Residents’ support needed for creation of a Margate Town Council

A town council for Margate? Photo Steven Collis

A bid to create a new town council for Margate – replacing the current Charter Trustees system – will need 3,107 signatures of support from residents in relevant wards.

If that number of supporters can be found it will trigger the process which starts with a community governance review – involving two public consultations – before the results go before a full council meeting.

The petition needs to be presented to Thanet council by November with the consultation process then taking a year.

If successful the town council could be approved early in 2023 and come into operation from April 2023, Existing charter trustees would likely be the interim town councillors until elections in May 2023

A meeting held at the Dreamland Ballroom to discuss the proposals this week attracted around 50 participants and details of the process, what duties a town council could take on and how much it would cost in council tax precepts were shared.

In May the Mayor and Charter Trustees of Margate agreed that a plan for a Town Council for Margate should be actively pursued.

They said the formation of an independent Town Council for Margate would mean better direct access to government funds and grants and could benefit the community by being channelled into local projects and initiatives with a more tangible impact.

If successful, the newly-formed Town Council could provide more than 30 services, including those around litter, parking, crime prevention and  parks and green spaces.

Details on a new Margate Town Council website say: “A Town Council would have the power to borrow monies to invest in, for example, a community centre. The Charter Trustees are not permitted to borrow money or own property.”

Projects that have been suggested include restoring the Dane Park fountain, more CCTV installation, increased street cleaning and upgraded children’s play areas.

However, creating a town council would mean a rise in the amount residents pay in council tax precept.

The town council information website says: “In the first year, the budget will be set probably in consultation between the existing Charter Trustees (because of the electoral cycle) and Thanet council.

“The Margate area has the highest population rate in Thanet and the highest number of Band D properties (this determines the level of council tax). This means that costs are spread over more households thereby keeping costs per household lower.

“For example, the (Charter Trustees) council tax budget for 2020-21 was £153.5k with a precept figure of £11.61.

“For 2021-22, the budget (using part of the reserves) is £119k giving rise to a precept of £9.18.

“If the first year’s budget for the new Town Council were to be £300K (if would need to be £303,400) the precept would be £23.40 (based on the Band D tax rate for 2021-22 – the rate fluctuates each year).”

The charter trustees believe the higher rate would be compensated for through the additional benefits to the community, such as  greater involvement to influence decisions and policies.

Residents eligible to sign the petition are those living in wards Cliftonville East and West, Dane Valley, Garlinge , Margate Central, Salmestone and Westbrook.

Charter Trustees will be holding further consultation events.

Public consultations in 2014 resulted in agreement to set up a Westgate Town Council but to retain charter trustees in Margate.

To find out more and/or sign the petition go to the new website here

11 Comments

  1. It’s just another load of bureaucracy The council tax goes up to help pay the extras that the town council will want to do Ramsgate town council are not very transparent I have asked three times how many people are on the allotment waiting list and the council will not say because they know that they have a legal obligation to supply more plots
    Especially how things are now with the shortage of food due to Brexit we will all have to have our own plot to dig for survival.

  2. Don’t bother having a Margate town council it’s a complete waste of time and money,just take a look at Ramsgate Town council , absolutely useless, they are like the secret service, you can never get any information out of them ,

  3. Once again negative comments from people outside Margate. It’s easy to complain about something people don’t understand. All areas of Thanet get more money from the presept than Margate. Perhaps they should actually find out what’s going on the town council’s that already exist including parish councils publish their accounts and precepts on their website. No wonder Thanet is in the dark ages.its time to move on.

  4. Brian, regardless of where Thanet residents live if having yet more bureaucrats in their little ivory hideaways when the council tax goes up we all have to pay more.

  5. The fact only 50 people showed up tells you it isn’t wanted.

    The only people pushing this initiative are the usual self-serving local politicians who think they can make a few more quid out of this.

    Were it to go ahead, the only fair way would be to ensure that none of the existing parasitic gravy train riders are allowed anywhere near it.

  6. “If the first year’s budget for the new Town Council were to be £300K”….. incredible underestimate if it operates like Ramsgate (population 40k vs. 60k Margate) as in 2021 annual return RTC precept (2020) £760k (2021) £941k and looking at “overheads” staff costs of (2020) £312k, (2021) £339k. In fact if you add premises and other items I believe that overheads will account for close to half of income. They do some very good work (and I believe councillors give there time gratis) but please be realistic about the cost/benefits of a town council.

  7. The only reason for voting to appoint councillors to a Town Council is because those appointed to the District Council are failing to meet the electorates expectations and requirements.

    What makes anybody think that the performance and calibre of Town Councillors is going to be any different to that of District Councillors ? Is it not the case that some already perform both roles – and some have shunted from one to the other ?

  8. There is nothing like telling porkie pies enough times to make people think they are on to something.
    Why would a Council not tell you how many are on an allotment waiting list? It’s hardly a state secret. As for saying strings can be pulled to get an allotment, this is mere misogyny by ‘Bill’ and ‘Jupiter’, who obviously have unpleasant axes to grind. My guess is that the waiting list is at least 200 and probably much more after Covid. There, shock horror, a state secret is exposed!
    As for Margate it has a smaller population than Ramsgate, after Westgate broke away 8 years ago.
    I think if they think that £300k will be sufficient to run Margate, they should give up now. Be realistic. Set the budget at around £70/£80 per annum for the precept or about the cost of 1 tank of fuel for the average SUV, and work down from there.
    You will need someone to run it, and if they are paying HGV drivers £40/70k, how much will it cost to get someone in with the right skills. Peanuts and monkeys come to mind. The sort of people that can run a council properly, are rarer than hens teeth, as TDC have shown the public of Thanet, all too often.

  9. A simple observation Isn’t it a measure of how little faith local residents have in our local politicians that after 6 days this article has solicited so few comments !

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