U-turn as Thanet full council meeting is back on

Full council meeting rumpus

A full council meeting has been reinstated following an outcry over its cancellation.

The meeting takes place at the Thanet council offices in Margate on September 5 at 7pm.

Earlier this week councillors were notified that it had been cancelled. The decision was formally taken by the Conservative chair of council, Cllr Jason Savage, due to “a paucity of substantive items”- meaning a lack of items to discuss. The council is led by a minority Conservative administration.

However, the decision was slammed by angry opposition councillors from Labour, Greens and independent Cllr Ruth Bailey.

Cllr Bailey has submitted a question to council about the broken Viking Bay lift.

Thanet Greens also have questions they want answered about allegations on social media that TDC regularly intercepts emails between residents and councillors; the recent suspension of Section 151 officer Tim Willis; the council leader’s claim that he could not disclose any information on Sands Heritage Ltd’s future plans for the Dreamland complex to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on grounds of commercial sensitivity; a lack of minutes/ records of a series of recent decisions and the initial  decision by the Chair of the Council, without consultation, to cancel the September full council meeting.

Campaign group Save Our NHS in Kent were also outraged as they had been given three minutes to talk at the meeting. The group is alo holding a demonstration outside the offices from 6pm.

Thanet Labour leader Rick Everitt said: “I’m pleased that the chair of council has now listened to Labour’s concerns and feedback from elsewhere and reinstated the September 5 council meeting.

“Had we been consulted in the first place, as would have been courteous and prudent, this muddle could have been avoided. I would have advised that the public perception would be damaging, whatever the business argument.

“Labour had already submitted two important questions about the state of the council’s multi-story car park in Ramsgate and the council’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

“There are other matters which require early explanation, including about Ramsgate Port, and it is appropriate that the minority Tory administration be held to account by elected members at the full council meeting, even if it has nothing to bring forward itself.”

12 Comments

  1. Here’s the complaint I sent in to Jason Savage, Madeline Homer, Bob Bayford, and Ash Ashbee:

    As a resident of Thanet and payer of council tax I am astounded to hear that the full council meeting on September 5th has been cancelled due to ‘a paucity of business’.

    I ask that you reverse the decision for these reasons:

    1. Questions from the public and from councillors are to be submitted by August 28th, therefore you are cancelling a week before the deadline. How can you claim there isn’t enough business when people have not yet had a chance to submit matters to council via the proper channels?
    2. A general election is highly likely before the end of the year, meaning that the next date you have set, in October, could well be cancelled due to purdah. This meeting needs to be held on the date set to avoid this. This year we have already had two periods of purdah due to council and EU elections.
    3. The idea that there is a lack of business is patently ridiculous. Thanet has an enormous amount of problems that need to be remedied. I have listed just a few below*. Given that there are few full council meetings per year anyway, why not simply put out a request that councillors add items, rather than call off the much-needed meeting?
    4. Save Our NHS in Kent (SONIK), a community based campaign group with approx 6,000 followers, has been granted three minutes to address the council in the Sept 5th full council meeting. If the meeting is cancelled, this will be pushed back to October, and the meeting in October may fall under purdah and be cancelled also. Why is the SONIK element of the meeting not regarded as ‘substantive’? Do the council leaders not regard the closure of A&E and the stroke unit at QEQM as significant matters? I think you will find that the residents of Thanet regard it as highly significant, and if the council leadership do not care about it they must explain why their opinion differs so greatly from the electorate.

    You will see from this article that locals are not at all impressed with the meeting be cancelled; nor are a good number of councillors:
    https://theisleofthanetnews.com/2019/08/21/anger-at-cancellation-of-next-full-council-meeting/

    I hope for a swift response,

    Carly Jeffrey
    Ramsgate resident and SONIK member

    * Problems at the port of Ramsgate; what is happening with the Manston site; our homelessness problem; the suicide epidemic in Thanet and the lack of effective mental health services; the future of our hospital which is set to lose stroke, A&E and maternity services; the mismanagement of environmental matters locally; closure of public toilets; ineffective bin collections and rubbish on our seafronts; the fact that we have 35% child poverty in Thanet; the diminishing number of NHS dentists and GP surgeries; the lack of housing and poor housing; extortionate parking costs; the demise of our high streets, the culture of Thanet District Council itself, and the selling off of council assets.

    • Manston is out of the hands of TDC as RiverOak now own the Airport and are awaiting the decision following the local meetings / consultations. We will hear from the S O S in the beginning of January
      next year. There have been plenty of opportunities for locals to have their say and keep up with the news !

  2. Over half a million pounds paid to councilors this year’s cost to us for this is outrage
    Call in the ombudsman and call in this council

  3. I was outraged at the cancellation too. But, I can think of an almost understandable reason for cancellation. The money and power to do anything has been so drained away from local Councils by the Tory government in Westminster that many local Councillors all over the country must think, sometimes, that it’s all futile because, no matter what local electors think, the Cameron,then May,now Johnson cabinet will basically decide everything and their local supporters will just back them up. Anybody fancy “taking back control?”

  4. Cllr. Jason Savage, the only ‘paucity’ happening here is a paucity of democracy.

    There are serious legal matters to discuss. Bob Bayford and yourself are meant to represent the electorate, not serve the will of Madeline Homer.

  5. Excellent letter summarising the numerous issues that impact Thanet unbelievable that this meeting has been cancelled with so many items on the agenda!

  6. It ‘has been cancelled’ and is now re-instated, Cllr Hetherington. Perhaps someone has had to change their holiday arrangements – who knows?

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