing in favour of for several years now, though as it is still not compulsory, it certainly doesn't go far enough.

However, I would like to ask that all Labour Group members are contacted ASAP with an explanation of how they can apply to be CRB Checked, especially as it has been our groups wish for all our members to go through the process for some time now.

Conservative Cabinet Member Cllr Zita Wiltshire responded sternly, saying that any members who wished to be checked would have to pay for the check themselves. This was despite an earlier report from TDC that had clearly stated there would be no charge for local councillors and therefore no cost to the council.

Cllr. Clive Hart - Phone: 01843 298770

Cllr Peter Campbell - Deputy Leader of the Labour Group.
Cllr Campbell pointed to the section in the report regarding 'Thanet's Economy' which said performance in one particular area was slightly low because TDC were awaiting input from the Port & Marina Working Party.
Having asked the question several times at different meetings over the past year, Cllr Campbell asked once more - just why the Port & Marina Working Party had not yet met? The working party could have started its business as long ago as last July.
Cllr Ezekiel said he shared Cllr Campbell's frustration and blamed the delay on the longwinded scrutiny process.
Cllr. Peter Campbell - Phone: 01843 585738

Cllr Clive Hart - Labour Group Leader.

Discussing a report explaining why a loan of £95,000 had been given through the Leader & Deputy Leader of the Council to the joint TDC/KCC EKO venture under the urgency procedure, Cllr Hart warned that when local authorities act like land and property speculators they needed to be aware that they might suffer the same consequences as some less successful commercial speculators.

Cllr Latchford responded that - what was needed was jobs - a statement the Labour Group support entirely.

Due to the meeting process, opposition members could not respond to Cllr Latchford's comment, but after the meeting Cllr Hart said "our group most certainly agree that jobs have to be the priority for the business park. But why then are the ruling Conservative administration hell bent on changing the designation of the land so that 600 houses can be built"?

Cllr. Clive Hart - Phone: 01843 298770


Cllr Clive Hart - Labour Group Leader.

Cllr Hart said that something most definitely needed to happen on the Dreamland site and that as the Heritage Theme Park was the 'deal on the table' his members would no doubt do all they possibly could to support the project.

However, he repeatedly warned of serious concerns regarding financial management in the report which he was not allowed detail in public at this point, as the matters were on pink paper and therefore confidential at present.

Cllr Hart said he would discuss the report with his group ASAP.
Cllr. Clive Hart - Phone: 01843 298770

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


Plans to regenerate Dreamland in Margate and turn it into the world's first amusement park of thrilling historic rides have taken a step forward.

Cabinet Members last night (Thursday 29 April) gave approval for work to go ahead on transferring part of the Dreamland site to the council. There is already an agreement, in principle, from the landowners, the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, to transfer the freehold of the cinema building and land to the council.

The project aims to create a major new visitor attraction at Dreamland that would attract more than half a million visitors, bringing several hundred new jobs and helping to regenerate the town. Visitors would be able to enjoy historic amusement park rides, many of which are the last surviving examples of their type. They would be built around the centrepiece of the park, the Scenic Railway, the UK's oldest surviving wooden roller coaster, and the fourth oldest in the world. Restoration work will also be carried out on the grade II* listed Dreamland cinema building.

The scheme is a partnership between the council, the Dreamland Trust and land owners the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company. Funding for the project is coming from a number of sources, including the Sea Change Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Applications have also been submitted to English Heritage, Arts Council England, SEEDA and Thanet Works for additional funding.

The report sets out that this land transfer should be completed by the end of July 2010 to enable the project to meet the Sea Change grant conditions, which require the funding to be used by March 2011. Cabinet agreed that should it prove necessary, compulsory purchase proceedings could be used to minimise the risk that this deadline cannot be met, although it was stressed that would be a last resort.

The council's Cabinet Members also agreed plans to put £2.2 million of the council's money into the project, which is already provided for in the council's existing budget, and, if alternative funding cannot be found, for the council to borrow up to £1.8 million, to make up the money needed for the project. Both these decisions will now go forward to a meeting of full Council for final approval.

If all goes to plan, work will commence towards the end of 2010, with the park expected to open in summer 2012.


St. Lawrence is to be declared an Air Quality Management Area to help tackle air pollution in the area.

The decision was taken last night (Thursday 29 April) by Cabinet Members, after they were told that the area in and around the roundabout at St. Lawrence High Street had failed to reach government guidelines for nitrogen dioxide.

Further monitoring will now be carried out to see what improvements can be made to the air quality in the area. The council has already received funding from the government to install an air quality monitoring station in St. Lawrence, which will help with this process.

An action plan will then be drawn up by specialist consultants, who will look at issues such as traffic flows, in consultation with the local community. This action plan will also look at Thanet's other Air Quality Management Area, which is the area around the Square in Birchington, as the poor air quality there is also thought to be as a result of traffic problems.

Senior Environmental Protection Officer, Amanda Berry, said: "Now that the Air Quality Management Area has been declared around St. Lawrence High Street, we'll be looking further into the causes of this problem. We'll be carrying out more monitoring over the next few months to look at what action we can take in the future to help improve the air quality in this area."

Up to date pollution levels and air quality reports can be viewed at


Local people can learn more about composting at an event next week (Saturday 8 May) at Westwood Cross.

Compost Awareness Week is an annual event and this year it runs from Monday 2 May until Saturday 8 May. To mark the week, Thanet District Council's waste and recycling team will be showing people how they can start home composting or try something new, if they already have a compost bin.

The team will be at Westwood Cross on Saturday 8 May between 10am and 4pm, encouraging people to either get started with composting or learn how to do a little more. There will be information available about home composting, including solutions if you have a small garden and there will also be the chance to win a compost bin.

Fiona Jarrett, Waste and Recycling Education Officer, said: "Composting organic waste in your own garden is a great way to cut the amount of waste going to landfill sites. We create something like four million tonnes of compostable waste each year in this country and only around a third of people compost at home. Things like scrunched up paper or the contents from a vacuum cleaner can easily be composted. It takes a few months, but then you're rewarded with a nutrient free fertiliser for your garden."

Community Secretary visits Cliftonville

John Denham, the cabinet minister for Communities and Local Government, has visited South Thanet to support Stephen Ladyman’s general election campaign. John visited a Cliftonville playground built with funds from the Government’s ‘Stronger,Safer Communities’ programme.

John (stooping) is pictured with Stephen Ladyman, Labour’s candidate in South Thanet, and Rachael Jordan with Harry, age 3 (in centre of picture) and Rebecca Rowden holding baby Daisy, 7 months. Cliftonville is now in the South Thanet constituency for the first time.

Stephen said:

“West Cliftonville faces some serious challenges. What it desperately needs is an MP who will fight to tackle its problems. People should look at what I’ve achieved in the old South Thanet area because if I’m re-elected I’ll bring the same energy and determination to get resources into Cliftonville.”

After visiting the play area Mr Denham went on to St Paul’s Community Centre where he discussed the issues facing Cliftonville with representatives of local community groups, local Labour councillors and other local residents.

Stephen said:

“John listened to the concerns of local people and also made some suggestions about the way forward. The Government has just given local Councils new planning powers to control the growth of bedsits in local areas and to create a register of landlords so the Council, for the first time, will be able to hold bad landlords to account if they don’t manage properties to a high standard and tackle anti-social behaviour from tenants. If I’m elected on May 6th I’ll expect Thanet Council to use those powers to the full in Cliftonville.”

“We also need to step up rubbish collection and street cleaning in the area as well as tackling late sales of alcohol from shops, to unsupervised drinkers who then behave badly. These are problems that can’t be tackled over-night and it will take time but, for the sake of decent people and hard working families, they are issues that we must face up to.”

Tourism Plan for Thanet and Sandwich

Conservatives launch 12-point tourism action plan for Thanet and Sandwich

We have published a 12-point tourism action plan designed to ensure that the UK’s fifth biggest sector gets the full support it deserves. It includes pledges to raise the profile of the sector across government and permanently stop Labour’s damaging ‘holiday tax’ plans to abolish the Furnished Holiday Lettings relief.

“This is a really important, dynamic plan for the development of tourism within Thanet and Sandwich. This Labour Government has let down tourism badly and let down many people within this constituency as a result. It is time that politicians gave tourism the profile and status it deserves which is why this action plan is so significant. The benefits that tourism can bring to an area like ours are obvious and the Conservatives’ tourism strategy is just one example of how a Conservative Government can help our local visitor economy grow.”


Conservatives will:

Raise the profile and status of tourism within government as well as within the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. This will involve the creation of a Minister for Tourism with the responsibility to engage with the industry and champion its cause within parliament. This will be made possible by bringing back the Olympics into DCMS and therefore avoiding duplication between the Olympics and Sports Ministers.

Challenge VisitEngland to get 50 per cent of UK holiday spend to be spent on domestic holidays (up from the current figure of 38 per cent) by improving the marketing and offer of UK holidays. It will take over tourism responsibility from the ineffective Regional Development Agencies.

Encourage the formation of Local Tourism Partnerships which will better coordinate local tourism plans and increase the buy-in of local authorities and the private sector.

Ensure VisitBritain conducts a review of its grading system. We envisage a simplified, customer-led grading system for all hotels and B&Bs modelled on tripadvisor.

Allow local authorities to retain any growth in business rates (above the indexed rise in the national business rate) for a period of 6 years, so that there is a genuine incentive to encourage small and medium sized tourism businesses to grow.

Support tourism businesses by cutting the headline rate of corporation tax from 28p to 25p. To help small businesses we will lower the small companies’ rate to 20p and make small business rate relief automatic to reduce admin costs and ensure take up.

Reduce the burden of red tape on businesses with a “one in, one out” approach for new regulation.

Maximise the opportunity presented by 2012 for the whole of the UK by setting up a fund to which both industry and the government would contribute (from existing resources). This would exploit the once in a lifetime opportunity presented by the Olympics to promote the UK in our top tourist markets.

Examine the possibility of introducing ‘single double summertime’ on a pilot basis provided it has support from all parts of the United Kingdom.

Re-invigorate our costal towns so that as well as being a great day out they are also economically diverse and attractive places to live and work.

Take action to undo the damage caused by the abolition of the Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) reliefs.

Return the National Lottery to its original purpose; as an addition to, not as a replacement for, government spending. We will consider allowing lottery money to go to privately owned projects, such as piers, providing they can demonstrate this will create considerable public benefit.


Thanet is leading the way with its unique Operation Mini Clean Sweep, the latest of which has just been carried out in Cliftonville.

The council led operation saw officers from the waste and recycling and housing teams and community wardens joining forces with Kent Police and the UK Border Agency to target Edgar Road. The one day operation uncovered a number of issues, with three lorry loads of rubbish removed from an alleyway, noise warnings handed out to two households and five faulty fire alarms discovered.

Two Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) were also found and both properties will now have a detailed inspection, which could lead to a notice being served on them or a prosecution for running an HMO without a licence. One Fixed Penalty Notice was handed out to someone seen dropping litter.

People were also asked about any issues in the area and, as a result, the problem of broken glass in the children's area in Dane Park will now be investigated.

Renewal Area Officer Dave Farmer said: "Everyone who took part in our Operation Mini Clean Sweep agreed that it had been a great success. That's also shown by the fact that we've been used as a model by both Shepway and Ashford, who are now doing their own operations. It's good to see Thanet leading the way in this."

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Do you know your Gateway and what services you can get from it? That's the question being posed to local people, with the chance to find out the answer next week (Friday 7 May).

Know Your Gateway will take place on Friday 7 May from 10am to 3pm and will showcase the range of services now available at Thanet's Gateway Plus in Cecil Square.

In the last six weeks alone, six new partners have begun to offer their services through the Gateway, including the Citizen's Advice Bureau, Porchlight, the Learning Disabilities Team and the Independent Living Scheme.

Amongst the organisations taking part in Know Your Gateway are:
Thanet College
Independent Living Scheme
Health Trainers
Disability Drop In
Migrant Helpline
Kent County Council Social Services
Kent County Council Community Wardens
Childrens and Families information
Learn Direct
Thanet Community Support Partnership

Gateway Manager, Stephen Meades, said: "We want to showcase the huge range of services now on offer at Thanet's Gateway Plus, as it's increased dramatically since we opened two years ago. We've added a number in the last few weeks alone, so the chances are there will be services on offer that you may not have been aware of. You can get to know your Gateway at our special event and find out exactly what's on offer there. We really are a one stop shop for so many different organisations."

If you represent a group from the voluntary or charitable sector and would like to join the organisations offering their services in Thanet's Gateway Plus, please contact Stephen Meades via e-mail on

Thanet's Gateway Plus is open from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday, with late night opening until 8pm on Thursdays. It is also open from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays. Full details of all the services on offer at the Gateway can be found at


National championship beach volleyball returns to Margate Main Sands this summer, with the fourth annual Margate Masters event.

Voted as the Best Tour Event in 2009 by the players and officials of Volleyball England, last year's event attracted more than 5,000 people to see the action on the showcourts. This year's free event, which is organised by Thanet District Council's Sport Matters team, runs from Friday 9 July to Sunday 11 July, with play from 9am to 5pm.

The 2010 Margate Masters kicks off on Friday 9 July with a schools competition during the day, followed by a corporate event in the early evening, giving local youngsters and companies the chance to play in the main arena.

The elite competition starts on Saturday 10 July, with the main Volleyball England Beach Tour event attracting the top players in the country, along with some international teams. There will be full match commentary and entertainment, including music, dance and foot volley demonstrations.

The women's final will then take place from 1.30pm on the Sunday, followed by the men's final from 3.30pm that day. Sunday also sees the return of the "Local Standard" knockout event which proved to be very popular in 2009. The knockout is aimed at anyone looking to have a go at volleyball with teams consisting of two or four people (mixed teams allowed). Registration is at 9.00am on the day or for more details, check out the website.

Sports Development Officer, Martyn Cassell, said: "The Margate Masters has already got a reputation as one of the best volleyball events in the UK and it's a great opportunity to enjoy the stunning Thanet coastline. This is also a unique opportunity to enjoy a national sporting event right on your doorstep at a superb venue that's already on the list of potential pre-Olympic training camps for beach volleyball for the 2012 London Olympics. Not only is beach volleyball an Olympic sport, but it's also rated as one of the top five spectator sports in the world. As well as some first class competition over the weekend from some of the best players in the country, there's also a chance for people to come along and have a go on the community play courts or in the coaching areas."

For more information, visit either or Anyone who wants to get involved with a national sports event can register to become an event volunteer, while companies can also get involved by becoming either suppliers or sponsors. Contact Martyn Cassell on 01843 577367 for more information.


Local people are being asked for their help in remembering one of the Second World War's most famous operations, which will be celebrated in Ramsgate in May.

Dynamo Day in Ramsgate, on Wednesday 26 May, will celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the civilian contribution to "Operation Dynamo", the famous wartime evacuation of more than a quarter of a million men from the beaches of Dunkirk to the South East coast of England. The operation, in which Ramsgate played a pivotal role, began in May 1940.

Professor David Welch, Professor of the Modern History Department at the University of Kent, an international authority on British Society and World War Two, has agreed to be the Historical Adviser to the organising group, the Ramsgate Heritage Partnership.

On the evening of Tuesday 25 May, the eve of Ramsgate's Dynamo Day, Professor Welch will be giving a public talk at the Tiffany Suite of the Oak Hotel in Ramsgate, telling the story of Operation Dynamo and the importance of the event to British history.

An appeal has also been launched for any memories, memorabilia and artefacts the public may have in reference to this important moment in Britain's history. This material will be looked after by the Ramsgate Heritage Partnership, with the help of the University of Kent.

Professor David Welch said: "This will be a major oral history project for the University of Kent. Many details of the civilian side of Operation Dynamo were never written down, and memories might be fading. The timing of this could not be better."

Alexander Thomson, Chairman of the Ramsgate Heritage Partnership said: "We are honoured and delighted to have such a distinguished historian on board. It means the contribution of civilians to Operation Dynamo in Ramsgate and all along the Kent coast, will be well recorded, with personal artefacts and letters well looked after."

Eight hundred civilian boats took part in Operation Dynamo - they became known as "The Little Ships". Fifty of those which survive will be returning to Ramsgate's Royal Harbour this May. In 1940, thousands of civilians along the Kent Coast helped the returning troops; all volunteer organisations were involved.

The Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Allan Willet, C.M.G. will inspect the Little Ships in Ramsgate's Royal Harbour. The Revd. Tom Heffer, Secretary General of the Mission to Seafarers, will bless the Little Ships in Ramsgate on Wednesday 26 May, before they set sail for Dunkirk the next morning, escorted by the Royal Navy and the RNLI.

Proceeds from Professor Welch's talk at Ramsgate's Oak Hotel will go to the Mission to Seafarers to help its work in 230 ports around the world.

The Dunkirk Little Ships will be departing from Ramsgate on Thursday 27 May at 7.00am and will be returning between 3.00pm and 4.00pm on Monday 31 May.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


The latest blitz on untaxed or abandoned cars has seen another 38 vehicles removed from the streets of Thanet.

The most recent Operation Cubit, which lasted for a week, was led by Thanet District Council, with help from Kent Police, Kent County Council, the DVLA and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

A total of 10 cars were removed from Cliftonville, while nine were taken away in Ramsgate and seven were removed from Broadstairs. Six vehicles were taken away in Margate and one was found in Westgate.

Over the last two years, Operation Cubit has removed more than 430 cars. Owners can pay £260, plus storage costs, to reclaim their vehicles and, of this money, £160 is refundable if they tax their vehicles within two weeks.

If they fail to either tax the vehicles or declare that they are off the road, then a follow-up visit is made to see if the vehicle is still being driven illegally and, if it is, it will be removed. If owners do not claim and pay for their vehicles, then they will either be crushed or sold.

Abandoned vehicles can be reported by calling 01843 577888.


A "once in a decade opportunity" is how plans to take forward the regeneration of the Dreamland site in Margate are being described by Thanet District Council.

The proposals will go before Cabinet members at their meeting on Thursday (29 April) and update them on progress to date. The project is a partnership between the council, the Dreamland Trust and land owners the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company. The plans would see Dreamland becoming the world's first amusement park of thrilling historic rides, creating a major new visitor attraction. It's predicted that it would attract over half a million visitors, creating several hundred new jobs and helping to regenerate the town.

The report asks for approval to put a total of £2.2 million into the project, which is within the council's existing budget. Funding for the project is already coming from the Sea Change fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund. Applications have also been submitted to English Heritage, Arts Council England, SEEDA and Thanet Works for additional funding. With the money from the council, expected funding could come to more than £11 million for the scheme, although this is still £1.8 million short of the full amount required. The council is still looking for this additional funding.

The report also asks for approval on transferring the land to the council. The landowners, the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, have already agreed, in principle, to transfer the freehold of the cinema building and land to the council. The council would then give the land, on a long lease, to the Dreamland Trust for a peppercorn rent. The council is aiming to complete the land transfer by the end of July 2010, but if this deadline cannot be met, the report asks the Cabinet to agree compulsory purchase proceedings. This would delay the project by 12 to 18 months.

Chief Executive Richard Samuel said: "This is very much a once in a decade opportunity to regenerate Dreamland and Margate and we know that's something local people want to see. Currently, this project is very much on track and the council wants to ensure that it continues to move forward on schedule. That's why we're putting forward these proposals. We also want to be completely open and show everyone where the money's coming from for this scheme and what stage we're at now.

"The Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company has been wholly supportive of the proposals from the beginning and we do have an agreement from them, in principle, to transfer the land at Dreamland to the council. Now that we've been successful in getting money from the Sea Change fund, the major risk to the project is the land transfer not going through. We have to set a timescale for that to happen. If it isn't completed by 31 July, we will have to start compulsory purchase proceedings. That's very much a last resort for us and not something that we'd enter into lightly. However, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we need to grasp and we're doing all we can to ensure that it goes ahead on time. Let's face it, we've currently got £8 million of public money on the table for this scheme and that's not likely to happen again in the next decade. Without that money, this project just won't go ahead."

Under the plans, visitors to Dreamland would be able to enjoy spectacular historic amusement park rides, many of which are the last surviving examples of their type. They would be built around the centrepiece of the park, the Scenic Railway, which is the UK's oldest surviving wooden roller coaster, and fourth oldest in the world. Restoration work will also be carried out on the grade II* listed Dreamland cinema building.

The project is being run by the Dreamland Trust and, if all goes to plan, work will commence towards the end of 2010 and the park will open in summer 2012.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Thanet District Council meeting webcast now available online.

Click on the link for the webcast of last Thursday's council meeting.



There was procedural chaos towards the end of last Thursday evenings meeting of Thanet District Council when Cllr Ezekiel's Conservative administration attempted to run roughshod over long established procedures by totally ignoring formal agreements of the council that were both confirmed and minuted, even though the original agreement being ignored had been proposed by Cllr Ezekiel himself.

There was a long pause of several minutes towards the end of Thursday's proceedings whilst the chairman and leading officers did everything they could to find a way through the impasse caused and red faces covered the top bench.

At what should be his last full meeting as leader of the council, Cllr Ezekiel attempted to re-write a formal agreement he and his group had made only two months ago, at his own personal request, to consult all group leaders on possible savings from the Democratic Services department at TDC and instead he dictated that his Conservative group would now simply do their own thing.

Opposition Leader Cllr Clive Hart said "this is absolutely typical of the behaviour we have had to put up with over the past seven years. Even formal and minuted agreements are just torn up by this Conservative administration. How can anyone deal with a group that behaves like this? With this kind of leadership it's no wonder the district is in such a poor state.

Labour members are furious at what happened and I will be contacting the Chief Executive with my serious concerns that actions taken on Thursday evening set a very dangerous precedent indeed for the council and its democratic process.

Under the council's own Procedural Rules 20.0 & 20.1 a motion or amendment to rescind a decision made at a meeting of council within the past six months cannot be moved. This kind of behaviour by the leading Conservative group shows a shocking disregard for the council's constitution and does absolutely nothing to build any kind of consensus".


The agreed amendment in minute 135 (6.3) of the council meeting held on 25th February stated:

"That the options set out in 6.3 of the report for possible reduction of expenditure be formally referred to each group leader for consideration and that a report on the agreed position be submitted to the next meeting of the council".

This minute from the last meeting was further agreed and confirmed by the whole council at the start of Thursday evenings proceedings. However, later on Thursday evening a report was tabled - without prior consultation - headed with the statement:

"The majority group intends to make its own proposals on members allowances for 2010/2011 that will identify the savings envisaged by 20120/11 budget and that members generally will be able to respond to such proposals at the Annual Meeting and/or by making representations to the East Kent Joint Independent Remuneration Panel".



Further to my email of 22/04/2010, I understand Thursday's council meeting was recorded and should therefore be broadcast through the TDC website on the internet.

I would like an assurance that ALL of the long pause (of several minutes) during item 14, where the Chairman and clearly embarrassed leading officers on the top bench had to work extremely hard in an effort to try to find excuses for the ruling Conservative administration's completely contradictory actions, is fully included. This was one break in proceedings that said as much as any of the debate, and hiding it would, in my opinion, seriously distort the visual and audible record of proceedings.

I believe that what happened during Thursday's meeting was significant in exposing the ruling administration's careless disregard for agreements and procedures they have made and should honour, and I am therefore copying this correspondence to the press. On the night I very reasonably called for the item to be withdrawn but my request was totally ignored. I would prefer that we discussed these matters in an orderly manner in the chamber, but if we are to be completely ignored then I feel I have no alternative but to let the public know just how this council is being run.

Thanet District Council is not a dictatorship and we should not allow this administration to behave like one!



Cllr Clive Hart - Leader of the Opposition.

----- Original Message -----
From: Clive Hart
To: Richard Samuel
Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2010 10:52 PM
Subject: ITEM 14 - COUNCIL MEETING 22/04/2010

ITEM 14 - COUNCIL MEETING 22/04/2010

At tonight's council meeting a formal and minuted agreement was simply 'torn up' and completely ignored by the council's own administration.

Labour members are furious at what happened and we have serious concerns that actions taken this evening have set a very dangerous precedent indeed for the council and its democratic process in the future.

Under the council's own Procedural Rules 20.0 & 20.1 a motion or amendment to rescind a decision made at a meeting of council within the past six months cannot be moved.

This kind of behaviour by the leading group shows a shocking disregard for the council's constitution and does absolutely nothing to build any kind of consensus.

Our members were further shocked to see leading officers actually working very hard to excuse such behaviour.



(Cllr Clive Hart - Leader of the Opposition).


Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 8:37 AM
Cllr Bayford

I was extremely disappointed that you chose to try and make me look unreasonable in my actions regarding Item 14 at last Thursday's council meeting and that the Chairman would not allow me to respond to put matters straight.

The fact is, that when we originally spoke on the phone regarding this item a week or so prior to the meeting, you said you intended to move 'that the whole matter simply be deferred to next year' and you asked me to second that proposal. I said - yes - of course - happy to.

However, shortly after that phone conversation, a written report arrived at my home (through our council post) proposing something absolutely and completely different to that which you asked me to second. I phoned you immediately and politely explained that as you had now completely 'moved the goalposts', I most certainly would not be able to second what was now being proposed. Furthermore, I also explained that the written report was absolutely nothing like the procedure agreed at the previous meeting of the council.

Last Thursday evening I then explained to full council that at the previous meeting Cllr Ezekiel had proposed something completely different to that proposed in the written report and that under our own council rules the new written report should therefore have been withdrawn immediately. I also pointed to the minute of the previous meeting which we had all agreed just an hour earlier that confirmed the original agreement.

So there you have it Cllr Bayford, my actions were all completely above board and honourable. It certainly was not me who changed his mind or ignored formal agreements made earlier, and I took great exception to you in any way suggesting it was. As you made those remarks in front of the press and public and the Chairman would not allowed me to respond to protect my good name I will be copying this correspondence to the press.

I hereby request that you now do the honourable thing and return to the procedure originally proposed by Cllr Ezekiel and agreed at February's council meeting and unanimously confirmed in Thursday's minutes of that meeting.

I would then like to put this whole sorry episode behind us and try once more to have the improved working relationship we both spoke of when I originally phoned you to congratulate you most sincerely on becoming leader elect.


Cllr Clive Hart

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Margate's Big Event 2010. New Thanet district Council video,

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 Mar 2010

23 Apr 2010
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20 Apr 2010

New documents published by Thanet District Council,

22/04/2010 - Meeting held: Apr 22 2010 7:00PM, Council

22/04/2010 - Agenda supplement published - HOUSING REVENUE BUSINESS ACCOUNT : HOUSING REVENUE BUSINESS ACCOUNT: Meeting of Apr 22 2010 7:00PM, Council

21/04/2010 - Meeting held: Apr 21 2010 7:00PM, Planning Committee

21/04/2010 - Meeting held: Apr 21 2010 9:30AM, Local Development Cabinet Advisory Group

20/04/2010 - Agenda supplement published - Urgent Decision - East Kent Opportunities : Urgent Decision - East Kent Opportunities: Meeting of Apr 29 2010 5:00PM, Cabinet

20/04/2010 - Agenda supplement published - Urgency Report - Flowing Bowl Public House : Urgency Report - Flowing Bowl Public House: Meeting of Apr 22 2010 7:00PM, Council

19/04/2010 - Agenda supplement published - ITEM 14 MEMBERS' ALLOWANCES REVIEW FOR 2010-11 & ITEM 16 OFFICER INDEMNITIES : ITEM 14 MEMBERS' ALLOWANCES REVIEW FOR 2010-11 & ITEM 16 OFFICER INDEMNITIES: Meeting of Apr 22 2010 7:00PM, Council

19/04/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Apr 27 2010 4:00PM, Asset Management Working Group

19/04/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Apr 29 2010 5:00PM, Cabinet

19/04/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Apr 1 2010 10:00AM, Constitutional Review Working Party

16/04/2010 - Publication of plan: Forward Plan for period from 1 May 2010 to 1 November 2010; Cabinet


On Thursday evening Thanet Labour Group Leader Cllr Clive Hart put a motion to Thanet District Council to increase the minimum floor area size for all new flats to - at the very least - match those for decent social landlord housing requirements.

Cllr Hart says "During recent consultation on the Cliftonville Development Plan Document, residents expressed concern at the number of small units being created, leading to over-development and an overcrowding of the population in Cliftonville West, something my fellow ward councillors Linda Aldred, Doug Clark and I have argued strongly since our election in 2003.The conversion of properties into flats across Thanet has often resulted in cramped living conditions where smaller flats have been created to achieve a higher density of dwelling units. This has contributed significantly to over-development and over-crowding in parts of the district and in addition to everyday quality of life issues, there are serious knock-on effects regarding physical and mental health and crime in these areas of the island.

The Council's current ‘Conversion to Flats' guidelines specify a minimum standard of 50 m sq for a two-bedroom flat. This standard is simply not appropriate for modern day living here in Thanet. Through the 'no one-bedroom flat' policy in Cliftonville we have discovered that registered social landlords already insist on larger minimum sizes for their flats than TDC does for newly built or converted flats in the private sector and we call on the council to end that anomaly and fix one decent minimum size for all new flats in Thanet".

The motion has been passed on to the TDC Cabinet.

Note - The actual motion put to council on Thursday by Cllr Clive Hart - Seconded by Cllr Doug Clark :

"Following lengthy discussions with residents and neighbouring ward councillors during the consultation on the Cliftonville Development Plan Document and our many attempts throughout that process to have the minimum sizes for new flats increased, and as the council expressed the view during the DPD consultation that any size limitation on new flats should be decided for the District as a whole and not just for Cliftonville,

We now call on full council to increase the minimum area size for all new flats to - at the very least - match those for decent social housing requirements without further delay".

Important Information about Postal Votes

If you have applied for a postal vote ballot they should have arrived this weekend, and I would like to ask you for your support in this most important of elections.

In the three and a half years since I was chosen as Conservative Candidate for South Thanet I have met and listened to almost 20,000 electors across the constituency.

You have left me in no doubt as to what you expect from a future Conservative Government.
I promise that, if elected, we will:

Back the NHS to the hilt but ensure that more of its resources go into frontline services and cancer care.

Re-introduce tight controls on non-European union immigration with an annual cap on total numbers coming in.

Secure the free bus pass, winter fuel allowance and free TV Licence for the retired.

Extend SureStart; raise school standards and improve discipline in our schools.

Cut government waste to stop Labour’s Jobs’ Tax which will kill the recovery and threaten employment in Thanet.

Crack down on all forms of anti-social behaviour.

During the campaign in South Thanet you will have seen very little of the other candidates. At times it has felt as if I have been the only one on the streets, knocking on doors and listening to people. That is because I believe that your MP’s role is to represent your views in Parliament. I sincerely want to make South Thanet a better place in which to live and work; I am passionate about our towns and villages and will fight tirelessly to protect their interests; I have already launched initiatives to bring jobs in the green energy and tourism sectors as well as supporting our small businesses.

So if you want a caring Member of Parliament who has listened to you and taken on your views and concerns then I would ask you to give me your support at this election.
With all good wishes,
Laura Sandys

PS At the last election in this constituency Labour had a majority of just 500 over the Conservatives with all other parties thousands of votes behind. Only a vote for the Conservatives in South Thanet will be a vote to get Gordon Brown out of Downing Street.

Labour candidate produces Election 2010 video

Stephen Ladyman has produced an on-line 2010 Election Video. It can be viewed at

Ed. As it’s also on youtube I have embedded it in this post.

“The message of my video is ‘If you want to know why you should vote Labour, just look around our area’. I believe my record locally speaks for itself and if people want to know what the Labour Government has been doing for South Thanet they should just take a few minutes to tune in and watch.”

“People say they want a local MP, they say they want an experienced MP, they say they want a hardworking, honest MP. Well I’m prepared to stand on my record and let people judge for themselves. On my web site they’ll find the election video and links to everything they need to know about me to make their mind up.”

“My video might not be quite as good as Eddie Izzard’s election broadcast for the Labour Party but I hope people will take a look at it anyway.”

Friday, 23 April 2010


Another 2,700 properties across Thanet will be joining the council's wheeled bin scheme from the early summer. (June).

Leaflets are being distributed to homes who will be joining the scheme between now and Monday 10 May. The homes are located in Birchington, Cliftonville, Garlinge, Lydden, Margate, Ramsgate, Sarre, Westgate and Westwood, with collections due to begin at the end of June.

The extra properties will be added on to the existing wheeled bin rounds to bring them up to capacity. The roads on this roll-out are either near to existing wheeled bin areas or can easily be incorporated into an existing round.

Under the scheme, waste that cannot be recycled is collected one week from the black lidded bin, while recyclable items, such as plastic bottles, tins, cans, paper and cardboard, are then collected the following week in the blue lidded bin.

Director of Environmental Services, Mark Seed, said: "This is part of the council's ongoing programme to try and get as many properties as we can on to the wheeled bin scheme. Obviously, with the pressure on local government at the moment to save money, we've got to accommodate all the new houses within existing rounds, which is quite a challenge. This rollout will bring the total of homes on the wheeled bin scheme to nearly 48,000, covering nearly three quarters of the households in Thanet"


Through a proposed amendment at Thursday evening's meeting of Thanet District Council, Shadow Member for Environmental Services Cllr Alan Poole called for a ban on granting sexual entertainment licenses to venues close to schools and places of worship and for a public consultation to ascertain residents' views on any criteria the Licensing Board should meet before granting a license.

Cllr Poole said "the Labour group of councillors on TDC is strongly opposed to these types of entertainment premises but we understand they cannot be banned outright so we are therefore forced to take a pragmatic approach.

However, at the very least we ask that they should not be situated close to schools or places of worship or any place where children may gather. We would also like to know residents’ views on exactly what criteria the Licensing Board should use before granting any such license".
The Chairman refused to take the Labour amendment but provisions for the licensing of Sexual Entertainment Venues and fees were adopted unanimously.

NOTE: Agenda item 11 - Licensing Of Sexual Entertainment Venues - The amendment tabled on Thursday evening:
The Labour Group fully supports the adoption of Option 3.1 as this will increase the powers of the Licensing Board to control this type of establishment.
However, the Labour Group requests that the following should be prominently included in the Licensing Of Sexual Entertainment Venues Policy…… “the Licensing Board will consider the option to refuse a license where the premises are close to a school or place of worship or any place where children may gather.”
Additionally the Labour Group believe that a Public Consultation will be undertaken within six months to ascertain Stakeholder views regarding possible additional criteria the Licensing Board should meet before granting a license.
The amendment as an additional paragraph to Option 3.1 reads:-
1. The Licensing Board will consider the option to refuse a license where the premises are close to a school or place of worship or any place where children may gather.
2. A Public Consultation will be undertaken within six months to ascertain Stakeholder views regarding possible additional criteria the Licensing Board should meet before granting a license.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


Serious concerns were raised regarding a new Planning Enforcement Protocol eventually adopted at Wednesday evenings planning committee meeting.

Labour Leader and Planning Member Cllr Clive Hart said "because the new protocol is complaints based and therefore reactive, it fails to deal with some of the most serious breaches of planning control, such as developments not built in accordance with approved planning permission, where sites need to be regularly monitored in a pro-active manner. The fact is, that under the protocol a formal complaint is required to trigger any investigation and the public quite understandably cannot complain until something is built that is blatantly incorrect. By that time it is usually too late and a retrospective application is submitted by the developer, so we're all back to square one".

Planning members were also concerned about the depletion of resources available to planning enforcement through the reduction of enforcement staff numbers. Cllr Hart continued "other departments of this council access millions of pounds for regeneration that often has only limited effect, when much smaller amounts of money targeted at planning enforcement matters could have a much more beneficial outcome for our local environment. It's no good building smart new buildings with regeneration funding on the one hand if on the other hand we allow our existing buildings to fall into disrepair and to be disfigured by unsightly and inappropriate additions".

Labour Deputy Leader and the TDC Shadow Spokesman for Regeneration and Economic Development Cllr Peter Campbell is also a member of the Planning Committee and following the meeting he said " Yet another example of Conservative run Thanet District Council cutting the very services that protect the built environment of Thanet. We have thousands of listed buildings and a profusion of conservation areas, all are in need of protection. Cutting the overworked staff that provide this protection is short sighted in the extreme. This issue should have been discussed at full council not hidden away at the end of a planning meeting. The residents of Thanet should be allowed have their say on this issue".

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

FOI Request - Minister`s Refusal

Transport Minister Mr. Chris Mole has this week, in a letter to North Thanet`s Tory, Roger Gale, rejected requests for information made under the Freedom of Information Act prior to the dissolution of parliament.

In his letter to the Minister Roger Gale asked that the department (1) release the contents of a market research study carried out for South Eastern Railways by the MVA consultancy and (2) that the Minister provides the source and details of the information supporting his claim, made in an adjournment debate on 10th March, that "one in three of his Roger Gale`so) constituents is now travelling by "High Speed" Train

The Minister has regarded the information as commercially sensitive and provided in confidence.

Commenting on the refusal Roger Gale says:

"It is outrageous that the Minister should make an unsubstantiated claim in a debate in the Commons and then refuse to publish the data upon which he based his claim. The travelling public do not accept the Department of Transport`s wild assertions about the "success" of HS1 and it is clear to me that the Minister cannot back up his claim with hard fact.

The reluctance of the Minister to publish the MVA survey result suggests that the "evidence" in support of a rail service to St. Pancras rather than to Victoria, Cannon Street and Charing Cross may also be on the light side.

This is an issue that we shall have to return to in a few weeks` time: it is not going to go away. I shall also refer the matter to the Information Commissioner".

Monday, 19 April 2010

Declaration of interests - media notification

Stephen John Ladyman
The Labour Party Candidate, South Thanet Constituency
These are details of my current paid employment and other interests. This declaration is being made in line with the Ministry of Justice guidance.

Name of candidate
Stephen Ladyman
South Thanet
Political party:
The Labour Party
Date of publication:
18th April 2010

(a) Other paid jobs

(b) positions of responsibility in some types of organisation,
None. I am, however, an unpaid advisor to the Learning Disability Coalition (a grouping that campaigns for people with learning disabilities) and to the International Longevity Centre [UK] (a think tank studying issues related to ageing).

(c)(i) Directorships
Unpaid director of the Sandwich Sports Centre Trust. The Trust is a company registered with the Charity Commission that owns Sandwich Sports Centre.

(c)(ii) Clients.

(c)(iii) Land and property,
Other than my family home in Ramsgate I am half owner of an apartment in Wilmslow Cheshire, inherited from my parents at their death. It is on the market.

(c)(iv) Shareholdings,

(d) Tax matters
I am registered as a resident and full tax payer in the UK.

(e) Any other interests

Conservative Pledge to Cancer Care Drugs on the NHS

Pledge to help cancer sufferers in East Kent get the drugs they deserve
Conservatives to scrap Labour’s jobs tax on NHS and use savings for cancer drugs

Cancer patients in Thanet and Sandwich will get access to drugs that they are currently denied under Labour if the Conservatives win the general election. “With Britain having more cancer deaths per head than Buglaria, we really need to change how we treat cancer patients. With a third of cancer drugs excluded from the NHS by National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), our reforms of NICE would speed up cancer treatment and offer more new drugs, that are currently available across Europe,”said Laura. “I have had many local residents asking me why the Labour government is depriving them of the drugs that they need. They and their families are desperate.”

Under the Conservative blueprint, the money that would have been eaten up by Labour’s jobs tax within the NHS would go straight to a new Cancer Drugs Fund. No cancer patient will be refused access to drugs that have been licensed since 2005 if their doctors say they need them.

Conservatives will also change the way that drug companies are paid for NHS medicines and effective treatments for all conditions, not just cancer, would become available on the NHS.

“The NHS is our number one priority. We are committed to helping our NHS become truly world-class. Giving local patients access to cancer drugs widely available in Europe is a key part of our plan for change and making the NHS even better.”


Broadstairs soprano Sarah Hale will be joined by internationally renowned musicians to perform a concert of music of striking contrasts at Folkestone on Sunday April 25th.

Stelios Chatziiosifidis, a violinist from Greece joins Sarah and Jakob Rothoff from Sweden on piano, for an intense and exciting afternoon of music, which will range from Shakespeare’s songs to the modernist Arnold Schoenberg’s violin concerto

The performance, which takes place in Folkestone’s picturesque St Mary & St Eanswythe’s Church, will also include works by American composers Dominick Argento, Ned Rorem and Rebecca Clarke.

Soprano Sarah Hale, who recently won her master’s degree in music performance from Canterbury Christchurch University, says the focus is on the collision of old and new ideas within Modernist music. Argento (b. 1927) has set Elizabethan songs by Shakespeare, Jonson and Nash. Schoenberg takes sonata form and uses it with twelve tone composition. Ned Rorem sets to music the poems of an anonymous 15th Century poet and Robert Browning.

“It’s a real pleasure to learn this challenging music and work with such gifted musicians as Stelios and Jakob. Modern music has a different language from tonal music - the music that we are used to hearing more of, such as Mozart and Handel. But when you give yourself up to these new sounds, you also access new emotions.”

Picture of Sarah Hale and Stelios Chatziiosifidis, attached.

The performance takes place on Sunday 25th April 2010 at 3.00 pm at St Mary & St Eanswythe’s Church, Priory Gardens, (just off The Bayle), Folkestone.Admission is £8 on the door
More information ring Sarah Hale on 07944469578

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The 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 Mar 2010

15 Apr 2010
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New documents published by Thanet District Council,

16/04/2010 - Publication of plan: Forward Plan for period from 1 May 2010 to 1 November 2010; Cabinet

13/04/2010 - Meeting held: Apr 13 2010 6:00PM, Standards Committee

Friday, 16 April 2010


More than 50 flats have been inspected in Ramsgate, as part of the latest Operation Clean Sweep.

This operation was led by Thanet District Council with dog wardens, housing officers and benefits officers going out from the council, with help from Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Service. The teams have spent the last two days (Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 April) visiting flats in Trove Court and Kennedy House. The operation was also part of the police's Operation Restore, which has been taking place this week (week beginning Monday 12 April).

Council tenants were visited by housing officers to see if they had breached their tenancy agreement in any way and a total of 18 people were spoken to about rent arrears.

One of the checks was looking at dogs living in the flats and, as a result, two properties were identified that will now be revisited by the council's dog warden. The tenants of two properties were spoken to about noise issues and will now be monitored.

As a result of the visits, three repairs have been reported and will now be dealt with. Details of 10 reports of anti-social behaviour and noise were also taken and will be investigated further. Benefits claims were also checked and verified.

Both flats and communal areas were checked by Kent Fire and Rescue Service for any fire hazards and the alarms were tested. As a result of the checks, three vulnerable people were identified. The fire service's vulnerable person's team will now carry out further visits to ensure that access points are no longer blocked, flammable items are removed and fire safety precautions are adhered to.

Volunteers from Pipeline helped out, clearing the grounds of both Trove Court and Kennedy House. They also cleared an alleyway opposite the Plains of Waterloo and litter picked Loughborough Court.

If you know anyone who you believe could be vulnerable in the event of a fire, which could include smoking in bed, having access points in their house blocked, storing flammable materials, or who needs a free home safety visit and a fire alarm fitted, call Kent Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 923 7000.


A Ramsgate based company has been fined £1,000 for continually failing to clear up land they own in Margate.

Thanet District Council served a planning enforcement notice on Churchill House School Services Ltd., based in Rose Hill, Ramsgate, in August 2009. It required them to remove a large amount of rubbish from the site that they own in Alkali Row in Margate Old Town. The rubbish included burnt out vehicles, building rubble, domestic furniture and appliances.

The council was first alerted to the problem in January 2009 and spent the next few months trying to encourage the company to clear the land. After having no success, an enforcement notice was issued, which came into effect on 20 October 2009. It gave Churchill House School Services Ltd. a month from that date to clear the land, but the rubbish was not removed and no contact was made with the council about the site.
As a result, the council took legal action against the company, which was heard at Margate Magistrates Court yesterday (Thursday 15 April). The company was found guilty of the non compliance with the notice and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £100 costs and the £15 victim surcharge.

Principal Enforcement Officer, Steve Albon, said: "Not only is this an eyesore site for local residents, but it's also located opposite where Turner Contemporary is being built. The last thing we want people visiting Margate in the future to see is rubbish like this littering a site. The council is determined to take action here to get this land cleared up and this court case is just the first stage of that action. If the rubbish isn't removed, there's every chance we'll be going back to court again. We want this problem sorted out and we intend to pursue this until that happens. This isn't the only site that we're working on. This land is adjoins the derelict Fort Hotel, which is also owned by the same company. The council is determined to tackle the Fort Hotel and the neighbouring Arcadian next door, as these are also eyesores on Margate seafront."

IMPORTANT Asset Management meeting date change

** High Priority **
ASSET MANAGEMENT CONSULTATION - Extraordinary meeting of Cabinet re-scheduled to Thursday 20 May 2010.

I am writing to advise you that the extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet which was scheduled to take place on Wednesday 21 April has now been postponed until Thursday 20 May, because of the general election.

Please note this meeting will begin at 2pm and is being held at the Council Chamber in Thanet District Council, Cecil Street, Margate.

Where people had already been confirmed as speakers on particular sites, we have contacted them directly to see if they can attend on the new date instead. We have confirmed details with these people either by phone or e-mail. Hard copy letters are also being sent out to all of those who responded to this consultation by letter.

This Cabinet meeting is the final part of the asset management process, following the consultation which ran from early September to late October in 2009. As part of the process, up to three people who took part in the original consultation will be giving their views on the properties put forward for disposal by the council. This round of asset management featured a total of 12 sites.

Chief Executive Richard Samuel said: "We recognise that this is a really important issue for local people and that they want to give their views on these various sites to Cabinet. Obviously we don’t want anything else to overshadow that part of the consultation process, which is exceptionally important to us. The General Election has now been announced as taking place on Thursday 6 May, only two weeks after this meeting. It’s natural that there will be a lot of focus on the General Election and we don’t want that to detract from the asset management process. That’s why we’ve taken the decision to move the date of this meeting back and we apologise for any inconvenience caused to local people as a result. The process is still going ahead as planned, with the meeting just taking place a few weeks later than originally planned."

Monday, 12 April 2010

Tom Duggan - Lacuna | Exhibition opens this Saturday 6-9pm

Tom Duggan
The Old Printworks, Bilton Square, Margate, CT9 1DX

Exhibition of new work opening this Saturday
17 April 2010, 6-9pm Crate Project Space, Bilton Square, Margate CT9 1DX

Exhibition opening dates and times:
18, 23-25, 30 April 2010 and 1 May, 12-5pm Crate Project Space
19-23 April 2010, 9am-5pm Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury, New Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3AN

Supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council

Also in East Kent:
Limbo Arts: Walpurgis Night – Music from improv noise group Ampersand: 30 April
Turner Contemporary: Tracy Enim – I never stopped loving you: From 30 April
The Old Town Gallery: Sarah Stokes 26 March-2 May
The Community Pharmacy Gallery: Children of Haiti: 30 April-2 May
Margate Harbour Arm Gallery: May Day Open Exhibition: 30 April–31 May
Ingoldsby Gallery: Portraits and a little bit more: 30 April – 31 May
Pie Factory Creative Spaces: Artist Studios: Open Studios & Upon Margate Beach: 30 April
Marine Studios: Peeling Layers: 30 April-3 May
We Make Margate: Empty Shops Initiative Seminar:30 April 12.30-5.30pm


An upcoming meeting of Thanet District Council's Cabinet to hear local people's views on the latest round of asset disposals has been postponed until May, because of the general election.

Letters are being sent out to all those who gave their views during the consultation, who had been invited to the original meeting on Wednesday 21 April. They are being advised of the change of date to Thursday 20 May. Where people had already been confirmed as speakers on particular sites, they are being contacted to see if they can attend on the new date instead.

The Cabinet meeting is the final part of the asset management process, following the consultation which ran from early September to late October in 2009. As part of the process, up to three people who took part in the original consultation can give their views on the properties put forward for disposal by the council. This round of asset management featured a total of 12 sites, including:

land and buildings to the south of Hartsdown Sports Centre, Hartsdown Park, Margate (excluding the leisure centre)
the front strip of land to the Palm Bay recreation ground at Palm Bay Avenue
the Staffordshire Street car park (with public parking retained) in Ramsgate

Chief Executive Richard Samuel said: "We recognise that this is a really important issue for local people and that they want to give their views on these various sites to Cabinet. Obviously we don't want anything else to overshadow that part of the consultation process, which is exceptionally important to us. The General Election has now been announced as taking place on Thursday 6 May, only two weeks after this meeting. It's natural that there will be a lot of focus on the General Election and we don't want that to detract from the asset management process. That's why we've taken the decision to move the date of this meeting back and we apologise for any inconvenience caused to local people as a result. The process is still going ahead as planned, with the meeting just taking place a few weeks later than originally planned."

New documents published by Thanet District Council,

13/04/2010 - Meeting scheduled: Apr 13 2010 6:00PM, Standards Committee

12/04/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Apr 21 2010 7:00PM, Planning Committee

12/04/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Apr 21 2010 9:30AM, Local Development Cabinet Advisory Group

09/04/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Apr 6 2010 12:15PM, Licensing Sub Commitee

08/04/2010 - Agenda supplement published - Proposed Amendments to the Constitution : Proposed Amendments to the Constitution: Meeting of Apr 13 2010 6:00PM, Standards Committee

07/04/2010 - Minutes published: Meeting of Mar 18 2010 6:00PM, Joint Transportation Board

06/04/2010 - Agenda published: Meeting of Apr 13 2010 6:00PM, Standards Committee

06/04/2010 - Meeting held: Apr 6 2010 12:15PM, Licensing Sub Commitee

06/04/2010 - Meeting held: Apr 6 2010 10:00AM, Licensing Board

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 Mar 2010

08 Apr 2010
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Thanet District Council is holding one of its regular landlords' meetings on Tuesday 27 April from 5.00pm until 9.00pm at the Marlowe Innovation Centre, Marlowe Way, Ramsgate.

As well as opportunities to network with other landlords and agents, landlords will also be able to find out about recent changes announced by the government for private renting from the Kent representative of the National Landlords' Association. There will also be presentations on becoming a portfolio landlord, Eaga Warm Front Grants and how to tackle condensation and mould.

There will also be the chance to speak with representatives from the council's Housing Improvement team and to visit information stands.

To book a place please go to and click on the booking form or call 01273 421048. For more information about the event, call the Housing Improvement Team on 01843 577437 or e-mail


There are only days left for Thanet residents to ensure that they have a vote in this year's General Election.

To be able to vote in the election on Thursday 6 May, you must be on the Electoral Register by Tuesday 20 April at the latest.

Registering to vote only takes a few minutes, by printing off a form from, which is the website of the independent elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission. You can also call Thanet District Council's electoral services on 01843 577500 to request a form.

People are also being warned that they might not be registered if they have moved home recently, as you need to contact the council or visit the Electoral Commission website to re-register at your new address.

Electoral Registration Officer, Richard Samuel, said: "We want to ensure that people don't lose out on their right to vote in the upcoming General Election. It's vital that people have the chance to have their say. It's a simple process that will only take a few minutes of your time and will ensure that your voice isn't lost on Thursday 6 May. The council sent out registration forms to every home in Thanet last autumn, but if you are not sure whether you returned it, or if you have moved house since then and not registered with your new address, you need to take action now, before it's too late."


Broadstairs Dickens Players
Granville Theatre Ramsgate
April 21st to April 24th at 7.30 p.m

Broadstairs Dickens Players are going “Way Upstream” in their latest production at the Granville Theatre. This dark comedy by Alan Ayckbourn tells the story of two couples who are friends and who run a business together. They decide to take a relaxing holiday, hiring a boat on the river. It is immediately apparent that things are far from rosy between one couple, Keith and June and that their business is rapidly going downhill. No one has any experience of boats and that becomes increasingly obvious and hilarious, as Keith attempts to take charge.

The story takes a sinister twist when they meet Vince and his ‘friend’ Fleur who, initially being friendly and helpful, show a frighteningly terrifying side once the balance of leadership changes. Whilst showing all the wonderful comic touches that have made Alan Ayckbourn one of the most successful playwrights of modern times, “Way Upstream” has a definite darker thread running through it.

This Ayckbourn play is not very often produced by amateur groups, as there can be major problems with staging, not least of which is having to build a representation of a boat on stage! But Broadstairs Dickens Players have risen magnificently to the challenge and you will be in for a treat if you take the opportunity to see this sparkling comedy. It is being directed by Jon Carr in his directorial debut for BDP. Jon has appeared in many local productions over the years – his latest as Charles in Blithe Spirit. But this will be his first ‘appearance’ as a director for BDP, and he is relishing all the challenges that this production brings. The Production will be adjudicated for the Kent Full Length Drama Festival on the Thursday night, 22nd April.

Way Upstream stars many well known local faces such as Jo Slater, Matt Danes, Andrew Nolan, Miranda Peacock and Susan Laverick. It can be seen at the Granville Theatre from Wednesday 21st to Saturday 24th April at 7.30pm. Tickets, at £9 each can be purchased from the Box Office on Thanet 591750.

Friday, 9 April 2010


09/04/2010 18:50:07 GMT Daylight Time
Reply To:
Sent on:
Sent from the Internet (Details)
Dear Mr Wild

Please find below correspondence that has taken place between Thanet District Council and myself today.

Can you please explain to me why the glossy KCC publication Around Kent (paid for with our council tax) featuring Conservative KCC Leader Paul Carter - even with his own opinion column - was delivered to my home by the Post Office today, after I received the email and briefing note reference the Purdah period from TDC?

For information I enclose the original email from Chief Executive Richard Samuel at TDC and the Purdah briefing paper.

Cllr Clive Hart (Thanet District Council)

----- Original Message -----
From: Pendry
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 4:20 PM
Subject: Re: PURDAH
Cllr. Hart,

I'm afraid I can't help with this one, as it wasn't our publication.

It might be worth raising the issue with KCC.

Sorry I can't be of any further help in this matter.



Cheryl PendryPress and Media ManagerThanet District Council title="" href=""> 09/04/2010 14:56 >>>
Can you explain to me why the glossy publication called Around Kent (paid for with my council tax) featuring Conservative KCC Leader Paul Carter on practically every page and even with his own column, was delivered to my home by the Post Office today, after I received the email and briefing note
reference Purdah?RegardsClive(Cllr Clive Hart)

MESSAGE SENT ON BEHALF OF RICHARD SAMUEL;With the calling of the General Election, the purdah period that leadsup to every election, is now underway. This means additionalrestrictions on the publicity put out by the council as a corporateentity. As this can be a complex area, we have compiled a briefing note,which is attached, which hopefully explains the full implications formembers and officers. It is also worth noting that the purdah period also has implicationsfor all radio and TV broadcasters, who are bound by exceptionally strictrules on who they are allowed to speak to in the run-up to an election.The council's press office has already received a number of calls frombroadcasters, requesting that only officers are put forward forinterviews until after the election, due to the restrictions imposed onthem. If you have any enquiries about this briefing note or the purdahperiod, please do not hesitate to contact me. The communications teamare also available to answer any questions you have and the council'sPress and Media Manager, Cheryl Pendry, can be contacted on 01843 577034or Richard
The legal position on local government publicity

There are a number of acts and codes governing publicity in the run-up to an election.

Section 142 of Local Government Act 1972 sets the foundation of all publicity as the: “provision of information relating to matters affecting local government”

This has been expanded upon since, with the most change, the 2009 Local Democracy Act putting a duty on councils to promote democracy and secure greater involvement of people in the decision-making process of local authorities.

The Local Government Act of 1986 sets out a Code of Recommended Practice, as regards publicity, saying that council should “have regard to the provisions of any such code in coming to any decision on publicity.”

Section 2 of this states that:

(1) A local authority shall not publish any material which, in whole or in part, appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party.
(2) In determining whether material falls within the prohibition regard shall be had to the content and style of the material, the time and other circumstances of publication and the likely effect on those to whom it is directed and, in particular, to the following matters -
(a) whether the material refers to a political party or to persons identified with a political party or promotes or opposes a point of view on a question of political controversy which is identifiable as the view of one political party and not of another
(b) where the material is part of a campaign, the effect which the campaign appears to be designed to achieve
(3) A local authority shall not give financial or other assistance to a person for the publication of material which the authority are prohibited by this section from publishing themselves.

Publicity in the run-up to an election

This period, from when an election is called, is often referred to as “purdah”. The simplest definition of this is that it is a period when politicians and civil servants refrain from taking decisions or making policy announcements which are significant and may be politically contentious.

During this period, local government is subject to more stringent rules on publicity, as set out in paragraph 41 of the Code on Publicity:

• The period between the notice of an election and the election itself should preclude proactive publicity in all its forms of candidates and other politicians involved directly in the election. Publicity should not deal with controversial issues or report views, proposals or recommendations in such a way that identifies them with individual members or groups of members. However, it is acceptable for the authority to respond in appropriate circumstances to events and legitimate service enquiries provided that their answers are factual and not party political. Members holding key political or civic positions should be able to comment in an emergency or where there is a genuine need for a member level response to an important event outside the authority’s control.
• Proactive events arranged in this period should not involve members likely to be standing for election.

The Code is not, in itself, law. It is a set of recommendations. However, in the Local Government Act 1986, it clearly states that councils should “have regard to the code” in any decisions they make on publicity. This has led to different approaches on publicity, but the approach adopted by the LG Comms group, a national body set up to raise the standard of communications in local government and endorsed by both the LGA and IDeA, states that:

(a) No publicity should be given to matters which are politically controversial
(b) The general presumption should be that no references will be made to individual politicians in press releases;
(c) Great caution should be exercised before undertaking any significant media exercise unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called;
(d) No photographs including candidates at the election should be issued
(e) Before any request for Council photographs and other materials are acceded to enquiries should be made as to the use to which they are to be put and an appropriate restriction on use imposed if the request is acceded to;

Although purdah itself does not have the force of law, there is an indication that some local authorities are concerned that decisions made during a pre-election period may be subject to an increased risk of challenge. Surrey County Council states:

"There is no statutory restriction on the council's decision-making during the election campaign. [...] may be that while the councils' decision-making can carry on other factors may well limit it...The profile of issues will be increased in this period and could have more prominence than at other times. This may distort decision-making and create a risk that the decision will be made on party political grounds rather than on its merits and, therefore, it is challengeable."

Recent challenges have been made on decisions made just prior to elections and, although the most recent case, R (on the application of Lewis) v Persimmon Homes Teesside Ltd (2008) was unsuccessful in the Court of Appeal, it shows that there is increased scrutiny of decisions made during a pre-election period.

Purdah FAQs

What is purdah?
Simply put, it is a period when politicians and civil servants refrain from taking decisions or making policy announcements which are significant and may be politically contentious.

How did it start?
The convention of purdah originates with the Treasury, where it has long been established that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should avoid discussing a budget prior to its official announcement in order to prevent any repercussions in financial markets.

It was then applied to pre-election period, with the aim of ensuring that the governing party in any organisation, be it a council or the national government, does not use its power for potentially unfair electoral advantage. It also helps to ensure that the ruling party does not commit its successor to significant decisions that they may not have made and helps to ensure the impartiality of the civil service.

When does purdah begin?
In a general election, it begins when the election is called and Parliament is dissolved.

For local elections, it begins on the day when notice of election is published. It is important to remember that many local newspapers will have lead-in times to their publication. Therefore, if a press release is issued just prior to the notice of election being published, by the time it appears in a newspaper, the purdah period will be in force. As a result of this, the purdah period is generally applied by the council a few days prior to the notice of election being published.

When does purdah finish?
It finishes when the polls close on polling day. The restrictions on media organisations are exceptionally intense on polling day itself, more so than in the run-up to the election and there is very little that they are allowed to say until the close of polls.

What does purdah mean to me as an elected member?
There is no restriction on your day to day work as an elected member. You are still free to comment on issues in your role as ward councillors. If you are approached directly by journalists, you can speak to them, but not through the council’s press office and you may not make any statements on behalf of the council.

It has been suggested that, where councillors maintain a blog in their role as a councillor, that it would be sensible to suspend these during the purdah period.

Photographs taken by council staff or professional photographers, paid for by the council, should not be used in election material. If they are, the cost of these photographs, either in payment to the photographer or staff time, must be recorded as election expenditure. Copyright consent must be sought from the council.

The restrictions are on corporate publicity, issued through the council’s communications team. During the purdah period, the council does not quote any members in press releases or in responses to enquiries received from journalists. The only exception to this would any emergency, as set out in the Code of Recommended Publicity.

Does this affect the operation of the council?
The business of the council does not stop during the purdah period, but it is publicised in a different way. Decisions taken during the purdah period may be more open to legal challenge, so it is important to ensure that there are reasons for the decisions which are made.

What happens after an election?
If the election is not a Thanet District Council election, things usually return to normal the day after polling.

When it is a Thanet District Council election, there may be a change of administration. Regardless of this, there is a period between the election taking place and the Annual Council meeting, which sees the formal election of the Leader and the establishment of Cabinet Member positions. During this time, the principle of quoting officers only remains in place, simply because the formal appointments do not take place until the Annual Council meeting.

Where can I find the rules of purdah written down?
Purdah is a classic convention of British governance, in that it is unwritten to a great extent. What is clear is that a practice which started in central government has grown to extend to local government.

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