Friday, 28 March 2014

Turner Contemporary unveils Edmund de Waal's new commission

Edmund de Waal: Atmosphere (29 March 2014 – 8 February 2015) presents a new installation by the renowned ceramic artist and author.

De Waal, who grew up in Canterbury and is best known for his large installations of porcelain vessels and the international bestselling book Hare with the Amber Eyes, showcases a major new commission for Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery. This is the third commission produced for the Sunley Gallery following those by Maria Nepomuceno in 2012 and Daniel Buren in 2011.
For this ambitious project the artist has created an installation in response to the space, light and architecture of the Sunley Gallery with its double height windows and spectacular views over the North Sea. Atmosphere(2014) comprises of a series of long, suspended vitrines that are in conversation with the mutable light from the sea.

Suspended at different heights, the lines of the vessels within the vitrines offer the viewer an array of horizons as they move through the space both on the gallery’s ground floor and from the overlooking balcony.  Inatmosphere De Waal brings the changing weather into Turner Contemporary and echoes the ways in which artists as diverse as Gerhard Richter, Hiroshi Sugimoto and JMW Turner have thought about clouds and horizons.
This commission is accompanied by two other works by the artist. Juxtaposed alongside atmosphere isbauspiel, a group of vessels residing on a floor based plinth in a configuration which reflects those in the nearby suspended vitrines. Turner Contemporary’s ground floor corridor is transformed by a new wall-based text installation, in which De Waal has converted the corridor walls into a life-size notebook, drawing on an array of sources from Turner’s letters to the poems of Baudelaire.

Edmund de Waal states:
“When thinking about the changing landscape of clouds, I remember Constable's beautiful letter about lying on his back and doing 'a great deal of skying'. There is no more extraordinary place to look at the sky than the Sunley Gallery at Turner Contemporary. Atmosphere is my attempt to make a response to this threshold between a building and the air outside. Suspended in the space are nine vitrines holding 200 small celadon and grey porcelain vessels. I hope they will provoke some skying of their own.”

The exhibition coincides with a new monograph, Edmund de Waal published by Phaidon Press and featuring contributions from AS Byatt, Peter Carey, and Colm Toíbín amongst others. Edmund de Waal, which will be released on 5 May 2014, will be the first and only complete survey of the artist’s career to date, weaving together both his literary and ceramic practices.


Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens shortlisted for UK’s most inspiring Museum 2014

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This is a real tribute to our Trustees, Staff and Volunteers who have worked tirelessly to ensure that each and every visitor leaves our Museum, House and Gardens having learned something interesting, and having enjoyed their time with us !  Well done team Powell-Cotton !

This is really easy, click on the link, scroll down the page that opens, dot the box next to Powell-Cotton and click one vote button.


Voting closes at midnight on 11th April 2014. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Local people are encouraged to explore their coastline through an array of exciting activities lined around the Thanet Coast this year.
For young children (4-11s) the activities start with the fabulous ‘Captain Cuttlefish’ – led by the brilliant Scandalmongers over the Easter school holidays. Children are encouraged to join the Captain for a wild and wacky storytelling adventure that will include fishy tales, fun games and sandy art activities. The adventures start at 11am and take place in Viking Bay, Broadstairs on Friday 11 April; Margate Main Sands on Thursday 17 April and Ramsgate Main Sands on Friday 18 April. 
For older people (14+), there will be guided walks (19 July and 30 August) by seaweed expert Ian Tittley from the Natural History Museum, to unlock the secrets about Seaweeds – and cover everything you would like to know about their properties and uses. These walks take place at Dumpton Gap at 11am on 19 July and in Botany Bay at 9am on 30 August.
This summer will see the return of the ever popular Seashore Safaris. Whilst ideal for young children (4-11s) these are of interest to the whole family!  Participants are equipped to explore our chalk rocky shore and rockpools to discover our elusive seashore wildlife in different local bays around the coast.  There is also a chance for people to lend a hand at tidying and recording beach litter on national beach cleans in Pegwell Bay, Cliffsend and in Birchington.
Thanet District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr Iris Johnson said: “Thanet has the longest continuous stretch of coastal chalk in the country and these programmed events are an opportunity for all to participate in these fun but educational activities.’
These Thanet Coast events are part of the ‘NE Kent Marine Protected Area’ (NEKMPA) interpretation events and are mainly run with help of local voluntary ‘NEKMPA Coastal Wardens’ – with support from Natural England, Thanet District Council and CC2150 Kent Community Grant. All are free of charge of charge to attend – although donations for further projects are welcome. Beach Clean equipment has been provided with support from Cummins Power Generation. Spaces on events are limited, so everyone is advised to book online at or (from 1 April) or call the Thanet Visitor Information Centre on (01843) 577577.


A film showing a history of public mistrust in Thanet Council is to get a second showing in Broadstairs at 7.30pm on Wednesday 2 April.

The second screening comes, according to film-maker Christine Tongue, due to “overwhelming public demand.”

“We were amazed how many people crowded in to see the first screening in March,” Christine said. “We never expected there would be such an interest. The place was packed out and many people couldn’t get in.”

“People clearly feel a high degree of dissatisfaction with the performance of Thanet Council over many years, and are eager to discuss how to improve things,” Christine added.

The film, called “Thanet Council: A History of Mistrust” will include new material not shown in the first screening. Christine said: “Things are moving on all the time. We will try to include the most important developments as they happen.”

The first screening provoked heated responses, according to Christine.

“There was an extremely interesting and lively debate after the screening, with some people arguing for replacing the district council with a unitary council, where Thanet would get back powers from Kent County Council.

“Other people were keen to give more power back to the towns, Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs. Another argument was put for abolishing the cabinet system which runs the present council and replacing this with a committee-based approach.”

Christine believes these sorts of public debates are essential to the health of local democracy. “Many people seem to believe their elected representatives aren’t listening to them. We’ve got to keep talking and looking for a better way forward.”  

The screening will be followed by an open discussion.

The screening is at 7.30pm, Wednesday 2nd April at the Red Hall, 11 Grosvenor Rd, Broadstairs CT10 2BT. Entry is free. For more information or to book a place ring 01843 604 253, or 07989 070843.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Go digital with Spring Online

Digital champions will be raising awareness of online services at the Council’s Gateway between 10am and 2pm from Monday 31 March to Friday 4 April. 
As part of Spring Online week these ambassadors will be exploring various digital options with the public and talking them through the various web services available to residents on the council website representative from Job Centre Plus will also be on hand on Thursday to explain the use of applications such as Universal Jobmatch on
Cabinet Member for Business Services Cllr Michelle Fenner said, ‘We’re working with EK Services to try and encourage residents to engage with IT. Sometimes changing behaviour can be daunting so our digital champions will be on hand to guide residents through relevant tools which would make their everyday tasks easier. The Thanet District Council website has a number of services online such as; paying council tax, checking a planning application or bidding for a social property and accessing these could simplify residents’ lives.’
Spring Online week runs from Monday 31 March to Friday 4 April and aims to encourage people to engage with digital. For more information about the online services the council provides visit

Live animal exports latest - council not to appeal High Court ruling

Thanet District Council has decided not to appeal against the High Court decision regarding the shipment of live animals from the Port of Ramsgate.

Mr Justice Birss ruled that the council did not have the authority to impose a temporary ban and that it was a disproportionate response to the events at the Port on 12 September 2012.

Cllr, Michelle Fenner, Cabinet member for Business, Corporate and Regulatory Services, said: “The council took the decision to impose a temporary ban after the incidents in September 2012. This was based on genuine concerns about the safety of our staff and the fact that the Port does not have adequate facilities to cater for the welfare of animals in transit.

“However, in light of the latest legal advice we have received, we accept that we cannot take the risk of challenging the judge’s ruling in an appeal.

“Furthermore, we consider that it is the responsibility of the British Government to fight for clearer harmonisation of rules and the role of government agencies such as AHVLA and Defra.”

Ramsgate Tourism Boost: Thanet’s “Hidden Gem” Pugin’s St. Augustine’s Church Now Open 7 Days a Week

Ramsgate’s heritage tourism receives a boost from 1st April as Pugin’s personal church of St. Augustine’s, Ramsgate, increases its visiting times from three days a week to seven.

The new opening times are 10am – 4pm every day.

The new opening times will open up access to the church for the increasing number of visitors who come from around the world. St. Augustine’s is developing an Education, Research, and Visitor Centre, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the new opening times are key to bringing more visitors to Thanet.

Rector, Fr. Marcus Holden, said, “Recently day-trippers visited from London, expecting such a major building to be open each day. We are delighted to be able to meet this expectation.” The extended opening is in addition to the daily worship that already takes place at the church.

St. Augustine’s has several cultural events planned for this year, as well as numerous architectural, archaeological, and religious visits. In the last week of May – the half term holiday – the site is hosting the annual St. Augustine Week. In September, the site will host the inaugural Pugin Festival.

Many stories are told on the site – from the story of St. Augustine bringing Christianity to England, to the nineteenth century and Pugin with his family. The new opening times make it possible for organised groups, tourists, and nearby residents to visit the church much more easily.

St. Augustine’s is one of the most important sites in Thanet, being the ideal design of the famous architect Augustus Pugin, who designed much of the Houses of Parliament and helped to reshape the world’s cities.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

TDC Conservative Group statement re EKO Planning Application and Public Enquiry

Questions have been raised about the participation of the Chief Executive and Leader of Thanet District Council in EKOLLP's decision to use a public enquiry to resolve the planning issue of the Eurokent site.

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Bob Bayford said: “When serious questions are raised about the probity of action by the most senior council officer and the Leader, it is usual practice to appoint an external investigator to ascertain if there is a case to answer. This is a neutral action, designed to protect the reputations of all concerned, and maintain the mutual confidence and trust required between executive, politicians and public.

“The Conservative Group at Thanet District Council looks forward to hearing of the appointment of an independent investigator in line with best practice for public authorities.”

Monday, 24 March 2014

TDC performance update - Council has made significant progress

A report published today (Monday 24 March) has revealed that the council has made significant progress over the course of the year.
Council performance for 2013-14 is measured against 32 key projects, which all link to the council’s corporate plan priorities and 27 targeted key performance indicators, which monitor how the council performs in the delivery of its key services.
Progress against these targets is then reported every three months.
The latest Corporate Performance Report covers the period between April to February 2014 and is the last performance update before an End of Year Report which will go to Cabinet in June.
Of the council’s key projects, nine are now complete and the majority of the projects underway (20) are on track. Of the 27 key performance indicators, 20 are also on target.

There are a number of highlights within the report:
  •  54 affordable homes have been delivered so far this financial year – which is right on target.
  • 117 selective licences have been issued – ahead of the target of 100
  • 63 private sector housing notices have been issued on landlords - ahead of the target of 50
  • 97 empty properties have been brought back into use – 17 more than target.
Visitor Information Centre Service
The council has handled 68,478 enquiries – almost 7,000 more than target (61,499).
Street scene enforcement
The council has undertaken 366 street scene enforcement actions so far this year, above the target of 323.
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG)
There has been an 80% increase in the number of homes improved through DFG works in the first three quarters of this year, compared to last year.
Yacht Valley Project at Ramsgate Harbour and Port
There has been an extensive programme of works to commercial units in the Harbour arches. All but one of the refurbished arches have either been let or are under offer.
New Recycling and Waste Services
The new service has significantly increased resident recycling. Analysis of the recycling rate between November and January, indicates a recycling rate of 48% over this period.
Margate Housing Intervention Programme
Following on from the success of the Embassy building, the council has purchased a further seven key empty buildings and plans have been produced for submission for planning approval. The intervention area is on track to deliver 183 empty units into occupied units by March 2014, achieving a key programme objective.

An explanation and remedial action for those projects and performance indicators where progress has slipped behind target can be found in the report.
Key areas the council will be working to improve next quarter include public satisfaction with street cleanliness and household waste and recycling collections, where levels have reduced.
Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Cllr Michelle Fenner, said: “We’re committed to being open and transparent about how the council is performing. Progress over the last three months has been positive and shows we are moving in the right direction.
“We’ve been clear that despite a severe cut in government funding, we want to impact upon the frontline services we deliver for local people as little as possible.
“There are still areas to improve, most notably around public satisfaction with cleanliness and waste. This will be an absolute priority for the council. We are hopeful that with the introduction of a new mobile app to report issues, more mobile cleansing techniques and continuing to see low levels of missed collections since the initial roll out of the new service, this will improve.”

£1000 Business Rates discount for retail properties

Cabinet Members are to discuss a proposal to award a £1000 Business Rates discount to qualifying retail properties when they meet on Thursday 3 April.

The relief would apply to all occupied retail properties with a rateable value of up to £50,000 and would be available over the next two financial years (2014-15 and 2015-16).

This follows an announcement from Central Government in December 2013.
Although local authorities are to adopt their own local scheme, and decide in each individual case when to grant relief, Government has issued guidance to set out which retail premises the discount would apply to.
In line with this guidance, properties that could benefit include shops, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments.

This would cover a wide variety of businesses from florists, bakers and greengrocers to jewellers, opticians and petrol stations. It would also extend to travel agents, car show rooms, hair and beauty services and garden centres amongst many more.

The relief would not be available for financial services (e.g. banks, building societies and betting shops etc.), medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors etc.), professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, financial advisors etc.), Post Office sorting office and other services (e.g. estate agents, letting agents and employment agencies).
The council will award the discount automatically to the businesses that qualify in the vast majority of cases.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Update on the Royal Victoria Pavilion, Ramsgate

The Council continues to process the proposals submitted by private investors in connection with the Royal Victoria Pavillion in Ramsgate.

Expert opinion on the proposals has been received by Council  and this information will be considered at the next Cabinet Meeting on Thursday 3 April.

Cabinet will be required to make a decision on whether to take the proposals forward to the next stage and continue lease negotiations, which would be carefully negotiated to ensure that the incoming tenant will comply with all necessary listed building consents and obtain a satisfactory premises licence. 

Other considerations that need to be satisfied are the grant of satisfactory planning consent and change of use for the property.

The alternative option is to refuse to progress the proposals in which case the building will remain leased to Rank for them to continue marketing the property.

LETTER TO Cllr Paul Carter

LETTER TO Cllr Paul Carter

Date: Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 3:15 PM
To: Paul Carter <>

Dear Mr Carter,

As Conservative  leader of KCC, I feel that you should know of the alleged  threatening behaviour of one of your Group Leaders ,Kent Count Councillor Roger Latchford .

Enclosed is a copy of an e-mail from a former Independent member of Thanet District Council Standards Committee,
namely Jo Pearman, originally sent to Robin Hills the former Chairman of that Committee who passed it on to TDC
Monitoring Officer Harvey Patterson.

Considering the position Cllr Latchford holds in your Council  I do wonder what action you may consider from the information supplied?

I am certain that that you do not endorse alleged threatening behaviour. 

Awaiting your response,
I remain,
Yours sincerely,

Cllr John Worrow
Lead member for Equalities TDC

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Council suggests Enterprise Zone extension to cover airport

The council has suggested exploring the extension of the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone to cover Manston Airport as well as the Manston Business Park and Richborough Corridor.
Leader of Thanet District Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development Cllr Clive Hart has today (Thursday 20 March) submitted an emergency motion to crucial regional meetings concerning exploring the extension of the enterprise zone. This will be discussed at the Kent Leader’s meeting this afternoon and at Thanet Regeneration Board tomorrow.
Cllr Hart said, ‘I’ve put forward this emergency motion so that we explore the possibility of extending the Enterprise Zone from Discovery Park at Richborough. I’m suggesting discussing extending this to cover the Richborough corridor, which is a former power station site, Manston Business Park and Manston Airport itself. The council has been clear that it has supported the airport and this could help us find the best opportunity to either save the airport in its current form or find the best possible future for the site, whichever scenario plays out.’
This comes after the operators of Manston Airport confirmed that they have commenced a process of consultation over the possible closure of the airport. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Manston Airport Closure

Any change at Manston must create sustainable jobs say Greens
Reacting to news that a consultation has begun on the closure of Manston Airport, Green Party Parliamentary Candidates for Thanet North and South Ed Targett and Ian Driver have said that any change of use must drive sustainable jobs for the area.
Thanet Green Party has been calling for years for alternative uses for Manston Airport to be considered with some urgency, being aware that a business haemorrhaging millions was unlikely to survive much longer.
 News that a consultation has begun on its possible closure is of little surprise to any close observer. As we said in 2012, news of new flights to Schiphol was no guarantee that the business would succeed and that the delight of Sir Roger Gale MP and Kent County Council at the deal should be put into perspective.
 Thanet North Green prospective parliamentary candidate Ed Targett said: "It is not nice to see jobs at risk. Even two years ago Manston owners Infratil were already looking at a change of use however in the hope that it would be easier to sell and the business has been on deeply shaky ground. We have long proposed that alternative uses be looked at for Manston, particularly for the possibility of it being converted to a major leisure facility, precisely to create employment and bring in visitors."
 "Those plans were derided as “pie in the sky” by Roger Gale, who asked: “Where would the money come from?”  Perhaps if he and others had not been so single-mindedly fixated on throwing public money at the airport in the hope it would prove to be the economic saviour of East Kent they could have considered the Green Party's suggestions. Meanwhile Gravesend won a £2 billion deal for a major leisure centre anticipated to create 27,000 jobs.
 “What now appears most likely” said  Green Councillor  and prospective parliamentary candidate  for  Thanet South, Ian Driver,  is yet another sprawling housing development  unaffordable for most local residents, with no long-term jobs created. We deeply oppose this prospect. Any Manston development should be aimed at creating jobs, boosting the region’s potential to attract visitors, pragmatic and forward-thinking."
 The coalition government as well as our local councils seem to have no notion of economic regeneration beyond building houses an anything in sight, from prime agricultural land to airports. The Green Party is the only party that has consistently challenged this, spotted the likely closure of the airport and looked at ambitious alternatives that could drive regeneration, bring investment and create sorely needed employment. We will continue to do so. If Manston closes, anything on the site should benefit the whole area, create sustainable local jobs and not just profits for property developers.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Press release: Art critic and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon to present at the 2014 Turner lecture



Press release
Art critic and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon to present at the 2014 Turner lecture

Annual Turner Lecture and dinner
Thursday 24 April 2014, 6pm
Turner Contemporary

Andrew Graham-Dixon is one of the world’s leading art critics and is the broadcaster of numerous landmark series on art for the BBC, including the acclaimed A History of British ArtRenaissance and Art of Eternity and is a regular presenter on the Culture Show.  Andrew will share his extensive knowledge of the visual arts in a lecture at Turner Contemporary as part of the 2014 ‘Annual Turner Lecture and Dinner’. The fundraising event, supported by media partner KM Group, takes place on Thursday 24 April 2014 at Turner Contemporary.

Andrew Graham-Dixon states:
“I am delighted to be speaking at Turner Contemporary as part of this year’s Turner Lecture and Dinner. The evening event is a wonderful initiative to raise vital funds for the gallery. It is critical that we support leading arts organisations such as Turner Contemporary to continue their work and sustain the long term future of the arts in the UK.”

The evening begins with a drinks reception at 6pm in Turner Contemporary’s Sunley Gallery beneath the striking new commission, 'Atmosphere' (2014), by renowned ceramic artist and author Edmund de Waal. The reception is followed by Andrew Graham-Dixon’s lecture and finally a three course dinner served overlooking ‘the loveliest skies in all Europe’ with a spring inspired menu.

The annual dinner will raise funds for Turner Contemporary’s future exhibitions, learning and community outreach programmes. To date, approximately 45,000 visitors have come through Turner Contemporary’s schools, family and community programmes. Turner Contemporary’s learning programme is changing the way people experience art, using practical philosophy to make art accessible and inspiring to the next generation. The gallery’s community projects such as the Blank Canvas intergenerational group and the Youth Navigator programme are having a real impact on individual lives, changing aspirations and providing useful skills for future employment.  Since opening on 16 April 2011, over one million people have visited Turner Contemporary.

For tickets to this year’s Turner Lecture and Dinner please book online or email  Bookings made before 31 March 2014 will take advantage of our special ticket price £85 per person (full price £100) and £600 per table of 8 (full price £700).

This Annual Turner Lecture and Dinner 2014 is supported by KM Group
Image credits:

Turner Lecture and Dinner. Photo Ady Kerry
Andrew Graham-Dixon

Turner Contemporary
Kent CT9 1HGTel: +44 (0) 1843 233 000Fax: +44 (0)1843 233029

Friday, 14 March 2014

Complaint to the Police

Today I have submitted a complaint to the Serious Economic Crime Unit of the Kent and Essex Police regarding possible misconduct in public office by a senior Thanet Council officer in relation to a planning application submitted by East Kent Opportunities LLP for development of 550 houses on land adjacent to the New Haine Road.

Councillor Ian Driver, Green Party.

Peer Review of Thanet District Council

Thanet District Council has taken part in a voluntary Peer Review this week (11 – 13 March) as part of its commitment to improve.
A team of peers from other local authorities and the Local Government Association were invited by the council to review how it operates and to provide suggestions for ways to improve.
As part of the review there was a particular focus on Economic Development and the council’s customer services approach, as these are priority areas for the council.
More than 100 Councillors, council staff and external stakeholders, which included community groups, private companies, partner organisations and local press, took part in focus group sessions with the review team.
The council received a verbal summary of the initial findings at a short presentation today (Thursday 13 March) and will receive a detailed report from the review team within the next month. The report will be published on the council’s website.
Council Leader, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “We welcome the initial findings of the review which highlight that the council is heading in the right direction, with improvement achieved in a number of areas.
 “We recognise that there is more improvement to be made and will be actively responding to the feedback we receive.
“I would like to thank the Peer Review Team for their time this week and for their insight and suggestions and to everyone who contributed to this process".
The Peer Review team for Thanet included:
  • Pete Rentell, Programme Manager – Local Government Support,  LGA
  • Matt Nicholls, Head of News and Internal Comms, LGA
  • Cllr Helen Holland, Leader of the Labour Group, Bristol City Council
  • Cllr Terry Hone, Deputy Leader and Finance Portfolio Holder, North Herts District Council and Deputy Executive Member for Resources and Economic Wellbeing at Herts County Council
  • Andrew Muter, Chief Executive, Newark and Sherwood District Council
  • Graham Cook, Deputy Chief Executive, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
Since 2011, nearly a third of local authorities (105) have undergone a Peer Review. This is expected to rise to more than 180 councils by the end of 2014.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Egg-Stravaganza for Easter in Ramsgate

Over this Easter holiday, there will be plenty of activity to enjoy in Ramsgate. There’s the LOOPING THE LOOP festival of contemporary live art – it’s live, local and yours for the taking – with performances involving breakdance, a beauty queen and her bassett hound and baseball as well as street theatre. The monthly HANDMADE FAIR is on Easter Saturday 19 April and shops around town are joining together to have an Independent Easter with Indie Retail.

From 5 – 19 April there will be an Egg-Stravaganza Easter egg hunt around the town’s shops, cafés and restaurants. A family-friendly fun day of entertainment and the very important prize-giving of donated eggs will be on Saturday 19 April in Charlotte and Albert Courts, off York Street in the centre of town. As a charming area surrounded by cafes, restaurant, micro-pub and shops, it’s a great place to while away Easter Saturday! There’s also an Easter Bonnet competition open for anyone of any age to enter. It’s all traditional fun and entertainment, playing to what Ramsgate does so well, providing an honest, friendly seaside experience, with good value and good heart.

Any shops wanting to take part will be given posters and the materials for the hunt. We’d love to hear from anyone willing to donate eggs as prizes! We’d also welcome performers who’d like to take part on 19 April. For all details, please contact or call Suzy, the Town Promoter, on 07939 542990.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Green Party Condemns Resumption of Live Animal Exports from Ramsgate

Green Party Councillor and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate  for Thanet South, Ian Driver,  will be joining Thanet  animal welfare campaigners at a demonstration tomorrow (Monday 10 March)  to oppose the resumption of live animal exports from the Port of Ramsgate.
Demonstrators will be gathering at the port from about 8.15am. The export ferry is expected to berth at the port at 9am.
The resumption of the exports follows a 2 week  trial at Dover Magistrates Court a month ago at which export company Channel Livestock Ltd and its owner Thomas Lomas were fined £9,000 and forced to pay  costs of £10,000. for  breaches of animal welfare law. Lomas was also sentenced to 6 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years for breaches of animal welfare rules (1).
The convictions resulted from a prosecution by Kent County Council trading Standards following the  destruction of 47 sheep at Ramsgate in 2012. It was decided by the court that many of the destroyed  animals had sustained injuries during the course of their transportation to Ramsgate.
Said Driver “I appalled that convicted criminals, with a record of animal cruelty offences, are able to continue to ply their vile and barbaric trade from Ramsgate. In view of court findings about injuries sustained by  sheep during  transport to Ramsgate I will be writing to George Eustice MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Farming, to ask that on arrival at the port of departure, all farm animals destined for export are individually checked to ensure that they have not sustained injuries during transport  and that they are fit to continue their journey. I will also be asking that such inspections are supervised by a qualified Vet. Currently portside  checks are made by unqualified staff employed by DEFRA Animal Health. Only 30% of animal transport vehicles are subject to the most rudimentary of insepctions”.
The owners of Ramsgate Port,  Thanet District Council,  were recently judged in the High Court  to have breached European Law (2) by banning the live animal exporters from using its facilities following the destruction of the 47 sheep in 2012. It is likely that the Council will have to pay compensation and costs approaching £1million for its ethically-motivated actions.
Said Driver “there is clearly a massive legal conflict between animal welfare law and EU trade regulations which mean that organisations such as Thanet Council are prevented from using discretion to halt animal cruelty  by the threat of  massive compensation claims from the exporters. I will be asking  Green MEP Keith Taylor to raise this issue in the European Parliament in order to develop a protocol will enable port owners to ban or suspend live animal exports from their facilities  when animal welfare breaches are found to have happened, or at ports which do not have the proper facilities to manage animal welfare emergencies . I am sickened by the spectacle of convicted animal welfare criminals  being  able to profit from this legal loophole”

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Reading time for Margate Task Force

Officers from Margate Task Force have this week gone out into the community to read with local school children ahead of World Book Day (6 March 2014).
The pupils from Cliftonville primary school were joined by Firefighter and Watch Manager Andrew Bigginton and Police Constable Scott Wilson for National Book Day. Andrew and Scott encouraged pupils with their reading and listened to individuals read aloud before answering questions about their jobs.
Margate Task Force brings together 14 different agencies and organisations that are co-located within the Thanet District Council Offices. This includes Thanet District Council, Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Thanet Community Networks, Kent County Council and Job Centre Plus.
The team work jointly to transform public services and improve efficiency. They collectively aim to reduce crime and ASB, improve housing conditions, improve access to work and skills and reduce health inequalities.
The team actively integrates themselves within their local community, and is always looking for opportunities to extend their support to residents - of all ages. They aim to ensure that those living and studying in Margate are aware of the work that is being carried out by the Task Force, and that local people can recognise local officers and have a positive rapport with them.
Cabinet Member for the Margate Task Force Cllr Iris Johnston says, ‘Anything which strengthens relationships between the Task Force and younger members of the community is fantastic. The Margate Task Force exists to collectively improve Margate and Cliftonville and any scheme which encourages young residents to engage with the team and understand their roles can only be beneficial in working towards this.’
Assistant Head Teacher of Cliftonville Primary School Louise Wilson said, ‘The officers were really enthusiastic and the children absolutely loved the experience. This kind of interaction where pupils familiarise themselves with key figures in the community and their roles in an informal setting is really beneficial for both their development and their understanding of the world around them. We hope this is just the beginning of future work with the Margate Task Force on this type of project.’
To get in touch with the Margate Task Force, or for more information call 01843 577536 or  For the latest updates residents can follow the team on Twitter @MTFThanet

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Labour denies effective help to St Peter’s residents

The Labour Party have voted down requests for help from the residents of St Peter’s in their ongoing battle against the unchecked spread of HMO's across their area. Instead, Labour chose to rely on an interim measure, with a range of only 100 yards, to combat the spread of HMO's across many parts of the village.

Communities Shadow Cabinet Member Cllr Chris Wells stated:  it was the previous Conservative administration which brought in an Article 4 direction to control just these elements that disrupt people's lives and peace of mind. It is not being used effectively; not being applied thoroughly; and residents of the area are truly angry at the laissez faire attitude of the current Labour Cabinet. The powers are there, and can be added to, as has been done by other, more listening councils across the country. Once again, the arrogance of the Labour Cabinet assures they ignore residents’ wishes."

Monday, 3 March 2014

Speak up for local governance in Margate

All residents of Thanet are being asked to give the council their views on local governance in Margate.
A Community Governance Review exploring options for the future local governance of Margate has been launched by Thanet District Council today (Monday 3 March).

The review consultation, which will run until Monday 2 June, is open to residents, businesses and stakeholders and provides an opportunity for local community groups to submit their views on how they might like to represent Margate in the future. The outcome of the review will play a role in helping to shape local services, and deal with the issues that matter most to the Margate community.
The review will take place in three stages. This consultation is stage one of the review. Stage two will see responses considered by the council’s Boundary and Electoral Arrangements Working Party and draft recommendations made. Stage three will involve a public consultation on the draft recommendations and final recommendations made to Full Council on 4 December 2014.
A public meeting to discuss the different options will be held in the Council Chamber at the Thanet District Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate at 5pm on 25 March 2014. If you would like to attend please contact or call 01843 577500 by Monday 17 March.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Chair of the Boundary and Electoral Arrangements Working Party Cllr. David Green said: “The Localism Bill has opened up the discussion on the future of local government, which could see the creation of local community groups, as well as Parish/Town councils, to help to deliver more focused services. This review is an opportunity for all of Thanet to enter the debate and help create a vision for the area’s future governance. I would urge all Margate residents and groups to take part and look forward to the outcome of the review.”

Visit for more information about the Community Governance Review for Margate and to take part in the consultation. 

Forgotten streets in Cliftonville fear bulldozers

The Labour administration at Thanet Council rejected calls to promote a conservation area across Cliftonville at last Thursday’s council meeting. Instead, having done nothing with appraisals that were completed in 2011, they voted to roll out conservation slowly, over a smaller area, section by section, signalling to developers where and when they are safe to demolish.

Cllr Julie Marson, Shadow Cabinet Member for Planning, commented:  "facing the embarrassment of having publicly to admit their laziness in dealing with the issue of conservation in Cliftonville, the humiliation of being booed in public meetings by frustrated residents, and the strength of the movement started by Laura Sandys MP last summer, the Labour Cabinet had nowhere to turn. So they did the cynical thing: rejected cross party working, reinvented a less effective form of conservation than they were asked for, and claimed it was their intention to do this all along."

Tweeters in the chamber and angry residents outside could not understand the lack of real action from the Cabinet, and immediately feared for the impact on the streets of Cliftonville abandoned by the Labour Party.

Kent Greens Call for Abolition of KCC

The Green Party is calling for the abolition of Kent County Council and its replacement by  six unitary councils based on the following groupings
·        Thanet and  Dover (population 245,500)
·        Canterbury and Swale (population 287,000)
·        Shepway and Ashford (population 226,000)
·        Maidstone Tonbridge and  Malling (population 289,000)
·        Dartford and Gravesham (population 199,000)
·        Sevenoaks, and Tunbridge Wells (population 230,000)

Existing Medway unitary council with a population 264,000 will remain unchanged.

The new unitary authorities  would provide education, social care, highways, planning, housing, refuse collection and many other services to populations of between 200,000 – 300,000 people.
Chair of Kent Green Party and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald, Stuart Jeffrey said “the existing county council is too large and unwieldy. It lacks any real connection and accountability to the people it serves. Local government should, by definition, be based as close to its electors as possible, rather than being inaccessible to most of Kent’s residents.
Smaller unitary councils will bring together areas  of  Kent which are already closely  connected and share many common issues. They will also bring together residents, staff and politicians with an expert understanding of the areas covered by the new councils. This would place them in a stronger  position to develop  more effective policies and strategies than the current Maidstone based system”.
Green Party Thanet District Councillor Ian Driver said, “In  East Kent many of the District Councils are already working closely together. They have  successfully  shared Housing, Human Resources, IT,  Revenues, Benefits and  Audit services for several years, so why not include KCC services as well?
I believe that the new unitary councils should be elected by proportional representation so that smaller parties and independent candidates can  be represented giving a more balanced and inclusive approach to decision making. The new councils should be managed by committee systems to prevent power being concentrated into the hands of a tiny handful of cabinet members and they should be underpinned and supported by a strong system of parish and town councils which will ensure community accountability”.

The establishment of unitary authorities will form part of the Kent Green Party’s manifesto for the 2015 council elections.

Promoted by Stuart Jeffery for Kent Green Party, 82 Buckland Road, Maidstone ME16 0SD

Sunday, 2 March 2014


Cllr Michelle Fenner (TDC Cabinet Member).

Judgement regarding the live animal exports from Ramsgate Port.

The Judge ruled that:

- the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA, which is a Government Agency, part of DEFRA) has the total authority regarding transport of live animals

- even though we are the port owners, we cannot intervene in what goes on within the transit in Ramsgate port.

The terrible events at the port in September 2012 showed clearly that it was AHVLA who took the decision to unload animals (very conveniently) in our port and not to take them to a so called nearby lairage facility.
The consequences of this unloading were that it caused havoc in OUR port and potentially putOUR staff safety at risk.
Then collectively as the TDC administration we decided to impose a temporary suspension of this trade whilst we sought re-assurances about the transport of animals from DEFRA.
We are now told by the Judge that in spite of these terrible incidents we should not have imposed this temporary ban and that we will have to compensate the unscrupulous transporters who, a few weeks ago, were convicted for cruelty to animals.

We are not just disappointed by this judgment, we are outraged: we are the port owners, we did not choose to have live animal exports going through our port, we did not cause the incidents of September 2012, we did not create this situation, and yet we are made to pick up the tab for the actions, the wrong decisions and the incompetence of Government Agencies.

We are looking into options for appeal against this unjust judgement.
We will also put the case to the local MP who has publicly agreed that the port does not have the correct facilities and has claimed how she is also opposed to this vile trade. Now is the time for her to take action and get some results from Central Government.
Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office, 44 Northdown Road, Margate, Kent CT9 2RW.