Council prepares for summer season to start three months early
Thanet District Council has updated its Beach Management Plan, with preparations in place three months earlier than normal ready for the Easter weekend.
Every year in Thanet, plans are made for ‘high season’ which tends to coincide with school summer holidays. However, this year the council has built on the experience gained last season and listened to residents’ concerns in its proactive planning for a potential influx of visitors to the district with Government restrictions easing. It has made some changes to its preparations which crucially includes activating its Beach Management Plan much earlier.
The Council’s Beach Management Plan (first published June 2020) aims to help everyone respect, protect and enjoy Thanet’s coastline by working with multiple key agencies*.
Based on learnings and feedback from last year, the Council has:
- Installed 80 new 1,100 litre colourful bins which are normally reserved for the summer months. These bins will be emptied twice a day, seven days a week.
- Ordered 42 new blue recycling bins for its Blue Flag and Seaside Award beaches. These will be put out at the end of April and have ‘aperture’ type tops to accept bottles and cans etc whilst making it more difficult to dispose of non-recyclable waste.
- Extended working hours of its cleansing teams on beaches/promenades for the duration of the school Easter holidays.
- Assigned two mobile litter teams on the coastline. These are in addition to the static cleaners at Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Joss Bay.
- Completed sand levelling and large scale litter-raking. The beach tractor will then follow the normal summer rota from 5 April 2021.
Anti-social behaviour, including COVID restrictions:
- Provided four Covid-wardens for beaches and promenades.
- Recruited dedicated enforcement officers to educate people on the Council’s new Beaches and Coast Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) and Coastal Code of Conduct. This PSPO makes the rules of our coast clear and enforcement officers will challenge nuisance behaviour and can issue £100 for serious and persistent breaches. They will be working alongside Kent Police Officers.
- Opened all of the toilets around the district from Monday 29 March, which will be cleaned throughout the day.
- Installed portaloos at Margate Main Sands and Botany Bay.
- Increased security around our toilets.
- Increased presence of Civil Enforcement Officers patrolling on foot in the Kingsgate/Broadstairs area.
- Prepared static signage to direct visitors to some of the beaches which have more space and available parking when needed.
Gavin Waite, Thanet District Council’s Corporate Director for Communities, said:
“Our Beach Management Plan is an integral part of keeping all the services we provide for residents and visitors along our coastline running smoothly.
“We have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to prepare for this latest stage of restrictions easing. Despite these plans normally being implemented in time for the summer season, we have them ready for this Easter weekend.
“Many people will choose to visit our 19 miles of coastline over the coming weekend and in the months ahead. We want to encourage everyone to do the right thing: respect social distancing, wear a mask when asked, and take their litter home when the bins are full.”
In addition to the operational preparations, a new memorable communications campaign is being launched by the council. It aims to welcome visitors back to Thanet and remind them (and residents) to ‘Respect’, ‘Protect’ and ‘Enjoy’ Thanet’s towns, beaches and open spaces. The concept, created by a local Thanet designer, will be displayed at prominent locations across the district including bus stops, roads to popular beaches, train stations, car parks, on litter bins and across the council’s social media channels.
Advice for visitors planning to visit Thanet’s beaches:
Respect: Use the bins provided – waste is everyone’s responsibility. When a bin is full, instead of leaving it, find an emptier bin. Or, even better take your litter home with you and recycle it.
Please park responsibly – leave room for emergency vehicles and follow parking restrictions. Be considerate to people who live in the area.
Protect: Follow Government guidelines and take personal responsibility for social distancing to protect yourself, your family and those around you. If you feel that the distance between you and other people is too close, then please move to somewhere that is less crowded and more comfortable.
Please be aware that lifeguards will not be on duty until 29 May.
Enjoy: Plan ahead by checking parking and toilet provision. If a beach is busy, choose another to avoid crowds or consider coming back at another time when it is quieter.
*Partner organisations involved in the multi-agency Beach Management Plan, include representatives from the NHS, Kent Police, British Transport Police, Kent County Council, RNLI, Your Leisure and Southeastern.
Grants for lift restoration, improved disabled beach access and tidal pool repairs are on the cards for Thanet’s towns, following an allocation of funds received from Southern Water.
Earlier this year, a defendant was found guilty of fly-tipping bagged waste and household goods in Chatham Passage, Ramsgate.
In December 2022, the Government published some proposed amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework and offered an open consultation on the proposed updates.