Agenda item

Cabinet Member Presentation - Leader's Presentation on the Vision for the Council


During his presentation on the vision for the Council, Councillor Everitt, Leader of the Council made the following points:


  • This was a good time to be in administration;
  • There were a number of significant Levelling Up Fund investment projects which would have a lasting benefit for the district;
  • The current administration would be carrying forward some of the ideas from the previous Cabinet;
  • The Leader was full of optimism about the future for the Council. He said that officers have had to deal with some of the most difficult circumstances the Council has had to go through. However new senior officers were coming to join the Council and that would help deliver on the organisation’s work;
  • The current Cabinet had the experience to steer the Council through a number of key investment projects;
  • Providing affordable housing was a key priority for the Council with plans to increase council housing stock by 400 units over the next four years;
  • Full credit should be given to the Housing and Finance teams for putting together the proposals for housing;
  • Managing the public realm would be one of the priority areas of focus as this reflects on the Council;
  • In pursuit of that aim, additional street cleaners would be employed to be assigned to two teams of four individuals working across all residential areas in the district from Mondays to Fridays;
  • A new Head of Cleansing would be joining the council shortly;
  • Cabinet was delivering on its promises;
  • Cabinet would also be reviewing the process for asset disposal and a new Head of Legal and Monitoring Officer would be looking at this issue, when they join the Council;
  • Cabinet would be looking to addressing issues of deprivation and opportunities in Ramsgate and Margate;
  • The Leader would work on building good Member/Officer working relationships;
  • The Council would need to ensure that climate change issues were factored in its decisions;
  • A new Climate Change Cabinet Advisory Group (CAG) had been set up to lead on advising the administration. A lot of work had been carried out by a previous CAG;
  • Cabinet would look at opportunities for collaborative work across the region and would work with KCC to lobby on climate emergency issues.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • One Member said that they were concerned about the quality and viability of projects due to inflation;
  • Could cross funding of projects be permitted under the Levelling up Funding?
  • Could Members be advised of where the RoRo funding accounts were?
  • The recruitment of new staff for the Street Cleansing team was good news. Since it was just two teams, residents would need to be patient for their turn to get their streets cleaned. Will the activities of these teams be scheduled across the district?
  • There used to be schedules for street cleansing in Ramsgate. It was hoped that this approach would return;
  • The update regarding TDC working with other Councils on issue affecting the region was welcome news;
  • One Member asked the Leader what he hoped to have happened to poverty in the district in four years’ time;
  • Another Member asked if there would be dialogue with residents to inform them about street cleansing coming to their communities and could there be any communication about that initiative;
  • Was building council houses a better option to buying from developers?
  • It was welcome news that Cabinet viewed street cleansing as a priority area of focus. Here was a need for joined up thinking between the Street Cleansing and Street Scene teams;
  • Had the Council done any cost benefit analysis regarding the use of portable toilets against refurbishing toilets in Margate?
  • One Member said that the Port was small and that Berth 4/5 was still not operational. They also said that Bretts had not put in a planning application for the development of the Port site. They further said that with this in mind, it was worrying that the Council was investing in the Port through the LUF but it would be for little return. There was a need to scrutinise background work done to inform the decision regarding project work at the Port;
  • Another Member said that the subject of the youth of Thanet was of great interest to Members. They further asked where issues regarding the local youth lay in the vision of the current Cabinet to ensure opportunities for them;
  • Would the Leader give the Panel a commitment that Cabinet would not allow waste to be shipped through the Port under its watch?
  • Could Cabinet allocate additional resources to the Enforcement team to increase their capacity on monitoring fly tipping in the district?
  • Could the issue regarding toilets being closed too early be looked into?
  • Working closely with parish and town councils was a good thing. Could this approach be encouraged among officers including officers responding timeously to correspondence from the parishes?
  • When would the report on collaborative working between TDC and parish and town councils be considered by Cabinet?
  • Were there any plans for further supporting volunteer groups to continue to maximise output?


Councillor Everitt responded as follows:


  • A lot of the questions were outside the context of the presentation
  • Cabinet was confident that an operator for the Port would be identified;
  • Council had invited expressions of and a good number had been received. Member were requested to be patient with the process;
  • The street cleansing in residential areas would prioritise those areas that had been identified as requiring priority attention. Funding would be from the base budget and this was a sustainable approach. It was hoped that residents would see an improvement;
  • Council on its own would not be able to resolve all issues, but the LUF investment would go a long way to tackling some of the deprivation issues;
  • Communities were excited by the proposals that had been put forward by the Council;
  • Street cleansing resources would not be apportioned equally among the 23 wards as some wards required more resources than others;
  • It would be Council’s wish to build its own housing units. However, the Council would need to find the land and 40% subsidy. The Council was purchasing housing that the Housing Associations did not want;
  • Toilets were a priority for Cabinet. Condition survey had been conducted on all the toilets and a report was going to be considered at the Cabinet meeting in September;
  • It was understandable that there was some scepticism among Members on whether the Council would find an operator for the Port. Numerous approaches had been made by a number of organisations to operate the Port and the Cabinet was confident that an operator would be found;
  • Last time around the Council was unable to find an operator because there was not the kind of infrastructure like there was now at the Port;
  • Under new arrangements the risk would be transferred to the operator, unlike before;
  • The introduction of the youth Council was a very good idea and Cabinet was keen to continue with that initiative to be led by Council Heather Keen;
  • Cabinet would ensure that the port would not be used to transport waste;
  • Closure of toilets had to do with the sequencing of the closing schedule which ensures that busiest locations would be closed last;
  • Fly tipping was a major challenge and Cabinet would be reviewing this area;
  • Collaborative working with parishes was the Cabinet’s current direction of travel;
  • The Leader was enthusiastic about harnessing volunteer groups but the challenge was who would continue with their work when they stopped.


The Chair thanked the Leader of Council for the presentation and Members noted the report.