Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Margate Veterans Defeat Canterbury & England Star

Margate Lawn Tennis Club’s Veterans managed to beat a very strong Canterbury team that is captained by Steve Woodley, an England over 75 player. Monday December 16 saw the Margate over 70s team defeat Canterbury by three rubbers to one in a match that saw the games  played out on two different surfaces due to the changeable weather,

John Hills and Dennis Stock, Margate’s first pairing, lost 6-3, 6-3 to Canterbury’s firsts but then in a well contested battle against Canterbury’s second pairing, the Margate duo came out on top pipping them to a 7-6, 6-3 victory.

Margate’s second pairing of George Buckmaster and Chris Whittingham had an emphatic victory over the Canterbury first pair winning 6-4, 6-4. The in-form Buckmaster and Whittingham then went on to win 6-2, 6-2 against Canterbury’s seconds.

This victory was particularly sweet for the Margate Veterans team as in the reverse fixture six weeks prior to this match, they lost 3-1 to the same Canterbury side.

“This match was a very strange one,” explained John Hills, “as the first rubber was played outside on artificial clay. Then the rain came, resulting in us having to play on Canterbury’s indoor courts for the second rubber!”

Monday, 30 December 2013

Green Party Kent's Councillors Available for Hire £99.99 A Go

During a week in which a poll revealed 46% of voters  believe  MPs are  “on the take” (1), the Kent Green Party has accused the county’s  councillors of  “pimping out their services and influence for £99.99 a go”.

This hard hitting allegation follows the adoption, by KCC, the 12 District and many of the county’s 314 Town and Parish Councils, of the so-called “Kent Code of Conduct for Members (2)”
The Code, which replaces rules set by the now defunct Standards Board for England, regulates the ethical behaviour of most of Kent’s 2,500(3) plus councillors. Amongst other things it allows them to accept gifts and hospitality up to the value of £100 without any need to make a declaration (4). This is a 400% increase on the Standards Board for England previous declaration limit of £25 for gifts and hospitality.
Green Party Councillor, Ian Driver, who voted against Thanet Council’s decision to adopt the controversial gifts and hospitality rules said, “it’s  morally wrong for County, District, Town or Parish Councillors to accept  any form of payment or gift  from constituents, businesses, lobbyists,  or any other organisation. Permitting councillors to accept treats of up to £99.99 without any declaration  sends out all the wrong messages. It’s like saying  that Kent’s Councillors are free to pimp out their services and influence for £99.99 a go without anyone finding out. This ill-conceived Code is a charter for  corruption which reinforces the already widespread impression that most politicians have their snouts in the trough. It brings local government into serious disrepute”.
Driver’s views  are supported by the world’s leading anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International, which in a recent report,  “Corruption in UK Local Government: The Mounting Risks”,  said that  “Without transparency about gifts and hospitality, there can be no serious scrutiny of an important channel through which individuals or interest groups might seek to corruptly influence members (5)”.

Said Driver “I call on the County, District, Town and Parish Councils to review their Codes of Conduct and introduce changes which prohibit councillors from receiving any gifts or hospitality from constituents, lobbyists or any other organisations. I encourage the people of Kent to lobby their Councillors to put an end to this charter for corruption”

Monday, 16 December 2013

TDC Conservative Group welcomes continued success of Margate Task Force

At the last meeting of Thanet District Council, Inspector Mark Pearson of the Margate Task Force (MTF) gave a presentation updating the council on the team’s work and ongoing success.
Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Bob Bayford welcomed the presentation and the awards won by the team, including the prestigious Partnership and Innovation Award at the Kent Community Safety Awards.

The Margate Task force is a multi-agency team comprising 14 agencies and over 30 staff, all of them co-located at Thanet District Council.  It was formed to bring responsive, collaborative working to target the high concentration of vulnerable and at risk individuals and families in the Margate and Cliftonville areas.  The team has reduced crime, and significantly improved joint ‘street level’ engagement, generating improved and more responsive service delivery in line with the specific needs of the local community

Cllr Bayford said: “The creation of the Margate Task Force is one of the Conservative administration’s finest achievements and I am pleased that it continues to make such an important contribution to our community, bringing together many agencies to tackle crime and to help the most vulnerable in the area. “

Mayor of Ramsgate's Charity Ice Rink

Ice Rink in Ramsgate. Friday 20 - Sunday 22 December.
Ice rink will be open from 10am - 6pm.
All in aid of the Mayor's charities - Admiral Nurses (part of Dementia UK), Thanet Galaxy Pan Disability Football Club and Artwise Youth Club.

Ramsgate rocks with new enterprise

Not only have two brand new independent businesses opened in Ramsgate in the last fortnight, but there’s also a Ramsgate Town Team just begun and an initiative in the town to decorate shop windows for Christmas, with a cash prize
for the winner.

Shops around the town are invited to help make a fantastic show for Christmas by making their windows look brilliant. The winner will be chosen on Monday 23 December by Town Promoter Suzy Humphries, and a prize of £100 will be awarded by Ramsgate Town Council.

A committee of a dozen local businesses has come together to form Ramsgate’s Town Team, with the aim to work with all local people, community groups and businesses to improve the town centre and surrounding area. There will be a launch event in January and anyone interested in joining should get in touch with Suzy Humphries on 01843 584840 or suzyhumphries@talktalk.net. 

New businesses this fortnight are Saltworks in Charlotte Court, a beautiful shop selling women’s clothing, accessories and gifts as well as the Harbour Chocolate Lounge on Military Road. Housed in one of the historic ‘red arches’, Clare Cook has a chocolate factory and cafe which
can only be naughty but nice!

Suzy Humphries – Town Promoter
07939 542990

Richard Styles – Town Clerk
01843 598751

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Council gives Military Road Arches a new lease of life

You may have noticed some new improvements to the arches on Ramsgate’s Military Road. These are the result of Thanet District Council’s Yacht Valley project.

The council is one in ten partners involved in this project, based all over Europe and is match-funded by INTERREG (Inter Regional), an initiative that aims to stimulate cooperation between regions in the European Union, financed under the European Development Fund.

The Yacht Valley project is based at Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour, a very popular marina and tourist destination. There are three main project objectives, which should be complete by mid 2014:

1: Refurbishment of the Military Road Arches. This included upgrading existing arches by providing new services and improvements in drainage. It also brought back into use a number of vacant and unlettable arch spaces and expanding on Ramsgate’s ‘cafe culture’.

2: Create a feasibility study of options for the restoration, conservation and future use of the Smeaton Dry Dock.

3: Create a feasibility study of options for providing a fully serviced Yacht Servicing Facility within the Royal Harbour Marina.

Cllr. Alan Poole, Cabinet member for Operational Services said: Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour was the ideal choice for this project. These improvements will attract and provide space for new businesses, which will in turn improve local services, create new jobs and continue to improve the local economy.

Councillor Poole continued, “The area will be greatly improved for residents, businesses and visitors, creating a pleasant atmosphere, improved facilities and a lovely area to relax and enjoy the surroundings of our wonderful and picturesque Royal Harbour.”

The arches currently have a mix of marine related businesses as well as some food establishments and even a gallery If you are interested in renting one of the newly refurbished arches on Military Road, please contact Property Services on 01843 577053 or email mandy.robinson@thanet.gov.uk or for more information visit  www.portoframsgate.co.uk/properties. Preferences will be given to marine related businesses.

Aftermath of the December floodings

Thanet District Council was on full alert on Thursday 5 December and Friday 6 December due to the risk of flooding in the district posed by abnormally high tides.

Flood warnings were in place although widespread flooding had not been predicted for Thanet.  Thanet District Council staff liaised closely with Kent County Council and the Environmental Agency to ensure precautions were made and all areas were secured and protected.
The council worked tirelessly in the hours before the event to close floodgates and issue sandbags to areas at risk of flooding. Engineering staff worked overnight on the 4th and 5th December, monitoring the event and the district’s defences. Following the second and last abnormally high tide on Friday afternoon the clean-up began with staff working through the weekend and into this week to clear up debris and sand washed up onto promenades, pavements and roads.
Viking Bay and West Bay were the worst hit, with a number of beach huts damaged. If your beach hut was affected please call Your Leisure on 01843 296111.

Neither Margate nor Pegwell Bay were affected but both could have been the subject of significant flooding had it not been for the investment in flood defences made in the last three years. The Old Town area of Margate was particularly susceptible to the type of high water event experienced last week. However thanks to the brilliant engineering of the new tidal flood defences completed in May this year, there was no flooding in Margate or at Pegwell Bay. This work was undertaken by Thanet District Council and funded by the Environment Agency. The project at Margate successfully improved the defences from 1 in 20 to a 1 in 200 year standard.

Ramsgate’s Port and Harbour sustained minor damage, thanks to the work carried out by Harbour Master Robert Brown and his staff.

Cllr Alan Poole, Cabinet member for Operational Services said: “All officers involved in making sure all areas were secure worked very quickly in deploying sandbags and closing temporary flood defences.

“I’m pleased that the excellent flood defences in Margate worked well and prevented the Old Town from flooding. Without them water would have surely hit the town, creating thousands of pounds worth of damage.”

Follow this link if you would like to read more on what to do if you are affected by floods as well as recovering and cleaning up after a flood occurs:http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317140405287

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas waste and recycling collections

Thanet District Council’s recycling and waste collections will continue to run sa normal over the Christmas and New Year period except for the following changes:

  • Collections currently due on Wednesday 25th December (Christmas Day) will be collected on Saturday 21st December.
  • Collections currently due on Thursday 26th December (Boxing Day) will be collected on Saturday 28th December.
  • Collections currently due on Wednesday 1st January (New Year’s Day) will be collected on Saturday 4th January.

All other recycling and waste collections during the rest of the Christmas and New Year period will remain the same.
Garden waste and bulk waste collections will stop on Friday 20 December 2013 and will restart on Monday 13 January 2014.
Cllr Alan Poole, Cabinet Member for Operational Services, said: “Many thanks to our crews who work extremely hard during this period, often in bad weather, to ensure that recycling and waste collections continue as usual.

"We’ve done our best to minimise disruption for our residents with most collections remaining unchanged. Collections currently due to take place on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years day have changed in order for our crews to be able to spend time with their families.

“Please remember that Boxing Day and New Year's Day collections will take place later than planned however and Christmas Day collections will be picked up four days earlier on Saturday 21 December.”

For the latest updates and information visit www.thanet.gov.uk or follow us on twitter @thanetcouncil, particularly if there is any snow or bad weather over Christmas and New Year, which may cause disruptions to your service.

If you have any questions about recycling and waste collections over the Christmas and New Year period, please contact the council on 01843 577115.


 A significant percentage of the members of Thanet Council are “lazy good for nothings”, “don’t have a clue about what’s being discussed” and “are not fit to run Legoland”.
Councillor Ian Driver gives his verdict on council behaviour in the new issue of Thanet Watch.
THE DIRTY FACTS about Thanet’s rubbish company, Veolia.
MP LAURA – why is she really standing down at the next election?
UKIP’S DEMONS … and the danger of not voting by Steven Todd.
THE FUTURE: Will 2014 will really be a “year of wonders” for Thanet?
THE HOLIDAYS: a unique guide to things to do in the coming weeks
All this and more in the new issue of THANET WATCH magazine out in newsagents and shops now.
For more information email inmeds@yahoo.co.uk or telephone 01843 604 253


Thanet Super-8 Feature Film ‘Donovan Slacks’ Released on DVD 
• Super-8 feature film shot in Thanet released on DVD after successful festival run
• A 1920s hospital patient leads a fishermen’s uprising in this unique love story
• Shot half as a silent film, half as a ‘talkie’
• Last feature film shot on iconic Kodachrome 40 Super 8 film stock before it was discontinued
• Trailerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJBgINHsDwk
• Available now on Amazonhttp://amzn.to/1c64IPx 

London, December 4, 2013. Thanet Super-8 feature film Donovan Slacks has been released today on DVD.

Set in 1920s England, Donovan Slacks tells the story of a sea bathing hospital patient who leads a fishermen’s uprising against the government.

This unique love story was shot half as a silent film, half as a ‘talkie’ and was the last feature to be shot on Kodachrome 40, the iconic Super-8 film stock, before it was discontinued.

For Thanet-raised director, Kivmars Bowling, the format’s demise suited the story perfectly:
“Donovan Slacks pays the ultimate price for daring to speak out but he lives defiantly to the last. It’s fitting that even the very film stock met a similarly sad end – but that it had a last chance to shine so brightly in this film."
An Official Selection of Sofia International Film Festival and Bucharest International Film Festival among others, this festival favourite has received much praise for its distinctive tone and story:




Donovan Slacks received funding from Screen South and the UK Film Council.

It was shot on various locations around Thanet as well as New York City.


DVD Bonus Features:
• Audio commentary by lead actors, director, producer and composer
• Deleted scenes
• Outtakes
• Production stills
• Trailer
• Director’s statement and notes
• Early storyboards
• Official Websitehttp://www.donovanslacks.com
• Trailer
• Press Kit
• How Do You Shoot a Feature Film on Super-8? by Kivmars Bowling
About the Lead Actors:

ASHLEY PENROSE (Donovan Slacks)
Ashley Penrose has performed a broad range of roles including John Proctor and Rosencrantz (in Stoppard’s comedy) and has appeared at Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre and the Midlands Art Centre. He played Smike in ‘Nicholas Nickelby’ for the Broadstairs Dickens Festival. Donovan Slacks is his debut feature film role.

LISA PAYNE (Delilah)
Lisa Payne graduated from Drama Studio London in 2000. Acting credits include work with Theatre Nomad, Ambush Theatre and the role of Tamara in 'Gypo', Britain’s first certificatedDogme Film. Lisa is a founder member of Lost Property Theatre Co and produced Romeo and Juliet as part of The Canterbury Festival.

About the Director:

Half-English, half-Iranian director Kivmars Bowling has had short films screened at the ICA London, BAFTA and on ITV. John Schlesinger, Tom Stoppard, Thelma Holt and Brenda Blethyn are among the patrons who have supported his work. He has worked at the Pearl Theatre, New York and as a script coverage writer for Open City Films/Blow Up Pictures, New York. Donovan Slacks was his debut feature film. He has since directed ‘Afterwards/Danach’, a road movie set in one night on the streets of Berlin. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Dame Kelly Holmes visits Thanet

On Wednesday 4 December Mears Construction Building in Margate was busy preparing for the appearance of their special sporting guest, double gold Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes.

Dame Kelly visited Mears Construction, one of the many local businesses involved in the Legacy Trust programme, which is working in partnership with Thanet District Council. She came to see how the young adults are finding the programme and to bring some added inspiration into the group, which is the only programme of this sort in Kent. She congratulated the group for taking part in the programme. “It’s going really well and looks like you’re really enjoying it”.

Kelly answered questions from the group saying “Being born and bred in Kent meant that we just had to set up this programme in Kent. Things you do in life are always going to be hard. You’re always going to have your ups and downs, but never give up – always give it a good go otherwise you may end up regretting not trying.

“Take these opportunities and skills you’re learning and be proud of yourselves. Even the little skills such as turning up on time means you’re learning to respect others.”
A tour was taken around the building to show what skills the young adults are taking part in as part of the programme, including brick-laying and plastering. Dame Kelly even took part in a taste of the practical skills herself.

Councillor Iris Johnston, Cabinet Member for Community Services at Thanet District Council said: “To have Dame Kelly Holmes visit Thanet is an honour and privilege especially for the young adults involved in the programme. Being a local to Kent, Dame Kelly is a fantastic role model to all involved in this programme.

“Thanet is a fantastic area to host this programme, having so much to offer and many businesses with a useful and interesting skill set and to be the only programme of its kind in Kent is certainly a positive for this area.”

On Tuesday 17 December the young adults are also taking part in cooking a three course Christmas feast for the elderly and vulnerable. Using the kitchen at Global Generation Church in Margate, this will increase the group’s skill set and their confidence in voluntary and community activities, which is an important part of this programme.

If you know of someone who would benefit from this service at Christmas time, please contact Rosemary Weavers from the Royal Voluntary Service on 01843 265869 to book a place.

Project profiles in Port

Thanet District Council has recently obtained European Interreg funding to assist with the improvement of facilities at the Port of Ramsgate.

Funding of just over £161,000 was achieved through the LO-PINOD project (Logistics Optimisation for Ports), which aims to challenge existing thinking on freight distribution and offer more sustainable and efficient alternatives.

The project proposal is split into three parts of which the funding will support the first two elements:
  • Assess the economic viability scoping report for alongside quay
  • Prepare a technical design and feasibility study of the alongside quay, an extension of the eastern pier of the harbour and a commercial boat park
  • Construction of the alongside quay, East Pier extension and a commercial boat park.
Last week, a LO-PINOD partnership meeting, jointly hosted by Thanet District Council and fellow UK LO-PINOD partner Kilbride Group at the Pegwell Bay Hotel, Ramsgate. This productive event saw representatives from various British and European organisations involved in the project. All parties participated in guided workshops, which discussed the approaches to port development in not only the Port of Ramsgate but in the other ports affected in the project around Europe.

In September another event took place in Ramsgate, this time, held at The Royal Temple Yacht Club. More than sixty business men and women from the nautical industry attended from different commercial operations and organisations across France, Holland and the UK. This event was a major help to Thanet District Council, with views and suggestions being heard and discussions on the proposed new developments in the Port of Ramsgate.

Councillor Alan Poole, Cabinet member for Commercial Services said: “This project is such a positive addition to the Port of Ramsgate and if it can be taken forward will create local jobs, help to grow the local economy and facilitate more tourism to the area.
“The future development of the Port is key for the council. It is fundamental that we work towards building suitable facilities for something as important as this, to continue on in our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.”

Saturday, 7 December 2013

TDC Conservative Group wins vote to invite Independent Members of Standards Committee to resume their roles

At last night’s Council meeting, Conservative Group leader, Cllr Bob Bayford, submitted a motion amendment inviting the Independent Members of the Standards Committee, who resigned following a barrage of criticism from the Labour cabinet and members, to resume their roles on the Committee.

The motion was passed unanimously and called for the Chief Executive to request the resigned Independent Members to reconsider their positions, rescind their resignations and resume their duties with immediate effect.

TDC Leader, Clive Hart, continued to deny that the Labour Party bore any responsibility for the low public perception of the Council, repeating his claims that the Conservative Party, the public, press and government were all to blame.

Cllr Hart had earlier read out a long list of his administration’s ‘achievements’, the vast majority of which were, in fact, conceived and initiated by the previous Conservative administration.  In response to the Leader, Cllr Bayford said: “the Leader is completely missing the point.  It really doesn’t matter what he or I think.  It is the opinions of our residents that count.  We must listen to them.  He ignores them at his peril.”

Friday, 6 December 2013

Thanet District Council Labour Group quash debate on an EU Referendum

At last night’s Council meeting, the whole TDC Labour Group, including the Labour Parliamentary candidate, Will Scobie, voted to quash debate on a motion submitted by Conservative councillor Julie Marson, which called upon the Council to support a referendum on the future of Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

Dismissing discussion on Europe as a ‘stunt’, the Labour Party, whose policy is to not allow the people of Britain a referendum on Europe, denied Thanet’s elected members their chance to debate this issue of huge public interest.

Cllr Marson said: “This issue directly impacts the lives of the people of Thanet and polls show that the people of this country overwhelmingly support an In/Out referendum on the EU.  I am disappointed but not surprised that the Thanet Labour Party does not wish to allow debate on an issue on which they are so out of touch with the residents of Thanet.  I am proud that the Conservative Party is completely committed to giving the British people a referendum on Europe.”

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Bob Bayford said: “ The Labour Party have been quite happy to discuss national issues such as same sex marriage and abolition of the spare room subsidy, but do not trust the people of this country or their elected representatives to discuss our future relationship with Europe.”


The full motion stated: The future of the UK’s relationship with the European Union is a vitally important issue for the people of East Kent, including Thanet.

This Council supports the EU Referendum Bill currently before Parliament which makes provision for the UK to hold a referendum on its membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.

Make it count - council budget consultation launches

Thanet District Council has seen its formula grant from central government reduced by 36 per cent over the past three years and significant further cuts are anticipated in coming years, including a like-for-like reduction of 18 per cent in 2014/15.

The council has already made savings of nearly £5m between 2011/12 and 2013/14, while making no increase in its council tax, but further savings of £1.8m are now required to balance the 2014/15 budget and it is increasingly difficult to find these without impacting on frontline services.

Thanet District Council collects council tax on behalf of other authorities. Its share is only 14% of the overall bill. The rest is split between Kent County Council (71%), The Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent (10%), Kent Fire and Rescue Service (5%), and the town and parish councils or charter trustees.

To help prioritise resources, the council is urging residents to take part in the latest budget consultation to ensure that the limited funds available are used on the services which matter the most to local people. This consultation launches on Tuesday 3 December.

Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Rick Everitt, said: “The further cuts to the council’s formula grant are going to make it increasingly difficult to continue to provide the wide range of services that we currently offer, but we are doing all that we can to protect our residents from these budgetary challenges, including freezing council tax since 2010.

He added: “The more information we have from residents about their priorities, the better we can align our decision making, so it’s important as many local people as possible give us their views as part of our budget consultation.” 

As budget planning is already underway, the illustrative figures provided by DCLG have been used to model the budget for next year. Final figures are expected in December and will be fed into the final budget proposals for 2014/15, which will be debated at Full Council in February 2014.
Cabinet will make a recommendation to council about next year’s council tax at its meeting in January.

From Tuesday 3 December the council is asking for residents’ views on their priority services. Visit www.thanet.gov.uk/budget to take part. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Thanet flood precautions

Please be aware when out and about tonight and tomorrow, as there have been alerts for the risk of flooding nationwide, which concerns Thanet.
There will be a particularly high tide from 10pm tonight (Thursday 5th December) to the early hours of the morning and again from 12pm on Friday afternoon.
We are not expecting widespread flooding; however precautions have been deployed and we are doing our upmost to ensure all areas are secure and protected.
Residents in low-lying houses need to be particularly aware. The council are deploying sandbags to those areas most at risk such as Pegwell Bay and Marina Esplanade in Ramsgate. The council is working closely with KCC highways and the Environment Agency.
Please take care by not using any lower promenades or any other seafront areas which could be subject sea spray and wave action.
If you have any major concerns, please contact the Environment Agency on 0845 988 1188 (24 hour service) or see the Environment Agency's website for up to date details on local flood risk information.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

£2m scheme for creative businesses in Thanet

Thanet District Council is inviting creative businesses from across Thanet to the launch of SUCCESS – a scheme which is opening up £2million of funding to help businesses to grow - on Monday 9 December.
The SUCCESS project (Southeast Urban Coast Creative Enterprise Support Scheme) is funded by the government’s Regional Growth Fund. Businesses in the Thanet, Hastings and Clacton areas will be able to apply for grants of between £3,000 and £150,000, to support investment in new and growing creative businesses that bring new jobs.
Applicants will need to provide private match-funding and the investment will need to create new jobs, with the aim of helping creative businesses in Thanet, to grow, become sustainable and create more jobs in the sector.
Creative business includes all design fields, art and crafts, performance, recording, radio, TV and film production, gaming, software design, galleries and venues, music, dance and theatre, and educational and community arts.
The scheme will be launched by the council on Monday 9 December at the Margate Media Centre. All ambitious entrepreneurs in Thanet’s creative sector are invited to attend from 2pm to find out more about the fund and who is eligible, for tips on how to apply and to network with other businesses.
Council Leader, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “This fund is a chance for small creative businesses in Thanet to grow and we hope it will also help to attract new businesses to the town. A pot of £2 million is significant and we hope to see lots of creative individuals and budding entrepreneurs at our launch next week.”
If you would like to attend, please e-mail louise.askew@thanet.gov.uk or call 01843 577178 For more information on the scheme visit the dedicated website:www.success-creative-fund.biz  
SUCCESS will run to December 2014.

Monday, 2 December 2013

TDC Conservative Group commits to listen and change, and calls upon the Independent Members of the Standards Committee to reconsider their resignation

The Conservative Group at Thanet District Council is calling for the Independent Members of the Standards Committee to reconsider their resignation and to return to their positions to continue their work.  They were heavily criticised by senior members of the administration at the last Standards Committee meeting but the Conservative Group accepts their report’s conclusions that the Council is 'held in low regard by the public' and 'has the appearance of a dysfunctional organisation.

Conservative Group leader, Cllr Bob Bayford said: “The Conservatives at TDC are committed to change. We will re-engage with the residents of Thanet and try to understand their expectations of us, explain to them the challenges of being an effective opposition without being seen to be unnecessarily antagonistic and, with them, develop a suite of policies that could deliver the Thanet that they want to see.”

Cllr Bayford submitted a motion to Council which called for filming of meetings to be permitted for an initial period of six months followed by a review of its effectiveness.  This motion was rejected under the rule which prevents duplicate motions within a six month period.  The Conservative Group will resubmit this motion when the six months covered by the ruling expires at the end of March.

Friday, 29 November 2013


On Thursday 5 December at 6.30pm Thanet’s People’s Assembly Against Austerity will be lobbying Thanet Council to demand no evictions are undertaken for those in arrears from the “bedroom tax”.
A spokesperson for Thanet’s People Assembly said: “The council have said publicly that they are against the bedroom, but they haven’t stated that they won’t actually evict someone who can’t pay the tax.
“We must urge councilors to stand up for people against this much-hated and unfair tax. Come and join us and have your say.”
The lobby will take place at 6.30pm on Thurs 5 Dec at Thanet District Council, Cecil St, Margate CT9 1XZ


Thanet Greens have blasted as “immoral” the massive 77% increase in the domestic profit rate of the Big Six energy companies (1) whilst excess winter deaths rose to 31,000 – a staggering 29% more than the previous year (2).
Thanet Green Party Councillor, Ian Driver, said: “It’s immoral for energy companies to be increasing profit margins by such high rates when thousands of people across the country are needlessly dying each winter because they cannot afford to keep warm.
“Instead of talking about getting rid of the ‘green crap’, as Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly called fuel bill environmental levies, the Government should be rolling out a major programme of home insulation and energy efficiency focused on those most likely to be facing fuel poverty, or with medical conditions placing them at risk of  cold-related death. There must also be an independent public enquiry into the vast profits made by the energy companies and steps taken to ensure that a greater portion is re-invested in ensuring that fuel poverty and excess winter deaths become a thing of the past.”
Latest figures show that there were 630 excess winter deaths in Kent during the winter of 2011-12. The highest number of deaths was in Canterbury with 120, followed by Thanet with 90. The lowest rates were in Dartford, Dover, Gravesham and Maidstone, where 30 deaths per district were recorded (3).
According to Government research, 53,272 Kent households (an average of 9% of total households) are in fuel poverty (4). In some areas of Kent the number of households in poverty is much higher than the county average. In Canterbury, Thanet, Swale and Dover fuel poverty rates of between 17-22% are concentrated in some of the most deprived wards (5).
“With wages and benefits frozen or reducing in value, and energy price rises many times greater than inflation, thousands of Kent people will find themselves in fuel poverty with many having to make the choice between eating and heating,” said Green Party Thanet Councillor, Ian Driver.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other councillors were asked to respond but did not comment.

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

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

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

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Ambrette to host ‘Flavours of Philippines’ fund raisers

The Ambrette Restaurants in Margate and Rye are to host a ‘Flavours of the Philippines’ fund raisers in aid of victims of the devastation wreaked on the Pacific island nation by Typhoon Haiyan

Each month the two restaurants adopt a different charity to benefit from its fundraising activities and chef patron Dev Biswal was moved to arrange two special dinners, the proceeds of which will be donated to Oxfam and Red Cross, having seen the extend of the unfolding tragedy.

Unfortunately Dev’s knowledge of Filipino cooking was limited in the extreme, so he put the word out to local suppliers and the restaurants 6,500 Twitter followers, to help find someone with first hand experience of the cuisine.

Almost immediately, a local butcher mentioned that the mother of his young apprentice, Nathan Richardson (16), was born in Manila, is a great cook and has a catering background since she moved to the UK in 1988.

Dev immediately contacted Jo Richardson who lives in Ramsgate and the pair began devising the menu which will be served in Margate on 15th December in Margate and 22nd December in Rye. 

“Filipino cusine has evolved over many centuries  from its Austronesian origins and is an amazing fusion of Malay, Spanish, Chinese and the Americas, as well as other Asian and Latin influences adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate,” said Dev.

Cooking styles also vary widely between the 7,000 island archipelago, but being from the centrally located Manilla, which has absobed influences from surrounding islands, Jo has helped desiign a menu reprsentative of the major elements of the island nation’s culinary heritage.

The dinners will cost £30 a head, of which £5 will go to victim relief.  The Ambrette’s special events usually sell out and booking is advised. 

The restaurants recently held a special celebratory ‘Taste of Kent’ gourmet dinner, featuring a tasting menu comprised of ingredients of the winners from the Taste of Kent Award for 2013.  Dinners at both Margate and Kent sold out almost instantly, with diners travelling from as far afield as Dartford and Tunbruidge Wells with many staying over night.  The 9-course  tasting menu, costing £49 a head, will again be served on Sunday 1st December, at both restaurants by popular demand. Details at www.theambrette.co.uk/home/toktastingmenu.aspx

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Trophies Galore at Margate Tennis Club

Going off with more than a bang, the presentation night at Margate Lawn Tennis Club celebrated the winners of the clubs many prestigious tournaments with a well-attended bonfire and fireworks party.

Gavid Vickers was presented with the Men’s Open Tournament trophy, beating Gavin Webb in the process over three tense but spectacular sets. The Ladies Open Tournament final was also a tense affair: Charlotte Tonkiss, aged just 17, battled Lynn Giles, a regular finalist in this annual event, culminating in a match that lasted well over two hours.

The Men’s Open Doubles event was won by the ever-present Brian Mileham and Stevie Mayer who beat Gavin Webb and Jon Smith. Lynn Giles and Joc Cox defeated up and coming sisters Amie and Charlotte Tonkiss in Ladies Open Doubles. The Open Mixed Doubles trophy was snapped up by Gavid Vickers and Lynn Giles who beat Steve Mayer and Wendy Munday.

In the Open Tournament Plate, Gabriel Awonusi narrowly missed out to Paul West who claimed the Plate for the second successive year.

Jamie Frye prevented Gavid Vickers from collecting a clean sweep of trophies by taking the Handicap Tournament trophy in a gruelling final. Lesley Wright was jubilant in the Ladies Handicap tournament, beating Yvonne Nunn in an entertaining match. Club veterans George Buckmaster and Chris Whittingham proved they still have what it takes by beating the younger Andrew Wright and Roy Valentine in the Men’s Handicap Doubles. In the Ladies Handicap Doubles, Charlotte and Amie Tonkiss beat Lesley Wright and Zoe Montellano, and in the Handicap Mixed Doubles, Paul West and Linda Jermain were triumphant over Lesley and Andrew Wright.

The Juniors too at Margate Lawn Tennis Club provided fierce competition and entertaining tennis in their tournaments. Jake Munday pipped Aiden Nunn to the Boy’s Open Singles title.

The Girl’s Open Singles final was a battle of sisters, with Charlotte losing out to younger sister Amie Tonkiss. The Boys Open Doubles title was claimed by Arthur Lawlor and James Wright in a magnificently contested final against Ayo Owodobore and Kallum Marlow. Charlotte and Amie Tonkiss collected the Girls’ Doubles trophy, defeating Catherine Banks and Zoe Motellano. The Junior Mixed Doubles trophy went Kane Rowland and Charlotte Tonkiss, with James Wright and Amy Tonkiss runners-up.

“This well attended club presentation night was not only fun for all who attended,” says Club Chairman John Taylor, “but also excellent recognition of the talent that has always been part and parcel, and indeed continues to grow, at our tennis club. It is good to see a mixture of familiar faces and also up and coming talent that will certainly prove good for the future of our club.”

Monday, 25 November 2013

Thanet Council - Thanet Sports Awards celebrate achievements

If you want to know where all of Thanet’s sporting stars were on Friday evening, then you need look no further than Margate’s Winter Gardens.
Thanet District Council’s fifth annual Thanet Sports Awards took place on Friday 22 November, which works in partnership with the council’s Sport Matters team.
Martine Wright was the main attraction of the night. Being a paralympian celebrity, Martine went through a great deal of hardship and motivation to become one of Team GB sitting volleyball players and proceeded to inspire everyone in the audience with her answers to the questions asked by the audience.
The evening was hosted by Academy FM DJ, Johnny Lewis, who read out the nominees of the 13 separate categories, including Disabled sportsperson of the year and Club of the Year.
Amongst the chattering, laughing and elations, was one particular winner of the night’s awards: well-deserved and humbled, Sheila Archer. Winner of the unsung hero category said “This was certainly a surprise and an honour and I was truly proud of being shortlisted for the award of Unsung Hero!” Sheila attended the awards with her husband and son, who were equally as proud to see Sheila collect her award.
“Another successful year of sport and another set of self-disciplined, confident and inspirational people were awarded with this prestigious award” said Cllr Iris Johnston, Thanet District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services.
“These awards show the range of talent and enthusiasm that exists within Thanet, and I’m absolutely delighted for everyone involved. We were able to meet some of the top candidates in our community and the consistent standards in clubs and schools throughout the district.”
Councillor Johnston added: “I would like to thank Martine Wright, Team GB Paralympic star for sharing her amazing story with us all. It wouldn’t surprise me if everyone in this room was inspired and in awe of Martine.”
Martine said: “It’s an absolutely amazing celebration of people that give a contribution to sport. To me, it’s not about wearing this Team GB top – that’s not what sport is all about, it’s about keeping fit and about social change.”

Stand Up for Labour 2

Sunday December 1st
The Centre
Alpha Road

Stand Up for Labour
Compere Andre Vincent plus Tim Clark, Steve Gribbin & Kevin Precious
Speaker Lord Bassam
Doors  7.00pm
Tickets from  maljb@mac.com
Students £6.50
Adults: £8.00

Kent Greens - Almost 7,000 lose out in Bedroom Tax benefit cuts

6,921 households in Kent have had their housing benefits cut as a result of the Government’s bedroom tax according to figures released by the Department for  Work and Pensions (1).
The figures, which cover the period April until August 2013, are the first to identify how many households have lost housing benefit payments since the introduction of the bedroom tax in April 2013.
In August, the most recent period for which figures are available, 788 people living in Swale lost an average of £900 per year in housing benefit, making it the worst affected district in Kent.
The least badly affected district is Dartford, where 365 people have lost an average of £894 per year in benefits.
In Thanet 610 households have lost on average £770 per year in Housing Benefits.
An estimated £6 million will have been slashed from Kent’s housing benefit payments by the end of the first year of the bedroom tax. The average loss per Kent affected household has been calculated to be a staggering £868 per year.
Thanet Green Party Councillor Ian Driver said: “The bedroom tax is having a major impact on the most vulnerable and low-paid people in Kent. There are simply not enough smaller rented properties to move into, so people already living on a low income are being forced to cut back even further on essentials such as food, heating and clothing. This ill-conceived policy will force thousands of families in Kent into poverty.”
Evidence is now beginning to emerge that many households caught by the bedroom tax are falling into rent arrears. A survey carried out by the National Housing Federation estimates that more than 50% of housing association tenants who are affected by the bedroom tax have fallen behind with rent since the introduction of this policy (2).
The Green Party opposes the Bedroom Tax. It is unfair and targets some of the most vulnerable and deprived people in society. The Party calls upon Kent Councils not to evict anyone falling into rent arrears as a consequence of the bedroom tax. The Green Party, alongside many charities, disabled groups and trade unions is campaigning for the  immediate abolition of the bedroom tax.