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:
· A new owner had been selected for the Granville Theatre in Ramsgate. The Council had initiated the legal process to progress the sale to completion. The prospective buyer was Westwood One Ltd, and was selected through a robust evaluation process. The proposal would see the theatre refurbished to provide a high quality production, dance and cinema space.
· The management of the Margate Winter Gardens had been returned to the Council on Friday 12 August. The venue was unavailable for bookings while an appraisal took place.
· Temporary security screening had been installed and fencing was put in place to preserve the building. Further security measures included daily patrols, internal inspections and CCTV.
· Members had agreed at the Cabinet meeting on the 22 September 2022 that the first phase of studies would go ahead. This included: a costed structural survey, a complete set of site drawings and engaging a team of consultants to conduct a review of the Margate night time economy to understand the Winter Gardens’ role further.
· The Margate Creative Land Trust had recruited an Interim Director.
· The Development Consent Order (DCO) for the Manston Airport site had been approved. The Council would address the DCO decision through the update of the local plan.
· Residents, community groups, local stakeholders and businesses had been invited to comments on the New Net Zero Strategy which has been formed by the Council.
· In September 2022 Thanet held a series of eco days as part of the national Great Big Green week. These events took place at Dane Park, Ellington Park and Pierremont Park. Events included activities for children, plastic free picnics and craft sessions.
· Ellington Park in Ramsgate had been awarded a Green Flag Award.
· The Rotary Clubs in Thanet led a project which installed twelve new recycling stations across the main bathing beaching in Thanet in summer 2022. The recycling stations have been emptied and it was noted that three tonnes of recycling was kept away from landfill or the sea.
· Margate main sands had a multi-agency litter pick on Saturday 20 August. In one hour, 34 bags of rubbish and 10 bags of recycling had been collected.
· The Open Spaces team undertook biodiversity work at Ramsgate cemetery. This included the installation of bird boxes, wildflowers and a woodland walk.
· There had been ocean-themed murals in Margate. These murals were part of the Rise Up Residency, and were created by 17 local and international artists in order to raise awareness of ocean conservation.
· The Council had been awarded £3.8M of funding by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, through the Rough Sleeping Initiative.
· On Monday 10 October 2022 a judge would pass a sentence regarding the 28 guilty verdicts for 4 defendants who had been involved in managing rented flats in Athelstan Road, Margate.
· The Council had been considering changes to the Council Tax Support scheme. These changes were are followed:
1. New applications to be backdated by three months, up from one month.
2. Any income that is classed as ‘local welfare provision’ to be disregarded when calculating Council Tax Support e.g. an Energy Rebate Scheme payment.
· The public had been asked to share their views on these changes through a short survey, with the deadline of Monday 31 October 2022.
· The Council hosted five eat well spend less roadshows across the district in August 2022.
· Tracey Emin had been conferred with the title of Honorary Freewoman of Margate by the Margate Charter Trustees in August.
Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Everitt made the following points:
· Thanks were given to the Leader for the report.
· It was recognised that there have been strong and sincere views about Manston Airport.
· Voters in May 2023 will be more worried about feeding their families and the cost of heating their homes.
· The bid for the Granville Theatre was welcomed, and the new owners were wished every success.
· The work of the Eastcliff ward councillors was praised, specifically Councillor Crittenden who did not align themselves to one vocal bidder of the Granville Theatre, and instead sought to understand and clarify the process being followed. Concerns were raised to Cabinet and officers.
· The Net Zero Strategy and action plan was welcomed. The plan was a big step forward; all those who contributed towards the plan were commended.
The Leader replied to Councillor Everitt’s comments with the following points:
· It was agreed that the Granville was a fantastic result for the district.
· An independent panel was used to decide the result for the Granville, this made the process secure.
· The Council couldn’t be held accountable for fracking.
Councillor Garner as Leader of the Green Party made the following points:
· Thanks were given to the leader for her report.
· It was recognised that more high quality jobs and training opportunities were needed in Thanet.
· It was noted as pleasing to see the Granville Theatre at and end. The new owner was wished good luck with the venture.
· There were concerns about the process followed regarding the Granville Theatre.
· Greater clarity and transparency was needed over asset transfers and disposal process.
· The publication of the Net Zero Strategy was welcomed. Dr Hannah Scott and Councillor R. Bayford were congratulated on this.
· Funding was welcomed regarding the Rough Sleeping Initiative.
The Leader replied to Councillor Garner’s comments with the following points:
· The process of asset disposals was complicated and highly confidential. This process regarding the Granville Theatre was followed well.
· It was good to hear support for the green initiatives.
Councillor Rev. Piper, ad leader of the Thanet Independent Group made the following points:
· Thanks were given to the leader for the report.
· The Council treated the notice of the Queen's death with dignity and grace, serving the community proudly.
· The reopening of Manston Airport was something that many residents wanted to see.
· A letter had been written to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber regarding providing funding for the development of the Winter Gardens. Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber could not commit to providing resources at the time of the letter.
· There had been cross-party financial support from Councillor Rusiecki, Councillor Linda Piper and Councillor Rev. Piper of £6,000 to Saint Marks Church, Ramsgate.
· The leader was asked if she would invited Mr Kevin Spain from Saint Marks Church to discuss what the church was trying to achieve.
The Leader replied to Councillor Rev. Piper’s comments noting that:
· A discussion with Mr Kevin Spain would be arranged.