The Vale Square east garden has been withdrawn from auction by Thanet council.
The site due to go under the hammer on September 13 with Allsop property auctions as part of the council’s asset disposal programme.
Members of the Vale Square Residents Association, who have spent 32 years clearing and maintaining the piece of land, raised a campaign and petition against the sale.
Thanet council has now confirmed that it has entered into negotiations with the residents association to grant a long-term lease on the garden land in the Ramsgate square.
A spokesman said: “The process of preparing the site for sale has identified that the licence existing over the whole site has been in place for many years. As a result Thanet District Council has made the decision that it is in the best interests of all parties to seek to regularise the arrangement by leasing the plot of land to the Association.
“The lease, terms of which have yet to be agreed, will see the resident’s association take on all responsibility and liabilities for the upkeep and maintenance of the garden square. This will relieve Thanet council tax payers of the costs and burdens of looking after this private communal garden. Instead those costs and burdens will be the responsibility of those who gain the actual benefit from the square.”
Jocelyn McCarthy, from the association, said: “It’s great news. I am delighted and want to thank everyone who contributed to the campaign and signed the petition.
Mr McCarthy said the association is currently looking at the draft lease sent to them by Thanet council today.
A petition launched against the sale of the garden gathered more than 1,660 signatures in less than two weeks.
It is a great relief that the Square will not be sold to a private company. But I am a bit concerned that it will be handed over to the excellent local volunteers to maintain at their own expense in terms of money and time. This sounds like another way of hiving off responsibility to the long-suffering public.
We know that, if something must be maintained by statute eg a local park, or library, or GP surgery, there are certain standards and the costs are supposed to be met by public funds. Regardless of our assessment of the quality of the work, we know that it must be done.
But handing over to local volunteers risks what some call ” a crisis of succession”, ie. in a few years time, the volunteers grow older , or move away, and enthusiasm wanes.
Facilities that are maintained by Government or Councils are kept up regardless, by appointed staff who are replaced if they move or retire.
I fear that TDC councillors are going to be pleased to have got rid of another potential expense and will wash their hands if , in the fullness of time, problems arise with maintenance.
But these gardens have no general public access. They are private gardens for the enjoyjent of residents of Vale Square. Therefore it is right that they themselves should maintain them, both physically and financially.
It is fantastic news that the gardens won’t be sold and I signed the petition to protest them being put up for auction. But unless they are opened up for all to enjoy, public money shouldn’t be going towards their upkeep!
I find your post to be really well expressed, Keefogs. It seems residents should really be far more proactive in holding councillors and politicians to account, recognising that they are elected to uphold the ‘good of the public’, rather than waiting for issues to arise and then complaining. Also, are our local councillors a body, rather than individual professionals? Too often, in my opinion, personalities and political point scoring seems to get in the way of real progress.
Strange that TDC are not withdrawing the Hartsdown Manor House from September 10th auction.
If the new owners don’t allow the present situation to continue (as is) over a thousand kids will have no-where to go for schooling, Boxing, Kick-Boxing, Table Tennis, Tae Kwondo etc.etc.,
I am not aware that the Manor House School is included in the sale. Please advise where you get this information.
Manor House School is not included in the sale but part of its access ground, where a adventure play site was planned, is.
With reference to the Vale Square garden site. Sensibility prevails at TDC. This will and must be the same for the Hartsdown Site. TDC chose over the years to let the site deteriorate and squander sufficient funds to keep the whole site in decent repair. Is not sufficient rental income provided in order to maintain the whole site. TDC fix the rents are the so inadequate that they can’t balance the books maintaining what already exists.
I think rationality is a better thing to act on than sensibility.
Congratulations to the Vale Square residents and all who supported them in their petition. For once the People’s Voice has been listened to alongside TDC having the sensefollowing once, to read the terms and conditions of the Licence concerning the land. I hope the residents of Vale Square can come up with a scheme whereby the costs of upkeep can be maintained.
Congratulations to the Vale Square residents and all who supported them in their petition. For once the People’s Voice has been listened to alongside TDC having the sense for once, to read the terms and conditions of the Licence concerning the land. I hope the residents of Vale Square can come up with a scheme whereby the costs of upkeep can be maintained.