Proposal for a Margate and Cliftonville Town Council to be discussed

Margate Photo Frank Leppard

A meeting will be held tomorrow (October 28) between Margate Charter Trustees and interested parties to discuss the possibility of a town council.

Councillors that sit as Trustees, on the Salmestone residents association and local groups will discuss the way forward to incorporate seven wards – Westbrook, Garlinge. Margate Central. Dane Valley. Salmestone. Cliftonville West and Cliftonville East – into a Margate and Cliftonville Town Council.

The move would mean removing the current system of charter trustees.

Thanet town councils

This was carried out in Ramsgate in 2009 after a successful campaign by resident Gerry O’Donnell.

A referendum was initially held in November 2006 with a total of 11,753 votes cast out of a total of 28,912 potential votes, with the result as follows: 59.5% not returned, 23.9% in favour and 16.7% against.

The order was eventually drafted in 2008 and the town council held its first meeting in 2009. The change of governance resulted in a precept rise for Ramsgate residents but also in greater powers for the new grassroots authority.

Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Council is long established.

Westgate also established its own town council in 2015 following a community governance review, which was initiated by Margate Charter Trustees.

There was a two-stage public consultation process. At the first stage, only 75 questionnaires were returned out of a total electorate for Margate of 36,000. Of those 75,  33 residents expressed a preference for a Town Council for Margate. At the second stage, there were 337 responses of which  137 expressed support for a Town Council for Margate.

Thanet council’s Working Party decided to recommended that a Town Council not be set up for Margate but that a parish council be created for Westgate-on-Sea. That community governance review is estimated to have cost some £10,000 which was borne by  council taxpayers in Thanet – not just by those in Margate/Westgate areas.

A payment from the trustees to the new council of £30,000 also prompted a formal objection which was later backed by external auditors.

New proposal

However, the new proposal to install a Margate and Cliftonville Town Council is gaining traction and is understood to have the backing of charter trustees as well as several local community groups.

The bid is being led by John Finnegan, of the Salmestone residents association, and will need 7.5% of the total voters in the seven wards to sign the petition asking for a new community governance review.

According to Government figures this equates to 3,583 signatures, although the figures differs to that given by Thanet council of 2,308 signatures.

Mr Finnegan said: “Local issues would be tackled by elected councilors who live in Margate. The Town Council would be able to tap into grants for new projects to wholly revive the Margate community.

“This matter goes as far back as 1994, but ever since then they have failed to come to an agreement each time they tried to address it. That is because in the past it was not advertised enough, or not efficiently enough for Margate’s residents to get the chance to sign petitions or do whatever else could have been useful. This time, though, it’s different because we have social media to help us make this issue have a wider resonance.”

The meeting tomorrow is not public. Members of the public are invited to discuss the issue at the next Salmestone associaition meeting on November 6 at Salmestone Primary School from 7pm.

For further details about the campaign contact John Finnegan at [email protected]


  1. Why I am campaigning for a Margate Town Council: “We already have a council” I hear you ask. Well, yes, but TDC is a convoluted and bureaucratic organisation which seems unable to work with the community or be unable to respond to matters that concern local residents, and as for so-called ‘transparency’, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
    We need to give power back to LOCAL people and give them a say in what they want from a Town Council controlled by independent councillors that listen to their electorate, and not blindly take instructions from ‘executive officers’ that appear to have an agenda that has nothing whatsoever to do with the wishes of the man on the street. The words ‘sheep’ and ‘lemmings’ spring to mind.
    We need a council that has the support and confidence of the people it represents, not one that, for example, tells us that it wants to spend up to three million pound on new offices while in the same week, says it can’t afford to keep toilets open.
    We need a council that not only listens, but also responds to the wishes of those who elected it, and one which the cynics that didn’t bother to vote suddenly realise that maybe this isn’t such a silly idea after all.

    • here here
      and we need to have new candidates voted in
      ask the question what does your councilor do for Cliftonville or Margate
      as the same folk been on the council for years dear people time we had a fresh minds and people who work on the towns to repair the wrong doings of a staid council year in year out
      all those done by the existing lot
      yes, if one committs wrong doing you are all accessory

      lets have a new council and councilors
      I have been looking at the officers too they need to be sacked for dealing with people who are offshore leaks

      truth hits and hurts people but for so long we have had lies upon lies with TDC

  2. The idea of a Margate Town Council maybe a good idea, but nobody seems to be saying how much it is going to cost to every household in Margate to have one. All of the areas in Thanet that have a Town Council have to pay a extra charge on their Council tax to pay for it.
    I think you should be told how much it is going to cost before anyone says if they want one.

    • This is something we will know tomorrow hopefully but what we do already know is that how ever much it will mean , that money would be ours, as in the towns, to use as we decide. So eg: If public toilets being re-opened was the big thing everyone wanted, the money would be there for it to become a reality

  3. My personal suggestion would be “DON’t DO IT”.
    The following is just an example.
    You will pay an additional premium on your property tax for the Town Council.
    TDC will pass over some if not all services to the Town Council. (i.e.) Street Cleaning
    Your property Tax will increase next year as will your Town Council fees.
    The Town Council will be paying for a road sweeper in its charges for which you assume will be the responsibility of TDC.
    My Town Council have not swept or sent a mechanical sweeper down my road for 2 years. In my area we have property that is flooded every year. Why because TDC do not sweep the roads of leaves and litter & KCC do not clear the drains.

  4. Sorry but I’m with Mr R
    I wonder how much the residence money they pay in Westgate end up in Westgate I bet TDC take a big percentage off it
    Also the Margate town council money will end up being swallowed up by cliftonville
    It would be better if TDC chased the people who don’t pay their council tax then they would have more money for public toilets and sweeping the roads

  5. This might be a good idea. But isn’t it a bit like other local government reorganisations, or lots of NHS or Police reorganisations. Or Brexit or Not Brexit. Just a case of changing goalposts or moving the deck chairs on the Titanic. It misses the point.

    Until we have a government in London that is willing to fund local communities, and is willing to redistribute the wealth from the fabulously rich towards the rest, we will carry on thrashing around trying to think up some other scheme or blaming somebody else (the EU, the immigrants,the Benefit claimants, anybody will do as long as we don’t really DARE to suggest that the people with money and power are the ones responsible).
    Unless the new Council is properly funded by the national government, it will fail to impress soon enough and , in a few years time, exhausted councillors from all Parties (or Independents) will begin to lose heart when faced with the complete lack of money and support, and the usual voices from the public will loudly denounce them as “all the same, only out for themselves!” And nothing will change. Except , maybe, some other familiar voices will cry in desperation for “a new Leader”, and will fall for the dodgy charms of a Boris, regardless of what he actually does.

  6. Having a local town council would be a great thing to have, but if taxes are raised steeply to keep it running then some sort of contingency plan will have to be thought up. Not everyone can afford to have their council tax go so high.

Comments are closed.