11 YEARS 11 MONTHS - OVER AND OUT


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At midnight tonight I cease being a councillor.

The past twelve years in local politics have been an absolute roller-coaster for me personally.

In 2003 I was elected with close colleagues Linda Aldred and Doug Clark as the very first team of councillors for the new ward of Cliftonville West. I've documented our long-term, joint team work in a previous post on this blog but one of our earliest impacts was forcing the Police and other agencies to accept the extremely serious issues facing Cliftonville way back in 2004.

The 'Thanet Enquiry' report (centre and stamped embargoed in the picture above) clearly refers to our actions as ward councillors in its introduction and the issues we brought to a head back then are sadly still being grappled with today.

A little later I was actually elected as a County Councillor for Margate and Cliftonville Division at KCC and spent 4 years holding its political and officer leadership to account at KCC Cabinet Scrutiny. My county role also led to school governership and then a further five years as Chair of Governors at our wonderful local Laleham Gap Special School.

Working cross-party at County Hall was a real pleasure and I'm particularly proud of my part on two select committees - Home to School Transport (creating the Freedom Bus Pass) and Transition (smoothing the path from childrens services to adult services).

A stint as Shadow Cabinet Member for Education at KCC was an education in itself and with the blessing of my group leader I attended and succesfully graduated from the Improvement and Development Agency Leadership Academy.

At TDC I became Leader of the Opposition, a position I held for two and a half years before becoming the TDC Leader for another two and a half years. Despite the honour and privilage of a local lad (born and bred) becoming the District Leader, I have to say this period was the toughest and most stressful job I've ever had.

I/we took control of the council during a time of austerity and cuts, and during/following a period when several council members had broiught shame on it in different ways.

However, as I detail in the appendix below, despite the nonsense spread by a few, the vast majority of us formed a fully functioning council and operated in extremely challenging conditions to produce good governance, ballanced budgets and with NOT ONE increase in council tax either.

Introducing our corporate plan with a firm commitment to protecting green public open space gave me particular pleasure and indeed my very first post on this new blog back in January this year gave my practical example in opening up the large, formerly fenced off, 'pitch and putt' area at Forenesse for public access and recreation.

Signing the East Kent and Thanet regeneration plan documents were key parts of our partnership working across this wonderful and too often forgotten corner of Kent and I was absolutely delighted when Leaders from all districts, county-wide, backed my quest for Enterprise Zone Status for Manston.

In short, whether in Cliftonville West Ward, Margate and Cliftonville Division, as Leader of the Opposition at TDC or its Leader, I played by the rules and gave each and every role my very best shot!

I simply cannot thank enough, all those who have supported me in so many wonderful ways.

Very best wishes

Clive

APPENDIX - MY TWO AND A HALF YEARS AS LEADER OF TDC:

A fully functioning council despite challenging circumstances .

THE FIRST YEAR – DECEMBER 2011 - 2012

Delivering local services through our balanced budget was important. We received the auditors letter which said TDC 'has a good understanding of its underlying financial position & sound financial systems'. It went on to confirm TDC 'continues to demonstrate effective arrangements for budget & financial management'.

Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the East Kent Chamber of Commerce on behalf of TDC. Underpining our more open and transparent Thanet Regeneration Board and both the board and the EKCC helped us to complete Phase One of our Draft Economic Strategy. All this came of course in the wake of our newly formulated and agreed TDC Corporate Plan.

Thanet’s civic dignitaries signed our Thanet Armed Services Community Covenant. Regular meetings are held with Ramsgate groups. We also made improvements to our TDC resident’s petition scheme earlier this year.

That support for local residents continues with a new council tax discount scheme that thanks to our administration will protect as many people as possible given the impossible and ever-changing financial context imposed by central govt.

The Troubled Families Initiative process is now being planned in partnership with KCC. Our Chief Executive is fully engaged with this process and Thanet is well ahead of other districts in relation to this type of work now that the Margate Task Force is finally and properly co-located in TDC offices providing a multi-agency approach.

We successfully defended the Judicial Review for our Selective Licensing Scheme. I have to say our legal team really have been hard at work for the benefit of our area this past year. They were successful with the first round of our CPO of Dreamland and at every stage they have supported our moves to do the ‘right thing’ with regard to live animal exports. We will continue to take a proactive and progressive role in challenging and addressing problems arising from actions of third parties.

I attended the KLM/Manston announcement in Canterbury and warmly welcomed the proposed services that fall within the existing 106 agreement. We brought the night flying consultation in-house saving tens of thousands of pounds and gave the council’s considered response to night-flying proposals.

The Ramsgate Swimming Pool project was well underway. Plans were agreed earlier in the year and I can the project was on target for completion the following summer.

Works were started on Military Road Arches under the Yacht Valley Interreg project and the Harbour Lights café opened for business. These improvements followed work where the Pier Yard ramp was overhauled and the King George historic section pontoons were all refurbished. The Commercial Quay was also fitted with new steel boarding ladders, new heavy duty fenders and new shore power electrical equipment.

The Margate flood defence scheme funded by Environment Agency was well underway and due for completion early the following year. Being delivered well under budget allowed allocation of Environment Agency funding to other structures related to flood defence in Margate, including refurbishment of the tidal pool.

Phase One of the Newington Development was completed. We accessed £4 million funding for empty homes projects and further funding to help with more properties.

Refurbishment of Pierremont Hall in Broadstairs started. This was particularly pleasing as earlier in the year we saved and protected public open green space in Pierremont Park, as we did in Hartsdown Park, Margate.

A Townscape Heritage Initiative scheme in Dalby Square in Cliftonville commenced and the Ramsgate Townscape Heritage Initiative was completed.

Solar Panels were installed on the main council office building, two public toilet facilities were renovated at Ramsgate Cemetery and Minnis bay and the drainage scheme at Northdown Park and Coach House in Cliftonville should shortly be completed.

The Cremator Manufacturer and Building Contractor were appointed and the crematorium project to replace burners and undertake refurbishment was on target to be completed by Christmas.

Kent Innovation Centre over achieved on income against budget forecast and Forresters Hall, Ramsgate was fully occupied after being almost empty.

We had a successful start to the Respect Ramsgate town centre street cleaning project with excellent feedback from residents and businesses. Numerous cleansweeps took place across the district and the project to deliver the new waste and recycling collection arrangements for the district was on track for completion in autumn 2013.

We accessed just under £1million funding to enable the council to improve the service provided to our 10,000 more difficult to service households in relation to refuse collection.

Thanet Sports Awards event was the biggest to date - due to our community involvement in many sports across the district. Sport for Energy and the Kick Out Racism project are two examples.

Thanet’s Visitor Information Centre was awarded gold for being Tourist Information Service of the Year.

But what a fantastic ‘product’ they had to promote? In addition to our beautiful beaches and growing facilities, we had TDC’s successful organisation of Olympic Torch Relay, the successful introduction of the RNLI lifeguards to our beaches, the successful introduction of new seaweed control measures, the successful introduction of a Hygiene Rating Scheme, the successful opening of the Ramsgate Maritime Museum working with the Steam Museum Trust and we saved the Theatre Royal in Margate from closure.

Just for good measure, we were awarded more blue flags for our beaches than any other area in the country. Footfall in our visitor centre was up on the previous year, tourism internet visits were the highest number ever and numerous public events were supported through our new open and transparent events funding scheme.

Lastly, our towns were also blessed with gorgeous floral displays throughout the summer months and Sundowner; Ramsgate’s famous Dunkirk Little Ship represented the town and our district, taking part in the Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames.

That last small but significant matter sums up in a very visual way, the larger changes to this council went through during our first year in control.

Previously, despite far easier financial circumstances, Sundowner sat miserably deserted, high and dry on the harbour dock opposite a boarded up and neglected Maritime Museum whilst hundreds of other craft re-enacted the historic crossing to France.

Under our administration, despite far more difficult financial circumstances, Sundowner waved goodbye to a rejuvenated Maritime Museum and proudly set sail up the Thames with the finest vessels in the land for our Queen and country!

THE SECOND YEAR – DECEMBER 2012 – 2013

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 went way further in supporting local residents here in Thanet.

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

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

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

· We 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 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.

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

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

· We 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 was 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 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 agreed and implemented a new Equalities policy and action plan.

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

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

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

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

· We increased voter registration.

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

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

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

· We installed a new council telephone system.

· We created a new TDC website.

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

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

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

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

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

· We adopted an Air Quality Management Plan.

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

· Since the beginning of 2013 our Community Development team led 25 voluntary groups on the BIG Lottery ‘Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better’ programme.

· 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 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 again the biggest to date and attracted over 350 guests at the winter gardens.

· The Sport & Leisure team 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 continued to provide a service valued by users. The financial trading position was 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 were resolved.

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

· We launched a tenant referencing scheme.

· Selective licensing enforcement started following the Judicial Review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

· And120 empty units were brought back into use.

· We 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 got underway with the commencement of the new housing development. We also secured further road improvements during the year. These were 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.

· We launched 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 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 developed and adopted our Thanet Economic Growth and Regeneration Strategy.

· The council Chairman and I carried 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.

Anne Barnes and leading police officers also spent a day with us getting our TDC views.

· We continued to host the Thanet Regeneration Board and the Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group moved into offices at TDC.

· We held seats on the Thanet Health and Wellbeing Board.

· We worked 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.

· 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.

· Among many other excellent local groups, we supported were 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 deserved a very special mention.

· Numerous neighbourhood engagement meetings took place across Thanet.

· Numerous clean sweeps have took place across the district.

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

Last but not least – TDC has done all this and more as a ‘Living Wage’ employer".

MY LAST 6 MONTHS AS LEADER - DECEMBER 2014 - MAY 2014:

Several projects were being planned across Thanet, from re-planting of public gardens to the regeneration of empty properties and the creation of more affordable housing.

Working together with the local communities we’re making real headway.

Some of the projects being worked on were:

Ramsgate Harbour.

£2million partnership bid is proposed to be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund this Autumn (2014).

The bid will comprise:

• Capital works to structures

• Conservation Management Plan for the Harbour

• Agreement with English Heritage as to what requires listed building consent

• Funding of post to promote Harbour as a Heritage Destination and an education and engagement programme

East Pier Yard Ramsgate.

Proposal to discuss whether to develop a town square for Ramsgate in this location, with consideration given to the current public parking.

This would involve:

• Developing as town square for Ramsgate

• Relocation of Saturday Market

• Proposal to remove as off street car park

The Dolphin lights.

The Dolphin lights are a key heritage feature of Ramsgate.

Work will be undertaken to undertake repairs and will involve some changes to location of the lights to make the layout more rational.

The Planting of Royal Parade.

The arches opposite the dolphin lights on Royal Parade are to be cleared out and washed, with some replanting and the placing of large seafront pots in some of the alcoves by Ramsgate Town Council.

The Eastern Promenade Gardens.

This will involve:

• Formal planting scheme around the Bandstand

• Friends of Ramsgate Seafront taking on planting bed by Granville Theatre

• Madeira Walk planting to match work at Albion Gardens

• Supporting potential HLF bid by Ramsgate Society on Ramsgate Heritage Promenades

The Centre Redevelopment Ramsgate.

The regeneration of The Centre at Newington is progressing well with 37 new affordable homes delivered and 38 more homes with planning consent due to be delivered by Orbit Housing.

The Council have transferred the Flowing Bowl site to Orbit to complete the regeneration of the area. This final phase of the regeneration should be complete by 2016.

Empty Properties Project in Ramsgate.

The regeneration of empty properties in Ramsgate is underway with three new affordable homes complete and works due to start at 52 Addington street and 59 Grange road providing an additional six new homes.

There are further properties and projects in the pipeline to provide a further 17 affordable homes.

Ramsgate Tunnels.

There are nearly 4 miles of disused tunnels underneath Ramsgate which are the responsibility of Thanet District Council.

A Big Lottery grant of £53k was achieved by Ramsgate Town Council for feasibility work.

Thanet Council is providing £51k of funding to the Ramsgate Regeneration Heritage Trust (RRHT) for safety equipment, services, security and asbestos removal.

The terms of a lease are being finalised for RRHT to operate 'Tunnel Explorer' tours starting this summer.

RHRT have recently secured a further grant from Heritage Lottery Fund for £84k.

The grand opening of the tunnels is programmed for the beginning of June.

Harbour Projects.

Recent negotiation with the lead partner of the LOPINOD Interreg project.

The aim is to develop self-funding investment projects.

Potential projects to be covered by study include:

• Tidal turbines using Smeaton's inner harbour sluices

• Photo panels on port and harbour building

• Micro- wind turbines and Marine heat pumps

King Street Ramsgate.

King Street in Ramsgate has previously benefitted from previous interventions to convert underutlisied/derelict properties into residential use.Discussions are now underway to progress a deliverable vision for the area.

Royal Pavilion.

• Lease negotiations to proceed with JD Wetherspoon.

• Create a high quality restaurant/pub in two thirds of the building.

• The other third will be available for leisure or retail offers.

• But JD Wetherspoon must satisfy the Council lease terms, adhere to listed building requirements and gain planning permission.

• Invest approximately £3 million pounds in the building.

• Create employment – 50/60 jobs in their restaurant.

• The other third will be refurbished to a high standard ready for fit out.

• Once open will draw people into the area.

Likely to stimulate other commercial activity in the vicinity.

Dreamland Margate.

Thanet District Council is progressing with plans to create a world class leisure attraction at the Dreamland site in Margate.

The council, which owns the entire Dreamland site in Margate, plans to develop the whole site for leisure use and has assembled a funding package to bring forward the first stage of Dreamland’s restoration.

As the successful operation of an amusement park requires specialist technical expertise, the council is now looking to progress an open procurement process, to identify a suitable operating company to run the park.

The council is working towards re-opening the first phase of the park in 2015 with a restored Scenic Railway, thrilling historic rides and top quality food and beverage outlets. Further phases would then follow.

The council has a professional project management team on-board to manage the project.

This team of professionals have pulled together detailed cost plans and are working through the costs and risks on a day to day basis. They meet regularly with council officers, and updates on progress will continue to be shared with Councillors.

Broadstairs Play Area.

At Cabinet we agreed to provide approximately £40,000 of funding to help improve the facilities at Memorial Park playground in Broadstairs.

The decision follows a 1,760 strong petition submitted to the council by local residents to undertake major improvements to the Broadstairs play area, and will include relocation of the play area to a more suitable place.

Cabinet agreed to the refurbishment of four play areas across Thanet that were highlighted by ROSPA (Royal Society for the prevention of accidents) as a health and safety risk.

The other four play areas to receive funding cover Margate, Ramsgate and the Villages, so undertaking improvements in Broadstairs also means the council will now be investing in play facilities across the whole district.

Skateparks across the District.

Thanet District Council has committed almost a quarter of a million pounds to develop new skate park facilities across the district.

£220,000 has been set aside to develop three brand new state of the art skate parks in Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate.

The council was very close to awarding the contract and had been involving the local community and groups of young skaters in the plans for some time.

I’m very keen keen to set the record straight following recent coverage of the demolition of the unofficial skate park constructed in Cliftonville.

The council is serious about creating new opportunities for our young people and has listened to the requests for the council to develop more skate parks in Thanet.

Following a petition, we set aside a considerable amount of money to achieve this and have been involving the young skaters directly in the plans.

With hundreds of thousands of pounds committed to developing new state of the art skate facilities right across the district, we believe we now need to move forward more positively in partnership with the local community and celebrate what’s still to come!

Manston.

I proposed an emergency motion on Thursday 20 March to crucial regional meetings concerning exploring the extension of the enterprise zone. This was discussed at the Kent Leader’s meeting and at the Thanet Regeneration Board.

I put forward the emergency motion so that we could explore the possibility of extending the Enterprise Zone from Discovery Park at Richborough. I’ve suggested 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 proposal was well-received and it is reassuring that this has been discussed.

Government is now officially being asked to consider extending the current enterprise zone at Discovery Park in Sandwich to also cover Thanet.

The final draft of the Kent and Medway Growth Deal document, delivered to Government this week, features as a chapter in the South East LEP'S Strategic Economic Plan.

It asks Government to permit Thanet District Council to retain 100% of business rate receipts within the Zone with no impact on their baseline, in order that discounts can be fully funded by receipts above the discount level.

It proposes to allocate £3.5 million in Local Growth Fund finance to support commercial development at Manston and Discovery Park.

It also proposes to support SEFUND investment in commercial and residential development.

The news of the proposal to consult on possible closure of the airport came as a real shock. However, whether or not the site remains as an airport, the proposals to Government in the Kent and Medway Growth Plan for enterprise zone status will give us the very best chance to turn the current situation into a long-term success.

The Shed Project Broadstairs.

Thanet District Council has supported the project by issuing a licence to the Broadstairs Town Team. The agreement has allowed the Shed project to have base to work from and in return they will help TDC by repairing some of the building at Pierremont and thereby reduce the potential costs the Council would have faced had it needed to pay for the repairs. The Shed project has the potential to work on improving projects in the local town and ideas have already included a temporary disabled ramp to the nearby War Memorial for commemorative purposes and discussions possibly to provide a fence to the proposed new play area at nearby Memorial Recreation Ground.

Ellington Park.

This has been the focus of a lot of local enthusiasm and a bid to the Peoples Millions succeeded this last year and TDC has granted a licence for a wildlife garden to be installed which was . This is part of a bigger project that officers have worked on to try and secure a Heritage Lottery Bid that is being considered currently. Work has been undertaken to allow a mobile unit in the park to keep the public updated on progress and also work to install toilets for the events being held on a regular basis in the park.

Other Projects.

We also supported the Maritime Museum through the Steam Museum Trust, Project Motorhouse and Margate Caves Educational Trust who each have some very positive long-term plans.

The SUCCESS Programme

Last but far from least: The South-East Urban Coast Creative Enterprise Support Scheme (SUCCESS) provides grants for new or expanding creative businesses that are creating jobs in the Hastings, Thanet and Tendring local authority areas.

It aims to help creative businesses to grow and flourish, and create new jobs.

I attended a governance meeting in Hastings on Thursday and I’m pleased to report that Thanet projects look to be the first to be successful through SUCCESS”.

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Clive Hart