Thursday, 28 February 2013


TDC 28/02/2013

Cllr Clive Hart

Thank you Chairman.

Due to the recent budget meeting, this is my first opportunity to report to full council since I gave the long summary report on our actions during the first year of this administration back in December. I know Cllr Bayford complimented me on my ‘machine-gun’ delivery following that last report and I’m pleased inform him that the momentum we have built up continues apace in 2013.

The new priority ten of our Corporate Plan at TDC says 'We will influence the work of other agencies to ensure the best outcomes for Thanet' and we are doing just that!


With my Cabinet colleague Cllr Iris Johnston and Director Madeline Homer, I recently visited our neighbouring colleagues at Dover District Council to listen to their experiences regarding their pilot ‘Health and Wellbeing Board’. 

Health and Wellbeing boards are a forum where key leaders from the health and care system work together to improve the health and wellbeing of their local population and reduce health inequalities.

KCC will have its own health and wellbeing board. Board members will collaborate to understand Kent’s needs, agree priorities and encourage commissioners to work in a more joined up way.

We are working closely with KCC to establish a Thanet Health and Wellbeing Board which will give us the opportunity to exert local influence through commissioning decisions. It will strengthen democratic legitimacy by involving local democratically elected representatives and representatives from the local community. The board will also provide a forum for challenge, discussion, and better involvement of local people here in Thanet.

The Thanet board will include a wide range of perspectives and expertise but membership is not the only way to engage with the work of the board, all boards regardless of their political or geographic make-up will be expected to ensure that the needs of local people as a whole are taken into account.

We will work with the new Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a shared understanding of the health and wellbeing needs of our community. Incidentally, the Thanet CCG is currently locating its new offices here inside our own council building. When we add the multi-agency Task Force already located within these offices we are truly meeting the aims of priority ten of our corporate plan and influencing the work of other agencies to ensure the best outcomes for Thanet.

Cllr Johnston and TDC officers are currently working towards a Thanet Health and Wellbeing Board and KCC also have some preliminary work to do, but our joint aim is to meet in shadow form at least during April.  


Yet again, working closely with Cllr Johnston and our colleagues in Public Health, I’ve also had the privilege of meeting with community development colleagues from the West Country, here in Thanet.

Cornwall to Thanet is a very long and difficult journey but I’m pleased to say that a very inspirational group of individuals are now making that journey on a regular basis for the benefit of two of Thanet’s most deserving wards.

Over a period of 5 years (1995 – 2000), an amazing transformation took place on the Beacon and Old Hill estates in Falmouth, Cornwall. That early transformational work has been built on and sustained to the present day by strong local leadership, hard work and a growing sense of community spirit and pride.

One of the most deprived areas in Britain, the estate was blighted by violent crime, drug dealing and intimidation. The process of resident-led transformation stands as one of the most extraordinary examples of neighbourhood regeneration in the whole of the UK. Perhaps most strikingly, this process of regeneration has led to a series of notable health outcomes.

I’m therefore pleased to report that the C2 Connecting Communities programme is currently being rolled out in the Newington and Cliftonville West wards.

I’m also delighted to report that our own TDC Cabinet member Cllr Iris Johnston is keeping a close watching brief on the project and that the ward councillors for Newington and Cliftonville West are also core members of the steering groups in each of their respective wards.

The project will connect communities in three ways:

Within themselves – networks and cooperation amongst local residents.

With local service providers and public agencies – building a parallel community of interest amongst the front-line workers.

With other communities – getting and giving inspiration directly from one place to another.

This is ‘bottom-up’ community development of the very best kind, using local residents and key stakeholders as the drivers and not - as has far too often been the case – communities being told what’s good for them.


Our TDC Cabinet met in this chamber with Thanet KCC members and KCC Cabinet Member Mike Whiting recently to discuss future education provision across Thanet.

Now I know that’s a little confusing because that’s exactly the configuration of TDC and KCC councillors I suggested meet as a Locality Board for Thanet but our Tory County members wouldn’t meet with us under that banner. They were however content to meet on exactly that basis as long as we didn’t call it a Locality Board – as they do in ten other districts across Kent.

However, despite our Tory county member’s ridiculous, pointless and time wasting behaviour, I have agreed with Mike Whiting to form a small committee in order to give Thanet’s perspective on this very serious matter. Cllr David Green will Chair the committee as it is linked to our own Local Development Plan and his TDC Cabinet portfolio.

Incidentally, I understand that at the recent KCC budget meeting the Liberal Group Leader Trudy Dean exposed the fact that there are two Locality Board Chairmen who have been paid allowances for almost a year despite failing to form a Locality Board with district council’s in their areas. Shockingly, in these times of austerity and cuts to services, I fear one of those Chairmen is a Thanet Tory.  


The colourful and dynamic 'Grow For It East Kent' promotional publicity campaign continues to gain momentum – this week through an event at the stock exchange. This project is designed to raise the profile of our beautiful and diverse geographical area and encourage inward investment into our often neglected corner of Kent.


On a more practical note, during February our TDC Cabinet members and senior management team met with Cabinet members and the leading officers of our neighbouring district authorities here in East Kent and KCC representatives to discuss a new East Kent Strategy for Growth. At Kent County Cricket Club on 14th February we agreed a final strategy that provides a joined-up and cooperative opportunity to deliver project priorities across East Kent.

We all know East Kent is an area with real growth potential, and is now attracting an increasing level of investment and national and international interest. Thanet is a key partner in this and our aspirations are wide ranging.

The Old Town in Margate is at last thriving, the Turner Contemporary continues to attract visitors in good numbers and the new sea defences are looking good. Historic Ramsgate’s Marina is over-subscribed and the Port has been chosen as the maintenance base for state of the art offshore windfarm services. Broadstairs, our villages and our beautiful coastline are further key factors in our tourism offer here in Thanet.

However, there is still lots to do and we must not become complacent. Ramsgate Port Marina and Waterfront will continue to require investment to meet its full potential. We must persist with the relentless projects and schemes to regenerate Margate and Cliftonville. In central Thanet, Manston Business Park and the Eurokent sites have large areas of land still available for development and we will need to understand exactly what the future holds for Manston Airport following its sale. 

The strategy we agreed in Canterbury is a tremendous opportunity for East Kent. It reflects and builds on how the districts are working with each other, and with KCC, to provide a joined-up approach. This structured cooperation will help to attract large scale investment and we need to make sure Thanet gets its fair share.


We are also working closely with our East Kent neighbours and KCC on a joint bid for City of Culture status.

Apparently the rules now allow for towns within close proximity to come together and make such a bid. Although this proposed project at a very early stage, I am very impressed by the combined sense of pride in our corner of Kent that in the recent past has at times been somewhat neglected and overlooked.


In summary Chairman, our Labour administration is actively using our new priority ten from our new corporate plan to influence the work of other agencies to ensure the best outcomes for Thanet.

From education, health and wellbeing across our district to community development in our most needy areas we are actively pursuing best practice for the benefit of local residents.

From the promotion of Thanet at every given opportunity and at every possible level through to very practical steps to improve our local infrastructure and capture inward investment we are actively working to make sure Thanet is out in front.

Through hard times and austerity we are doing our core business day in, day out, but if and when this recession ever ends we will have a district here in Thanet that is ready to grasp every possible opportunity!

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