Thanet district election 2023: Margate candidates

Election time

District and town/parish council elections will be held on May 4.

At district level candidates are vying for 56 seats to represent 23 electoral wards.

Voters will need to show photographic ID to be able to cast their vote. See full list of photo ID accepted at GOV.UK

If you do not have any of the accepted photo ID, and you want to vote at the polling station, you will need to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate. This is a free photographic identification document specific for the purposes of voting. Apply here

Postal voters will not be affected and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual.

All profiles are submitted in the candidates own words

Cliftonville East

Donald Challinger – Labour

I live on the Northdown Estate in Palm Bay and am standing as a Labour candidate in the Cliftonville East ward. Born in Dartford I moved into London as a teenager and worked there in IT for over 40 years. After moving down to Thanet my last job was delivering medication for a local pharmacy, which meant that I got to know the area and the people very well.

I have been a passionate supporter of the Labour party since my teens and am now chair of the Cliftonville branch and fundraising officer for the party in the South Thanet constituency. I

I believe in social justice, equality of opportunity, the NHS, and a fair legal system. If elected I would campaign for more social housing and improvements in private rentals. I would also like to see the council do more on green issues.

Jessica Lauren – Green

I moved to Palm Bay estate six and a half years ago, and I feel so lucky to be able to live in this special place. I’m a musician, an enthusiastic sea swimmer and bellyboarder, a volunteer litter picker, and I’m passionate about our area and the environment.

I’ve been involved with Thanet Green Party for the past two years, and helped get Abi Smith get elected for the Thanet Villages in 2021 with a huge majority of the vote. I’m full of admiration for our Green Councillors and their passion, motivation and commitment in making Thanet as great as it can possibly be, and I’d love to be able to join them and help do the same for Cliftonville East. A Green in the room makes a difference!

My priorities are keeping our streets and beaches safe, clean and in good condition, sorting out the serious issues of traffic and parking in summer, ensuring we have quality local services, and doing everything we can to protect and improve the environment, both in and out of the water.

Barry Lewis – Labour

I am standing for Thanet District Council because I think the area needs cleaning up. Everywhere there is litter and fly tipping spoiling our environment. I am independently minded and will fight your corner against the faceless bureaucrats. Your problem is my problem to solve.

Barry Manners – Conservative

Cedric, Marc and Barry

I have had a long business career in facilities management, property and leisure. As a local resident I’ve been drawn in to local politics through my voluntary work, setting up the Friends of Botany Bay, working to protect our coastline and promoting biodiversity.

I co-led the parking group that campaigned for a pragmatic seasonal parking scheme in the area, putting residents’ concerns first.

I want better management of our visitor economy to create wealth and jobs. We must tackle the issues of litter and anti social behaviour. We are an ecologically sensitive area with limited infrastructure (inc toilets!).  The area is not suited as a day trip destination for zero spend visitors.

I have campaigned for Southern Water to be held to account. I have personally lobbied in the media to secure funding from them to employ a local beach cleaner. We must demand much more across Thanet.

I’m also concerned to protect our green spaces. Much work has already been done to encourage biodiversity on the Ridings.  This needs to be protected.

Finally I want to see an elected local authority that is transparent and responsive to residents’ needs and concerns.

Marc Rattigan – Conservative

I’m a local family man and currently own and manage a group of Nursery Schools across Thanet.

I have lived in Cliftonville all my life and am passionate about redeveloping the area for the local residents. I am undertaking extensive refurbishment of the Old Thornton Bobbys building in Northdown road.  I’m involved in helping local charities in the area.

I have a wide experience and background in Healthcare, Education and Business Management, which I feel would be an attribute to being a councillor. I feel the younger generation are under-represented in local government and I want to change this so that every generation has a voice within local government.

Cedric Towning – Conservative

My wife Avril and I have lived in Cliftonville for 20 years. I have worked with profoundly disabled young people and also was Catering Manager for Margate and Ashford Pilgrims Hospices and, as a qualified chef, helped develop a community service assisting patients and families preparing food at home.

I routinely meet local people to hear their concerns: concerns I share and am committed to improving.  I secured a permanent home for our Farmers Market. I also helped to create the wild flower meadow in Knockholt Road, to restore Dell Gardens and to organise the warm space at St. Philips Church. I assist community groups supporting causes including litter-picking, beach-cleaning and fundraising for local projects.

Barbara McCulloch – Labour

Barbara moved to Thanet in 2011, having taken early retirement from the civil service. Since living here she has been involved in helping people through a charitable organisation.

Barbara is acutely aware of the difficulties faced by many members of our community and is always ready to help. Her time as a civil servant at the Home Office gave her a wealth of experience of working with various public services, which she could put to good use.

Barbara’s whole ethos is to help those most in need and she can be relied on to do just that through sheer hard work.

Cliftonville West

Alan Currie – Labour

I have lived in Cliftonville with my family for over 25 years and work part-time as an ESL teacher. I have been an active member of my community for many years and was elected as a Labour district councillor for Cliftonville West in 2019. Since then, I have worked extremely hard to improve funding and services in the area, while helping residents with a range of issues in my casework and ward surgery.

I have forged contacts with many resident and community groups, campaigned regularly for improved street-cleaning and recycling in Cliftonville West, as well as the welcome introduction of mixed communal recycling bins on Northdown Road and other areas.

I strongly supported Cliftonville West being well represented in the Margate Town Deal and am happy to see plans firmly in place for the skate park and improvements to Walpole Bay. As a member of the council’s overview and scrutiny panel, I will also continue to hold Southern Water to account to protect our coastal environment and ensure that Cliftonville West receives its fair share of funding, such as the new children’s playground on the seafront. Thank you for your support!

Gary-Paul Derriman – Thanet Independents

Gary-Paul Photo Chrissie Mienes

I have been involved in local work for many years as an engineer, chef and publican.

I have also been involved with the promotion of Cliftonville, Margate and surrounding areas for many years, including through 10 years with the Margate Town Team.

I hope I can represent your opinions and ideas as your local councillor. Those of us that live here know what a lovely place it can be with care and attention it still can be.

Nickie Holding – Conservative

Ross Holding – Conservative

Heather Keen – Labour

I have been a councillor for Cliftonville West since 2019. I have enjoyed working with the community to improve our area and I am standing again to continue to do so.

I am a nurse and health visitor by background but left the NHS in 2015 and have worked in a variety of jobs since, including at Northdown Road Post Office and with Kent Coast Volunteering, running social groups for older people.

I am an enthusiastic but slow runner and take part in the Palm Bay Park Run when I can.

I am also a keen gardener and have finally got an allotment, so I am busy working on that.

Harry Scobie – Labour

I am a retired science teacher. I am married with three adult children and six grandchildren. I have been a councillor for 12 years and represented Cliftonville West for the last four.

I have been a governor at a local primary school for over 30 years. I am involved in many local groups such as Margate Museum, Margate Civic Society, Margate Operatic, GRASS and Cliftonville Cultural Space. I have supported a variety of local groups within Cliftonville West.

I was sad to have to wind up ABC (A Better Cliftonville), but glad that the money from that group went to Cliftonville Community Centre to support their work with local residents in need.

I have served on a number of Thanet District Council committees including planning, licensing, joint transportation board, general purposes, standards and overview and scrutiny.

My fellow ward councillors and I have held regular monthly surgeries and delivered newsletters three times a year to every household in Cliftonville West.

Matt Shoul – Green

I’ve lived on Athelstan Road for almost 6 years and founded ARTRA (Athelstan Road Tenants & Residents’ Association) in 2018, to give community concerns a higher TDC & media profile, through campaigns & establishing a close working relationship with Council officers, County & District councillors & local online, print & broadcast media.

As outgoing chairperson who’s been described as ‘the driving force behind ARTRA’, I’m proud of our successes, including:

  • 20mph zone,
  • improved street lighting,
  • reduced dependence on unmanageable paladin bins & improved bin collection cycle,
  • plans for an alleyway community garden, security gating & state-of-the-art CCTV funded by a a £50K+ DEFRA grant to TDC
  • double yellow lines in the Haven car park entranceway,
    • significantly greater attention to rogue landlords by TDC Housing, Street Scene Enforcement & Task Force
    • new PSPO – Public Space Protection Order – for ASB & associated issues.

Previously, I’ve worked as a music teacher and in a Pupil Referral Unit with children excluded from school, as a songwriter and musician with Indie band Sugarvein (sponsored for 15 years by Radiohead’s A&R!), as an architectural assistant and in SFX/CGI for film & television. I’ve also volunteered for 35 years with educational charity Forest School Camps.

Avril Towning – Conservative

I have lived in Cliftonville West with my husband, Cedric since 2003 and have acquired extensive local knowledge of the area.  I have worked in Parliament for over 35 years assisting MPs to run their Parliamentary constituencies and currently work part time for Craig Mackinlay, the South Thanet MP.  I bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding about issues affecting Cliftonville West, as I assist Craig on a daily basis with his constituents.

Dane Valley

Martin Boyd – Labour

Martin wants to stand to be your local councillor because he cares about our community and wants things to improve. He works in a customer service role at Boots and enjoys helping people. He will be a councillor that answers his phone, replies to emails and provides regular updates on what he has been working on.

Martin is standing for Labour because he wants everyone to benefit, rather than just a few. If you elect him, he will work hard to get improvements for our area.

His top priority issues will be: tackling anti-social behaviour; getting fly-tipping cleared up; opposing cuts to services in the community; supporting local businesses to recover from COVID-19; and campaigning against food, fuel and energy poverty.

Until lockdown changed our world, Martin was a volunteer for Look Good Feel Better in the Viking Unit at QEQM, helping patients undergoing treatment to care for their traumatised skin.

Martin represents the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) as a delegate to the Labour party locally.

He looks after two rescue cats from Celia Hammond Animal Trust and one stray that just moved in of its own accord!

Ruth Duckworth – Labour

Ruth is the current Labour councillor for Dane Valley. In the last four years she has gained a good understanding of the issues that matter to residents by listening to them at her surgery, responding to emails and phone calls, and attending events in Dane Valley.

She has supported tenant engagement days, Dane Valley Residents’ Association meetings, the community Christmas fun day and a Cost of Living Crisis Support day in Millmead Hall.

She attended Drapers Mills Primary School summer kitchen, the Durban Road scout fair and Windmill Community Gardens’ pumpkin day. She is also a board member at Millmead Children’s Centre.

Ruth has held the current Tory administration at Thanet District Council to account over the future of the Winter Gardens and liaised with Kent County Council on lighting and road issues. She has taken action on fly-tipping, housing issues and helped people navigate the NHS hospital appointment system. She has also taken part in litter picks and tree-planting in Dane Park.

Chris Newman – Green

I’m a General Practitioner of 15 years and heavily involved in climate advocacy from a health perspective. This includes being an unpaid director for EarthMedic, a health and climate NGO based out of Trinidad, run by the former head of the Caribbean Public Health Agency.

During Covid I helped set up a link between my practice and various local mutual aid groups, in order to help get help to those who needed it. I worked 2 weeks in the Nightingale intensive care hospital for the brief time it was open, during the worst of covid-19.

Originally from Manchester, I came to Margate with my partner in 2021 via Birmingham and London. With her I set up a short film and conversation night originally at 101 social, and am in the process of organising a 4 day pop up event in April to promote Take The Jump. This is an environmental organisation for which I am an unpaid ambassador, and whose work was recently featured on BBC Sounds.

I play tennis regularly at Margate Tennis club, and enjoy comedy, cycling along the seafront, walking in Dane Woods, and spending time with my family.

Jack Packman – Labour

Jack lives in and grew up in Dane Valley. He is passionate about improving communities and individual lives. To that end he decided he wanted to have an influence in local politics. He is chair of Labour’s Margate branch, secretary of the North Thanet constituency, chair of governors at Northdown Primary School and a prominent member of Dane Valley Residents’ Association. Jack has also run the Margate Carnival since 2014 and recently organised the Margate Christmas Lights event.

Jack’s working life chimes well with his ambitions for the community. He currently works for a housing association and is passionate about investment in grassroot communities and development of local services. Jack has organised key events in Dane Valley to benefit the local residents, such as cost-of-living-crisis cafes, community fun days, Christmas fun days and litter picks. He is currently working with residents on the speeding issues on Dane Valley Road by forming the new Speed Watch project.

If you elect Jack as your councillor, his priorities align with his fellow candidates for Dane Valley: tackling anti-social behaviour, litter and fly-tipping, housing, food and fuel poverty and more.

Mike Smith – Conservative

Mike Smith, I’m the candidate who cares about Dane Valley and its people! With my unwavering support for Manston Airport, economic growth, affordable housing creation and preservation of our agricultural land. I am the reliable candidate who will make our community thrive. As a successful business owner I understand the importance of tourism and infrastructure development to boost local businesses. Count on me to deliver better public services and secure the bright future we deserve.

David Wallin – Thanet Independents

David, who has lived in Thanet since the 1970s, been a Westgate-on- Sea Town Councillor since 2019 and a Dane Valley Ward TDC Councillor, since 2021, says that he would ‘passionately’ love to continue representing Dane Valley over ‘at least the next four years’, so that he can continue to ‘listen to the residents and help out’, in any way he can.

David says ‘I would really like the chance to continue representing Dane Valley, and I do think there is still a fair bit to do there – I am so pleased that I was able to get the Police, along with representatives from both the District & County Councils, to visit Dane Park recently, looking into making it into a safer area, along with fixing the broken lights’.

Alongside Dane Park. David feels that he has achieved a lot in the area over the past couple of years, including being the one who brought about getting the ‘warzone’ of the derelict & collapsing garage block, on Tomlin Drive, removed. David feels that there is still a lot needed in the Dane Valley area, and thinks he is one of the ones to do it.


Kerry Boyd – Conservative

I have had the privilege of representing Garlinge ward at Thanet District Council for the past four years. Garlinge is very special to me and my family; my grandparents were proud owners of Marks greengrocers on the High Street, I attended both Garlinge Primary and Hartsdown Academy and my first job was at Barbara’s Baps! I’m a former chair of the Garlinge Residents’ Association (GRA).

I have successfully led as chair of the Governance and Audit committee, as well as been an active member on other committees and on Cabinet advisory groups. Using my excellent communication skills, attention to detail, and empathy I have helped residents solve a range of issues and problems.

I am a strong advocate for supporting Thanet’s young people; I’m a member on the Manston Skills and Employability Board, I’ve volunteered at Holiday Activity and Food programmes and facilitated the Thanet Youth Council. In my day job, I work on behalf of the NHS as an employment specialist, supporting people into employment as part of their recovery from mental Illness.

I’m passionate about supporting the local community. During the pandemic I volunteered to make welfare calls to the clinically vulnerable residents of Thanet. I’ve been a trustee of the Thanet RSPCA branch, a Princes Trust mentor, volunteered at Margate Pride and been a regular quiz master for the GRA. I also play in the local women’s football league and enjoy running.

Maria Castellina – Labour

There’s so much to be proud of in Garlinge: a fantastic school, beautiful surroundings, and a friendly community.

But too many people in Garlinge, and across Margate, are struggling. Trapped by spiralling bills, cuts to services, and high-cost housing. As a new mum, I want to build a community where every family can thrive.

We should all have access to the essential building blocks of life: a warm home, a job that pays enough, a clean environment and health care when we need it. But right now, for most of us, that just isn’t the case.

I have always been active in my community. As a youth worker, I created safe spaces for all young people. I campaigned to help women fleeing domestic violence. And, during the pandemic, I supported neighbours that were shielding. In my job, I help charities act on crucial issues including health, child protection, and climate change. In my spare time, I also play rugby for Thanet Wanderers.

If elected, I would:

– protect our public services from cuts

– create ways for people in Garlinge and Margate to be more involved with the council decisions that affect them

– clean up our streets, countryside and coastline, and make sure we leave a healthy environment for the next generation.

John Dennis – Thanet Independents

I am a local man and have served this Ward for 8 years since you first elected me to help with your concerns. In that time, I have been on many TDC committees, dealing with a variety of issues including planning and licensing. When someone rings or emails me about a problem, I like to go out and see them at their home and try and solve the problem. I am also on the committee of the resident’s group in our ward and have done my best to get things done.

Stephen Fenning – Labour

Stephen has been living in Thanet for over 10 years and been active in the community, working in partnership with local charities and youth organisation to deliver support services and activities for some of the most vulnerable in our communities.

During the pandemic, Stephen supported local charities to secure essential grant funding to continue to deliver services such as food bank, hygiene bank and IT equipment for local families. He is keen to use his influence if elected to help find solutions to some of the challenges faced by the community in Thanet.

As a councillor, Stephen will have an open-door policy where the community can come to him with issues that need addressing locally. He is committed to social justice and always working to ensure representation of all voices.

Bernard Kirkham – Green

I’ve lived in Thanet since 1990, and love it, warts and all. In standing as a TDC councillor, I’ll concentrate on trying to do something about the warts! I’m aware of many, but I want to listen to individual and general concerns of residents, particularly about the Council’s work, and to use my powers to help find a remedy.

I’ll do my best to support initiatives by residents to try to do something about local problems. The most obvious to me is cleaning our polluted beaches and the second is planting more trees, but there are many others, and I’ll be guided by residents on their priorities.

Local government is overwhelmingly dependent on central government in deciding what it must do, and how much money it receives to do it. So a vote for the Greens will not allow us to right all wrongs, but a large Green vote is a strong message to those with real power that we must behave differently now and in future to preserve our services and to protect our planet for future generations. I ask you to use your vote to give a strong message that we want CHANGE, and we need it NOW.

John Worrow – Thanet Independents

I live locally and I have run a small business in Thanet for more than 20 years. I was first elected as an Independent Councillor at Parish level in 2007. From 2011 to 2015, I was a Thanet District Councillor and served as the chairman of the council’s Governance and Audit Committee. During my time as an Independent Thanet councillor I successfully negotiated for cheaper parking fees. I am looking for the opportunity to pick up where I left off and to do the same for the whole of Margate.

If elected this year, I will argue strongly for lower council tax rates because the burden on Thanet’s households is currently far too high. I will fight against the over development of our prime agricultural farmland, and together we can win!

Margate Central

John Finnegan – Independent

Since the last local elections, I have given it a lot of thought. Since 2015, I have always stood as a part of a political party. But I have come to the conclusion that it is not the best at a local level, so with that in mind I will be standing as an independent candidate in the forthcoming local elections in May 2023.

I will like better to speak my mind for the benefits of the local community as a whole and not be restricted by national party politics. I am only concerned with local politics and what is best for Margate Central and Thanet as a whole.

Alanna McGill-Tagg  – Green

I live in Margate Central, where I’m an activist and engaged member of the local community. I co-founded Rise Up Clean Up Margate in 2021 to make a positive difference to the town and its beaches, and I’ve been involved since then in activities from individual beach cleans to setting up a display in Margate Station showing visitors all the litter collected from Margate Sands. I’m delighted we now have cleanup stations and recycling bins along our seafront and that visitors and residents are becoming much more aware of the impact of their actions on the environment and their community.

I’m also a keen sea swimmer, so I’m committed to cleaning up our seawater and sorting out the sewage spills. I want to protect and nurture our environment as well as our community and local economy. If I’m elected I’ll do my best to support residents to do this and to tackle other issues affecting the community as they arise.

Barry Millen – Conservative

I was born and raised in Margate, run an accountancy firm in the High Street and own a hotel in Margate, employing local people. I’m passionate about Margate and I’m proud to be standing as Conservative candidate for Margate Central.

As a fresh face to local politics, I will bring a new approach to local issues. Together, we can build a better future for Margate and the whole of Thanet for us all.

Because I live locally and run a business in Margate, I know and understand the issues our town faces. As your councillor, I will be your voice on Thanet District Council, speaking up for you and for Margate and ensuring we receive our fair share of funding and resources.

Together with my Conservative colleagues, I will fight to bring planes back to Manston, creating good jobs for local people. We will also do all we can to encourage inward investment and tourism, both of which are vital to our local economy.

I have always supported plans to have a Margate Town Council, so that financial decisions can be made on a local basis, and facilities such as toilets, parks, open spaces, and public buildings receive the attention that residents expect. Above all, I will make sure your voice is heard.

Helen Whitehead – Labour 

I’m Helen Whitehead, and have lived in Margate for over 15 years, and in Thanet for most of my life.

I am deputy leader of the Thanet Labour group, holding the housing portfolio, and have worked on funding allocations for council houses, fire and safety renovations to our tower blocks, bringing housing back in house, beginning in-house temporary accommodation to keep families near jobs and schools, setting up and volunteering at our first 24-hour homelessness shelter, and feeding in to the National Planning Policy Framework consultation to emphasise the importance of saving agricultural land.

I am autistic, and previously worked as a deputy head with a specialism in SEN. I now work in strategic housing to ensure that neurodivergent residents in Kent have homes that support us in living confident, independent and fulfilled lives.

I love our town, am proud to stand again for Margate Central, and have a visible track record of delivering for all of our community, and doing all I can to ensure that regeneration doesn’t mean gentrification.

I’m overly interested in plants, housing, debate and policy.

Rob Yates – Labour 

Hello, my name is Rob Yates, I live in Margate and work in Ramsgate for an offshore wind farm. I am passionate about solving real local issues, like the sewage released on our beaches, landlords who are failing our neighbours, rubbish on our streets, and the lack of jobs locally. As a business-friendly councillor, I hope to continue to serve the residents and businesses of Margate Central in order to protect what makes Margate so special and attract further sustainable investment into the town.

I am a keen environmentalist and proposed the 2030 climate emergency motion at Thanet District Council. However, more can be done. In Australia for example, there are incentives for solar panel installation on low-income renters’ homes, the residents who most need the reduction in their bills, and I would like to investigate this further if elected.

I am proud to serve the residents of Margate Central and it would be my honour to continue to do so, ensuring Margate residents get the attention I know they deserve.


Leo Britcher – Labour

Leo lives in Margate, and has spent most of his adult life in Thanet.

He works in chemical safety in Broadstairs, but he was previously employed as a member of support staff in a secondary school.

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, he helped feed local people via the charity Our Kitchen in Thanet.

Leo’s experience of living and working in the area has given him a clear insight into the issues and opportunities facing our local communities.

As a councillor, he will fight to ensure the support you need – and the issues most important to you – are dealt with by always being accessible to residents and holding regular ward surgeries.

Fi O’Connor – Green

I’m a teacher who’s worked in Australia, London and Thanet with all ages from young children to adult learners. I believe a community is stronger when we support each other and help those in need, and I don’t think our system is doing that very well at present.

Teaching in Thanet has shown me that many children are not as healthy or happy as they have a right to be. They live in a beautiful coastal area, but have to contend with cuts to public transport, school funding, housing, social and health services as well as the rising cost of living. I started out as a public hospital nurse, so the systematic privatisation of our NHS makes me particularly angry.

I’m a member of Thanet Friends of the Earth and support the work of Save Our Seas, FoE, Thanet Green Party and others, holding Southern Water to account for the raw sewage released into our seas.

I currently work mostly in socially deprived areas of London but live in Thanet and want to help improve life for Thanet residents. If I’m elected, my priorities will be to work for better public transport, cleaner streets and beaches and better home insulation across Thanet.

Katie Pope – Labour

Katie has been living in this area over the past 10 years and has been active in the community for the last year and a half, working in preventative care to help people keep well for longer.

More recently, she’s also been working on projects to help ease the cost-of-living crisis in the area.

The community in Thanet is facing many challenges that she can help navigate. If elected, Katie will be a reliable and reachable councillor.

Community-minded and passionate, she wants to make sure that everyone in Thanet has access to the support that they need, including the ability to use the green spaces that we are lucky enough to live near.

Keeping these places safe, clean and accessible will be a key commitment for Katie in Salmestone ward.

Lisa Shearer – Conservative

I was born in Margate and have lived and worked here all my life. My husband and I have lived in Salmestone ward for 18 years and have two sons. I was educated locally at Northdown primary school and King Ethelbert secondary school.

When I left school, I joined The Thanet Press printing firm and worked there for around 24 years, before working as a claim’s handler for Saga Insurance for 10 years.

After leaving Saga I decided to set up my own cleaning business, which has gone from strength to strength. My hobbies and pastimes are cooking, chutney and jam making, walking, travelling, and raising money for breast cancer charities.

I have admired the current Conservative administration for their constant support for the re-opening of Manston Airport.

If elected I would work tirelessly for everyone in Salmestone ward. My goal is to bring back a sense of community, safe and clean streets, and to try to solve the issues we all have with parking. I would be keen to hold monthly surgeries and support local charities in fundraising.

I strongly believe that local people are best-placed to deal with local issues, and I want to stand up for the residents – something the current councillors have failed to do.


Ash Ashbee – Conservative

I first moved to Thanet in 1987 and worked in London in the insurance industry. After leaving the city, I became involved in property renovation and, over the course of 15 years, built up and ran four restaurant businesses in Minnis Bay and Westgate. Westbrook is now my home, a place where I love to live, and it has been a privilege to be your councillor for the past eight years. During that time, I have served on most committees, worked on a variety of cabinet portfolios and, since June 2021 held the post of leader of the council. If re-elected, I would be delighted to continue representing and working on behalf of the residents and businesses of Westbrook.

As a strong supporter of the reopening of Manston Airport, I look forward to seeing planes fly once again. My time as leader has been focused on rectifying the problems within the council’s management and governance. Thankfully that is now complete, and the focus is maintaining and improving services, and encouraging private inward investment to build on the Government’s levelling up funds to create jobs and economic growth for our future.

Mark Bray – Thanet Independents

I’ve lived in Westbrook since 1998. I have worked mainly in the healthcare technology sector in senior management roles, and I am now retired. I am a keen follower of local teams such as Thanet Wanderers and Margate FC.

I am lucky enough to have seen Thanet as a vibrant tourist area and I am saddened by the decline over recent years, but I believe that these highs are on the horizon again.

I am passionate about improving our lived-in environment, and my focus would be local, reducing and clearing litter and graffiti, improving parking and making Westbrook a more attractive place to live and visit.

Elysa D’Abbro – Labour

Elysa is a local secondary school teacher who lives in Westbrook ward. She also runs a small business called Thanet Doulas, supporting pre and postpartum women in the area.

She is passionate about improving facilities in Westbrook and making the area cleaner and fairer for residents, while also offering more support to local businesses.

Elysa says: “Through experience, I understand there is a need for youth activities and play areas; I want to deliver this.

“As one of your councillors, I will lobby for the empty Loggia building on the seafront to be redeveloped, not only to support tourism in high season by offering a mix of facilities – essential public services, food and drink, beach and watersports retail – but also to encompass a year-round youth centre to support families and youth in our area while tackling anti-social behaviour.

“I will also push for seaweed clearance, support for our beautiful Sunken Gardens, and better local waste management. “

Elysa will hold regular ward advice surgeries to listen to your concerns and deliver your views to Thanet District Council.

John Edwards – Labour

John is an experienced former councillor who has given much valuable service to the community as a volunteer since retiring from Canterbury Christ Church University.

He was part of Ageless Thanet, set up to help lonely people to find a hobby, meet others and encourage friendship, receiving a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

As a governor at Holy Trinity and St John’s C of E School in Margate, he was asked by teachers to highlight the issue of dyslexic children, for which there is no teacher training, and got the matter raised in the Lords. John is dyslexic himself.

Married with three daughters, he has two grandsons and says: “Life is hard without good education and the right exam results. We must not except poor results as being normal.”

“Perhaps it was on the beach at Westbrook,” he says, “that I developed a passion for marine wildlife. I joined the Thanet Coastal Project and spent many a day on Nayland Rock showing children and their parents the wonders in our seas. We must stop the mass collecting of shellfish and crabs.”

If elected, he says: “I will do my utmost to represent the interests of the people of Westbrook.”

David Parsons – Conservative

Having lived and worked in Thanet my entire life, I understand and appreciate the challenges we face, and the incredible potential our district offers. Over the past eight years I have proudly served Broadstairs as the councillor for Bradstowe ward, and it is a privilege to offer my service to the wonderful people of Westbrook. I am the proud father of two young boys who ensure my spare time is well spent. I live locally, shop locally, and firmly believe the local community is best placed to shape our future.

For the past 19 years I have worked at various levels at the QEQM hospital, and this experience adds a new dynamic to the role of ward councillor. Despite the obstacles and delays, I remain steadfast in my determination to see Manston Airport reopen as an operational airfield. I believe in opportunity, long-term sustainability and believe now is the time for renewed optimism, for Thanet to be bold and brave, and to realise the staggering potential of our fantastic district.

Amelia Randall – Reform UK

My name is Amelia Randall and I am standing in the local elections for Westbrook Ward.

I have lived in Margate for 27 years and in my ward for 9yrs. Both of my children attended local schools and we have definitely enjoyed the advantages of living by the sea.

Westbrook is a beautiful ward, it has a picturesque bay and amenities such as mini golf for entertainment. However, it is let down by the state of the roads and pavements that desperately need resurfacing. We also have no café facilities by our bay now and rubbish can at times be a problem. These are a few of the issues I will be focusing on.

I  believe in being heard and intend to deal with all issues within our ward. I will reach out to those responsible and keep on doing so until we get the desired results.

As a standing member for Reform UK I also have a very strong viewpoint on securing our borders, lowering our energy prices and reforming our economy. I believe we need a better standard of life for all.

Please reach out to me via email with any questions.

Ken Watkins – Green

I worked for 33 years in avionics, and then ended my working life with a 7-year stint as a postman. I retired 8 years ago, and then 2 years ago my wife’s envy for my more relaxed post-retirement life made her join me in retirement, reluctantly leaving her job in a hospice. It was at this point that we moved from Medway to Thanet. We love the area and feel very happily settled here.

My love of nature, concerns about the environment and love of debating politics were all factors in leading me to join the Green Party in Medway, and I transferred my membership to Thanet when we moved. I have both a garden and an allotment and really enjoy working in both. And my other main interest is of course real ale (especially Green Hop!)

If I’m elected, I’ll speak up for Westbrook residents and do my best to make sure the area’s needs are not overlooked and its heritage, including the lovely but badly neglected Westbrook Loggia, is preserved.


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  1. Jack Packman actually cares for the people and the local area.He is by far the best candidate in this.He us on the publics dide believe me.Good luck Jack.

    • Until recently Packman worked for SEK (Social Enterprise Kent) a CIC with 33 employees with a CEO downwards. They took over “Sharon’s shop” a foodbank in Margate High St. & closed a few months later?

      • Your correct, I worked for SEK and left in October 2022! Not really sure what your point is here as I had no influence over the shop closing as I had left long before then! But SEK continue to support 100s of people a week in all different ways!

        I continue to work alongside many food projects in Thanet and will continue to do so regardless of the election

        Good luck to all candidates!

  2. It would be good if our councillors regardless of political persuasion campaigned with a greater degree of commitment to safeguarding the environment and implemented more policies to give practical meaning to the the climate emergency motion adopted by the council some years ago.
    For eg the ending of the annual motorbike and scooter event in town likewise the motorbike racing weekend on the main sands. Both unfortunately create a negative impact on the environment both in terms of exhaust emissions, noise pollution and damage to the fragile fabric of the beach. When will councillors take their responsibilities seriously.

  3. Experienced councillors are need or the council officers will again take over the council ignoring councillors instructions.

    This was the case with Homer running the show.

  4. Conservatives obviously couldn’t find enough candidates in only in multi seat divisions in dane valley, Margate central and Salmestone.

    • Tactics! What’s the point of putting up a full slate of candidates in a ward you have no hope in winning especially if you have heard on the grapevine the odd independent on Green is also standing. A few split votes between parties can make the difference between winning and losing.

      • Laurence, so the tories including roger gale have decided they ‘have no hope of winning’ in Margate central, Salmestone, dane valley and cliftonville west. Interesting

        • I wouldn’t know what the Tory thinking is. Just my take on the present state of play! It doesn’t take Einstein to fathom out what I said in my comment.

          • The national Conservative Party want as many INDIVIDUAL seats to be contested so your theory is dane valley they won a by election 2 years ago when one seat was contested. They would have put 3 candidates forward logically unless they couldn’t find
            enough candidates.not helped that their sitting councillor in dane valley has resurfaced as an independent against his old party

  5. Well I’m sorry , myself and my family have had 15 + yrs of nuisance neighbours, police raids constantly, verble and mental abuse, witnessed abuse to a neighbours parter on more than 1 occasion, knowbody cares, we’ve paid and took care off our home at no cost to the council unlike these social theifs who claim benefits that take drugs all day long , yet I’ve been told I’m the one to move and go private and stop complaining, yet they post there crap witch us working tax payers pay for and want me to vote for them, um no I don’t think so . Unless nigel farrage will be top dog .

  6. What about anyone saying they will stop the house building on farmland in Thanet and to stop our towns being taken over by people buying second homes and also airbbs therefore preventing locals from having somewhere to live,Margate has become one traffic jam and the pollution must have increased.Sorry but the whole area has become one almighty mess, pots holes,rubbish lying around everywhere. All this talk about art has not improved Margate as I discovered after a walk up the bottom half of high street at 9.45 am nothing apart from a couple of local stores were open and when I got as far as the old BHS store I gave up and went home

    • Well, you need to speak to Craig MacKinlay about those issues, because they’re Government policy, nothing to do with TDC.
      I see that Ash Ashbe supports Manston Airport – in a recent speech to the Council she referred to the “dirty great airport …”.
      I don’t understand why anyone would support a “dirty great airport” on our doorstep.

      • Just because people do not agree with your opinion ,doesn’t make their view wrong ,same as yours,every one is entitled to a view on a subject ,it’s called democracy ,that’s go a it works, sorry,but that’s life

  7. Some people’s views are wrong, and those who support an airport are among them. Aviation, like car use, should be reduced, not increased.

  8. People supported our airport when it was used during the war ,it was all OK then , but people wer nicer back then , thanet people need good paid jobs , bring back the airport to full use and Ramsgate port I say . And Hornby like it was in the 80s /90s , more jobs = happier people.

    • Perhaps Britain’s being at war with another country is the only way in which there can be a useful airport at Manston. (Is “British tax payer” being ironic rather than serious?)

  9. Praying for change in Cliftonville East ! The current conservative lot have done nothing for the area really. Planted a few trees and bulbs but really want long term change . Really hope some actually new faces can help improve the area. They the conservatives promised that all the shelter would be fixed and nothing. Also fed up with people not living in the area that are trying to represent which has been a big issue and see this is the case again.

  10. What a bunch of happy bunnies posting here?

    We just hope that IF any Greens get elected again they wear matching flip flops to Council meetings? Were they recyclable, we doubt it

  11. Barry Lewis maybe I am incorrect who knows. I am well aware of the machinations of sitting Councillors flitting from one political colour to another and the political history of individual council wards. Still whoever gets in as hell of a job on their hands. The only further observation I have as an onlooker is that the present leader of the Council,Ash Ashbee has done more to try and sort the failings of the officer leadership than all other Council Leaders put together since I moved to Thanet in 2006. Finally apart from studying election results/trends and demographic changes for a hobby ( I know what a sad person am I) I’m not interested personally who wins in Thanet as I thankfully moved to another part of the country a year ago.

  12. Laurence Davies- the man who says “YAWN” to people he disagrees with. Or maybe just to women he disagrees with.

    • I certainly don’t say ‘YAWN’ to many people I disagree with but you my dear Phili are an exception!

  13. I have a question about local elections. Why do we have two candidates elected to represent about 3-4,000 people, but we have one M.P. to represent perhaps 100,000 people. Surely the time has come to just elect one person per ward and cut the expenses of the councillors. My reasoning come about after there was survey published a year or so ago that stated Thanet residents receive the least value in Kent.

  14. Whoever of the above wins will they please look into the trench on the seaside of the coastguard station that has been left unfinished for about a year now organize it’s filling in then lay down in it and wait to be covered over.

  15. I am very impressed by the Green Party candidate Chris Newman’s bio, he seems to me, as a GP with so many relevant interests, as well as his charity work, to be far and above the best of these candidates! Good luck Chris, we need more like you in local government and indeed nationally!

  16. What puzzles me is that after more than a decade of Tory misrule nationally and locally the Tory Party is still finding candidates to stand for them! Hopefully, they will not find voters to elect these candidates to give us more of the same!

  17. I get 2 votes in my ward. I would use both for Green candidates but there’s only one standing so I’ll have to belatedly vote for a Labour candidate.
    Just don’t reject another cycle lane proposal please (and no – the seafront isn’t a cycle lane, is a scenic route. Cycling needs to be actively promoted as a viable form of transportation in Thanet that, in the long run, will reduce traffic & emmissions which works better for everyone).

  18. If I lived in Dane Valley Ward Martin Boyd (Labour) would definitely get my vote! He rescued 2 cats from the Celia Hammond Animal Trust & adopted another random stray cat! What a kind human being! Bravo Martin!

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