By Jodie Nesling and Kathy Bailes
The transfer of Thanet council-owned properties to isle community groups has been delayed due to staff shortages at the authority.
In a document seen by The Isle of Thanet News, the council revealed there was a shortage of surveyors to work on the process.
In response to our query a Thanet council spokesman said: “We are currently advertising two new surveyor posts to provide further resilience to our existing assets disposal programme.”
It is understood that conveyancing work on at least some agreed asset transfers is being carried out by sub-contractors.
The council owns 560 assets in the form of land and buildings (excluding housing) throughout the district. Decisions have previously been made to either sell properties and land on the open market or to transfer them to community groups or town and parish councils.
Buildings on the approved asset disposal list include Margate Museum, Dickens House, Tudor House and Margate Town Hall, all of which were agreed for disposal in October, 2018. The council agreed to take steps for other organisations to take over and run these sites saying the action was necessary as it does not have the funds to repair and maintain the premises.
Margate Museums Trust confirmed it was to put in a bid to take over both Margate Museum and the Tudor House. The Old Town Hall has been closed for several years due to health and safety concerns. Thanet council says it is unable to let the public know how far into the process the authority currently is because: “We are in a commercial negotiation period and therefore cannot provide updates on individual properties.”
A decision to sell or transfer closed toilets in Thanet was approved in January. This is the first part of an ongoing review of the isle’s public toilets.
Loos in Beresford Gap, Birchington, Marina Road, Ramsgate, Minnis Bay, Birchington, St Johns Cemetery, Margate and Albion Street, Broadstairs were due to be sold at market Also up for bids is the Grade II listed urinal in Park Road, Margate.
Broadstairs and St Peters Town Council expressed an interest in buying the closed loos at Albion Street. The bandstand, clock tower, kiosk and shelter in the area of Victoria Gardens, Broadstairs have already been approved for transfer to the town council, which was also expected to agree a similar arrangement for Victoria Gardens.
Albion Gardens, including the Madeira Waterfall, in Ramsgate, is proposed for transfer to Ramsgate Town Council or another qualifying community organisation.
However Ramsgate Town Council says there” has been no consultation or negotiations” and the authority has simply been sent Thanet council’s asset disposal policy document.
Newgate Gap Shelter and The Oval, in Cliftonville, are due for community asset transfer as are pavilions in Garlinge, Hartsdown and Northdown. The Newgate shelter first has to have the remains of the roof removed before the transfer can take place. The council also announced the possible transfer or sale of land at Hartsdown and the earmarked sale to the owners of the Nayland Rock Hotel of land fronting Royal Crescent .
Westgate Town Council is expected to take on Lymington playing fields and the shelter opposite St Mildred’s Road.
Land at Rossetti Gardens, the Memorial Field and Dog Acre are being taken on by Birchington Parish Council.
The Pavilion in the Memorial Park is being demolished due to constant vandalism which left the building in a dangerous condition.
Birchington Parish Council is hoping to create a new multipurpose building on the site and aims to carry out a consultation to see what other facilities could be provided.
BPC councillor Phil Fellows said: “It’s at the ideas stage so far and hinges on what sponsorship and grants we can raise.
“Ideally we’d like a multipurpose building that would be the changing rooms so we can bring football and cricket back to Birchington. It could also house a youth club and/or the boxing club and gym. We will be consulting our residents and hope they will get onboard and help us achieve this goal. We hope with the future house building in the village that a contribution from developers for projects like this will be forthcoming.”