Salmestone Residents Association has marked its first year anniversary with a new venture and a campaign.
The group, which held its first general meeting this week, announced that it had teamed up with Salmestone school to use there hall and other equipment for community activities and social events. The first event will be a Christmas meal for over-60s in the ward who would otherwise be on their own.
The will be helped with the meal by Our Kitchen on the Isle of Thanet, headed up by Sharon Goodyer. Funding comes from county councillor Barry Lewis.
The association is also launching a petition after a request to Thanet council to take on the former Thanet Opportunity Day Centre in Tivoli Road.
Association treasurer John Finnegan says a request to use the vacant site for community activities was turned down by the district authority.
He said: “The association was set up to be a voice for the community on a wide range of issues, from planning to street cleaning to potholes to street lights to housing, the list goes on and on. One of our long-term projects is to find somewhere to serve as a community centre hub.
“It would not have to be used solely for the residents of Salmestone ward, but Margate as a whole. The building was used by Kent County Council, so we approached them but were told that it had been given back to Thanet District Council (TDC).
“We approached TDC and asked if they were prepared to lease or sell the building. We received a reply from TDC that no, they were neither going to lease or sell the building, they are going to keep on their list of assets.
“Why leave a perfectly good building empty, when it can be used for the benefit of the residents of Salmestone and Margate? We all know of the cuts to social services and other vital services. This is a chance for the residents association to take over some of these roles.
“The residents association is willing to work with other organisations in the area to improve the lives of the residents of Salmestone and Margate. We call on Thanet District Council to think again and to at least talk to us – not to just say no.
“This building is perfectly placed and work is needed, think about the future of Salmestone and Margate.”
Association chairman Rowan Dickman expressed his anger at the refusal and said a petition had now been launched.
A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The site has been handed back to TDC by KCC and we’re now tidying it and reviewing options in terms of the next steps.”