Sunday, 22 December 2013



Cllr Clive Hart

Thanet District Council Leader.

It's Christmas and looking back over the year, there are a lot of people to thank for keeping our district going through what have been very difficult times indeed.

I have to start by thanking Thanet's residents - every one of you. In 2013 government led austerity started to bite 'big time' for local people. The response from our residents has been second to none and I am very proud indeed to represent such a strong and resilient local population. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all our residents involved in the recently introduced Thanet waste and refuse recycling scheme. Your patience, help and understanding has helped TDC to increase our recycling rates from 23% to almost 50% in just the first few weeks.

I also wish to thank our TDC staff who work tirelessley day in - day out, often behind the scenes, delivering a wide range of services and schemes that support local residents. They often work under enormous pressure and I cannot thank them enough for their sterling efforts in times when we in local government are being so unfairly 'squeezed' by the current coalition government.  

Newcomers regularly comment on the huge number of resident and community groups we have here in Thanet and it really has been a pleasure to work with so many, on a wide range of projects and schemes across the island in 2013. These organisations are the backbone of the district and are increasingly becoming some of the council's key partners.

Local businesses are also clearly key partners and forging even closer links with them has been a priority for us this year. The Chairman and I started a rolling programme of business visits during 2013 that will continue next year, we now have a memorandum of understanding with the Thanet and East Kent Chamber and we are developing similarly close working relationships with the Federation of Small Business.

I can't begin to cover everyone we work with at TDC but I do finally have to give a special word of thanks to our local emergency services. I've had to call on their assistance for both council, personal and domestic reasons during 2013 and their help and support has been absolutely priceless.

Merry Christmas - it's onwards and upwards for 2014!

Cllr Clive Hart - TDC Leader.

Sunday, 8 December 2013


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 district. A pot of £2 million is significant and we hope to see lots of creative individuals and budding entrepreneurs at our launch next week.”
SUCCESS will run to December 2014.


Friday, 6 December 2013


Cllr Clive Hart - TDC Leader

On the second anniversary of the Labour administration at TDC:


The past year:

The lives of many thousands of people are touched each and every day by the work of our district council and there are many special and very distinct services the council provides such as licensing and planning.

However, as a council we go way further in supporting local residents here in Thanet.

·   Firstly, we’ve had no council tax increase in 2012 and 2013, despite grant reduction.

·   We’ve implemented measures to reduce impact of reduction of council tax benefits. We’ve kept council tax reduction scheme charge to residents down to 5.5 per cent – the lowest in Kent.

·   We’ve initiated a "Clear and Clean" cleansing approach for high profile, high density areas.

·   We’ve developed and implemented the Respect Ramsgate approach to town centre cleaning.

·   We’ve implemented the new recycling and waste service across the district on target and within budget. We’ve increased our recycling rate here in Thanet to nearly 50% after first two weeks of the new service.

·   We’ve refurbished the Crematorium including the replacement of all the cremator equipment ensuring we exceeded national and European standards on controlling emissions. The project reduced energy consumption and costs in order to assist paying back for the investment. The Crematorium project saved £170K on budgeted costs.

·   We’ve refurbished the historical arches in Military Road in Ramsgate bringing an additional 12 units back into use with extra income starting to pay back for the cost of the works. Half of the cost of the works funded through a European project.

·   Last week I was very pleased to sign the option document for the Project Motorhouse proposals to bring the old Motor Museum building in Ramsgate back into beneficial use.

·   Albion House in Ramsgate sold to allow investment to bring site back into beneficial use.

·   Solar panel installations have been installed on council buildings to save energy and generate feed in tariffs to support costs.

·   We’ve had an increase of 28% in parking notices over the last two years served on improperly parked cars. Improved enforcement strongly supported in parking consultation.

·   The Margate Flood and Coast Protection Scheme was completed as planned by the council in April 2013 at a cost of £5.4m all funded by the Environment Agency.
Works included refurbishing the tidal Pool and heritage railings on Margate sea front. These ‘extras’ were all made possible by council saving over £1 million on main scheme for Environment Agency.
The flood scheme won the Community Award at the Institution of Civil Engineers at the Engineering Excellence Award in June 2013 and will be tested over the next few hours by mother nature herself. A tidal surge due any hour.

·   The Pegwell Bay Flood Defence Scheme was completed in April 2013 at a cost of £190k by the council with funding from the Environment Agency.

·   The St Mildred's Bay Flood Defence Maintenance was completed in November 2013 at a cost of £45k by the council with funding from the Environment Agency.

·   A new Port Control Radar Tower is underway and to be completed and commissioned by early December 2013. The scheme is completely privately financed and includes cutting edge R&D radar, CCTV and data logger system. The council will have full access to the radar system and CCTV which will become ours after a maximum of 7 years. The tower was designed by TDC Engineering and Technical Services generating external income for the service.

·   European funding has been secured for port diversification study, including exploring the feasibility of an alongside quay. We met with design engineers from across Europe only this morning.

·   We’ve developed a long-term relationship with wind farm businesses in relation to Ramsgate being the main operational maintenance base for the London and Thanet Arrays.

·   There has been significant maintenance investment in port facilities in Ramsgate to ensure these meet modern requirements and can accommodate a wider range of vessels.

·   We undertook significant lobbying of government to introduce stricter controls over animal movements.

·   We’ve agreed and are implementing a new Equalities policy and action plan.

·   We’ve implemented a new protocol on unlawful encampments by travellers.

·   We’ve introduced a new scrap metal licence to reduce metal thefts.

·   We’ve also introduced a new licensing scheme for rent cars.

·   We’ve amended procedures for street collections - charities collecting money.

·   We’ve increased voter registration.

·   We’ve introduced free parking in each main town on Saturdays.

·   We’ve established a new airport Cabinet Advisory Group – very timely.

·   We commissioned a report on probity and reputation and led to review of policies and processes here at TDC.

·   We’ve won a series of legal cases in relation to Dreamland and we vested the site.

·   We’ve installed a new council telephone system.

·   We’ve created a new TDC website.

·   We’ve installed a new microphone system here in the council chamber.

·   We’ve taken measures to mitigate the very worst effects of the nasty bedroom tax and we’re also lobbying Government.

·   We’ve created jobs at Manston assisting their designation as a port of entry.

·   We’ve implemented food hygiene inspections in spite of shortage of staff for the DPE above.

·   We’ve had a very useful visit to Boulogne to make links for the future.

·   We’ve taken a tough stance on non-repayment of grants and involved the Police.

·   We’ve adopted an Air Quality Management Plan.

·   We’ve taken a leading role in setting up and encouraging micro-chipping for dogs.

·   Since the beginning of 2013 our Community Development team have been leading 25 voluntary groups on the BIG Lottery ‘Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better’ programme. If successful this project will bring £2-6M of Lottery funding into Thanet to improve the lives of those over the age of 55. Whopee – that’s me too!

·   The FITS project has delivered water safety lectures to thousands of young people across the district and is providing coastal education to numerous families that wouldn’t normally access these opportunities.

·   Through Sport and Leisure the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust project phase 1 recruited 35 young people on unemployment benefits, 80% completed the 12 week course, 52% went onto employment or further education and 38% increased their physical activity levels.

·   The Community Safety team have resolved 350 cases of ASB in the calendar year.

·   The Margate Masters hosted the National Volleyball England Beach Tour Finals during the August Bank Holiday weekend, which was screened on Sky Sports TV. 

·   The Summer of Sport programme attracted over 1,500 attendances, providing opportunities for young people and families to engage in affordable Sport & Physical activity opportunities.

·   Sport 4 NRG continued to make strides by signing up to the Street Games Doorstep Sports Club scheme, working alongside the national street games charity to deliver doorstep sports activities in some of Thanet's most deprived areas.

·   Thanet Sports Awards 2013, provided another evening of celebration. The event was the biggest ever and attracted over 350 guests at the winter gardens.

·   The Sport & Leisure team have supported local community clubs in the successful Inspired Facility grants which has seen over £178,534.00 of funding being granted; clubs include, Margate Tennis Club, Minster, Cliftonvile and Margate Bowls Club.

·   In Building Control, through the worst recession in the construction industry in many years, the council is continuing to provide a service valued by users. The financial trading position is sound and in the first two years under the new charging regulations the service has achieved a ring fenced surplus for service improvement of £40k.

·   Through our Housing Regeneration team we have served 191 enforcement notices on landlords.

·   1316 complaints about housing conditions have been resolved.

·   Two rogue landlords have been prosecuted for not complying with Improvement Notices. One received the maximum fine of £5,000.

·   We’ve launched a tenant referencing scheme.

·   Selective licensing enforcement has now started following the Judicial Review.

·   We have a new Housing Strategy and a new Allocations Policy.

·   We’ve had a successful bid to the HCA for funding to deliver 15 housing units above empty commercial properties.

·   We’ve had the successful delivery of the Clusters of Empty Homes funding from CLG with the target of 160 units brought back into use being exceeded.

·   We’ve started works on the former Embassy Hotel and completed further works in September that created two beautiful large 4 bedroom council houses.

·   We’ve purchased three former HMOs for conversion into family units under the Margate Housing intervention scheme.

·   We’ve launched a loan scheme for owner-occupiers who buy an empty property in the two wards of Cliftonville West and Margate Central.

·   We’ve purchased 5 properties in Ramsgate under the HCA Empty Homes programme.

·   And120 empty units have been brought back into use.

·   We have begun our consultation on a new Local Plan for Thanet. The Local Plan is a very important document that sets out how we will plan for the future growth in the District over the next 18 years. We carried out public consultation in the Summer including a conference at the Winter Gardens in which we heard the views of key Stakeholders. 

·   The road improvements at Westwood are underway with the commencement of the new housing development. We have also secured further road improvements during the year. These are the proposed link road associated with Sainsbury development between Margate Road and the new Haine Road. We also supported the successful bid by the County Council for "Pinchpoint funding" from Government, for the widening of and improvements to the junctions at either end of Poorhole Lane.

·   We opened the new swimming pool and leisure facility in Ramsgate.

·   I’m delighted to be launching the SUCCESS funding scheme next week - a share of £2m Regional Growth Fund monies will go directly to support the growth of the Creative Sector.

·   We also gave firm support to the successful GEEK 2013 event.

·   We made sure the Port of Ramsgate had a strong presence at the 2013 Boat Show.

·   We’ve developed the Destination Management Plan, working directly with the Tourism Industry. Cabinet has adopted the plan and work is already being planned for our beaches and coastline.

·   Working with business and regeneration partners from across Kent we’ve developed and adopted our Thanet Economic Growth and Regeneration Strategy.

·   The council Chairman and I are carrying out a successful rolling programme of local business visits and we’ve recently had positive meetings here at TDC with Peter Jones – the South East LEP Chairman and the Kent and East Kent Chairmen of the FSB. Ann Gloag has also visited our business suite and Anne Barnes and leading police officers also spent a day with us getting our TDC views.

·   We continue to host the Thanet Regeneration Board and the Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group have now moved into offices here at TDC.

·   We have seats on the Thanet Health and wellbeing Board and I’m pleased to report the board is now gaining momentum and that a Thanet Mental Health Summit is also planned for the new year.

·   We work closely with our neighbouring authorities in East Kent and have developed a very close joint regeneration relationship with Dover District Council.

·   Working with those neighbouring partners our East Kent Growth Strategy was launched in Canterbury earlier this year.

·   Our Visitor Information Service were winners of the Bronze award for 'Visitor Information Provider of the Year' at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2013.

·   Our support for the ‘slipping house’ public art project in Cliftonville has won worldwide acclaim and once more raised Thanet’s cultural profile internationally.

·   We work closely with the Domestic Violence Forum and Oasis and  £40k has been allocated to employ Independent advisors.

·   The Community Safety Plan was signed with the Police and progressed with excellent partnership working. On the12th December at the Winter Gardens next years programme of joint working will be discussed.

·   Among many other excellent local groups, we’ve supported the Dreamland Trust, Ramsgate Tunnels, Margate Caves, Broadstairs with their Shed project, Margate Civic Society with their Timeball Project and the Friends of Ellington Park.

·   We strongly supported Folk Week and our Community Safety and street cleaning staff deserve a very special mention.

·   Numerous neighbourhood engagement meetings have taken place across Thanet.

·   Numerous clean sweeps have taken place across the district.

·   We’re working in the most challenging areas in the district supporting the C2 project in Newington and the ABC project in Cliftonville.

Lastly, I’m delighted to say – TDC has done all this and more as a ‘Living Wage’ employer".