Zoom meetings and drop in events are taking place this week for people to give views about Ramsgate’s bid for up to £20million of government grant money.
The Levelling Up bid has to be submitted by June 18. Thanet has been identified as a priority one area in the Government’s Levelling Up Prospectus. While the fund is open to every local area, it is especially intended to support investment in places where it can make the biggest difference to everyday life, including ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and coastal communities.
If successful, the funding will need to be invested in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities. This could include urban regeneration projects, cultural assets and local transport schemes.
The bid will form part of the Ramsgate Future scheme which ties together all the various funding pots and regeneration schemes for the town.
Community engagement, being run by consultants Pleydell Smithyman, is one part of the ‘Ramsgate Future’ initiative which is building on successful funding and existing feedback on the Port and Harbour review to create a plan to transform the town and inform bids such as that for Levelling Up.
Cabinet Member for Ramsgate Regeneration, Cllr Rick Everitt said: “The Ramsgate Future initiative aims to develop one investment plan for the town, including the port and harbour. This is so we are ready for funding as it becomes available, instead of trying to develop ideas to meet funding opportunities as they are announced, sometimes within very tight timescales.
“The challenge is to assemble a (Levelling Up) bid that meets the community’s aspirations, while also ticking boxes for the government so that we can successfully access the money. However, the idea is that the Ramsgate Future investment plan that will be put together will also identify other projects that we can take forward in other ways in the future.”
The council allocated some of Thanet’s Business Rates pool funding to support the development of the bid, by commissioning external specialist consultants. The Levelling Up Fund encourages a minimum contribution of 10% which can come from a local authority or other third party (public or private sector).
The bid will mainly focus on smaller transport projects, town centre and high street regeneration; and support for maintaining and expanding cultural and heritage assets. Transport investments could include public transport, active travel, bridge repairs, bus priority lanes, local road improvements and major structural maintenance, and accessibility improvements.
It could also include upgrading eyesore buildings and dated infrastructure, acquiring and regenerating brownfield sites, investing in secure community infrastructure and crime reduction, and bringing public services and safe community spaces into town and city centres.
Cultural investment could be maintaining, regenerating, or creatively repurposing museums, galleries, visitor attractions (and associated green spaces) and heritage assets as well as creating new community-owned spaces to support the arts and serve as cultural spaces.
A report to Thanet council Cabinet members about the bid says: “35% of Thanet’s Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA) are in the top 10% most deprived LSOAs nationally – that is out of 32,844.
“The average for Kent is 6%. Of Thanet’s 18 LSOA in the top 10% of most deprived areas, two thirds are in the wider Margate town and the other third are in the wider Ramsgate town. “Although there are a greater number of LSOAs in Margate in the top 10%, Margate has recently been offered up to £22.2m as part of the Town Deal programme, which is aimed to deliver regeneration where it is most needed, supporting economic growth, job creation and wellbeing.
“In April 2021 Thanet had an unemployment rate of 9.7% , which was an increase from 2020 when it was 7.4% and an increase from April 2019 when it was 5.3%. However, the relaxing of restrictions, and undoubtedly the fact that we are heading into a busy season for Thanet, means there was a decrease of 1.3% since March 2021.
“In comparison the claimant count for out of work benefits in April, 2021, compared to Thanet’s 9.7% was 5.9% in Kent, 5.3% in the South East and 6.4% in Great Britain.
“There are some areas of Thanet that are above the district average. Four of Ramsgate’s wards are between 11-12% unemployment rate for April, 2021 and three of Margate’s wards are above the average, with one at 13.2% and two over 18%.”
The report adds: “The Town Investment Plan (and funding bid) will benefit from work that has already taken place in understanding what opportunities there are in Ramsgate for regeneration. This includes previous bids for assets in and around the harbour and the development of a strategic, high level study for the Port of Ramsgate.”
Questionnaires are now live for anyone who lives, works and visits Ramsgate to give their views about the future of the town and what can be done to ensure it’s a vibrant place with a thriving retail, business and leisure offer. The deadline is June 8.
The surveys are available on ramsgate-future.co.uk
Zoom community meeting
Tonight (June 2) at 7pm.
Link us02web.zoom.us/j/85368587148… Meeting ID: 853 6858 7148 Passcode: 444888
Today (June 2) 2pm
Ramsgate County Councillor Karen Constantine has lobbied for a consultation for people with disabilities. That will take place this afternoon at 2pm, you can still register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Constantine said: “For too long people with disabilities and mobility issues such as using wheelchairs and pushchair have been forgotten. The Levelling up fund and process gives us a real opportunity to make sure all voices are heard and are acted on. Ensuring we have good access is good for our people, our businesses and good for community well-being.”
Drop-in engagement sessions:
From 10am to 4pm on Saturday 5 June at 42 High Street, Ramsgate (opposite Peacocks in between Post Office and Santander)
From 10am to 2pm on Sunday 6 June at Newington Community Centre, Princess Margaret Avenue, Ramsgate
Digital Business Meetings
7:45am on Thursday 4 June
Link to join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 830 3116 1830
7pm on Thursday 4 June
Link to join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 882 7057 4542
No need to book or confirm, just click the link to the meeting and open in browser/app.