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Although both the wards of Cliftonville West
and Margate Central have issues relating to anti social behaviour,
it would not be feasible to declare the whole area as part of the
designation due to staff resource implications.
The focus for this designation is, in the
main, focused on the part of the ward of Cliftonville West due to
the higher proportion of residential accommodation and the link
between anti social behaviour and rented accommodation. If the
designation is successful it may be that further designations are
considered in the future.
Anti social behaviour is a concern within the
ward and forms the main reason for this proposal.
The area suffers from a number of fires both
deliberate and accidental each year. The Fire Service attended 215
deliberate fires in 2009/2010 across Thanet and this is one of the
highest levels in Kent. However, the ward of Cliftonville
West has the highest number of call outs for deliberate dwelling
fires experiencing 13 last year. As a result of these fires 2
people suffered serious injuries and 9 had to be rescued from their
Thanet’s average incident rate for fire is 4.3
fires per 1,000 population. The rate in Cliftonville West is double
that rate at 10.2 fires per 1,000 population and is the highest
rate across all the wards in Thanet.
Crime is also a significant problem in
Cliftonville West and Margate Central. These two wards have some of
the worst crime rates in Kent with a combined crime rate of 247.3
per 1000 population; the average for Kent is 71.3 per 1000
Cliftonville West had 386 reported violent
crimes compared to the ward average of 133 in Thanet. This is
almost three times the average.
Burglary linked to local problematic drug
users, accounts for 153 crimes a year in Cliftonville West alone
against a Thanet ward average of 33.
Within the two wards (Cliftonville West and
Margate Central), the Youth Offending Service has 87 customers
annually. This represents 17% of the Thanet total. Cliftonville
West is the worst ward for youth offending in Kent accounting for
15% of youth crime in Thanet.
Approximately 15% of KCC’s children’s social
work cases in Thanet are found in these two wards. This includes a
disproportionate number requiring statutory intervention.
745 of Incapacity Benefit claims were for
mental health and behavioural disorders from a total of 1390 in the
Approximately 34% of all GP referrals in
Thanet to secondary mental health services emanate from these two
From July 01 2009 - July 01 2010 a total of
188 fixed penalty notices were issued for littering and dog fouling
across the district. 14% of those notices were served within
As indicated by some of the statistics shown
above the area of Cliftonville West suffers from a significant
problem of anti social behaviour. The map below indicates the
levels of service requests received by Thanet DC in 2009/10
relating to antisocial behaviour and privately rented properties.
It also plots known empty properties.
Click on image to enlarge
The map shows that across the area there are a
number of properties that are linked to anti social behaviour. This
only shows the level of activity by Thanet DC and does not show the
calls and activity relating to crime and disorder and therefore the
map should be read in conjunction with the general statistics
In order to qualify for a selective licensing
scheme there must be evidence of a link between the housing and a
significant and persistent problem of anti social behaviour. The
data and map clearly show that this is the case, however there is
data missing on exactly how many properties are privately rented.
As information becomes available this map will be updated.
Based on the available data that has been
mapped, there are clear hotspot areas. The ‘hotspots’ will form the
basis of a prioritisation for the enforcement programme but it is
considered appropriate to designate this whole area to ensure a
comprehensive approach is taken to deal with the issues.
By designating the whole area detailed in the
map above the risk of problems migrating to other wards is reduced.
The nature of the housing stock in this area is so unique that it
is unlikely that other wards will be affected in the same way. So
far, of those authorities that already have a selective licensing
scheme, there appears to be no evidence that the problems migrate
to other areas. The aim of the scheme is to tackle the route cause
of the anti social behaviour rather than moving it from property to
property. Evaluation of the scheme will form an important part of
this project and this will include an impact assessment on
One of the main distinguishing features of
this area and arguably at the heart of the problem is the
over-supply of mainly substandard private rented accommodation. In
October 2009, the Housing Regeneration Team at Thanet District
Council began a pro-active programme of inspection called ‘Your
Home, Your Health’. This programme involved the systematic
inspection of all properties in the area, one street at a time.
This programme is currently on going and has provided valuable data
on the properties in the area. So far the data collected has
identified that in some streets more than 80% of the properties are
privately rented. The average for privately rented property in
Thanet is 28.5% which is still very high compared to a national
average of 13%. This is a symptom of the current housing market and
the high levels of people on means tested benefits that are unable
to access the housing market. Despite the house prices having
recently reduced and the value of property in Cliftonville West
being particularly low, the area is more attractive to investment
landlords with a demand for low rent accommodation rather than
45% of properties are in single-occupation and
this is largely due to the number of small flats and HMOs. 58% of
properties are flats compared to the Kent average of 16% and 30
properties in the area already have a mandatory HMO licence. The
level of home ownership has reduced significantly with some streets
only showing around 10% of properties being owner occupied and this
figure appears to be falling. This type of accommodation has an
impact on the diversity of the community with less family
accommodation available which in turn leads to over occupation and
In addition to the high levels of rented
accommodation and low levels of owner occupied properties there are
high levels of empty properties. Up to 20% of units are empty in
some streets and in some cases whole buildings that have been
converted into a number of flats are empty and boarded up.
Figures provided by the Building Research Establishment (BRE)
show that between 58-and 85% of properties within Cliftonville West
have at least one category one hazard as assessed under the Housing
Health and Safety Rating system. This is an indicator of
substandard accommodation that does not meet the decent homes
standard. Following a stock condition survey for the whole of
Thanet in 2008, it is likely that properties will contain disrepair
issues that will lead to a risk of exposure to the cold through
inadequate heating and insulation, and an increased risk of fire,
falls, and crime. This is further supported by the data mentioned
in 4.1 which details the level of crime and incidents of fire.
The population in the area is particularly
transient with a 34% annual ‘churn’. Work through the ‘Your Home,
Your Health’ project has highlighted that more than 80% of
residents in the survey area are not originally from Thanet. Around
21% are from elsewhere in Kent, 43% are from elsewhere in the UK
and 19% are from outside of the UK.
The transient nature of the residents makes it
extremely difficult to understand the needs of the residents in the
area and to make a lasting impact by tailoring services to meet
The average life expectancy in Margate Central
is 72.7 years (2004 -2008 pooled data) - 17 years shorter than the
best in Kent. Life expectancy at birth for males in Cliftonville
West is 69.2 years, almost 18½ years below the best county average.
Key killers for this population are circulatory disease (highest
mortality rates in Thanet) and all cancers.
The area also has high levels of people in
receipt of benefits. 39% of people are in receipt of at least one
benefit which is the worst in Kent. 9.4% are in receipt of
Disability Living Allowance and 18.5% receive Incapacity Benefit
this is the second worst in Kent the first being Margate
Given the data collected, it is considered
appropriate that a selective licensing designation should be
considered. However, it is important to ensure that this scheme
compliments existing projects and activity.
In 2005 Cliftonville west was declared as a
renewal area. Additional resource was directed to the area in the
form of a small team dedicated to responding to issues in the area
and administering small grants to improve the frontage of the
properties. The work of this team has identified the need for a
much larger more integrated approach which has led to the
development of the Margate Task Force. The area also benefited from
investment from the Safer, Stronger Communities Fund (SSCF) which
helped deliver projects for the community.
These have all had a positive impact on the
area but have not directly tackled the internal conditions of the
properties or dealt with continued anti social behaviour issues.
Although the Council has always responded to complaints relating to
housing condition and anti social behaviour this only deals with a
small proportion of the problems leaving the remaining area largely
In 2007 the Council also led on a multi agency
enforcement approach called ‘Operation Cleansweep’. Again this is a
continuing programme of activity and is a highly successful model
for enforcement. There have been a number of successes through the
scheme and this approach will continue to have an important role in
the enforcement and delivery of selective licensing.
In 2009 the Council introduced a proactive
property inspection programme called ‘Your Home Your Health’. There
are two main aims to this approach. The first is as a multi agency
referral form to assist residents in accessing a number of services
that they may not normally be aware of. These services range from
finding a dentist or a doctor, quitting smoking and healthy living
advice, to benefit advice and debt management, to accessing
community groups and befriending services. The second aim is to
collect information about the properties, the tenure, and the
population. So far this has provided some useful information to
allow us to direct services appropriately. ‘Your Home, Your Health’
runs in partnership with the NHS and services across Kent County
Council and Thanet DC and has successfully linked a number of
residents to services that have improved their health safety and
It is intended that selective licensing will
support the activity that is currently being undertaken but also
bridge the gap that has been identified by dealing with the
problems associated with rented accommodation and anti social
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Tel: 01843 577437
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