In 2009 Ramsgate moved from a charter trustee system to becoming a town council. Along with the new status came the appointment of town clerk Richard Styles, who had formerly held the same position in Lydd.
Since that time Mr Styles has become an integral part of the grassroots council, overseeing the day to day running of services but also being a driving force behind bigger projects – such as the purchase of the former fire station building in Effingham Street. Renamed Radford House – after the benefactor who bequeathed much of the money used for the purchase – plans include a community hub and local working space. However, during the pandemic it was used as a central point for distribution of food and essential goods parcels.
Now, after more than a decade at the helm, Mr Styles is moving on, with tomorrow (April 30) being his last day at RTC. He will take up a new post at Walmer Parish Council.
Here he takes the opportunity to look at the town council achievements and to say goodbye:
All good things come to an end, I am heading for pastures new and it is time for a new team to take over.It’s time for a change,for me, and for Ramsgate Town Council in the post covid years ahead.
When I started at RTC, it was based at Albion House,owned a single computer made of spare parts, and was struggling to transition from being a Charter Trusteeship to a Town Council. It has moved on tremendously since then, and it is now an organisation that does make a difference to the community it serves, or at least tries very hard in the attempt.
What have I learnt in all the years I have been Town Clerk in Ramsgate? Well firstly, you have to be patient and persistent, because nothing happens quickly.Every project I have ever worked on has taken months and in some cases, years, before anything substantive happens on the ground.
I think NASA built the Ingenuity helicopter,now flying all over Mars, in less time than one or two projects I can think of.
Why is this? You have to move at the speed of the slowest ship in the convoy and boy, it can be slow. Government money comes with stipulations and a lot of process, and this takes time,and so it is a bit unfair to blame local government, when it has to jump through multiple hoops to get a project off the ground.
If build back better is going to work, we need to speed up the time it takes from start to finish of a project.
Another thing I learnt was that a lot gets done in Ramsgate, thanks to voluntary groups. Ramsgate has a deep and rich vein of voluntary work and projects, which RTC has supported heavily,through its Ramsgate Fund and Events fund. Ramsgate may not get the funding granted elsewhere, but it does a lot to help itself.
From the start RTC has had to put in resources to encourage tourism, as the Visitor Information Centre closed down in Ramsgate, not long after RTC started.
Ramsgate now has a national tourism presence thanks to ‘Active Ramsgate’ and I hope it is allowed to prosper and grow even bigger in the future.
2021 has seen a change of guard at RTC. Cllr Peter Campbell’s passing, has ended an era, and perhaps now my departure will create a new era, with fresh ideas and new methods.
If this is true, I wish my successors, and Ramsgate, the very best for the future.