Thanet’s economy has been renewed, driven by a busy airport at Manston with more passengers and freight coming into the area. Thriving offshore wind-farms have brought jobs to Ramsgate, with new creative businesses attracting more residents and visitors into Margate. The district is more prosperous and the average income in Thanet is now close to that of Kent.
The introduction of the high-speed rail link in 2009 led to further improvements in the rail network in East Kent. New dual carriageways now link Thanet with neighbouring towns. Together, this has delivered faster journey times on road and rail between Thanet and Ashford, Canterbury and Dover. The Manston Parkway station has brought more business into the airport and improved journey times to London.
Education levels in Thanet are now on a par with the rest of Kent, with residents able to take advantage of higher-paid jobs, and the numbers of people starting up their own businesses has increased.
Deprivation has largely been tackled in Thanet’s poorest neighbourhoods as a result of the major regeneration programme driven forward by the council. All parts of Thanet are attracting working age adults, young families and elderly people. A strong emphasis on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour has helped to make Thanet a much safer place.
The district is naturally beautiful, with a stunning coastline, and a rich and diverse heritage that is cherished and carefully maintained. Striking sculptures and stunning lighting are welcoming to both locals and visitors.
Activity levels are up, with residents and visitors taking advantage of opportunities for leisure and culture which have expanded to meet the needs of the population. Imaginative facilities for children and young people exist across the district, with the all-weather adventure playground popular with visitors and residents alike. Thanet’s villages remain largely unchanged – picturesque and peaceful places to live and visit.
Broadstairs remains a traditional seaside resort with the town’s lovely old buildings preserved and enhanced, and its reputation as a charming historic town has been maintained.
Its appeal as a quiet coastal town still attracts good numbers of visitors, who have helped to support an increase in footfall and business activity. The town’s various festivals have played a key part in the success of Broadstairs as a tourist destination.
Pedestrians are prioritised throughout the town, and Broadstairs’ small size makes it a welcoming town to explore on foot.
Margate has a new economic heart, founded on the success of the internationally-renowned Turner Contemporary gallery. Following extensive redevelopment, the town centre is now smaller, with a mix of shops and town houses. The Old Town is a vibrant creative quarter - full of cafés and restaurants that spill onto the street in summer. These are interspersed with niche shops and galleries selling the work of local artists.
Dreamland has been transformed into a striking 21st century attraction; a national centre for the preservation and celebration of the heritage and culture of seaside amusement parks and popular seaside entertainment.
The harbour arm bars and restaurants are now a significant draw for tourists and locals, with the town known as a place to come for a range of good food, with numerous farm shops and delis amongst the High Street shops. Locals and visitors both buy much of their food in the thriving weekly farmers market.
The beach remains the heart of Margate and the seafront is more pedestrian-friendly, with a family-friendly feel.
Job opportunities mean more of the town’s young population remain, and other working age adults have moved in, creating a relatively young and affluent population profile. Opportunities in the town and more widely in Thanet have helped stabilise the previously transient population. Increased investment in buildings and pride in the area have driven up house prices, and driven out absentee landlords. The revival of the seafront, old town and high street means that the dilapidated boarding houses of the past have been converted into offices, art studios, guesthouses and up-market flats.
Sculptures from prominent artists and public art take pride of place, and the town is illuminated in the evening by stunning lighting on the Turner Contemporary gallery, harbour arm, and seafront.
The two most deprived wards - Cliftonville West and Margate Central – are no longer a draw for those searching for cheap rented accommodation. The gap in terms of prosperity and deprivation between these two wards and neighbouring ones has been narrowed significantly.
Ramsgate is a bustling town centred on its spectacular Royal Harbour. The historic architecture and marina are well-maintained and beautifully-lit. The public space is enhanced by the well-preserved Regency houses.
The marina has expanded to accommodate the growing popularity of boat ownership. The image of the town has been reinforced and enhanced as a premier sailing destination. This has helped support a lively visitor industry, with a renewed café culture, stylish shops, and a number of chic guesthouses and hotels. There is a nautical theme with oyster bars, seafood restaurants and sailing clothes shops; all established parts of the local economy.
It has a significant cross channel ferry operator and a large freight operator. Following the 2008-10 slowdown, increases in traffic caused capacity shortfalls among other Kent short sea crossing companies, which have been successfully attracted to Ramsgate. Faster rail links have also made the town more accessible to and from London, with Ramsgate an easy day out for many, particularly Londoners.
The maintenance of its offshore wind farms now represents a key source of employment. All of this new economic activity has provided jobs for many of the town’s previously unemployed residents, which has helped tackle deprivation in Ramsgate’s poorest neighbourhoods.
With the new town centre at its heart, Westwood has grown and flourished into a successful and complete community.
The town is easily accessible by public transport from the rest of Thanet and other parts of East Kent. It provides an excellent range of homes, schools, leisure, sports, shops and other facilities in a pleasant and convenient environment.
The new homes, close to the new town centre, sustain and benefit from a wide range of services which are accessible on foot and by cycle. In particular, the University, Thanet College, Marlowe Academy and Innovation Centre have helped create a diverse and enterprising community.
Manston is the commercial centre of Thanet. Kent International Airport has established itself as a major cargo base for the UK, processing 500,000 tons of freight per year, particularly from nearby continental markets. Scheduled passenger services run daily to popular UK and European destinations.
Manston Park has drawn in businesses from around the world. The airport has been a catalyst for the businesses which have set up in the business park, and it is also developing significant airport-related activities for airlines that cannot find room at other London Airports.
Residents have taken advantage of the thousands of jobs created over the past 21 years.
The Council is recognised for the quality of the services it provides, its attentiveness to the needs of residents, and for always keeping the needs of those who are less able to help themselves to the fore. Creating opportunity, especially for young people and young families to become prosperous, is at the heart of its endeavour.
Its positive relationship with business and the private sector has enabled Thanet to be successful in attracting investment from outside the district, which has been key to creating jobs in the area.
The Council has played a key role in making the changes in the District through its professionalism and willingness to get involved in innovative projects with its various partners. Over the past 21 years, it has continued to prioritise those activities and services that contribute to the vision wherever possible. It has also remained clear about its role in relation to services and activities which contribute to that vision – whether that be one of delivering, resourcing, or influencing.