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:

  • Members were thanked for unanimously approving the 2022/23 budget.
  • A new marine licence for berths four and five at the Port of Ramsgate was submitted on 28 January 2022.
  • The Interreg Experience Development programme, in partnership with Visit Kent, had brought 17 new tourism experiences to the District.
  • The Ramsgate Future Town Investment Plan was published on 20 January 2022.  Members were encouraged to watch the excellent explanatory videos available on the Council’s website to get more information.
  • The Council had partnered with Totally Local as part of the Welcome Back Funding for highstreets, this encouraged business owners to work together and support post Covid 19 recovery.
  • Network Rail had published updates on the Thanet Parkway Station, passenger services were planned to be introduced in May 2023.
  • The Margate Town Deal would hold a public pop up exhibition at the Turner Contemporary on 26 February 2022.
  • The application to plant tree saplings in Northdown Park had been approved.  A biodiversity strategy would be developed for the District that would include the protocol to gain permission for projects on Council land.
  • The Great British Spring Clean was running from 25 March to 10 April 2022.  The Council would be supporting the local groups who wished to take part.
  • The severe weather emergency protocol was activated on 18 February 2022 in response to storm Eunice.  RISE officers were proactive in offering shelter to rough sleepers during the period of adverse weather.
  • Mr Baker, the Independent Monitoring Officer, attended the General Purposes Committee on 26 January 2022 to provide an update on his progress.  A summary of the update was available on the Council’s website.
  • The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated with an extensive programme of public events.  There was a new system called Event App, to allow organisers to register any public event, and the fee for organising street parties during the four day celebration period would be waived.


Councillor Everitt as Leader of the Labour Group made the following points in response to the Leader’s report:

  • It was good that Members voted unanimously in favour of the budget, however it was disappointing that the two proposed amendments were not agreed.  It would remain to be seen how robust the assumptions about costs within the budget turned out to be, following the recent increases in cost of living and pressure on wages.
  • There was concern about the continued cost of berths four and five at the Port of Ramsgate.  Each passing month imposed additional financial pressure on the Council, and environmental cost on the community through the need for aggregate to be imported by road instead of sea.
  • The launch of the Ramsgate Town Investment Plan, and the opportunity for engagement around the Margate Town Deal, was welcomed.  Community involvement was key to the success of these projects.
  • Thanet Parkway Station would benefit the whole District.
  • The work of the Independent Monitoring Officer had been impressive so far.
  • Thanks were offered to all staff involved in clearing up following storm Eunice and catching up on missed bin rounds.


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

·  There was a lot of concern about the rises in the cost of living.

·  The Council should take a moment to think about the people in Ukraine who were living in a dark time at the moment.

·  Councillor Everitt’s concerns were shared regarding berths four and five at the Port of Ramsgate.

·  The Independent Monitoring Officer’s output would be interesting, the Council would take any advice on board in order to move on.


Councillor Rev. Piper as Leader of the Thanet Independent Group made the following points in response to the Leader’s report:

  • The Council recognised it’s duty to approve the budget and duly thanked Councillor D Saunders and the finance team for their work putting it together. 
  • Had the prior approval planning application for berths four and five been withdrawn? 
  • A Ramsgate Town Councillor had requested that the Overview and Scrutiny Panel review the arrangements for the Ramsgate Future Town Investment Plan and the Welcome Back Funding for highstreets, however now that the explanatory videos were available this should answer many of the questions raised.
  • The Thanet Independent Group believe that an operational Parkway Station, the Port and a fully functioning Airport would make the District truly open for business.  The Government needed to make a decision regarding the Development Consent Order (DCO) for the former airport site.
  • It was hoped that the Great British Spring Clean would continue to gain momentum, on behalf of the people of Northwood Ward thanks were offered to the enthusiastic litter pickers. 
  • The teams who responded to storm Eunice deserve our thanks.
  • It was good to see that the Independent Monitoring Officer had hit the ground running, and how seriously the matter was being taken. 
  • It was good to hear about the Event App.  Small localised events would have more impact and bring more joy to the communities than larger events.


The Leader replied to Councillor Rev. Piper’s comments with the following points:

  • It was the old 2020 application for berths four and five that had been withdrawn to allow the submission of the current version.
  • The explanatory video was excellent, it was an umbrella over all the different activities going on within Ramsgate.  Compliments should go to the team that put the video together.
  • Whichever way the DCO decision went regarding the former airport site, it needed to take place soon to allow the District to move on.
  • She would agree that compliments should go to the refuse crews for their work during and following storm Eunice.
  • The street parties to celebrate the Jubilee would be a great boost for community spirit.


Councillor Garner as Leader of the Green Party made the following points in response to the Leader’s report:

  • It was good that the budget was passed and thanks should go to Councillor D Saunders,  Mr Blundell and his team for their hard work, although it was a shame that the two amendments were not approved.
  • He was pleased to note the new visitor initiatives.
  • It was good to hear about the investment projects in Margate and Ramsgate.
  • As many people as possible should attend and participate in the Margate Town Deal Pop Up event on 26 February 2022.  Hopefully this would be the first of many opportunities for residents to ask questions and help shape the projects.
  • The Green Group had consistently opposed the building of the Parkway station due to the loss of mature trees and associated habitat, the resultant impact of increased traffic, and the rising cost of the project.  Was the Council still expected to contribute £2,000,000 towards the project or had this been reduced following access to other sources of funding?
  • It was good that the sapling planting in Northdown Park has been able to go ahead.  Was there an update on the proposed planting in the King George VI Memorial Park?
  • News of The Keep Britain Tidy Great British Spring Clean was welcome, and he looked forward to the report of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel’s Coastal Waste Scrutiny Review Working Party.  Thanks were offered to all of the voluntary groups that help to keep the District beautiful. 
  • Thanks were offered to the RISE team who supported rough sleepers during the storm.  The storm also damaged a number of trees, and thanks should go to the open spaces team who cleared away the debris as sympathetically as possible.
  • It was good that the Independent Monitoring Officer had started work, there was a lot to be done to improve the governance.  Members should take responsibility to ensure that in future the governance compared favourably with other councils.


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

  • Every effort was being made to add to the Council’s housing stock.
  • The leader would enquire and get back to Councillor Garner about whether the Council’s contribution to the Parkway Station had reduced from the original figure of £2,000,000. 
  • The Leader would ask the relevant Cabinet Member to get back to Councillor Garner regarding an update on the proposal to plant saplings in the King George VI Memorial Park.


Members noted the report.

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