Agenda item

Cabinet Member Presentation - an overview of Estates and Economic Development portfolio areas

Cllr Duckworth, Cabinet Member Estates and Economic Development.


Councillor Duckworth led the discussion with an overview of the portfolio areas in her cabinet role and made comments as follows:

  • The main areas of the cabinet post included Economic Development, Property Management (also known as Estates), Building Control (which falls under the Planning Department) and Climate Emergency;
  • Currently this portfolio area was managing a number of externally funded activities most of which were related to covid funding;
  • Most of the activities that fall under this cabinet post operated across a number of council departments;
  • The Regeneration Team was also working on government funded activities that were aimed at helping with the reopening of the high street in Margate;
  • The Estates Team was responsible for rent income from and rent reviews of council properties;
  • The management of foreshore properties was cross departmental responsibility between Estates and Operational Services;
  • Estates offered advice to other council departments about property management including advice on major projects.


Member asked questions and made comments as follows:

  • Do you have any view on what 2020 might have been like from the point of view of tourism figures?
  • Was there an indication that there were some local businesses that may not reopen due to the covid-19 impact?
  • Were there any thoughts on how the district would continue to attract visitors to Thanet during winter in order to boost tourism throughout the year?
  • Have asset transfers (like Harold Car Park) been affected by the pandemic as well?
  • The Foreness Water Ski Club had also come up as an asset for disposal as well. Could Members be given an update on the disposal process for this asset?
  • How is the developer contributions calculated and what impact have they had, particularly considering the effects of the current pandemic?
  • Was the council satisfied with the current state of the rent reviews for council properties?
  • Could external experts be used to conduct rent reviews?


Councillor Duckworth, Louise Askew, Director of Regeneration, Iain Livingstone, Planning Applications Manager and Madeline Homer, CEx responded as follows:


  • The pandemic did affect the visitor numbers to Thanet;
  • It was a mixed picture as some business adapted to the new operating environment by introducing takeaways as part of their services;
  • Other business had closed down during the lockdown;
  • A more detailed update on how businesses have performed under the pandemic conditions could be obtained from the economic unit at KCC’s Growth Hub. This information would also infirm some of the approaches that TDC could use to support local businesses;
  • Local businesses could also be approached to find out how they were faring under these conditions;
  • It was worth considering indoor leisure as part of boosting local tourism during the winter period;
  • The council was looking into how they could join in large campaigns run by other organisations;
  • It was highly unlikely that Harold Car Park would come off the disposal list;
  • The disposal of some of the assets had been put on hold largely due to the pandemic. However there was currently a budget for disposal of assets next year and the team had identified how the disposals would be done;
  • Estates were still working on the disposal list for the new financial year;
  • Officers would provide an update to members (by email) regarding the Foreness Water Ski Club disposal;
  • With regards to the calculation of developer contributions, there was a slowing down of some stats. This had affected developer contributions as the trigger for that source of revenue was either prior to occupation or prior to starting work on project site;
  • This was because most of the development that had been completed in the last six months had been mostly from SME builders. This had led to few triggers of developer contributions;
  • An Infrastructure Funding Statement would be announced most likely in the coming month which would provide more detail;
  • Some work was still required to bring the rent reviews up to date and Estates were also working with Tim Willis, Deputy Chief Executive and Madeline Homer on how best to address the issue of rent reviews.


Members noted the report.