Agenda item

Leaders Report

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



Councillor Ashbee, the Leader of Council presented her report and made the following points:


·  This penultimate Leader’s report for this term was somewhat shorter than usual as a good deal of the workload had been working with the Cabinet and officers putting together the budget for this year.

·  Thanks were offered to Members for their scrutiny and support by voting to agree what was an ambitious 2023/24 budget by virtue of the extra investment in growth for service areas such as enforcement and our property team. Every year it gets harder to produce a balanced budget for whoever was in control, so aiming for more self-sufficiency by increasing revenue growth was essential foundation for the future.

·  Another main area my time had been involved with working closely with the CMT putting together the Future Delivery for the Port of Ramsgate. This week, members would have received a briefing and the Cabinet report outlining details of this exciting opportunity for Thanet to reinvigorate the port and utilise more of its potential.

·  It was a complicated process and the robust report outlines the models that have to be considered. This was a wonderful chance to build on the Levelling Up funds and to bring future financial and employment sustainability.

·  This month started off with more good news for the expansion of Thanet’s tree canopy with our Open Spaces team hosting a tree planting event at Warre Recreation Ground.

·  Sixth form students from Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School volunteered to help plant an additional 16 standard trees to completed the 2022/23 Ramsgate Tree Planting Project.

·  The Council had received a revised draft Neighbourhood Plan from Broadstairs & St Peter’s Town Council and are now seeking views on the proposals which was the last opportunity to comment before the proposed plan was forwarded to the Independent Examiner which would update the existing Neighbourhood Plan. The six-week consultation opened on 9 February and closes at 5pm on Thursday 23rd March 2023.

·  There was the amazing story of the Banksy artwork that appeared as is his way, overnight on the side of a house in Margate. As you will all be aware this had attracted a worldwide audience, one could say Margate had become more recognised than Westminster these days.

·  This artwork did of course raise the important issue of domestic abuse. The Council had been in touch with the owner of the property to understand their intentions around the preservation. The owner, as had been reported was in discussion with the Dreamland Estate to provide a solution for the future of the work.


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

·  Thanked the Leader for sharing the report in advance and said that he had hoped foe the report to make reference to water supply interruptions that had affected Broadstairs;

·  Councillor Everitt noted that the council was using more money to fund its activities due to inflation and was using reserves as well;

·  He agreed with the report regarding the Port of the Ramsgate that was going to be considered by Cabinet on 2 March 2023;

·  Regarding Banksy artwork; public safety was important for the Council and supported the Leader’s decision on the matter.


The Leader responded to Councillor Everitt’s comments with the following points:


·  Thanked the Shadow Leader for the support regarding the recently adopted Council Budget for 2023/24.


Councillor Garner as Leader of the Green and Independent Group made the following points:


·  Thanked officers and Members for the hard work that went into producing the 2023/24 Council budget;

·  Councillor Garner was concerned about the plans regarding the future of the Port of Ramsgate;

·  He further thanked officers for holding the Members Briefing session on the subject and would be attending the Cabinet meeting where the decision regarding the Port would be taken;

·  Councillor Garner expressed his concern regarding delegating some of the decisions on the Port to officers and that Members should not be excluded from decisions on the Port;

·  Regarding the Broadstairs Neighbourhood Plan; Councillor Garner said that having a robust neighbourhood plan was important and encouraged the public to respond to the public consultation non the Plan which was currently underway;

·  He further said that was waiting in anticipation for the Overview & Scrutiny panel to consider the Collaboration Working Party report and hoped that the recommendations from that report would be adopted;

·  Trees on the Chatham School grounds and other areas should be protected;

·  Banksy’s artwork raised issues about domestic violence and this was important for public awareness.


The Leader replied to Councillor Garner’s comments with the following points:

  • The Leader expected some good discussion by Members on the Port report at Cabinet on 2 March 2023;
  • It was important for assets to work and bring in income for the Council;
  • The Leader hoped that the industry advice given to the Council would turn around the fortunes of the Port;
  • It was time that a decision be made on the future of the Port of Ramsgate and Cabinet was going to make that decision;
  • However it should be noted that this was not going to be a quick process as there were important processes to be undertaken by the Council in seeing through this decision.


Councillor Rev. Piper as Leader of the Thanet Independent Group made the following points:

  • Thanked officers for the work done to produce the 2023/24 Council Budget;
  • He was disappointed not to take part in the vote for the budget item at the meeting as he had declared a interest on the same item when it went to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel;
  • Councillor Piper said that this declaration of interest could be viewed by Members as disenfranchising some Members who should have been allowed to debate and vote on the Council budget.


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

  • The Leader said that she was gad that the Banksy artwork had found a place to store it;
  • The council was going to take a look at the Council Constitution to identify whether there was a need to make changes that would ensure that Members were not excluded from debating on matters put before a meeting for discussion.

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