Community groups meet ‘Towns Tsar’ to discuss £20m scheme for Ramsgate

Towns Unit chairman Adam Hawksbee in Ramsgate

Some 30 community organisations turned out to meet ‘Towns Tsar’ Adam Hawksbee when he visited Ramsgate.

The Towns Unit chairman made the trip to see Ramsgate and hear from representatives for local groups, businesses and the council as part of the Long Term Deal for Towns scheme.

In March, Ramsgate was one of 20 towns to be awarded £20m in government funding – in addition to the £19.8m Levelling Up funding – as part of the long-term plan for towns programme.

The funding was allocated as part of the government’s Spring budget and is an extension of the scheme which first launched last September.

Initially 55 towns were allocated the funding with an extra 20, including Ramsgate, being named in March.

The aim of the scheme is for towns to create a Town Board made up of local community leaders and employers, who will draw up their town’s Long-Term Plan for the next 10 years. This will be backed by up to £20 million of “endowment-style” funding and support to invest over the next decade.

Towns were chosen based on data around population, healthy life expectancy and earnings.

Mr Hawksbee, who is Deputy Director of the think tank Onward, said: “I was very pleased with the number of community groups that came along to find out how the Plan works.

“The scheme overall is a £1.5bn programme with 75 places receiving £20m endowment and what that spend is for is decided locally by a town board. People on the town board will be business leaders, faith leaders, community groups, the MP, councillors.”

There are three theme headings for planning how to use the money.

  • Safety and security – tackling antisocial behaviour and low level crime
  • High streets, town centres and regeneration – for Ramsgate there is a high number of heritage buildings but also empty properties in town, such as the Argos and Wilko sites
  • Connectivity -cycling and walking routes and public transport.

Mr Hawksbee, who has visited 33 of the 75 towns so far, said: “It’s quite interesting, most areas share similar challenges although they are quite different places.”

He noted Ramsgate has similarities with coastal towns like Blythe, Greenock and Clydebank where there are heritage assets but investment and jobs are not being generated.

He said: “One big question is what is the future economy? Where are jobs going to come from? For Ramsgate (it may be) the green economy and sustainable energy.

“People working in green industries are then spending money locally and it’s a new source of revenue for cafes, pubs, hairdressers.

“All that requires people to live in Ramsgate as well as work there so it needs the right quality of housing, an attractive town centre, to attract people to stay.

“A lot of money has gone into economic development but the long term plan for towns is to make sure Ramsgate is the sort of place people can live and work in.”

A board for Ramsgate must be established by June 1 and will most likely include some of those already on the board fror Levelling Up funds. Then a three-year plan must be submitted to government by November although the entire plan will stretch for 10 years with £2million allocated for each year.

Mr Hawksbee added that it is important the board has “enough community voices” with the scheme focusing on the town’s ‘social fabric.’

Each town in the scheme is required to develop a 10-year Long-Term Plan, setting out the town’s vision and priorities for investment and regeneration, aligned to themes of safety and security, high streets, heritage and regeneration, and transport and connectivity.

Towns will be required to demonstrate how they have developed plans in consultation with local people. As part of the plan, areas will be expected to bring something to the table, whether that’s the time and resource of key people, local match-funding or properties to include in regeneration projects.

14 Comments

  1. What a joke -Ramsgate is a ghost town -No thanks to The Labour and The Tory Run Thanet council over the years Allowing Westwood to given the green light. And as for Antisocial behaviour that goes on at Sainsburys car park. Kids on bikes shouting and swearing. I should know =had to leave my job.

    • You obviously weren’t down in the town this afternoon. It was fantastic.
      A brass band, ice cream, pavement cafes teeming with people enjoying a beer or two, or a late lunch. And the beach was very busy, with people actually swimming.
      Just get rid of the cars from Harbour St and Pier yard (except for access) and make the whole place there a pedestrian friendly focus.

  2. Harbour street and the Town centre have designated car free for decades, as between the times of 10am and 5pm there should be no motor vehicles.The problem being motorists and cyclists being blind, by choice or disability to read the explicit and very large road signs telling them that cars,trucks, cycles and motorcycles may not be driven/ridden between those times,
    There are a number of exceptional people or self entitled persons as we term them, who believe that the signs do not apply to them. That’s why after 8 years of trying the gate was fitted in Harbour street, unless someone has now destroyed it or taken it down.
    As for the Czar of coastal communities he works for a think tank that is explicitly linked to the Tory party,so make of that what you will.
    Maybe however, it might be more useful to have some civic pride and look for the best in Ramsgate instead of viewing it from the telescope located in other parts of Thanet. In the past half century since TDC was created, Ramsgate has had about £20 spent on it in terms of investment,so less not muck up this opportunity with spending all the £20 million on some building that TDC has allowed to go to rack and ruin in those 50 years.

    • Mr Nokes- The gate is still in Harbour Street and the street is now much safer for pedestrians. However, cyclists are able to get into Harbour Street when they shouldn’t be there, simply by cycling into it along the pavements. And sometimes they do.

  3. I loath the term “Tsar” is it because people can’t spell Chief? The last Tsar was murdered in 1917, yet people still use this outdated nonsense!

  4. More Police walking the streets in the evenings is what is wanted.
    Ramsgate is not safe IMO, whatever M.M.Rees states

  5. Ramsgate, Margate, Canterbury – all have homeless people sleeping on streeets. Bulgaria has some awful soviet-style apartments, but 90% are owned by the occupants, there are NO homeless, and the admittedly pot-holed streets are very clean. Open your eyes folks, much of the UK isn’t THAT great. Even most of the East Europeans decided not to stay after Brexit.

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