How do we increase affordable housing in Thanet?

Council build homes in King Street, Ramsgate, were completed this June

Thanet desperately needs genuinely affordable housing as rises in property prices and private rents outstrip incomes and are not covered by Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for people claiming benefits.  

Demand is also outpacing supply -data shows that in April 2021, there were 45% fewer homes available to let compared to April 2019. 

Many isle tenants in the private sector are spending half their income on rent and 80% of Thanet’s residents are priced out of the market for an average cost terraced home, according to Thanet council statistics.

With 1563 households on the social housing waiting list (as of July 9) and a third of Thanet’s population on a low income – defined as less than £15,988 per year – the need for good standard homes that people can afford is pressing.

For those reliant on LHA the gap between rent and the amount received from the council often means other bills, or even food, have to be sacrificed.

In Thanet the LHA for a two-bed house is £149.59 per week, around £598 per month, but the typical private sector rent according to listings on August 19 ranged from £695 to upwards of £1,200 per month.

Homelessness charity Shelter says in the South East, the average shortfall between a low-income household’s housing benefit and their rent was £138 per month forcing many private renters to cut back on essentials.

District council documents say that 397 affordable homes per year need to be created in Thanet – some 46% of the target 857 new homes per annum. However data in a Kent select committee report on affordable housing shows that in 2018/19 of the 296 additional new homes created in the district just 11 were classed as affordable.

Part of the solution is supposed to be the 30% affordable homes allocation built into housing applications for developments of over 10 properties but some developers get this percentage reduced on grounds that it would make their scheme financially unviable.

And there is the question of whether ‘affordable’ housing really is affordable.

There is no statutory definition of “affordable housing” in England although the government classifies it as at least 20% below local market value for both buying or renting. Social housing – generally council or housing association properties – are typically set at between 50% and 60% of market rent but provision of this housing has been falling for decades.

Kent County Council’s affordable housing select committee says: “The fundamental problem with the Government definition is that it does not take into account the ability of those on low incomes to pay and is therefore not fit for purpose.

“The Government should adopt a definition of genuinely affordable housing which links affordability to income rather than to an arbitrary percentage of market prices.”

Thanet council’s housing strategy documents say high prices and low supply fuel the problems: “Thanet is becoming an expensive place to buy or rent a home for many local residents. High prices are fuelled by low supply, which itself is fuelled by the strength of the second homes economy and in-migration of higher skilled workers. 

“For those on low incomes, the housing options are scarce with a reliance on social housing for rent. New ‘affordable rent’ at up to 80% of market rents is increasingly unaffordable to those on low incomes and the council’s Tenancy Strategy limits ‘affordable rents’ for new build homes to the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate to assist with this.

“There is also a growing ‘affordability gap’ where middle income households are being squeezed out of the market; with limited housing options for low cost home ownership or the private rented sector. The difficulties in accessing home ownership and the increasing cost of rental accommodation, is resulting in more employed households making approaches to the council.”

In May former Thanet council member for housing Helen Whitehead wrote to Robert Jenrick MP, then-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government: “to explain exactly what we are facing in Thanet; rapid rent increases, and increasing strain on both public and private housing that is not sustainable in the current system.”

She told him: “We need central funding to build the affordable housing we need. And we need long term funding to guarantee the future excellence of a homelessness service that this year finally became a twenty four hour, integrated provision.

“I am proud to represent my area, and proud that we have achieved what we have; but to provide effective and useful housing, local knowledge and skill has to be utilised, and the families on our waiting list need and deserve central funding to allow us to do that.”

Thanet Community Housing land trust

One group aiming to tackle the issue is Thanet Community Housing – a Community Land Trust that was established last year.

The resident-led trust is in negotiations to buy a plot of land in Cliftonville which has planning permission for four family homes and is also in talks with Thanet council about building on land in Minster, off St Mary’s Road, that has planning permission for three small bungalows. 

The trust says its homes will be affordable at LHA rates and is hoping to submit a planning application for the Cliftonville site this autumn.

Founding member and trustee Grace Rae said: “Affordable housing is so important, particularly in areas like Margate and Thanet. Lots of people are moving to the seaside and this puts real pressure on the housing stock in Margate and also highlights the need for genuinely affordable housing.

“What’s affordable in London is completely different to what is affordable in Cliftonville.

“We see that as more people arrive here it pushes up prices and pushes out people on low incomes – our specific aim is to step in and meet that need.

“We are going through the process of being a registered provider so we will be letting to people on LHA and relieving that housing need for people on the waiting list. We know there are landlords who refuse to let to people on housing benefit and that is just appalling.”

One important  factor in the trust’s plans is the requirement for  properties to be low impact, carbon efficient.

Grace said: “Fuel poverty is also a massive problem so we need to have properties fit for the future.”

The plot in Clifton Street

This aim will be reached through the trust working with R-LA (Ratliff/Landells) architects, based in Northdown Road, who are passive housing certified and have worked on innovative projects such as the Resort building.

According to the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 10.6% of households in the district live in fuel poverty which impacts on their health and well-being. Fuel Poverty is defined by a low income household with high costs. If fuel costs are above average, by paying for that amount, the remaining household income falls below the official poverty line.

The highest concentrations of fuel poverty are in the private sector and are found in wards of Cliftonville West, Margate Central and Eastcliff with excess cold concentrated in the Thanet Villages, Dane Valley and Central Harbour.

Thanet Community Housing hopes to launch consultation and public events from this month and increase membership.

To join costs just £1 and that gives voting rights in the trust’s annual meeting.

Find out more at www.thanetcommunityhousing.org/

How Thanet council is tackling affordable housing need

Thanet council’s build, buy and refurbish programme has moved to phase four with an £8.8million projected spend for up to 36 homes. Since 2015 this programme will have provided 191 new, affordable homes, inclusive of the latest phase. The programme is paid for through the council’s housing revenue account, right-to-buy proceeds and funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Phase 3 provided new build homes in King Street and Sussex Street, Ramsgate, which now have tenants.

The redevelopment provided 26 new build units: a mixture of houses and apartments, on parcels of land which had been blocks of garages.  The regeneration of the sites was delivered by contractor WW Martin Ltd and was completed in June 2021.  All the units were allocated to households with a housing need identified on Thanet District Council’s Housing Register and let at an affordable rent (80% of the market rent).

TDC’s Strategic Housing Manager Ashley Jackson said the authority stepped up the programme after there were no housing association developments in Thanet in 2017.

How it could look

The council is also progressing with a project to create flats for temporary housing at Foy House in Margate.

The redevelopment of the long-term empty building will create eight self-contained 1 and 2 bedroom flats. Some £1.2million was allocated for the purchase and development, including contingency money.

The refurbished flats will provide temporary accommodation for people and families with urgent housing needs, who are being supported by the council. With 110  Thanet households currently in temporary accommodation the programme is vital. 

There are plans for the council to step in and take on affordable home provision when applications for smaller developments of less than 20 homes are made and the authority is also working with Thanet Community Housing.

Ashley said: “In the next few years there are some major sites coming forward with 200-300 units in addition to our own.”

These include modular homes at the Poorhole Lane site in Westwood, a Town & Country shared ownership and rental homes schemes in Cliffsend and in Manston and Minster and Orbit Homes projects in Cliffsend and Westwood. However, some sites coming forward are subject to objections because of development on valuable agricultural land, particularly in Westgate and Birchington.

Homes have also been created through the Live Margate programme and funding has been committed to find more properties in Cliftonville.

But the rising market costs are an issue. Ashley said: “We had a consultation with residents in Cliftonville and a lot felt pushed out and could not afford to live there so we made the area a priority.

“Live Margate is a 10 year programme and we have funds committed to use in Cliftonville but we can’t find anywhere we can afford but we are still looking.”

A new policy will give key workers with housing need a priority status. Plans first mooted in 2019 for the council to create its own housing company to tackle the isle’s homes shortage are also still on the table and shared ownership – where a resident can purchase anything from 25% upwards of their home – is another option the council is examining.

Thanet council’s cabinet member for housing, Jill Bayford, said: “I am very impressed with the commitment of our strategic housing team. There are many challenges to providing the affordable housing we need. It is integral to the wellbeing of individuals to have good quality housing and stability. If anyone can do this, our team will.”

Long-term empty

According to Kent County Council data, Thanet district has the highest number of empty dwellings in the county (2,474 recorded for 2019) This represents 14.3% of the total vacant dwellings in Kent and  accounts for 3.7% of the total dwellings in Thanet district

Thanet also has the highest number of long-term empty dwellings (976 in KCC data from 2019, an updated report is yet to be published) . This was 195 more than the previous year (an increase of 25%) the biggest increase seen in Kent. Thanet has the highest proportion of vacant dwellings which are long term empty dwellings with some 39.5% of the vacant dwellings in the district  empty for six months or more.

Thanet council says tackling empty homes is a priority. The authority provides informal advice and assistance to the owners of long term empty homes and, while funding remains available, work in partnership with Kent County Council to offer interest free loans to assist owners in bringing long term empty homes back into use. When informal action is unsuccessful, the council will consider taking enforcement action if it has the potential to bring empty homes back into use. This can include serving statutory enforcement notices requiring works to be completed, the undertaking of works-in-default, and taking some of the more significant interventions, such as enforcing the sale of a property, applying for an Empty Dwelling Management Order or making a Compulsory Purchase Order.  

Second homes and AirBnB

KCC data shows that as at October 2019 there were 8,755 dwellings in Kent recorded as second homes. This is equivalent to 1.3% of the total dwelling stock in Kent, slightly above the national proportion of 1.0%. 

The number of second homes in Kent have fallen by 1.8% since the previous year (-161 dwellings) but overall has increased by 8.0% over the last five years (+651).

Kent coastal authorities have the highest percentage of second homes compared to their total housing stock. In Thanet  2.5% of the total stock are second homes – equalling 1,679 properties, this is followed by Swale 2.4%, Dover 2.4%, Folkestone & Hythe (formerly Shepway) 2.1% and Canterbury 2.0%. In contrast Gravesham (0.1%) and Maidstone (0.3%) had the lowest percentage of second homes relative to existing stock.

There is also a growing Airbnb sector with data from Visit Kent showing Thanet had 1,089 active rentals with a rental growth of 373% between 2016 and 2019.

Thanet council housing documents say:”Thanet has become an increasingly attractive place to live, particularly for retirees leaving London, young professionals purchasing second homes in Thanet and the rise of accommodation being used for AirBnB and short term lets. 

“However, this has had a corresponding impact on the local market, where rents have increased significantly at a time of major welfare reform, resulting in more and more accommodation becoming inaccessible and unaffordable to those on low incomes or at risk of homelessness. 

Types of affordable housing

Social rent: Provided by local authorities and some registered providers. Social rented properties are the most affordable being approximately 50-60% of private rents and have a secured tenancy agreement.

Affordable rent:. Priced at no more than 80% of local market rent

Build to Rent and Rent to Buy: Property rented for a set period during which time the tenant saves enough for a deposit to purchase the property at the end of the rental term.

Discounted market sales housing: Sold at a discount of at least 20% below local market value.

Starter Homes: Built on brownfield land that is not currently identified for housing with Government scheme offering first-time buyers a 20% discount on the market price. Sale prices are capped at £250,000.

Shared ownership: Households buy a share of the property and the remaining share is rented.

Help to Buy equity loan: Government provides households with an interest free loan of 10% or 20% of the cost of a new home for a period of five years, purchasers require a mortgage and at least a 5% deposit.

Select committee report recommendations include:

  • KCC, in consultation with Kent district councils, should develop a proposal for establishing a Housing Growth Unit to accelerate the delivery of housing, and genuinely affordable housing in particular,
  • KCC should explore ways of releasing more of its own land for building genuinely affordable housing.
  • KCC should assess the feasibility of establishing a joint venture scheme with a partner organisation, such as a housing association or housing development company, to maximise the delivery of new housing and genuinely affordable housing in the county.
  • Urge government to do more to ensure that Local Housing Allowance rates cover the cost of private renting, and mitigate any unintended consequences from the abolition of Section 21 (no fault) evictions.
  • Amend elements of the current Right to Buy system (council tenants buying their council homes) to promote the replacement and provision of genuinely affordable housing.
  • •Ensure that Starter Homes are delivered in addition to, and not instead of, other forms of affordable housing.

38 Comments

  1. 80 percent of affordable council housing has been sold off and NOT replaced since thatcher s insane policy of selling off houses . Nowadays people cannot get their own mortgages because they are in most cases renting at exhorbitant cost to pay off their landlords mortgage. Until we bring back rent control most people will NOT be able to save up for their OWN house

    • Rent control isn’t the utopia it is often depicted as. Look at what is happening in Sweden and Germany for starters who have had rent controls in for a number of years.

    • Rents in thanet have only just caught up with inflation over the last 20 years. The council forced ip rents in cliftonville with its selective licensing charges, endless new inspection requirements all cost more to be done. None of it is any problem but as with any business its the customer that pays. Improvements to energy efficiency required by legislation are also going to increase rents far beyond any likely fuel savings.
      How many private homes have 5 yearly electrical inspections, legionella risk assessment, fire risk assessment, annual gas safety, have to reach a set efficiency standard, have their maintenance and repair done at no cost?
      Social housing is all well and good but it pays no tax and TDC’s housing departments staff will have their pensions paid by the council tax payer. Put everything on an even footing and it’ll soon be seen that social housing is not as cheap overall as some think.

  2. Housing shortage is a National problem. Depending on whose figures you believe, it is likely that we are some 5m homes short, based on the need to replace some very old homes with more desirable and more ecofriendly ones, plus the increase in population from 49m when the Green Belt Act was introduced in the late ’40s to 67m now. After the war we had garden cities built and really smart prefabs to ease the crisis and it worked. Planning consents are very piecemeal and are usually one at a time rather than 10000 at a time, and innovation in the type of house allowed is very conservative. At the current rate of building, we will never reach the stage of having a decent home for all. The price of anything depends on the supply. Planning permission for land is the biggest hurdle. Agricultural land cost around £8000 per acre. With planning permission, the cost of that land becomes £1m per acre which equates to around £90000 per house just for the land. The only fair solution is to make sure that there are always 2m plots available on the market and take the high profit out of the system. Then houses can be built and sold for £100000. In addition, there must be competitions for innovative solutions to the housing styles and TV programmes which promote the idea. But, no doubt the NIMBY’s will win and the lesser spotted frog will get to keep his own habitat rather than design the environment that we can all share!

  3. There are no affordable homes in Thanet for renters, they are all overpriced, meaning most of their income is paid to the landlords before bills and expenses. Those on benefits are having to top up their rents which is making them short for other essentials.
    There are no affordable homes for buyers getting onto the housing market either. What are called affordable are in fact unaffordable for those on an average income.
    The rich get richer and the poorer stay poor in the UK under the Tories. They have their system well marked out so it stays that way.

    • They are putting alot of affordable homes to part ownership, which is conning people desperate to get on the housing ladder as they end up paying even more in the long run

      • Yep especially as often the part owner occupier is responsible for 100% of the maintenance costs etc. Yet receives no extra discount if they ever choose to purchase additional portions of their home.

  4. Thanet is a run down area with low paid jobs.

    Thanet is a well off area with lots of big houses and flashy cars.

    As someone else said the rich get richer the poor get poorer.

    The wicked witch sold off our council houses on the cheap and never replaced that housing stock. This allowed her friends the big landlords to charge obscene private rents in some cases in shocking houses. Our kids are being forced into renting without any security or a chance to put down roots and start families.
    Our kids cant afford the mortgages because house prices are to expansive. Most jobs are minimal wage. Most are paying 70% on private rent.

    Something is seriously wrong in the uk a small percentage of people have all the money.

    The people who can afford the flashy cars and houses etc I can think of alot nicer places to live than thanet !. Once retired I cant wait to move away to a cheaper area to live in.

  5. Airb&bs have become a problem round here. Often they are owned by someone who doesn’t doesn’t live in the area and they take people away from hotels that the area partly relies on for employment

  6. I heard recently that a mews development in Westgate, near the centre, has 8 dwellings of which only 2 are lived in permanently–the rest are air bnb type rentals or second homes– you can build them, but you cannot dictate who buys them.

    • Actually, you CAN dictate who buys some properties.
      For example, if there was a push to build smaller one or two-bed flats and houses, specifically for those aged over ,say,55 or 60, that would free up bigger. family-sized houses that the over-60s had owned when they had young families. But, if there is nowhere smaller and affordable to buy/rent, the older person will just stay in their 3,or 4-bed, house, using up valuable family homes.
      If smaller homes were available, JUST, for older residents, I would buy one myself!!!!

  7. There are no affordable houses in Thanet..The rental prices are through the roof.. Social housing is a thing of the past now..As for Maggie Thatcher- She just encouraged greed.. Social housing was built for the working class who couldn’t afford to buy.. Most of the council houses are probably in the hands of buy to let .landlords.. Disgraceful.

  8. Keefogs there are small homes for the over 55/60, as a friend of mine is in one. But also has been told that these are being sold off as the become empty and not reused for the older generation. The money they make on the sale is straight in the pocket for them and away they go smiling. Plus it doesn’t help when London council’s are paying up to £15,000 for each home to move out of London. Thanet is dead and finished

  9. I work in property and the way rents are going up generally is unsustainable. We always check the LHA rates and try not to go far outside these unless a property is WAY ABOVE the norm. The problem lies with the bloated management and decision-making practices of Housing Associations & Local Authorities etc. TDC should enter into strategic partnerships with developers or construction companies who can then deliver the properties at a reasonable cost. In the private sector the cost of building a house or Flat seems to be around 25% less than when the public sector clipboards get involved. TDC could employ this model with land or properties they own already or, if sites need to be bought, they could utilise cheap Government Public Works Loan Board capital to acquire sites then tender the design and build competitively. The nature of local government is that it is high on admin and low on action. The resulting properties’ value would exceed the cost of construction so TDC’s Balance Sheet would also improve.

    • Tdc is more concerned with making sure that it is totally removed from any criticism or responsibility , so they farm out all their inspection and repair work, and accept and implement every recomendation from said contractors. Recently i received a fire risk assessment for a building where the build date was assumed to be 15 years later than the actual date. When queried the council said they had no way of telling the assessor when the building was constructed. My guess is that its rather a case of the later date means they can use more convenient assumptions.
      Every year i get bills for work that has either not been done or done badly. This year the bill for the common areas electricity has jumped from 250 to 875 , nothing new has been installed in the building.
      No one in the council housing departments wants to take responsibility or question anything.
      There’s currently a programme of changing locks ( the current locks work but some during inspection were unlocked)on cupboard doors because tenants are storing combustibles in them, but then the tenants get keys, so other than being able to show the cupboards could be locked its unlikely anything will change.
      Works by contractors carried out to appalling standards, ( a corner cut out of a door to get a pipe through) work had to be redone.
      A flat roof replaced in 1999 but was never done properly, being replaced in total rather than do a proper repair, a railing system on same roof poorly designed and is damaging the felt. Doors from tanks rooms never painted or treated from the day they were installed, meaning in driving rain water gets into the tamk room and drips into common areas.
      The list is endless.
      Council publishes statements when they prosecute a private landlord for no licence or other offence, council has over 100 gas certs not valid and problems with electrical certification, they get away with a statement along the lines of

      “We’re sorry that we’ve not performed as we should, lessons have been learnt and we will make sure we do better in future”

      And yet people want to throw evermore money at them to waste.

  10. Housing everyone will always be difficult, those named above in this article have really not succeeded.
    So many flats/houses currently let out are being sold,the tenants may be kept on or they need to find new accommodation. some of those properties will need remedial work following the tragic event at Grenfell.
    Not just external insulation.
    Everyone knows leasehold properties, possibly other properties will need a survey and the necessary remedial work competently carried out (draft PAS9980)

    Once the new regulations are in place, hopefully developers will have the confidence to build many tower blocks in thanet !.

    Problem solved.

    Also apart from the home grown low cost property seekers, there is also the refugees & migrants that need permanent accommodation.

    So action is needed by people that can actually make a change for the good.

    Others will disagree. The housing draft recommendations will change.

  11. I agree with many of the points made by Jon Dahms, a housing rental crisis is looming. I’m receiving ever more emails from tenants being evicted by landlords who are selling their property rather than undertake expensive repairs or who just want to rent to a more affluent family who will pay an increased rent. Still too many empty properties and very few actual affordable homes for low income renters.

    • Just wait and see what happens if the proposed epc C rating for rented property becomes law, huge swathes of thanets older rented housing will become totally uneconomical to upgrade unless rents become substantially higher yet again. Unless they are bought up and improved by large corporate landlords able to make the investments required a goid percentage of the current rental stock will be sold. Not that the exchequer will mind as it’ll result in substantial cgt receipts.
      As stated elsewhere a lot of property has also gone into short term holiday lets as this can be very attractive financially.

    • Cllr Currie you must also agree with point about the dreadful overhead of TDC getting involved?
      Recent schemes funded by government grants have included up to 25% TDC ‘admin’ costs, the LGA published data shows TDC as one of the highest on HQ costs and of course there are the on going internal battles that have resulted in hefty legal bills, senior staff suspended/off work on full pay and their duties being put out to contractors – all non productive expenditure.
      Little wonder there is no money for property maintenance and tennant support – councillors need to get a grip.

  12. Manston airport is not necessary. There is no need for an airport at the end of nowhere. You could build a lot of affordable houses on that land instead of squashing homes here there and everywhere in thanet.

  13. Rent controls, building of council homes (not on green land), a ban on landbanking and renovation of disused/derelict town centre properties.

    • Rent controls have a long history of failure. Berlin has changed its long standing laws on this. Its been a failure across europe.
      In general politicians are keen to be seen to be looking after renters so try to keep rents low but at the same time force up standards, nothing wrong with either but you can’t have both.
      Plus you need to realise that in european states the assured long term rentals come as a bare shell the renter is responsible for fitting it out .
      Just as here social housing providers don’t provide carpets and often not even a cooker. In trinity square when the new social housing was allocated years back , social services paid for the carpets as the tenants refused to buy them. Yet another extra cost to the taxpayer.

    • Not in a low value area such as thanet, the costs are too high in relation to the value of the finished property. Only the council / grant funded social providers can afford to do so to the required current standards. But it still provides accomodation that is not especially attractive to many and tends to create pockets of problematic tenants.

  14. The blame lies 100% on Maggie Thatcher her and her tory lap dogs set out to stop the working classes.
    By selling of the council house of on the cheap to working classes was a con. Knowing that once they were bought the kids of working class families would have no council house to move into and start putting down roots.
    Knowing that the council house would end up being sold to her voters and people who bought cheap in big cities could move to the countryside or coast and push up prices there.

    Thatchers plan of divid and conker has worked.

    Thanet is now pricing out of our kids reach by high ptv rent and high housing prices. Thanet is going all for the arty set and people who like the area to look as mess with uncut areas everywhere because it’s good for wildlife ! No it looks a bloody mess.

    I have lived here for over 40 years and have never felt unwanted , this isn’t the place I first moved to, i am not an arty person, or a mad save the plant. Just a normal bloke try to earn enough to pay pvt rent. I dont belong in thanet any more, I dont recognise it anymore

    • You have to also take into account the way social housing has been allocated since the late 90’s. No longer can a working family expect to get a council property as its all needs based, which means that these days a vast majority of social housing goes to those reliant on benefits and tax credits.
      Then you have the massive population increase in the uk since 1980 56million and now 68 million. With even greater % increases in the south east, which consequently has the most expensive housing.
      More people wanting ever better living standards but lower productivity is going to be a circle that can never be squared to everyomes satisfaction.

  15. I believe there is no such thing as affordable renting or ownership. All talk and no results. It is all driven by market forces and controls will never happen in a right wing government or council. When I bought our house in 1976 it was much the same. 70-80% of my low income going to bills and no savings. I was never gong to earn much in Thanet but stuck the hard times out.
    It is probably worse now. We were lucky to get a mortgage but an inheritance deposit was needed. 33% of house cost. We were lucky is all.
    Not much has changed except landlords being a little greedy. TDC has no plan about this problem with rent costs. Probably never will. My children all live north now. Much cheaper and cleaner places to live in. I might well join them before to long as Thanet is going to the dogs that want more and do less. TDC is more or less broke in financial terms and broken for ideas. Take care out there.

  16. Joe

    The north is so much cleaner and friendly. Thanet really is a dirty messy place.

    You have weeds two foot high along roads, the smell of weed everywhere, people walking around with cans of beer.
    Than you have the arty people who love the mess etc !

    If you are a normal person dont like art by the standard of little kids or dont like walking around with a beer in your hand thanet offers you very little.

    • There may well be a bit of a crunch , quite a few of the incoming londoners etc have arrived wanting to realise life long ambitions in terms of lifestyle and profession, many have done so having sold relatively expensive properties elsewhere and buying cheaper here and using cash released to pursue their interests. Hopefully the majority will succeed and flourish creating employment etc.
      However i’ve been here nearly 40 years and uptil now thanet always seems to be so fixated on trying to pull its socks up that its unaware its trousers have fallen down.
      There’s a financial crunch coming within the council, far too many liabilities on the books and little income and there cannot be much left in the way of the family silver to sell off.

    • “Time to go”- it is simply not true that “there is the smell of weed everywhere” in Thanet. And I very much doubt that “the arty people…love the mess”.

      Much contemporary art, if not all, is way beyond”the standard of little kids”. Have you never been to any exhibitions by local artists?

  17. The article states the council has rented recently build properties at “80% of market rent”, does anyone know where you can find the reference figures for market rent?

  18. An opportunity to shelve the redundant Local Plan (now that ‘bottom up’ is back in vogue following the unlamented demise of Messrs Jenrick and Pincher) and rethink the use of ‘brownfield’ – including the unconscionable surplus of ’empties’ and e g the SAGA site now that ‘homeworking’ has done for that as it presumably has also for the Cecil Sq offices. Dynamic councils have been downsizing spacewise and even taking over Debenham stores. Central Margate and its creative industries could make good use of Cecil Sq. In the States secondary shopping malls are being residentialised – all those hectares of asphalt victim of this new fangled phenomenon called ‘online’. Which would all go to help preserve prime ag, health and happiness. In the meantime a moratorium is required on all substantial estate development – at least until such time as SWater gets its act together (about 5 years down the pike ?)

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