Margate Town Council proposal reaches 1,000 signatures but more are needed

Margate Photo Steven Collis

The push to create a town council for Margate has now reached 1,000 signatures of support.

Residents in seven Margate wards (Garlinge, Westbrook, Margate central, Cliftonville East and West, Dane Valley and Salmestone) will have had a leaflet through their door telling them about Margate’s bid to become a Town Council. Unlike other Thanet towns, Margate is a Charter Town and instead of town councillors the representatives for those wards automatically become Charter Trustees.

Councillor and Charter Trustee for Cliftonville West and Deputy Mayor for Margate, Heather Keen, said: “The roles are very different. A Town Council would be able to make decisions for their community, by people with real local knowledge. A Town Council could renovate our sea shelters as Birchington Parish Council has done, or employ extra street cleaners, as Ramsgate Town Council has, or renovate the Dane Park Fountain, but we as Charter Trustees can do none of this.

“This is why we have launched our bid for a Margate Town Council and have been holding public meetings in each ward to tell people about this and answer questions. “We need to collect 3100 signatures from the people registered to vote in the seven Margate wards who would like to see a Town Council. Once we have the signatures, Thanet District Council will undertake a Community Governance Review and then residents will be asked to vote for or against the idea, with the majority vote winning.

“I think a Town Council would bring real benefits to Margate and we have many passionate people in our community who would make excellent town councillors and give a real voice to local people.

“So far we have collected almost 1000 signatures, but this is only one third of what we need, so I hope people will continue to sign the online petition.”

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.

Cllr Rob Yates

District councillor and Charter Trustee Rob Yates added: “A Margate Town Council is an excellent opportunity to bring much needed investment into our town – from hiring dedicated maintenance teams, restoring the Dane Park fountain, investing in derelict buildings and borrowing money to invest in future projects. We need every registered voter in each Margate household to sign the petition to get this moving, so please sign and share! We hope we can get the final 2,000 signatures by Christmas this year.”

Find the petition at MargateTownCouncil.co.uk

 

19 Comments

  1. These clowns fail to point out where this additional money comes from… As well as the money you already pay in council tax, part of which should be being used by TDC to do all the things these snakeoil salespeople are suggesting could be down under a Town Council, you will also be expected to pay more to cover the newly created Town Council. Yes, that’s right, you’ll pay twice and still the place will look a mess.

    The same people championing this idea are the very same people who have presided over the slow and steady decline of Margate for the longest time. Their incompetence, corruption, indecision and folly comes at ours, the residents expense, both figuratively and literally.

    You would have to be clinically insane to want to hand more money and more power to these people.

      • Yes, the wrong one.
        The key point is that there is too little money available to councils of all sizes. With a District or County you pay more for less. With a Town Council you pay more and get more, targeted on your community.
        The fact is we want Swedish style heath care and public services, and only want to pay Greek taxes, where everyone avoids paying.
        Sure, we can all do better, when we are not actually running something, and god knows how bad TDC has been since its inception, but anyone can do better than them. Do we want to live in squalor and decay, or do we want to turn things around. Margate needs to make that choice.
        True enough, Ramsgate does not sweep the streets, but it does power wash them, and pick up large amounts of crap, fly -tipped by visitors and residents, alike.
        TDC is dead, and the sooner a unitary East Kent Council replaces it, the better. If that happened a proper deal between Unitary and Town might be struck, so rat bags in TDC estates are restrained from selling off parts of each town.
        Another way of looking at it is cost. How much does it cost to fill up your car. Answer around £60 to £80. That’s about the amount of a typical Town Council precept per year.
        Think about it. Stop using your car as much, save money, get fitter, save the planet and put more investment into your community.

  2. Good insight in the use of the Margate Town Council
    1. Refurbish a fountain
    2. Refurbish a fountain
    3. Oh yes there is a fountain that needs refurbishment
    After that is done we can disband the town council (its not apathy that one does not sign, but not wanting it in the first place)

  3. James – I applaud your post and observations. Absolutely correct. For example, what an earth has Mr Yates achieved for benefit of Margate? I watched the recent meeting of TDC on You Tube and despaired. Amateur is best word to describe what I saw and heard.

  4. Heather Keen, has Ramsgate Town Council really enployed more street cleaners. Walk around Ramsgate and it’s not exactly clean. Anyway, are the cleaners not paid for in your council tax ?

  5. Maybe they can correct the form to allow the email address, no wonder they have only collected 1000 as the form is corrupted, (the value must be unique) what my email address is unique to me only.

  6. Spot on comments – TDC is a failing organisation; it seems we are being told it is easier to create another organisation to cover the shortcomings than it does to tackle the root of the problem.
    What is not said in the article is that we all end up paying twice to get the same outcome – litter collection, fountains, street sweepers, basic maintenance of shelters and other assets.
    Meanwhile the bloated, incompetent, chumocracy (senior management and cosy councillors) at TDC continue to draw their salaries and allowances for doing even less for the people of Thanet.

  7. Will turkeys vote for Christmas though ? The expectation over the next couple of years is that disposable income will be hit by between £500 and £1,000 and not all of Margate will be keen to volunteer Ramsgate level precepts to fund another layer of bureaucracy.
    The principal arguments for a TC appear to be 1) cleaner streets (this is to the benefit of central businesses who already pay £10 millions or so in rates and might legitimately expect greater consideration for a ‘tourist economy’ and 2) fundraising : it has been suggested that TDEC could let some of its unoccupied acres to fund a dedicated officer (like what Thanet used to have) as the Regeneration Team is clearly underresourced (witness their ‘shyness’ over the Levelling Up Fund for Margate.
    Maybe the role of T & P Councils will be much strengthened under a Devolution Act which is likely to promote an East Kent Combined – then might be a more propitious time to canvass ?

  8. I sent the following questions to our Mayor on 7 Oct, and two reminders since. None have received a reply.

    “I am a resident of Cliftonville East and attended your meeting on Wednesday 29 Sept’21.
    Whilst the poor acoustics of that hall made it exceptionally difficult to hear exactly what was being said, I believe it was claimed that MTC would have more success in getting TDC to perform its responsibilities than our elected TDC councillors can. Is that the case and if so why?
    For the current TDC leader to exclaim frustration at the slowness or inability of TDC to provide satisfactory services to the community, or even information in response to her needs and enquiries, was understandable, I feel it was incorrectly suggested as a reason for creating MTC. TDC’s issues need to be fixed at source, not by creating MTC as an “opposition” to TDC, even though that clearly appealed to many in the audience. Is public expectation of such an opposition role and outcome, realistic or would they be disappointed by the reality?
    I had the presumption before the meeting that the Services allocation between MTC and TDC would be negotiated and once agreed, neither council could, or would be able to enforce the responsibilities of the other, as they each have their own councillors. Am I wrong and would MTC be able to better press TDC than its elected councillors, and would that be a benefit worth paying extra for, even though we already pay TDC for all the services it is supposed to provide?
    I also sense the Charter Trustees’ growing discomfort in demanding a precept for which the increasingly discontent electorate receive no benefit. Is that not the main reason for this proposal and if so please advise why creating an MTC is the only solution you propose? Please explain why the Trust cannot or should not be dissolved or reduce its precept to zero?
    Is it not the case that if Margate residents all pay a precept of 10 times what we currently do to the Trust, MTC’s spending power would only be 1/100th of TDC’s £130m? I also wish to know why many new councillors plus supporting admin and operatives, are needed to spend just £1m, costing us all an extra £77 a year, for services we already pay for but do not receive?
    Finally, I have personal experience of TDC and KCC blaming each other at high level for certain failures in service. Would MTC not be adding yet another opportunity for such buck passing, confusion and dissatisfaction?”

    • All good points. The Mayor is bloody useless, also chair of the planning committee!!! where his support of TDC officers is a disgrace. If the same councillors are elected onto the MTC then the process is a waste of time. As you point out the current CT9 councillors have achieved nothing and allowed our area to decline year on year. They never ask where the £150,000 goes and who collects the , approx, £72,000 a year on salaries and for what?

  9. Well said James and all who oppose this suggestion. What benefit will you receive Nill, Nothing, Zilch.
    Look at Ramsgate Town Council as an example. RTC committed the residents money to pay for a Judicial Review of Manston Airport. They committed £4,000 for a very bias report organised by people opposed to and who stipulated what should be in the report.
    Please ask residents of other town councils or Parish councils if they are getting value for money. Ask how long councillors have stayed for the full term and if not why.
    I cannot see why residents should pay twice for a service that residents pay for in their property taxes. Why do TDC pass on our heritage to town or parish councils whom charge us yet again for carrying out maintenance that we already pay for in our property taxes.
    Why are we the residents paying for the management mistakes. i.e. compensation to ex members of staff and officers legal fee’s.

  10. Some people are obnoxious and short sighted, we all strive for change through sacrifice prevalent an opportunity to prevail and succeed poverty and deprivation so what not take advantage to the opposite of disadvantaged 🤓

  11. Martin castle you are right time so for change I remember when Margate was its own borough council before TDC was formed it worked well streets were clean toilets were always open the Walpole bay lift was open in the summer season loads of events you never heard vile aimed at members of the borough council like there is today aiming at the charter trustees they have no power to do anything calling people corrupt crooks is disgusting these are the same people that made nasty comments at recent public meetings who surprisingly want a town council. A reminder that councillors don’t get told everything from the civil servants at TDC they should respect the councillors and do what they are told to carry out manifesto promises by the parties whoever at the time has the majority on TDC.

  12. Like others above I really do not see the value in creating MTC in an attempt to deal with some of the shortcomings of TDC.
    Our councillors need to address these problems and failings in performance and if the systems are not in place to do this then they should seek further assistance from central govt to suspend TDC and bring it under the jurisdiction of external auditors as happened in Tower hamlets due to corruption.

  13. I finally got the “no comment” response below from the Mayor in response to my questions, posted above.

    “The Freedom of Information Act covers any recorded information which includes printed documents, computer files, letters, emails, photographs and sound or video recordings. The information you require is not covered by the Act but is based upon views, speculation and conjecture.”

    At a time when the Trust should be particularly transparent and informative, they choose to be the opposite. Why?

    I’ve done a fair bit of research into the history of the Trust so appreciate its purpose and do believe if far better considered than it has been, transition into a Town Council would be a good thing. However the timing is both bad and suspicious, when TDC is so dysfunctional and MTC is being sold by so many of the trustees as solving TDC problems. The obfuscation and mostly silence that proper questions get, suggests this is an intentional distraction.

    I strongly object to Margate Town Council being formed without positive answers to our questions, plus a commitment to any services negotiated for transfer from TDC to MTC to include a commensurate cost offset i.e. so that we do not pay twice for such service.

    Until such time as an MTC wins Margate residents’ favour easily, the Trust should adjust its costs and the precept we pay, to the minimum necessary to comply with its statutory obligations, and also ensure that minimum reserves are carried forward.

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