Agenda item

Leaders Report

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 2.4.



The Leader, Councillor Ashbee, presented her report to Council, covering the following key points:

  • The first Margate Town Deal business case summary had been submitted on 15 October. This was for a Creative Land Trust.  Mr Horton had also been newly appointed as Chair of the Margate Town Deal Board.
  • The success of the Margate and Ramsgate levelling up bids offered an opportunity for all of Thanet to attract future private investment and develop a highly skilled workforce.
  • Work had started at the former Marks and Spencer building in Margate High Street.  It would house the Margate Digital project and was due to be completed by Spring 2022.
  • The planning prior approval application and the marine licence application for berths 4 and 5 at the Port of Ramsgate would be subject to a 42 day consultation period. It was intended that construction would begin in May.
  • The Ramsgate High Street consultation on changes to roads and pedestrian areas was now complete; this was part of the Future High Street Funding bid. The result of the consultation would be published online in the near future.
  • The Local Plan’s latest engagement began in December; members of the public would have the opportunity to comment until 4 February 2022.  A visual presentation from the Leader and the Director of Housing and Planning would be shared through the Council’s media channels to encourage people to engage in the consultation.
  • The Council signed up the Litter Lotto, encouraging people to bin litter for the chance to win prizes.
  • The Housing Options Team had been awarded £175,000 to prevent homelessness by the Kent Housing Group.  This money was to support private sector tenants and homeowners who were struggling to pay rent or mortgages as a result of COVID-19.
  • The Private Sector Housing Team had secured over £76,000 of funding for a project to improve the energy efficiency standards in privately rented properties.
  • In line with the External Auditor’s  section 24 recommendations, Mr Baker, Director of Law and Governance for Hertfordshire County Council, had been appointed as Independent Monitoring Officer (IMO).  Mr Barker started the role on 8 December 2021.  All progress would be shared regularly with the General Purposes Committee and at Full Council.
  • The 2022-23 budget proposals would be considered by the Cabinet on 13 January 2022.  An increase in government funding was welcome, however a considerable amount of savings still needed to be found to reach a balanced budget.  Net service spending would increase by 7% and £180,000 was set aside to replenish the Council’s reserves.  Thanks were offered to the S151 Officer and his finance team for their work that included the opportunity for Members to comment on the proposals at workshops and group presentations.


Councillor Everitt as Leader of the Labour Group made the following points:

  • The budget would be discussed further at the Budget Council meeting next month.
  • There needed to be clarity on how the External Auditor’s recommendation for an IMO came about.  The Leader should share the details of the letter she sent to the former Secretary of State in September 2021.


The Leader replied to Councillor Everitt’s comments with the following point:

  • She would not share the content of her letter to the former Secretary of State, however moving forward the section 24 recommendations were the correct tool to assess the Council’s governance arrangements.


Councillor Garner as Leader of the Green Party made the following points:

  • Congratulations should be offered to the Regeneration Team on their success, however it was unclear what governance arrangements were in place to ensure the Council had adequate oversight of all the projects.  There should be more than one Ramsgate Town Council (RTC) representative and more representation from the public on the proposed Levelling Up Programme Scrutiny Panel (LUPSP).
  • It was good that the Council had signed up to the Litter Lotto, however more needed to be done to address the issue.  The Council staff who cleared the littering over the Christmas period deserved our thanks.
  • The funding for private sector energy improvements was good, however the Council needed to ensure its own housing stock was also energy efficient.
  • The appointment of Mr Baker as IMO was important, he would review the Council’s democratic process to ensure it is fit for purpose, this would give the public confidence in the Council’s governance.
  • The finance team deserved recognition for their work on the budget.
  • Everyone should be encouraged to take part in the Local Plan engagement, this was the only way to ensure the next Plan met local needs.


The Leader replied to Councillor Garner’s comments noting that:

  • The amended report for item 15, attached as a supplementary to the agenda should provide some reassurance about the Council’s oversight of the projects and governance.
  • Members of the community could be invited to some LUPSP meetings; this option would be considered when agreeing the terms of reference.
  • Fly tipping had become acute over Christmas, so there needed to be a joint effort to tackle the problem.


Members noted the report.


Supporting documents: