The Selective Licensing Scheme was introduced in part of Cliftonville and Margate to help tackle anti-social behaviour, low housing demand and improve living conditions. Landlords are obliged to licence their properties in the designated area and to comply with the terms of the Scheme.
Selective Licensing Designation 2011-2016
Cliftonville West and Margate Central Wards, Margate
Thanet District Council introduced a selective licensing designation covering an area of Cliftonville West and Margate Central wards.
Thanet District Council took this action as part of a wider regeneration programme for the area following the latest results of the published indices of multiple deprivation. The indices look at the relationship between income, employment, health, education and skills, housing, crime and the living environment. Despite being located in the South East which is considered an affluent region, Thanet ranks 65 out of 354 based on the indices of multiple deprivation 2007 with 1 being the most deprived and 354 being the least deprived (Office of National Statistics 2007). The office of national statistics also provides information on individual super output areas within the district and the areas covered by Margate Central and Cliftonville West wards are in the bottom 3% of the most deprived areas nationally and are the two most deprived wards in the South East of England (IMD).
The reasons behind the decline of these wards are complex. Thanet was a popular holiday destination but has struggled to restructure its economy following the decline of this industry which has led to serious socio-economic challenges. Despite a wide range of actions and interventions in recent years, the area’s ranking in deprivation compared to other areas of the country has declined significantly since 2004.
Today, this disadvantage manifests itself through entrenched worklessness and benefit dependency; a high level of privately rented accommodation much of which is both in poor condition and is poorly managed, a highly transitory population with an annual turn over of residents exceeding 30% and considerable inequalities in health with life expectancy significantly lower than elsewhere in the county. (see section 2.1-2.4)
One of the major challenges in Margate Central and Cliftonville West is the built environment. In Cliftonville West in particular the Victorian seaside properties are characterised by large terraced houses or guest houses and hotels, over several floors with small gardens. Since the decline in Thanet’s tourism this type of property has lent itself to be used as small flats, and houses in multiple occupation, being too large for retention as a single household family home, with very few traditional guest houses or B&B’s remaining. The increase in this type of accommodation at the lower end of the rental market has led to a change in the type and tenure of housing, and consequently a change in the demographic profile of the area.
With restricted opportunities for employment in recent years, these properties have become easily accessible housing for benefit dependent individuals and less attractive to home owners. As owner occupiers sell up and move out, market values have reduced over time and the large properties have become attractive investments for landlords to purchase and sub divide, creating additional flats and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
Many single person, benefit dependent households are transient and this has led to a high turnover of residents. A significant number of people move into the area from other parts of the country and outside of the UK, as well as constant movement between properties within the ward. There remains a core community of households who have pride in the area but the constant movement of the privately rented sector means it is difficult to maintain and develop any feeling of community and this contributes to the area scoring poorly on community cohesion indicators.
In 2005 the District Council declared the wards of Cliftonville West and Margate Central as a Neighbourhood Renewal Area (NRA). Despite considerable attention and financial support for the area progress on improving the deprivation indicators has been slow and in some cases has declined. Property values have slumped and households in poverty have continued to grow. The area has many absentee landlords, high levels of privately rented accommodation which is often poorly managed and in poor condition, and a high number of empty properties. This cycle of decline is inextricably linked with social problems of worklessness, poor health, crime and anti social behaviour. It is not surprising that the area is commonly seen as rundown, an undesirable place to live and contributing negatively to the overall reputation of Thanet.
Despite all these issues the area of Cliftonville West continues to be a priority for Thanet Council, Kent County Council and NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent. It is viewed as an area with considerable prospects for the future with determination from some members of the community, public services and the voluntary sector to work in partnership and make a positive difference to the current profile of these wards and the quality of life of the residents.
There will need to be a range of approaches that are well coordinated in order to have a significant impact on the problems faced in these wards. There is no one solution to the regeneration of the area but a comprehensive mix of tools to deal with unemployment, health, crime, anti social behaviour and the economy.
The Margate Task Force is a new initiative which is working to integrate housing and environmental regeneration with a wider multi-agency approach to tackle the high level of socio-economic problems in the area, characterised by a disproportionate concentration of vulnerable individuals and families.
The Task Force team comprises Police, Housing, Community Safety, Youth Workers, and Family Intervention. It will take the lead in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour; ensuring that vulnerable individuals and families receive the support they need in the local community. The Task Force’s priority is to engage with the community through residents, youth and business groups working in partnership to agree shared objectives and activities which can be positively delivered.
The introduction of a selective licensing scheme in specified areas of Cliftonville West and Margate Central forms part of a toolkit to tackle the various issues in the area. This intervention is underpinned by an agreed long-term strategy and neighbourhood plan, shaped and directed through community engagement, for addressing the significant issues faced in the Cliftonville West and Margate Central wards, alongside a comprehensive housing intervention plan. It will compliment the range of activities and action plans in place to achieve regeneration for the two wards by helping to deal with low demand, anti social behaviour, regulate the private rented sector and ensure that residents have access to good quality, properly managed accommodation.
It is essential that members of the community are engaged with this proposal and have the opportunity to make comment. The draft proposal was circulated for comment through a consultation process that began on 6th September 2010 and ended on 15th November 2010. A copy of the draft proposal and details of the consultation process can be found in appendix one of the full document – Selective Licensing Scheme.
This final document has been amended from the draft proposal to reflect the comments and suggestions received through the consultation process. It sets out the detail behind the proposal, the reasons why making a designation will enhance the existing activity and provides details of the results of the consultation.
This scheme’s Designation was approved the council’s Cabinet on 12th January 2011.
Read the full Selective Scheme Designation document