‘Covid secure’ plans to shut roads, remove parking bays and use security staff on beaches as Thanet businesses reopen

Many businesses are preparing to reopen on Monday Photo Brian Whitehead

Thanet council plans to prepare for the reopening of non-essential businesses on Monday (June 15) will include measures ranging from shutting roads to make access and queueing safer. Implementing 20mph zones in towns and on seafronts and removing parking bays to create space for seating and shoppers.

The measures are part of a range for Thanet District Council’s (TDC) covid recovery plan.

Proposals are likely to be funded from an £8 million government grant to the county council to bring in walking and cycling schemes across Kent if a TDC bid is successful and from a £126,456 government grant to Thanet council for high street reopening measures.

Proposals include closing Pier Yard car park during the day and a temporary removal of parking bays across the district to allow for increasing footpaths around businesses premises in locations including Marine Drive in Margate, Harbour Parade  in Ramsgate, Westgate, Birchington and Northdown Road in Cliftonville.

The 20 mile an hour zones are proposed for  high footfall areas, particularly through the town centres and around coastal frontages. Road closures, particularly in those areas where the pavements are narrow, would mean space for access and queuing for  retail and food and drink outlets in areas such as Margate Old Town, Margate Lower High Street, Albion Street and Lower High Street Broadstairs, Station Approach Bridge Birchington. To do this TDC will need a Road Traffic Order, signage, cones or planters, costs for management of the opening and closing the access and maintenance.

The focus of the High Street Reopening funding will be:

  • Ramsgate (High Street and Harbour Parade)
  • Margate (High Street, Old Town and Marine Drive)
  • Broadstairs (High Street)
  • Cliftonville (Northdown Road)
  • Birchington (Station Road)
  • Westgate (Station Road)

Secondary retail areas may be considered for support, including Garlinge, Westbrook, Minster, St. Lawrence, and St. Peters.

TDC will install signs with icons at toilets, bus shelters, lamp posts, seafronts, high streets and on benches and empty shops with clear covid safety messages, such as distance markers and one way or keep left systems. There will also be increased town and toilet cleaning.

A report to council Cabinet members says: “We know that many more town centre businesses are planning for June 15 reopening in line with Government Guidance.

“We have been in detailed discussions for some while with parish and town councils, to discuss arrangements in other towns and villages. Our working assumption is that footfall may well be high as evidenced by those premises that have remained open for food and household essentials and other premises (such as garden centres) that have recently reopened.

“We also understand that many retailers will be holding sales. Experience has shown that it is vitally important that visitors feel safe and are given clear guidance on what to expect and how to observe social distancing rules. This has also been a clear message from businesses that have been open during lockdown.”

“Thanet covid recovery” plans also include increased enforcement to tackle anti-social behaviour on Thanet beaches. This will include a greater enforcement presence with Bay Inspectors and Enforcement Officers as well as additional security staff in the coming weeks and months. TDC will also work with the police and the RNLI to continually monitor the situation on the beaches.

The RNLI will provide resources on seven blue flag beaches with the support of TDC and other volunteer groups. Bay Inspectors will help with the supervision of lost children and assist the  RNLI with minor first aid and liaison with emergency services.

Dates for beach cover are:

  • Joss Bay and Botany Bay – June 13
  • Margate – June 20

Dates to be confirmed for: Ramsgate, Stone Bay and Minnis Bay.

A report to Thanet council Cabinet members, who are due to discuss the plans on June 18, says: “At any other time, we’d be delighted at the prospect of thousands travelling to our beaches, and so would the many businesses and traders who make their living from our visitors.

“As soon as the government released the restrictions for people to travel it was inevitable that our beaches would become busy. The situation has created major logistical problems as businesses are not open and the normal preparations for the season have not been put in place, never mind extra ones to manage hygiene and social distancing in our public toilets.

“The vast majority of people using our beaches in the last few weeks, wherever they happen to live, have been respectful of the public health guidance and of each other.

“Inevitably, though, some have not. Some behaviour has been completely unacceptable, and the fact that we could not safely open all our coastal toilets has not helped. But the situation is unprecedented, as is the closure of the toilets in pubs, cafes and shops.”

The council is working with Kent Police and looking to gain devolved powers so that enforcement officers can taking action against drivers parking on kerbs or blocking driveways.

The Bay Inspectors are also supporting the cleansing service by issuing rubbish bags to the public, warning people who litter, monitoring litter bins and liaising with beach cleaners on litter hotspots.

Thanet council leader Rick Everitt said: “From June 15, retailers will be able to welcome back customers for the first time in over two months. This grant money will help us to better support them in opening as we follow government guidance through the recovery phase of this pandemic.

“Our high streets are an important part of the council’s recovery plan. We are working with partners, including our town councils and Kent County Council, on how best to re-open and allow the district to continue its recovery whilst minimising risks to visitors, employees and business owners.”

37 Comments

  1. Beggars belief using council taxes of ours to issue bags to public on beaches yet don’t know when Minnis for example will be covered. As GOV rang last week extremely-vulnerable to stay locked down until OCTOBER and TDC have failed to act on urgent issues of public health including YELLOW BAG PROVISION & COLLECTION since lockdown it NEEDS SHOWING UP AS IN THE SITUATION OF extremely-vulnerable advice prohibits putting your own rubbish bin out for collection! It seems to be that a significant number IGNORE ALL LOCKDOWN LAWS, NIL ENFORCEMENT BY POLICE UNTIL IT GETS TO THE PRESS OR MEDIA, these should be ashamed of not doing the extremely well paid jobs that they were employed to enforce PROTECT AND SERVE- yeah themselves BODY CAM SHOULD BE MADE COMPULSORY BEFORE THEY APPROACH ANYONE NOT AS I’VE SEEN IN QEQM ETC POLICE ASSAULT THEN BODY CAM ON WITH THE ARREST.Those extremely-vulnerable NOT AGE RELATED ILLNESS RELATED TO GIVE UP THEIR FREEDOM when yobs getting drunk on their £20 A WEEK RISE OF UNIVERSAL CREDIT INCREASE DUE TO COVID 19 a paid holiday on the state leaving youngsters to run around with the detritus these leave is just as shameful. Pls no comments of sarcasm like ‘need to get out more’ we all would if only it were safe, pls try to think how stressful it is for those still in lockdown that Gov & NHS promise are here to support you through it.

  2. This all sounds very positive for the coming weeks and months. I do hope that it is not just hot air though. To actually have forward thinking by TDC would make a real difference.

  3. It seems that no one has taken into account disabled people who cannot walk far,shops have got one way or queing outside which many disabled cannot do, I have had to avoid shops because of this problem, now taking away parking bays so even seafront out of bounds, please start thinking of us for a change

    • You’ve got a car, so you could access any seafront in Thanet (or even the UK) that you choose.
      Whole streets in Ramsgate are about to lose what businesses remain, unless drastic measures are made. Some of those measures mean freeing up part of the street space to make it safer for pedestrians to queue, or for Ramsgate’s famed cafe culture to resume in some shape or form.
      So, it’s streets full of businesses going down the drain and scores of people losing their jobs and livelihoods, or it’s inconvenient parking for you.
      Be part if the solution, not the problem. Get a bus friendly wheel chair, then you won’t need to clutter up our narrow streets and public spaces with your car. Do your bit to help Ramsgate stay alive in these difficult times.

      • Aren’t you being a little harsh? We don’t know what disability May has,so your ideas about what could be done – constructive though they might seem – might just not be possible.Disabled people have a hard enough life as it is,so I fully understand why they might not be as enthralled as the rest of us with the re-opening plans.

          • Or, more comprehensively, if a less able person has access to a motor car, then the World is their oyster. Or, at least, most of Thanet’s seaside.
            However, the roads supporting Ramsgate’s hitherto flourishing cafe culture are well fixed where they are.

          • It may be ok getting to places in a vehicle, but once parked, the problems begin, with the difficulty trying to get to a cafe etc, even though it may only be a hundred yards away.

  4. If parking bays are removed then shoppers will stay away from those areas and shop at the bigger out of town stores which will reduce the footfall in the town centres. That could be a good thing in one way but bad in another.
    The beaches need large EU skips for the rubbish to be placed on the beach, that will need a vehicle that can drive on the beach early morning to empty them. It’s a new way of life that we will soon have to get used to.

    • I suppose that living in your Broadstairs Dacha you’re not familiar with Ramsgate’s Harbour St and York St. Even with the few businesses that are open (Wilko’s, a butchers, bakers etc) there are often queues stretching right up the street. When more “ordinary” shops open, the situation is going to get worse, unless steps are taking to free up space for shoppers to queue safely.

    • People could put their shopping in shopping trolleys and rucksacks and walk home with it or go by bus.
      I don’t see why skips should be put on the beach when, at least by Ramsgate’s main beach, there is an esplanade. Claim some of it back from the Pleasurama site- its use should never have been granted in the first place.

      • Because as we see time and time again people won’t take their rubbish more than a few feet ( if they’ll even move it at all) so we either have to pander to the irresponsible or spend even more cleaning up after them, a case of doing a job that shouldn’t need doing as well as possible.

    • Why not enforce people taking their rubbish home like normal people do, do not need to worry about skips or how to how to remove them if they are fined, as can’t get access to some beaches to place skips! and can’t expect them to walk to place rubbish in a skip or bin can we!

  5. £126,546 grant would be better spent on cleaning up the town and getting some police to manage the drunks and drug dealers outside cafe Nero and Camden road and investing on cleaning the town up ,again all I read is parking like to see were the money goes …?

  6. Thanet Council have left it a little late, to put plans in place for road closures.

    I feel the 20mph zones are a great idea, and should be permanent.

    I struggle to walk, so would not adhere to any pedestrian one-way system, I just need to get from point A to B, in minimal distance possible. If this is not possible, I would just go elsewhere; Westwood.

    As for customers feeling safe, I visited Asda, at Westwood yesterday. There was nobody supervising door entry, (quite unusual) you just walked straight in. Inside it was very busy, and did not feel safe.

    • What happened to the 20 mph zones they were supposed to bring in? It’s as if nothing has been done with the money the government gave the council to make it safe. A few dozen posters stuck to lampposts will not cost that much, especially when they were already prepared using European money. TDC what have you done with the money?

  7. “warning people who litter “ why aren’t they issuing on the spot fines ? The softly softly approach clearly doesn’t work

  8. It is always easy to criticise people when you do not have the responsibility for managing the issues yourself. The whole country is having to make adjustments to operate safely during this coronavirus pandemic. Give TDC a chance. I’m sure they are doing their best to cope with what is after all an unprecedented and unexpected situation. They cannot possibly satisfy every individual’s needs but there is help out there with shopping etc if you ask for it. Maybe it is time for more people to become part of the solution not the problem.

  9. Here’s one way to prevent people being infected by the Coronavirus, compel all supermarkets to sterilise the handles of shopping trolleys AFTER every use! This is not being done, so anyone unknowingly with the virus can enter a store with a trolley, cough into their hand, as a cough is a symptom, then replace their hand on the trolley, successfully infecting the next customer to use the trolley!

    I contacted Public Health England(PHE) about this because their website says they are responsible for “Protecting the nation from health hazards” and “Preparing for and responding to public health emergencies”. I received a reply from PHE saying they are “unable to enforce any action”, and to contact Thanet District Council who are responsible.

    I contacted Thanet District Council, and guess what, no one has got back to me, or taken any action to prevent this obvious method of spreading the virus! The government has made many elaborate rules, and recommendations for people to avoid contact with anyone, yet this obvious way to infect someone is being ignored (except by ALDI, Ramsgate who are cleaning the handles of shopping trolleys as people enter their store!) So, never use a shopping trolley with your bare hands, only after it has been sterilised!

    • Although a good idea, it is not a guarantee that you won’t catch the virus, after handles have been stabilised. I have observed some of the large supermarkets doing an excellent job sterilising on some occasions, and have also seen them cleaning, but pointless with what they actually do.

      You should not rely upon others to sterilise for you, you should make it your own responsibility to protect yourself.

      It doesn’t matter what you touch, just remember to sanitize your hands after exit, and before touching phone etc.

      In the supermarkets, many items are taken from a shelf, labels read, and then replaced upon the shelf, allowing for cross contamination.

      • Spot on, Phil. At the end of the day, take responsibility for your own well being. Don’t assume anyone else will.
        I take a little bottle of 70% alcohol sanitizer (which I refill at home from a big bottle) with me when I go shopping. As I come out of each shop, I sanitize my hands.
        If you choose to wear gloves, you should use fresh ones each time you go in a shop, otherwise you could be spreading the virus.

    • As a Scot who has holidayed in Ramsgate, these last few years, love the area, thought I would throw my tuppence in, with regards supermarket trolley hygiene, here in Scotland, our local Asda, has sanitizer bottles, to spray down trolleys. handles etc, large paper towels to wipe them over, and hand sanitizer to clean your hands as well, local Dobbies Garden Centre has 2 staff constantly wiping down trolleys, baskets etc, before you pick them up, and free hand sanitizer as you go in, Tescos is the same, as Asda, sanitiser both for trolleys, hands etc, available for use, sadly this year looks like we will not make it down, but all the best for your area.

      • No matter how much they are cleaned, it is still not guaranteed to be virus free, take the responsibility yourself to protect, and don’t rely upon others.

    • That is good hygienic sense to clean hands after using a trolley or basket. We have been doing that on our own back for years because the shops would not clean them. Some shops had filthy plastic baskets when you went in that were health hazzards in themselves. It seems more are now catching on to this point and are now sanitizing them for customers to use.
      Contacting TDC though is a waste of effort as not many people ever get a response to their messages. They prefer to keep quiet and plead innocence if it is brought up again.

  10. I have had a small part in this process. We have committed to assisting TDC in its endeavours to return Thanet to some kind of normality.
    No one knows how to go about it as the science is not clear. Is 2m social distancing necessary or is 1m sufficient? Would people even observe 1m social distancing in some situations? I have seen 2m distancing outside most shops, but inside? Not always.
    As an OAP myself, I do not subscribe to some of the views expressed here. There are always some of all ages who do not act in socially acceptable ways ,but most do.
    The much discussed £126,000 cannot be spent as TDC sees fit, no matter what some say here. As always, Central Govt sets out all sort of restrictions on how it is spent and in this case it has to be used for information purposes, not street cleaning or any other hobby horse that may be aired here.
    RTC will be using its steam cleaner in Ramsgate to keep the streets clean, in support of the TDC staff, but help us out, by helping to keep the place clean and tidy.
    As for parking. Ramsgate Town Centre is pedestrian only from 10am to 5pm anyway, and we need to give the businesses as much space as possible to allow customers to queue where necessary and for others to pass by easily.
    The various hospitality venues will need more space and we may find that café society, where we all eat and drink alfresco, becomes the norm.
    We are all feeling our way forward, so give TDC some slack, and leave the car at home. Try, walking, cycling or using your bus pass.

  11. All 6 routes into Westgate-on-Sea town centre and beaches for cars could be closed quite easily. Why won’t this be considered. ?
    Also make the duel carriageway from Birchington to Garlinge a freeway.
    Provide proof of residency or address of property where staying otherwise No Entry.

  12. Provide proof of residency or address of property where staying otherwise No Entry.

    WHY?

    What purpose does this serve, they are allowed to visit.

    I’m sure local retailers wouldn’t want them stopped.

  13. If there are going to be more restrictions on parking maybe the bus services should be improved. If more people use them social distancing will not be possible on the present system of buses, unless you use the loop. I have seen standing room only on school buses, packed like sardines at the end of the school day. This too needs to be addressed.

  14. Look on the positive side.
    Rather than “more restrictions on parking” (there’s plenty of parking available in Ramsgate, for example), consider it as a “friendlier environment for pedestrians”
    One of the crowning glories of Ramsgate is its increasingly popular cafe culture, with quay side pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants providing local jobs and a boost to Thanet’s economy. Anything that can be done to support our hospitality industry in these difficult times has to be a good thing.

  15. Fortunately the majority of people do care about our towns and planet and were taught by their parents to clean up after themselves. Unfortunately the small minority of people was not taught this or have fallen into the trap of copying the others. It’s down to the government to encourage and enforce the minority to change the way they behave like the whole country did when recycling bins were introduced to households.

  16. Can we have pop up cycle lanes urgently now? The shared St Peters Footpsth is a godsend. Can we have it Margate to birchington past all the schools?. I saw kids on bikes on their own during lock down. Something I haven’t seen for half a century. Let’s not let the opportunity pass us by. DL

  17. I have just read through all these comments and I am feeling a bit more positive as I reach the end. The comments started off with a lot of grumbling about TDC and about the behaviour of other people. So far, so normal, I suppose.
    But, as the comments progressed through discussion of hand hygiene and supermarket trolleys , a new theme emerged. People began to really start proposing good solutions to our ongoing need to overcome the spread of the virus.
    For one thing, most of us know in our heart of hearts that we are now at a dangerous phase and we have to be very careful that “opening up the economy” as it’s called, does not lead to an increase in our already grim infection and death toll. We are still , by far, the worst country in Europe, regularly suffering more daily deaths than all the other European countries put together.
    But , in these “Comments” pages we are , re assuringly, still using our common sense to identify ways of protecting ourselves even as the virus is being given new opportunities to spread.
    As I say, I am feeling more optimistic , despite the government’s hasty and ill-prepared rush to return to “normality” that we can work it out ourselves if we are ,personally, safe or not and take appropriate action.
    We just have to get past the grumbling first!

  18. Seems it is all hot air, the council have taken the money to do all these restrictions on the high streets but all they have done is put a load of signs up saying keep 2 meters apart and stay on the left. What happened to the 20 mph signs and the wider widths for pedestrians? Typical TDC

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