Labour pledges ‘fresh approach’ after taking over Thanet council leadership

Councillor Rick Everitt says it is the first increase in a decade

Thanet District Council’s new leader Cllr Rick Everitt says bringing council housing back under direct authority control and making the district carbon neutral by 2030 are among the top priorities of the new Labour led minority administration. 

Cllr Everitt took the top role following a vote of no confidence in former leader Bob Bayford (Conservative) last night. 

This vote followed a series of protests about the losses at Ramsgate Port, the buying of two huge pontoons destined for the Brett Aggregates berth 4/5 and the Royal  Harbour using ‘permitted development rights’ instead of planning permission, the suspension – and reinstatement – of the Section 151 officer and  grievance complaints regarding bullying within the council. 

The motion was put by Thanet Independent Group leader Stuart Piper asking for the vote of no confidence and, an added amendment, for the removal of Cllr Bayford from office. 

A vote saw 29 in favour of removing Bob Bayford from leadership, 22 against and one abstention. 

Nominations were then immediately made for a new leader. Cllr Bayford was again put forward, Labour leader Rick Everitt was nominated and a nomination was made for Conservative Ash Ashby – who refused the option of being voted in to the role. 

The new vote, which had two abstentions, was won by Labour’s Rick Everitt meaning not only was Bob Bayford ousted but the Conservatives lost control of the council. 

Cllr Everitt says Labour will work collaboratively with members across the council, a necessity as Labour has just 20 of the council’s 56 seats.

Cllr Everitt said: “Last night’s meeting did not just choose a new leader from the Labour party, it also voted to pursue our priorities of bringing Thanet’s council housing back under direct control, building more of it, making the council carbon neutral by 2030, and supporting the area’s economy by using the council’s budget to buy from local enterprises where possible. 

“The council chose a new leader and I am grateful for the support of my colleagues, but success will not be achieved by one individual. It will be only delivered by the efforts of talented and passionate group of people alongside me in the Labour team, and the hard work of council staff at all levels. 

“Thanet still faces formidable problems caused by the Tory government’s austerity regime, long-term economic decline and a past failure to focus on the issues that matter to residents. There are also looming risks from a no-deal Brexit. The context doesn’t change because councillors move from one side of the chamber to the other. 

“We will bring a fresh approach, but we secured the leadership with the support of eight councillors from outside the Labour Party and we recognise that to retain it and provide the stability Thanet needs we will need to work collaboratively across the council chamber. 

“Resources are a major issue but I can promise that we will strain every sinew to do our best for all the people of Thanet and everyone who works for the council.” 

Cllr Helen Whitehead was named as the council’s new deputy leader and the other members of Labour’s shadow cabinet are also expected to step up. 

Cllr Everitt was cabinet member for finance and asset management during the previous minority Labour administration in Thanet from 2011-15. He was a member of the ruling group on Bexley Council from 2002-06 and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup in 2010. 


  1. “…..making the district carbon neutral by 2030 are among the top priorities” ! I rather hope there are more short term priorities on the list because as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t even get on my list.

    • “Carbon neutral by 2030” means we start NOW on changing local Council practices. So it IS an immediate priority. More council homes, and bringing council homes under direct control, means opportunities to improve insulation, for example. There is not enough tree cover in Thanet. That is another immediate priority. Planting more trees to absorb CO2. When replacing council vehicles, replace with electric . Again, that doesn’t wait till 2030. It starts now.

      • Thanet District Council is a part owner of EKH which manages the council housing stock, surely that’s under pretty much direct control, that the council chose to turn a blind eye to what was going on is another matter.
        I’m sure those with nowhere at all to live would rather see homes they could live in rather than making the existing stock even more comfortable for those in them.
        Get TDC residents to use the waste and recycling service properly thus avoiding the countless miles driven picking up dumped rubbish would be a more practical start and improve the area for all at the same time.
        Time to stop the posturing and do sensible things with the limited resources available.

      • Keefogs, I agree on your comments about trees. Far greater control (and punative fines) for those (especially developers) who grub out trees that do no harm would be a good thing. Estate agents who advise sellers of property to get rid of mature trees should be named and shamed at least: there are far too many properties that get rid of trees and then end up on the market.

        And for a Local Authority electric vehicles are less problematical than for those of us who regularly travel much further and face problems with sufficient and compatible charging points as and where required (the time taken in recharging is less than appealing, too). But care must also be taken re. the lifetime of vehicles as generally the replacement of batteries sealed between double-skinned bottoms of vehicles may be impracticable and certainly is challenging.

        More Council Houses: good, so long as they aren’t packed in too densely, made too small, and full of rabbit warren pathways that will inevitably lead to sink estates and high crime levels.

        Opportunities to improve insulation? The merits of that depend very much on whether that’s made of materials that are carbon neutral or polluting in manufacture and/or use, and fireproof or highly flamable.

        An end to the loss of allotments would be good: too many seem to be lost to housing developers. Pressure to limit housing expansion to the needs of our own district’s existing population or overspill from immediately adjacent local authorities would be good: there’s no need and no local wish to change the nature of our communities, outgrow our arterial road system between our towns & villages or in our connections with neighbouring districts, or ignore the fact that we are seaside communities mixed with fantastically productive agricultural areas and must not be permitted to become the 21st century’s outer London dormitory fringe (something that will never succeed in being ‘carbon neutral).

        It would also be good to see Labour encourage more people to really commit themselves to the protection of our sea front areas by having more beach huts that develop a sense of community.

        Can we also see Labour getting rid of highly polluting and inappropriate businesses like the Bretts business that probably violates the terms of permitted development in Ramsgate Port and Harbour? Let’s see those terms made public on the Council website! None of us trust Council Officers to make delegated decisions without close oversight by elected members.

  2. If it turns out that Brett’s doesn’t in fact violate the terms of permitted development then it can stay, I suppose. The port seems like the perfect place for light industry or even not-particularly-light industry- what’s so awful about the idea of having industry there?

  3. Marva, I suggest you track back to see the reasons why O’Regan’s was hounded out of town. Pollution was a contributory factor and the adjacent marine conservation zone, SSSI. Its effect too on the heritage of the Royal Harbour and the fact that tbe revenue would in no way staunch the ongoing multi-million pound losses incurred by running the New Ramsgate Port. There is also still the threat of having a waste transfer station there for London’s waste. All in all no business plan exists that will make necessary income.

    • What are “the reasons why O’Regan’s was hounded out of town”? Brett’s is a different firm. Why is there such antagonism to the idea of having industry on the port? It is nowhere near housing, it’s near the tunnel to the main road through Thanet, and it’s near the Loop bus stop as well as the sea.

  4. Re the possibility of a waste transfer station: is the hostility towards this because it would be from London, that den of iniquity, or because it is a waste transfer station? If the latter, why? The waste would come from London by sea and would be enclosed. Then presumably it would leave via the tunnel.

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