Agenda item



Councillor K. Bright asked Councillor Keen the following question:


“Thanet’s heritage is more than our many wonderful buildings and spaces. My question is about the many much-loved events we have in Broadstairs and beyond.


The Broadstairs Folk Week, Dickens Festival and Food Festivals bring vital visitor numbers and income to Broadstairs. They are not-for-profit and are run by armies of volunteers.


Yet TDC costs and red-tape have increased this year, placing real pressure on the ongoing survival of these events.


Land hire charges for Broadstairs Food Festival, increased by between 223% – 340% y-o-y this Autumn.


Broadstairs Folk Week has been hit with a 185% year-on-year increase in TDC costs.


Events like these across Thanet are treasured by our residents and must be protected. By increasing costs and bureaucracy, however, TDC puts their ongoing survival in doubt.


What steps can be taken to ensure we have a fair approach to charging these events for the use of our open spaces?”


Councillor Keen responded that:


·  The importance of well run events on the tourism and local economy was recognised by the council. The council had an events policy, suitability of events document and a range of suitable sites for events across the District.

·  The fees and charges for events are based on their category and size (number of visitors), the categories include Enthusiast (specialist interest subjects such as re-enactments), Charity (regional or National), Commercial (provides a commercial benefit to profit making businesses such as food festivals, concerts), Community (directly benefits residents and visitors such as social groups, village fetes), Active Recreation (running etc), Armed Forces. The categories are not based on the status of those organising them but the event itself.

·  The categories and fees could be found on the council’s website.

·  In some cases as events became more popular and attracted more visitors then these would move up the fee structure. In 2023 the council had undertaken an audit of the councils event applications to ensure that they were correctly applying the councils fees and charges, in some cases events have previously been under-charged which would explain an increase or the number of attendees had increased.

·  The events policy and suitability of events were formally adopted by the council in 2021 for 3 years when they will be reviewed. The charges were revised yearly as part of the fees and charges process and then agreed by Council.

·  The council’s charges were higher than Dover but comparable to Canterbury, when they were set a number of years ago the council was one of the first in Kent to charge.

·  There had been no increase in the requirements for the completion of paperwork, these have been in place for a number of years and are used across the country.

·  The number of attendees are declared by the applicant on their paperwork and the council cross referenced if they thought they were being kept low to avoid moving into a new payment bracket. Officers also attend events for food and licensing inspections so they knew how popular they are.


Councillor K. Bright followed up his question by asking whether it would be possible to discuss solution to help further, through cultural or heritage events. The administrative burden was considered excessive.


Councillor Keen responded that in 2024 it was up for renewal. There was a duty to keep the public safe whilst organising the events.