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 asked to take a moment to think about those suffering in Ukraine. The Council stood in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and was committed to playing its part in supporting refugee families.
  • The final Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone initiative, Seafront Place Making, had reached its final year, and would explore what Ramsgate meant to the local community.
  • The Government had approved the establishment of the Margate Creative Land Trust that would support and grow creative practices for the local community.
  • The first community tree planting event took place at Jackey Bakers, Ramsgate as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project.
  • Lord Deben visited the King George Memorial Park in Garlinge as part of a national tour to see what different parts of the Country were doing to meet ambitious climate goals.
  • Thanet was leading the way on business and resident digital communications, including:
    • The Green Tourism Tool Kit helped businesses with ideas to become more environmentally friendly.
    • The Online Waste Portal would allow residents to access real time information about bin collections and allow residents to report issues.
    • The Open Portal was a new and secure online portal that enabled residents and businesses to manage their council tax and business rates accounts, housing benefit claims, payment history and other services, all in one place.
  • The fourth edition of Action Against Litter had been published and gave details of the three day, district wide, spring clean event that would take place during the first week of April.  Thanks were offered to the litter picking volunteers for their efforts throughout the year.
  • A ‘How to Become a Councillor’ event would be held to offer information to anyone thinking of becoming a District Councillor in the future.
  • Residents of Margate would have received correspondence about Margate’s bid to have a town council.  If the petition to form a town council received enough signatures, a community governance review would be triggered.


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

  • It was hoped that bureaucracy would not obstruct residents in Thanet from supporting Ukrainian refugees.
  • The ‘How to Become a Councillor’ event was fully supported.  There was a need to reach underrepresented groups, such as younger residents and people living in social housing.  The low basic Councillor allowance could be one of the factors that stopped people from relatively deprived backgrounds, and young people, from becoming a District Councillor. 
  • Members could encourage others, from all backgrounds, to become Councillors by being visible in their wards, showing that they could make difference, and by being honest about the difficult decisions the Council had to make regardless of who was in control. 
  • The success of the Margate Creative Land Trust, the tree planting at Jackey Bakers, and the upcoming litter picking events, were all welcome news.
  • It was a challenge to maintain the streets and open spaces throughout the year, the littering culture must be challenged.
  • The real test of the new digital waste system would be if improvements were seen in how quickly the Council reacted when notified of a problem.
  • If Margate residents supported the creation of a town council, the area would benefit from more autonomy and the ability to deliver hyper local initiatives, however there would be a Council Tax charge for this.  Residents of Margate could look at the good example set by Ramsgate Town Council. 


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

·  There needed to be more young Councillors.  The basic Councillor allowance was an issue, a small amount of budget would be put aside for the next couple of years to allow the basic allowance to be increased a bit in the future.


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

  • Could the Council make a clear statement regarding the gas and electrical safety checks and any other checks required by the Council, for residents who wished to become sponsors for those travelling from Ukraine?
  • The Jackey Bakers tree planting event was good and was well supported.  Ramsgate Town Council were looking to plant more trees, could there be a meeting to discuss the continuation of the avenue of trees around the Jackey Bakers field?
  • The online waste portal would be good in the end, however some residents in Buxton Road and Hyberry Gardens had gone six weeks without a proper collection.  Could this be investigated?
  • The Thanet Independent Group have done their best to support the ‘How to Become a Councillor’ event on social media, and hoped it would be a successful evening.


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

  • The Council had a dedicated webpage relating to the Ukraine crisis, the page contained lots of useful information and would be updated to include the checks and procedures for households wishing to take in refugees.
  • The Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Special Projects would meet with Councillor Piper to discuss the planting of trees at Jackey Bakers.
  • It was often the case that there were teething issues when a new system was introduced, however once these issues were resolved the online waste portal would allow the Council to provide a better service than it had provided in the past.


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

  • It was a welcome sight to see the Ukrainian flag flying over the Council Offices to demonstrate the Council’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and it was heartening to see the donations of Thanet’s residents that would go to help the relief effort. 
  • The recent tree planting events have been good to see, thanks were offered to the officers who had ensured that as many trees as possible were planted. 
  • The existing trees must also be protected, Members sitting on the Climate Emergency Cabinet Advisory Group received a stark update on the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, about the urgency for action to meet the pledge to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
  • The King George V park works had reduced the risk of surface flooding, however more work may be required if thousands more houses were built in the Westgate and Garlinge area.
  • The digital technology projects were good, it was important that the Council made more information readily available to residents online, however residents who did not use computers should not be put at a disadvantage.
  • As many people as possible should attend the ‘How to Become a Councillor Event’.  There was a need for more people who wanted to participate in local democracy to get involved, as it was the best way to effect positive change across the community.
  • The Great British Spring Clean was an example of how residents come together to clean their neighbourhood.  There were a number of litter picks planned for the next few weeks.


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

  • It was important to look after the trees that had been planted, in order to pass them on to the next generation.
  • The landscaping at the George V Park was a vast improvement to what was there before.  There were plans for similar projects at two more sites within the District.


Members noted the report.


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