Thanet council is determined not to “be caught with its trousers down” when visitors are predicted to return to the isle after stay at home restrictions are removed on March 29, says leader Rick Everitt.
Following the announcement of the government roadmap out of covid restrictions, including the removal of the stay at home requirement – to be replaced with ‘stay local’- the authority is expecting day trippers to once again flock to Thanet beaches if the weather is warm.
Last year Thanet experienced an influx of visitors which caused some issues, including mounds of litter and defecation in public areas because toilets were not open.
In July and August the council had to issue warnings as beaches in Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate neared capacity.
Parking mayhem in Broadstairs also raised complaints with residents saying visitors blocked driveways and other vehicles as they tried to find parking spaces so they could visit Botany Bay.
This year Thanet council aims to be prepared for any daytripper influx. Measures brought in during the height of last summer, including extra police officers on duty and a new coastal supervisor, security staff, parking warden patrols, extra litter bins and the opening of public toilets.
In addition there is the new Beaches and Coast Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) which reflect and replace existing bylaws, with minimal changes to the current rules, coming into effect in March.
In his leader’s report, Cllr Everitt says: “This week the (hospitality and leisure) sector has been offered the prospect of outdoor reopening in mid-April. However, travel restrictions are to be relaxed on March 29, which means there is potential for significant visitor numbers in Easter week, before any such facilities are open at all.
“Some residents were worried last spring that the influx of tourists would raise infection rates and criticised the council for not trying to discourage them. Now we know more about the virus, there is confidence among the experts that the public use of beaches has not been a cause of increased infection anywhere.
“Nevertheless, the easing of lockdown last year did bring problems. Quite understandably, given the suddenness of the initial lockdown and then the Prime Minister’s relaxation of restrictions on travel, we were not ready for the influx. In particular, the closure of all other public toilets, and our own until we could put in place a safer cleaning regime, caused issues. This year our toilets will be open.
“I believe that the Beach Management Plan and additional measures we subsequently put in place last summer to manage the crowds and deal with the waste they left behind, as well as the multi-agency approach that we pioneered, were a success. However, I acknowledge there were some local problems we could not address satisfactorily then.
“At the same time, this surge in visitor numbers provided a shot in the arm the Thanet economy needed almost as much as the vaccine itself. I believe the council and its partner agencies learned a lot last year and that further measures we are putting in place, such as the new PSPOs, will stand us in good stead in the months ahead.
“We can’t always predict the future – and the British weather in particular – and we are always limited by resources in what we can do, but I accept that the council will be judged harshly by residents if it is caught with its trousers down by visitor numbers this year.
“We are doing everything possible to avoid that, including addressing the issue of adequate public toilet facilities, in Margate and elsewhere, but inevitably there will be further challenges. We will do everything we can to anticipate them.”
The arrival of visitors will be welcomed by many leisure and hospitality businesses which are looking forward to reopening from April 12 – including outdoor service from pubs and restaurants – and more fully from May 17 with the reopening of indoor service for pubs, restaurants, play areas, cinemas, theatres, hotels, B&Bs and sport stadiums. Rule of six will apply for seating in pubs/restaurants.
By June 21 social restrictions are expected to be lifted across the board if data for covid cases, hospitalisations and deaths allows.
We can only hope and pray that TDC will not be caught with their proverbial trousers down. It was chaotic last year.
I live looking at matgate beach and thay r coming down already the steps r packed the beach and harbour arm and thay doing nothing
Have the Clock Tower toilets been repaired and will they be open? Surely this should be one of the priorities.
This should have been completed and no work has been done ….of course
The public need a dedicated phone number which will be manned by staff who are able to contact the enforcement officers immediately. We need those staff and enforcement officers on duty 7 days a week including the bank holidays.
We urgently need the Margate Clock Tower public toilets opened by the time the season begins.
TDC please draw up an action plan for the early and main summer season with proper enforcement of all issues that came to light last year. This is your chance to get it right and put the problems we encounter each year in the past. If other council areas get it right why shouldn’t we?
We at present are looked upon by out of towners as the area where you get away with anything. Parking on pavements and street corners, yellow lines and zig zag lines for hours on end with no fines. Jet skis buzzing about disturbing beach users and wildlife off the coast. The Thanet coastline is supposed to be protected by the Special Scientific Site of Interest regulations but is ignored by council. Our heritage is abused.
Litter on beaches left by day trippers is another issue that needs strengthened enforcement with fines given out for abusers. You should not expect to come to Thanet bringing crate loads of picnic foods then just leave all the mess behind for someone else to pick up. Leave the beach as you find it in a clean condition or expect a hefty fine. This means plenty of bins that will be emptied as often as needed. Plenty of extra sacks available at popular beaches.
Words are easy and we hear promises every year from TDC but then are let down year after year. We hear you Cllr Everitt now make sure you get it right this year.
I second all the above by Kent Resident.
The availability of toilets and enough, regularly emptied,litter bins are absolutely crucial.
Spot on – that would deal with the worst of teh problems
Our beaches especially on Margate main sands seasonal beach cleaners done a great job with rows of smaller bins on the beach including all Thanet beaches in turn the beach cleaners emptied the bins. Employ people not rely on volunteers.beachwatch campaign marine conservation society.
I am all for the returning of people after the prison term we have all served this past year however, the council really needs to get its crap together this year and issue fines and dispersal notices where necessary.
The way visitors treated Margate last year was simply unacceptable and quite frankly disgusting.
I smell something odd.. is that the outflow of sewage from foreness point or the council spouting it again?
All very well saying people will be fined for littering and leaving their waste rubbish you have to catch them doing it it hasn’t worked with people who let their dogs foul the pavements everywhere yet
Do you have to be 5foot six or under to be a beach security person to have no powers or status?TDC get a grip!
Ha ha. Every year there are news stories on these pages about mismanagement of Thanet’s beaches and we are suddenly meant to believe that Thanet Council has acquired some business acumen, forward planning expertise and strategic planning skills from out of thin air? I understand the same senior managers are in charge who couldn’t manage things properly last year or the year before?
They can’t even keep the streets clean during the winter season. Bins overflowing everywhere, dog poo bins completely full etc.
Call me cynical but the first hot weekend we have this summer will bring all the same issues back out again and this article will come back to haunt them.
What about the parking botany rd we come out lockdown only to be trapped in our houses witch means lock down for residents were the ones that suffer not the council
BEST LAUGH IVE HAD IN AGES – and what are they going to do when they get to ramsgate ? they could play i spy a boarded up shop .
Presumably shops and cafes will be open by then. Strangely enough, people who come to the seaside do so mostly because of the beach and the sea, not to spend their time in shops.
I am deeply upset by the idea of Rick Everitt being ‘caught with his trousers down’ – is this yet another ‘cock and bull’ revelation?
Worse than an image of Clare with her knickers in a twist?
Get back in your Office Phyllis.
At first I thought this article was about the (former) Naturist Beach!
This is little more than a string of platitudes.
Botany Bay is almost entirely unrestricted parking. There is next to nothing for the civil enforcement officers to enforce.
Parking on grass verges, parking and driving on pavements, parking across driveways, parking that blocks access to emergency vehicles – all this is outside the scope of TDC Civil Enforcement.
80% of residents lobbied for a common sense, seasonal, 7 days a week, resident parking scheme for the Summer. This has been ignored by TDC. This would have meant TDC would be able to ticket any non disabled visitor without a permit after one hour.
Last Summer every sunny weekend volunteers gave up to 30 man hours a day to keep the beach clean. Often removing 15 -20 full sacks of litter left by beach goers.
Unless TDC is allocating four full time beach cleaners to Botany Bay alone for weekends then the rubbish and faeces will pile up. I suspect we will see one part timer for an hour or two – at best.
The toilets are inadequate for even a tenth of expected beach visitor numbers. More temporary toilets will alleviate the problem only partially. Open air defecation and urination will continue in people’s gardens and public spaces as it did last year even after additional toilets were installed.
Well said Barry, why aren’t TDC putting restrictions on the numbers visiting a totally inadequate beach at Botany Bay? Last summer there was almost 1,000 people on a beach that has no facilities such as toilets (plural), food outlets and last but not least parking for about 20 vehicles the rest scattered down Botany and Percy Roads, Knockholt and adjoining roads. I totally understand our visitors wish to come to the seaside, but they would have driven past at least 6 large beach areas to get to Botany beach. They come here for one reason people, free parking, bring their own food, drink, babies nappies spend no money and leave it all on the beach for the local volunteers to do what we pay our exhorbitant council tax for. If they want to do more it’s simple, monitor the numbers on the day and use these beach wardens to restrict the numbers by directing them to our main sands in Margate, Broadstairs where they can bring some benefit to our local economy instead of us, the Thanet tax payers having to foot the bill with absolutely no benefit. There isn’t any business that would operate this way, come on TDC, get some balls and start thinking of those of us that you rely on to pay your wages. You should be here to serve us first, strange concept I know, but clearly we are governed both nationally and locally by inadequates.. Can’t wait to hear from the loony locals who think we should encourage this nonsense, but they’re out there folks.Count them,
Bins overflowing, fly tipping, litter dropping, humans & animals defecating in public. It happens every day not jujst when the sun shines.
Tbh if an area looks like a dump, it will be treated like a dump.
Need suitable sized bins and they need to be emptied every 4 hours. Give the contract to a skip company to daily place & service mini skips in place of those tiny council bins.
Need more enforcement personnel, if additional enforcement can not be arranged. Then limit the amount of visitors.
The volunteers do a great job in cleaning up our beauty spots, cheers guy’s.
One thing Rick Everitt has been slow to acknowledge is the “case of the missing street cleaners”
In the 2020/21 budget, our Council Tax went up to pay for 10 new street cleaners (circa £300k of extra money) who were going to be employed. Fast forward to January 2021 when another TDC Labour Councillor then admitted that these staff have never actually been employed.
So, the relevant questions for Rick Everitt are:
1. What has the money been used for instead?
2. What kind of difference could 10 new cleaners have made on the beaches and streets last summer? A lot of the problems could have been resolved.
This weekend with a good forecast will see the beaches and proms very busy. Can the council get the bins emptied Saturday and Sunday at least once in the busy areas please??
Clown with his trousers down – nothing new there!
The only way TDC will do anything about the litter and bin overspill issue is everyone collects one bin bag of trash and dumps it outside the town hall. Then they’ll get the message.
It’s almost as if Margate isn’t a coastal resort & hasn’t been for several centuries – all infrastructure ought to be in full working order, permanently in place & routinely maintained & upgraded.
It’s. Not. Rocket. Science.
quite right– its as if no one who works high up in the Council actually spends anytime in or near the seafront areas–if they did they would be ashamed of the year round litter thats allowed to build up every time the sun comes out–even in winter– there are a lot of people who use the coastal walks all year round–something thats not been adapted by the waste collection
We all know when thanet council is involved it will be a disaster guaranteed. Botany road etc should be planned for dedicated parking and yhe paddock opposite the 19th hole should also be a carpark
Certainly nobody is going to get caught with their trousers down if they intend to use Margate beach toilets, seemingly closed forever, what a bunch of anchors!
Has someone bought them a calendar then?? I’m surprised they know when Easter is!!
It worries me that bins are not even being emptied regularly during the winter and in some resorts the promenade bins are filthy and overflowing. During the snowy week they had an excuse, but not before the bad weather or now, but several bins remain uncollected. God help us in the Summer!