Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ramsgate Tunnels Film Show

 Belgian Café, Harbour Parade, Ramsgate will be showing a short film of the tunnels on Wednesday 29th February at 7:30pm and 8:30pm. There could be a third showing subject to demand.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


Occupy Thanet are planning a special "event" for this Saturday March 3rd.
In January, inspired by the global Occupy Movement, a group of Thanet people occupied a location outside the Turner Contemporary Gallery.
They have been in continual occupation ever since, despite snow and gales.
This Saturday they are going to take part in a demonstration -- to be revealed on the day.
Supporters are assembling at 11am Saturday March 3rd outside Arlington House, All Saints Ave, Margate CT9 1XS

Monday, 27 February 2012


New planning regulations are now in force across the whole of Thanet, meaning that planning permission is needed to convert properties into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The proposals were originally put forward by the council in early 2011, as a year’s notice had to be given before the changes came into effect. The council decided to change planning rules in Thanet, after the government introduced new legislation in late 2010, which meant that homes could have been turned into HMOs for up to six unrelated people without seeking planning permission.

However, the council decided to use a planning power, called an Article 4 Direction, to ensure that anyone who wants to convert their home into an HMO has to submit a planning application. There is no fee for this type of application.

Cllr. Iris Johnston, Cabinet Member for Community Services said: “The council has taken this action, so that we can control the number of HMOs in the area. We already have a large number here and I’ve seen for myself on too many occasions the impact that they’ve had in areas such as Cliftonville and Margate where they haven’t been managed properly. All too often, in these cases, vulnerable people are placed in potentially dangerous accommodation and we want to try and put a stop to that. I think that’s vital to ensure that we don’t see the spread of any further poorly managed HMOs, as they have been a huge blight on the area over many years.”

She added: “This isn’t a blanket ban on HMOs, it’s about making sure such proposals have to go through the planning process. We want to make sure that the council has control on this issue and that we would have to issue planning permission first before any property can be converted. That allows councillors who know the areas they represent to carefully consider the impact that such an application might have on the area.”

Large HMOs, home to more than six people sharing a property, already need planning permission. This change in planning rules does not affect the licensing of HMOs. Landlords owning a house in multiple occupation will still have to apply for a licence from the council’s private sector housing team. More details can be found at

Friday, 24 February 2012


From Labour Leader - Cllr Clive Hart

"Thank you Chairman.

Since becoming leader (in December 2011) I have had series of meetings with local business groups across Thanet and I'm pleased to say I have been made very
welcome by all. Indeed, it is most heartening when the local business community send and post messages of support and thanks through the
internet following such meetings.

I have been open and honest and have made it very clear at each and every one of these business meetings that we are a moderate centre left
administration that is elected by residents but share wholeheartedly the interests of local business. I understand the business community has
developed very mixed feelings about dealings with this council in the past and we will do everything possible to rebuild their confidence in
TDC. We truly want businesses to succeed and they appear to get that message loud and clear. Further meetings are planned and despite the
desperate national and international economic situation I am very optimistic for the future. I'm particularly optimistic regarding Ramsgate Port and Harbour where companies involved in renewable energy are establishing themselves along the shoreline in ever increasing numbers.

Cllr Poole and I had an excellent meeting with the Principal at Thanet College,  
and I was pleased to see his enthusiastic response to that meeting also posted on the internet through Twitter. We were in firm agreement as to the need for a
clear focus on training and skills.

Unemployment figures here in Thanet, particularly in relation to young people, are nothing less than appalling and statistics regarding family
and child poverty in areas of Ramsgate, Margate and Cliftonville are truly shocking.

The voluntary sector is a key partner to TDC and I am constantly meeting with residents from all manner of organisations who desperately
want to help the council in numerous ways. From heritage, arts, sport and culture through to improving the local street scene and staging
events, these voluntary organisations do incredible work and this administration is doing everything it possibly can to help and support
them in return. I get the overall impression the voluntary sector, particularly those in Ramsgate, have too often been marginalised and
sidelined by TDC in the past. We will most certainly do all we can to correct that!
Cllr Johnston and I met with KCC and the Housing and Community Agency earlier this week and I am convinced that with the help of council
officers we put forward an excellent case for further assistance with the Live Margate project.

I recently attended the Kent Forum at County Hall and I left council leaders from across Kent in absolutely no uncertainty as to the devastating effect the governments proposed welfare reforms, changes to housing rules and the forthcoming universal credit plans will have on
our district. The 'perfect storm' is brewing and its eye will be centred well and truly here in Thanet if significant changes are not made to
these drastic proposals!

We now have a Labour led district council here in Thanet, working in partnership with a Conservative led county council on many crucial
issues affecting our island and this too calls for a special kind of understanding.

I was therefore delighted when I first became Leader, and in what was my very first communication from Paul Carter at KCC, he called for us to
leave the politics out of our 'new' relationship. I couldn't agree more and I too made that very clear.

Anyone attending the recent GEEK 2012 Business Breakfast at the Winter Gardens will have noticed the excellent working relationship that I
share with Kevin Lynes, the KCC Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development. This is particularly pleasing given that part of
my role at TDC now oversees strategic development services in line with Kevin's county portfolio.

I recently met with the Cabinet Member for Customer and Communities at KCC, Mike Hill and I'm also delighted to say we saw absolutely eye to
eye on future processes and procedures that should see TDC and KCC work much more closely together on local issues affecting Thanet. We also agreed to do that business in a far more balanced way than has been the
case in the past.

Indeed, the very serious issues TDC and KCC face jointly here in Thanet call for frank no-nonsense dialogue that could well be enhanced through a more businesslike approach to matters, even if that means we have a slightly less cozy conversation than my predecessor may have been used to.
Paul Carter, Kevin Lynes and Mike Hill are old adversaries from my time at County Hall, but I truly believe we developed a healthy respect
for each others views during what were much easier times for local government. I'm also convinced that we each and all accept the serious
issues affecting Thanet are far too important to play politics with at Leadership level.

I'd like to finish by thanking my fellow councillors, the Chief Executive, the Senior Management Team and the army of officers and foot
soldiers who have made the last ten weeks or so of my life a very interesting and rewarding time. I have to offer particular thanks to my
PA who very subtly makes sure I do exactly what I'm supposed to do each and every day.

In a hung council I know exactly how precarious the position of Leader is and I know the only way I can hang on to this role is to give 100%
day in day out and as long as you will have me as leader, that is what I intend to give to the role".
Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office, 44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent. CT9 3DP.


You can learn more about what’s being done to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Thanet at the latest community safety open forum, being held in Broadstairs.

Senior officers from both Kent Police and Thanet District Council will be attending the forum, which is being held at Canterbury Christchurch University in Northwood Road on Tuesday 6 March between 7.00 pm and 8.30 pm. Local people will be able to speak directly with the Chief Inspector of Kent Police, John Frayne and meet representatives of the council’s Enforcement Services Team. This will include officers who deal with anti-social behaviour and parking issues.

Although the forum is being held in Broadstairs, it will have information and statistics for the whole of Thanet and is open to everyone who lives in the district. The meeting will also look the latest strategic assessment of crime and what priorities the council’s community safety team and the police will be focusing on over the next year.

Cabinet Member for Corporate and Regulatory Services, Cllr. Clive Hart, said: “We know that feeling safe from crime and anti-social behaviour is a top priority for our residents. This open forum gives local people a great opportunity to speak directly with those who are working on this for them. I hope that residents will take this opportunity to find out the latest information and to tell us directly what their concerns are and to give us any suggestions they may have.

“This is your chance to come along and find out the truth about crime in the area you live in and tell us what matters to you. We’ll have details of the crime statistics for your area and you can help us set the priorities for tackling crime and anti-social behaviour over the next year. You can also play your part, by helping us to get new projects off the ground to improve the level of safety in your town. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend this forum, as I have a legal obligation to appear before the Overview and Scrutiny Panel that night.”


Details of Thanet District Council’s Pay Policy Statement have been agreed by Full Council.

The report is a statement of fact, setting out the council’s policy relating to the pay of its workforce for the financial year 2012/13 and details the scheme that the council has in place.

The statement is a new requirement under the government’s Localism Act, which requires the council to detail how it pays staff, from chief officers to those on the lowest grades and the relationship between the pay of chief officers and other staff.

Sue McGonigal, Chief Executive said: “We know only too well how contentious the issue of pay in the public sector is. The council’s approach has always been to award its staff appropriately to ensure that we can recruit and retain high quality employees who can deliver the best possible services to the public, while at the same time ensuring that our pay is not excessive. The aim is to be in line with other employers, so that we are not losing good staff to other organisations. Although the government has told local councils that they need to produce this information, it is something we’re more than happy to do. All of our staff are paid within the same framework, whether they’re the Chief Executive or on the lowest grade and I’m proud to say that, as it’s only right that all of our staff should be dealt with under the same pay scheme.”

The council is committed to openness and transparency and already publishes a large amount of information online, including its senior officer pay scales, details of councillors’ expenses and any items of expenditure of over £500. Further details of senior officer pay will also be made available during 2012/13. 


Councillors have been given an update on progress with a new Economic Development and Regeneration Strategy for Thanet.

In answer to a question at last night’s (Thursday 24 February) Full Council on this issue, Cllr. Clive Hart, who is responsible for strategic economic development, told the council that work is underway on the strategy. It will be presented to the Thanet Regeneration Board at their meeting on 16 March.

He explained to the meeting that the consultation draft of the strategy is likely to set out five key themes, which he listed as:

  1. Tourism and culture, building on the area’s heritage and history as a seaside resort.
  2. “Green Isle”, capturing the potential of the idea for renewable energy.
  3. Productivity, particularly focusing on small and medium sized businesses.
  4. Skills and employment, ensuring people have the skills they need. This may include ensuring school leavers are ready for work, apprenticeships for young adults, developing skills of people in work, and back to work skills for older unemployed people.
  5. Infrastructure, making sure the building blocks for a strong economy are in place. This could include providing high speed broadband, availability of suitable workspace and looking at road and rail links.
Cllr. Hart concluded by telling the meeting that: “The strategy will highlight the role that high streets have in creating a sense of place and identity for the towns within Thanet.  We will look to build on the debates started by the Portas review – including her visit to Margate. As the strategy is developed further, the process for delivery will be developed, clearly articulating roles and responsibilities.  This will be a strategy for the Isle of Thanet, but delivery will not fall just to the council.”


Councillors have been given an insight to the council’s new telephone system, with initial details unveiled at a council meeting.

The information came in response to a question about the planned new system. Cllr. Michelle Fenner, Cabinet Member for Business Services, told full Council that the system is designed to reduce waiting times for people calling the council. They will also be able to access information around the clock, meaning that they can call during cheaper periods.

This would mean that, once installed, callers would be given a number of options, so routine calls could be dealt with by an automatic system, improving call response times. Research at other councils shows that up to half the calls received can be dealt with by a self-service system, with some councils seeing up to 85% of their calls being dealt with in this way.

Cllr. Fenner was questioned about whether the new system would comply with the council’s equalities agenda. She confirmed that an assessment of this had been carried out and it had shown that there could be advantages, as it will enable those who need to speak to a person to get through quicker. Additionally, those on low income can use the automated service 24/7, when call charges are cheaper.

She also assured members that checks would be carried out to ensure that there was no drop in customer satisfaction with the service they were getting. Experience at other councils has shown that their level of customer satisfaction with similar systems has actually risen.

A detailed report about the plans will go to the Cabinet meeting in March. The aim is to implement the system by summer 2012, initially covering enquiries about Council Tax, Benefits and Waste and Recycling.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Occupy Thanet has declared its support for the protestors at St Pauls, London, who are facing eviction.
“We are in total solidarity with Occupy St Pauls,” a spokesperson said. “The Occupy movement will not be stopped by this eviction.”

Following a defeat in the courts, Occupy St Pauls may now be evicted any day, but Occupy Thanet say they're not giving up.

“You can't evict an idea,” the spokesperson said, “As one camp closes two will open. Occupy London members are welcome to stay with us while they re-group.”
The Occupy movement sprung up last year, when thousands of people began occupying buildings and sites all over the world as a protest against the greed and corruption which caused the financial crash of 2008.

Occupy Thanet first set up camp outside the Turner Contemporary Gallery on Friday January 27. 

They claim to represent the 99% of ordinary people who are being asked to pay for the crimes of the rich and powerful 1%.
It's a leaderless movement, and all decisions are made on a strictly democratic basis.

contact on twitter #occupythanet and Face Book occupythanet 


A major restoration project has seen historic seafront benches in Ramsgate, that had been vandalised and burnt, brought back to life.

The 12 benches, located just above Winterstoke Gardens, are believed to be the original benches from the memorial created by Helen Wills for her mother Dame Janet, who was the first female mayor of Ramsgate. They were part of the original scheme and are therefore believed to be around 90 years old.

Over the last six months, the council’s open spaces repairs team have completely refurbished nine of the benches, with work now underway on the final three.

Local specialised contractors have been used to shot blast and spray paint the metalwork. The council’s teams have replaced the wood with new, locally sourced and sustainable wood, before primer and undercoat were applied to the benches.

Each of the 100 bolts in every bench has had to cut and adjusted individually. Despite the amount of work required to each bench, the total cost for the project has been just £6,000.

Cllr. Alan Poole, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “These are essentially completely new benches, thanks to the extensive restoration that’s been carried out on them. They were in such a sad and sorry state before work started, with wood missing and the paint blistered. No-one seeing them would have had a clue of their history and I doubt anyone would have wanted to use them in that condition. I think the work that’s been done by our open spaces repair team is nothing short of miraculous and at a relatively small cost, considering everything they’ve done. I’m sure that residents  of and visitors to Ramsgate seafront will appreciate what’s been achieved.”


International quad bike racing returns to Margate Main Sands in March, after Thanet District Council stepped in to sponsor the event.

Around 10,000 spectators are expected to turn out to see a host of national and international riders tackle the sand course for the Monarch of Margate Beach Cross Weekend over Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 March. Action starts at 10.00 am each day, with 24 races to enjoy in total, including adult and youth quad bikes.

Organised by the Quad Bike Association, this popular event, which is now into its sixth year, will be free of charge to watch. For the third year running, Margate will host the BXUK British Beach Cross Championships, with rounds one and two taking place over the two days.

Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr. Iris Johnston said: “The council is delighted to see the Beach Cross weekend returning to the town and to work with the local and international organisers. The event has become a great draw over the last few years to bring people into Margate at the start of each season. I’m sure it will just as popular and enjoyable this year. I’m looking forward to a superb weekend of sporting entertainment to kick off 2012, an exciting year for sport, which will of course culminate with the Olympic torch coming through the area in July.”

Owning Your Town - what the localism bill can help with ...

Since the Localism Bill was announced, I have been talking to local groups about the opportunities this legislation offers to make Thanet a better place to live and work.  We have much to celebrate, but like all areas, we have our problems. Derelict buildings and land, street clutter, out-of-town developments which have affected our high streets, and prized community assets which have slipped into disrepair. Having already met with some of the Cliftonville residents, this week I joined Ramsgate residents to discuss how we can make a difference to our streets, parks, buildings and community assets and establish a clear vision of how our towns should be regenerated.  And in the coming weeks I look forward to joining Broadstairs and Sandwich groups to discuss t! heir vision for their town.
The Localism Bill offers local people new opportunities through community rights. Groups can run existing amenities if they are under threat – save a closing pub, initiate a timetable for residents to staff a museum, ormanage a public park that has been neglected. Groups also have the right to build or renovate, take ownership ofpublic derelict land, and bid for public services contracts. 
Neighbourhood Plans are at the heart of these news powers and allow a community to determine the future of their neighbourhood. You the resident and your neighbours can decide what sort of housing your area requires; what style and design would be in keeping with other properties? What amenities are lacking – do youneed more facilities for young people to enjoy? Are your transport needs catered to or would you benefit from more cycle paths and parking spaces? How can we make our neighbourhoods more attractive – perhaps less street clutter? All of these things can be part of a neighbourhood plan that the Local Council and developers have to respect and adhere to.
Central to driving forward Thanet’s regeneration will be ensuring residents – young and old – work together on a common vision. Now is a great time to get involved with your local residents association; join your local civic society; or form your own street group to help shape the future development and character of Thanet.  

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


The latest Cleansweep operation has seen a prohibition notice served on a property in Margate, with empty acetylene cylinders found at another.

The council run operation is staffed by officers from the council’s Enforcement Services and Planning teams, as well as Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Pipeline Youth volunteers, Community Payback, and wardens from Kent County Council.

In the latest operation, the team visited 110 properties in total, with the Kent Fire and Rescue Service issuing a prohibition notice to stop people living in a storage area above a shop in Margate. The owner of the property has confirmed that alternative accommodation will be found and the council will be monitoring the situation and issuing a planning enforcement notice if it happens again.

The Kent Fire and Rescue Service are dealing with the owners of another property, which has unsafe railings, with further health and safety checks being carried out. Fire safety information was also given out at two properties, which both had blocked fire escapes.

At the rear of another property, a set of empty acetylene cylinders was found, which are not considered to be dangerous. The owner has been given a week to remove them and if they are not removed in this time, further action will be taken by the Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the council’s street scene enforcement team.

Notices were handed out to two premises, which had piles of rubbish at the back of the properties. The notices give the owners a chance to clean up the rubbish and, if this does not happen, the council will then take enforcement action.

A total of 52 trade waste licences were checked at various businesses and those who did not hold valid licences will have a return visit from the council. Seven parking tickets were also issued. An issue was also raised with council officers about people parking on areas that have been licensed for tables and chairs. This will be taken further by the council.

Community Payback cleared three alleyways, with volunteers from Pipeline tackling another three alleyways.

Cllr. Clive Hart, Cabinet Member for Corporate and Regulatory Services, said: “Our team have once again uncovered a number of issues that need dealing with, showing the value of our Cleansweep operations. Our officers have got a great response from the public during the latest operation, with many people saying that they liked to see such a heavy presence of officers in the town.”

For more information or to report any concerns, please call 01843 577065.

Monday, 20 February 2012

New planning applications,

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   

Date Published*Application No.AddressStatus
17 Feb 2012F/TH/12/0112LAND REAR OF 85 TO 87 COLLEGE ROAD MARGATEcurrent
17 Feb 2012F/TH/12/011320 NORTH FORELAND ROAD BROADSTAIRS CT103NNcurrent
16 Feb 2012F/TH/12/006912 DOMNEVA ROAD, WESTGATE ON SEA, CT8 8PEcurrent
16 Feb 2012F/TH/12/009420 THE CHASE, MONTEFIORE AVENUE, RAMSGATE, CT11 8BFcurrent
16 Feb 2012F/TH/12/009586-88 ELLINGTON ROAD, RAMSGATE, CT11 9SXcurrent
15 Feb 2012F/TH/12/009944 SOUTH EASTERN ROAD RAMSGATE CT119QEcurrent
14 Feb 2012F/TH/12/01085 PARK ROAD BROADSTAIRS CT101EDcurrent
13 Feb 2012F/TH/12/00921 MUTRIX ROAD MARGATE CT95JLcurrent
13 Feb 2012A/TH/12/0102CHIQUITOS, 51 WESTWOOD CROSScurrent
10 Feb 2012F/TH/11/102869-73 KING STREET RAMSGATE CT11 8NXcurrent
10 Feb 2012F/TH/12/007141 CROSS ROAD BIRCHINGTON CT79HWcurrent
10 Feb 2012F/TH/12/010690 LINDENTHORPE ROAD BROADSTAIRS CT101DHcurrent
10 Feb 2012F/TH/12/0107143 PERCY AVENUE BROADSTAIRS CT103LEcurrent

* This date is when Thanet District Council first published this case file.

New documents published by Thanet District Council,

Friday, 17 February 2012


A unique new social events and dining company has been formed to cater for people with an appetite for meeting as well as eating.
Called “Mostly Lime”, people meet at restaurants across the Isle and it’s fast becoming a major networking and socialising focus for the community.
“It is amazing how it’s taken off,” said one of the Directors, Vicky Lydford.  “Thanet has lots of good restaurants, and lots of people who like meeting new people, and dining out – that’s why, in essence, Mostly Lime, formerly The Dining Club, is doing so well.”
It all started two years ago. “Someone we knew was re-launching a restaurant and seeking local support in marketing the new venture” Mariette one of the founding members said. “To help them out, I and a group of friends contacted as many local people as we knew, to sample the food on a quiet Sunday night.
“We all enjoyed ourselves so much we decided to do it again. Two years later, the Sunday nights at restaurants have become a popular monthly event.  More than 250 people now want to know where we are eating next!”
And where did they get the name? “To lime is Caribbean slang meaning to hang out, relax, to chill out – and that’s what our members are mostly here to do.”
The main idea of the company is to enable diners to meet new people and sample more of what Thanet restaurants have to offer.
But the company also aims to support local businesses, Vicky said: “We always ask our diners for feedback after every event and we pass this onto the restaurant concerned. This means local businesses can raise their game and become part of a network of places which members will recommend to others.”

Ultimately, Vicky hopes, the company will have benefits for Thanet as a whole. “We believe that thriving local businesses, alongside a healthy networked community, result in the well-being and economic growth of the area in which we live.”
For more information visit:


Local people still have time to comment on proposals for regular
night-time flying at Manston Airport. 

So far over 500 responses have been submitted as part of the
consultation, which is open for all members of the public, until Friday
2 March.

To take part, residents must submit their comments in writing to
Consultation, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Margate CT9 1XZ or by
e-mail to

Responses must include a full name and address, clearly stating a

The feedback received from this consultation will be used, alongside
the findings of an independent assessment of the environmental and
economic impacts, to draft the councils’ response to Infratil.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “It’s encouraging to
see that so many people have taken the time to tell us what they think.
Before we draft our own response, it’s vital that we clearly
understand how our residents feel about these proposals. I’d like to
urge everyone else who would like to comment to do this before Friday 2
March, to ensure that their views can still be taken into account.”

To view the proposals and independent assessment, please go to or visit Thanet’s Gateway Plus in Margate or the
council’s Ramsgate District Office in York Street.


Food businesses across Thanet are being given the chance to find out more about a new national scheme that will rate food premises on their food hygiene, management and structure.

The national scheme provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food business establishments by awarding a star rating door sticker and a certificate.

A series of seminars are being held by Thanet District Council’s Environmental Health team over the next few weeks to introduce businesses to the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme that is being implemented across the country by the Food Standards Agency.

Food businesses across Thanet have already been sent letters inviting them to attend the seminars, which will take place at the council offices. The first takes place on Wednesday 22 February at 7pm, with the second on Friday 24 February at 2pm. The final seminar is on Monday 12 March at 4pm. All are taking place in the Council Chamber in the council’s main offices in Cecil Street, Margate.

The scheme will rate businesses from zero to five stars, based on the routine inspections that the food safety team already carry out. It is already a legal requirement for businesses to meet hygiene regulations. All the inspections undertaken by the team from 1 March 2012 onwards will appear on the national website when the scheme launches in Thanet at the start of April.

Cllr. Clive Hart, Cabinet Member for Corporate and Regulatory Services, said: “In areas where this scheme has already been introduced, the public are using it to help them to decide where they want to go to eat or buy their food. I’m sure it will be just the same when it’s introduced in Thanet, as we all want to be sure that the businesses we’re using have good hygiene ratings. As such, this offers businesses in Thanet a great opportunity. A good rating is likely to be good for business, although of course these are not ratings of food quality or service standards in any particular place.”

He added: “Of course, getting this scheme in place will not be an overnight job, as our team have more than 1,000 food premises that they need to inspect, so it’s going to take some time. We have to start somewhere and it’s important for businesses to understand that, from the start of March, the results of all the hygiene inspections our team carry out will be published for the public to see. I hope those will be positive results and I’d encourage businesses to do everything they can to achieve the best possible ratings. The Food Standards Agency and the council can help them to do that.”

Certificates will be provided to businesses which are inspected from 1 March with details of their results. Certificates will also be available to businesses which have not yet been inspected, so that they can display these and show customers that they are still awaiting an inspection.