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Public speaking at Council meetings

Submit a question for Full Council 28 March 2024.

Please make sure you have read through the guidance below before submitting your question.

A question can also be posted to: the Committee Services Manager, Council Offices, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT10 1XZ

Members of the press and residents of Thanet can ask questions at ordinary meetings of Council; the exceptions being the annual council meeting, the annual budget-setting meeting (usually at the beginning of February) and extraordinary meetings.

A question must be submitted by the person who will ask the question at the Council meeting and not someone else on the questioner’s behalf.  You can submit a question by clicking on the date of the meeting in the table below.

Upcoming meetings and dates by which your questions should be submitted

The Committee Services Manager must receive your question at least five full working days before the date of the meeting. Saturdays and Sundays and bank holidays do not count as ‘working days’.

Date of ordinary meeting of council Time by which your question should be received
Thursday 28th March 2024 5.30, Wednesday 20th March 2024

 

Further information

Summary of Questions and Responses at the Council meeting of  22 February 2024

 

Questions from Councillors

Question from Councillor W.Scobie to Cllr Keen

“Would the Cabinet member please share what preparations TDC is making about the proposed new Protect Duty, otherwise known as Martyn’s law? Specifically, how many venues does TDC believe will be covered by the Enhanced tier?”

Response:

The proposed Martyn’s Law impacted the local authority in many ways as the Licensing Authority, the responsible authority for public spaces and potentially the enforcing authority, the Council was therefore preparing in various ways. 

The Government had been clear that specific guidance around requirements would be published as part of the bill. Until this is published the Council was unsure as to whether or not they would be the enforcing authority. 

The Council had plotted all of the premises which they believed would be within the enhanced tier including its own. The required assessments would be part of the management of the Council’s sites. 

Based on the information available, it was believed that there would be in the region of 90+ enhanced tier premises in the Thanet District. 

There was a consultation regarding the updated standard tier in order to balance public protection and the burden on smaller premises prior to the Bill being presented to Parliament. 

Councillor Scobie followed up his question by asking Councillor Keen if it was assumed that if the Theatre Royal and Winter Gardens opened, it would be in the advanced tier? Further questioning when more information be available, and if it could be arranged for councillors to be trained on this?

Councillor Keen responded that these assets, including the Theatre Royal and Winter Gardens, were the sorts of assets that had this clear plan. Training was considered an excellent idea, this had the potential to be brought into a councillors briefing. 

 

Question from Cllr Manners to Cllr Albon

‘I’m pleased to see that the Council has published ambitious plans for Jacky Bakers. Support for grass roots sport and football is important to the communities we serve. With that in mind could I please have an update on promises made to renovate the Sports Pavilion at Northdown Park? Has a full structural survey including asbestos survey been conducted and what are the findings and recommendations? Have officers prepared a schedule of proposed works and a timetable for delivery? What are the costings and has a budget allocation been made?’

Response:

The open spaces and estate teams had been working collaboratively to prepare the site for a long-term tenant who could enhance the facility. A schedule of works had been prepared by the Council’s Building Surveyor which outlined the necessary improvements. This schedule would be a crucial component of the new agreement, ensuring that the renovations align with the long-term goals for the site. 

There was no additional budget allocation beyond the costs required for clearing the site of debris, carrying out the EPC and Asbestos Report, and preparing it for marketing. As the marketing of the flagship property (Northdown House) in the same park was nearing completion, the Pavilion would be the next property to seek a new custodian. This systematic approach allowed the Council to ensure they had the required staffing capacity to carry out accompanied viewings, and to be able to address the incoming levels of offers and requests. 

 Councillor Manners followed up his question by asking Councillor Albon whether the council was looking in third party interests? If the council was looking for a tenant for the building, would the council be publishing the terms of reference? 

Councillor Albon responded that the council would do everything they could. 

Question from Cllr Bayford to Cllr Whitehead

‘It seems that in order to meet the Council’s plan to purchase more affordable homes, some are being acquired prior to their construction. In these cases, does TDC have influence on the proposed EPC rating for the homes to be purchased, particularly as potential tenants are likely to benefit from the least expensive energy costs possible, as well as the obvious benefit to the environment?’

Response:

When the Council acquired homes off plan or as a ‘turn-key’ product, it was not permitted to influence the specification – this is because the Council would be creating a bespoke product that should be procured through a competitive tendering process.  

While the Council was not allowed to influence developers and change their specification, it would work very closely with colleagues in planning and were united in achieving the environmental benefits set out in the corporate statement, in order to set the highest bar possible for the green credentials of the homes that it acquired. 

The Council would actively take part in discussions with the developers about its ambitions. Where sites are not yet being built out, the Council would also share its own detailed specification, and would monitor the quality of the build throughout the construction process to ensure that the quality was there and certification is all in order at the point of handover of homes on the development.   

The units which had already completed and that have been handed over (LAHF and Spitfire Green Phase 1) were all EPC ‘B’.

Councillor Bayford followed up her question by asking Councillor Whitehead how the council intended on funding the costs?

Councillor Whitehead responded that with acquisition came business cases. If the development cost was not cost effective, the council would not enter into the agreement. The council was considered in a good position in terms of acquiring properties.

Question from Cllr Garner to Cllr Keen

“The Royal College of Physicians estimate that 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution, with engine idling contributing to this by increasing the amount of exhaust fumes in the air.

The Highway Code states that ‘if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution’.

As a first step towards TDC considering the introduction of clean air zones, will Cllr Keen please follow the lead of other progressive councils in the UK and ask enforcement officers to issue fixed penalty notices to the driver when they witness a car idling and issue a fine of £40 if they refuse to turn their engine off?”

Response:

It had been proposed that the Climate Change Cabinet Advisory Group explored how the Council could incorporate this enforcement in a meaningful way. It was confirmed that the Chair of the Climate CAG would take this up in a forthcoming meeting. 

Thanet District Council monitors air quality across the district and currently at the time of the meeting had one air quality management area in St Lawrence. 

All of the monitoring data was available at kentair.org.uk.

Question from Cllr Rogers to Cllr Albon

I am addressing the serious concerns of compostable waste at the Dane Park Depot. 2,180 tonnes of waste, when the permitted amount is a maximum of 60 tonnes. Thankfully we have an efficient Head of Coastal and Public Realm who was concerned and asked relevant questions to the council’s waste consultant. Substantial fines and custodial sentences could have been imposed by the Environment Agency for non-compliance. The cost of removal was £275,000.

Why was this allowed to build up over several years, why did the Operational Services Director not inspect the site, so allowing this to happen? Why, if the director left, did an interim or deputy manager not spot this? Surely someone on site must have recognised that this could incur costs? What has been put in place to ensure this never happens again?

Response:

The management of the Open Spaces service was in a much more stable place, with the Open Spaces Manager, Head of Service and Director roles filled with permanent staff. 

The supervisors and their teams had been given clear instructions based on the advice and guidance of the Council’s waste consultant and Waste Compliance Manager. 

The Head of Service was undertaking monthly checks of all sites within the Coastal and Public Realm service to ensure compliant working practices were being undertaken. 

Councillor Rogers followed up her question by asking Councillor Albon if he agreed that due to the estimated figure of £225,000 being overspent by £50,000, should this had gone out to tender, and changed from an officer to a key decision? 

Councillor Albon responded that in order to get the work done in a timely manner the decision was taken to use the contractor. If the council had gone through the process of tendering, this would have taken up valuable time.     

 

Question from Cllr Huxley to Cllr Keen

“Local residents have repeatedly contacted me to ask for help in relation to an abandoned vehicle which has been dumped on unadopted land in Camden Square, Ramsgate, and has now been there for over a year without moving. The vehicle is full of rubbish and has four flat tyres. A second similar vehicle has more recently arrived. I understand the owner has claimed the first vehicle but has failed to remove it. Please would the Cabinet Member set out what action the council can take to get these vehicles removed. Thank you.”

Response:

The vehicle in question was not abandoned as it had an owner and therefore the Council was unable to use abandoned vehicle legislation to remove this vehicle. The council’s Street Scene team would investigate to see what enforcement activity could be undertaken.

The Council had received a report regarding a second vehicle on 16th February and this was, at the time of the meeting, being processed through the abandoned vehicle processes with the initial notices been issued.

Councillor Huxley followed up her question by asking Councillor Keen whether the council should be able to name and shame the owners of such vehicles? 

Councillor Keen responded that she believed that naming and shaming was not the correct thing to do. However, it was noted that all residents had a responsibility to look after the area, and it was disappointing when residents did not do this. 

Question from Cllr Rattigan to Cllr Everitt

“The Margate charter trustee want to start the process to become a town council, with a time scale for becoming a town council in April 2026. Will you confirm you will trigger this process and confirm that the scale time can be met.”

Response:

The Council was committed to parishing Margate in order to create a town council. However, the review to create a Parish Council for Margate could not run at the same time as the review reducing the number of TDC Councillors. As a result the start date of a review to create a Margate Town Parish could not be set in stone. It would be started as soon as the review was complete. This was scheduled to be at the end of the 2024 calendar year. If the review finished sooner, the Council would start the Parishing of Margate sooner. The process to create a Parish had to be completed within a one year period, and so it was hoped to see a shadow Parish Council created around the time suggested with the formal Parish Council coming into effect at the next elections in May 2027. 

Question from Cllr Worrow to Cllr Everitt

“Please tell me how many hectares of farmland are owned by the Council and the locations of this farmland”

Response:

Councillor Worrow was not present at the meeting, he was responded to in writing with the following information:

The council owned agricultural land in the following locations:

Dane Valley Road, Millmead Road and Shottendane Road in Margate, Crescent Road, North Foreland and The Leys in Preston Road, Minster.

In total the council owned 32.7 hectares of agricultural land.

Question from Cllr Paul Moore to Cllr Whitehead

“Our veterans are an important part of our community. Having served this country, the Armed forces covenant has been created by the Govt to ensure that veterans receive the support that they rightly deserve.

The covenant legal duty is a legal obligation on certain public bodies including LA’s to have due regard to the principles of the AF Covenant when carrying out certain functions in health care, education and housing.

We have no officer presently in post having stepped back as written in an email to all of the group members in the AF covenant and that the council’s commitment to the covenant has seemingly stagnated, (these are the feeling by those volunteers and members of the Thanet group).

What is happening with the armed forces covenant presently?

WE have been awarded silver standard and if we are not actively doing anything we should give back those awards/accreditations.”

Response:

Following the departure of the officer supporting the armed forces covenant, the council’s Enforcement and Multi-agency task Force manager had assumed responsibility for the relevant functions and was representing the council at the Thanet Armed Forces/Civilian Partnership Network. 

Prior to the covenant becoming a statutory duty the Multi-agency task force held leadership roles in delivering activities around the covenant as well as undertaking extensive work supporting former armed forces personnel and their families. 

The Multi-agency task force manager had begun meeting individually with representatives of the network, and it was assured that the council’s commitment to those who serve and have served remains undiminished. 

Councillor Paul. Moore followed up his question by asking Councillor Whitehead whether the council would provide an AFC role and take ownership?

Councillor Whitehead responded that the work had not stopped. It was confirmed that the officer was changed. From a housing perspective it was understood that this was more reflective of the covenant role. The commitment was there from the council. Notably, the council was in belief of turning this into a meaningful partnership.  

Questions from Members of the Public

Question from Ms Gardner to Cllr Keen

Based on the fact that major corporations operating in your neighbourhoods are directly profiting off of the murder of innocent people like my cousins uncle, why have you not done more in your position of power to call for a ceasefire? And why do you continue to allow these clearly unethical companies to operate in your neighbourhoods?

Response:

The district council had no powers to prevent the operation of major corporations in Thanet, either on an ethical basis or generally.

Question from Ms Trentham to Cllr Keen

“As a resident of Thanet I am very worried about the impact of the present situation in Gaza on Palestinians and Israelis and also those living here and this concern is shared by many according to a recent Ipso poll. Can you tell me why this council is not speaking out against what many NGO’s now state is genocide and in doing so show empathy to these communities, and why this council is not calling for a permanent ceasefire now?”

Response:

 There was a motion before the council at the meeting of 22/02/24 calling for an immediate ceasefire. 

 

Question from Mr Knight to Cllr Yates

“As cabinet member for corporate services, can you confirm whether Thanet District Council has no local government investments, either through pension funds or any other applicable routes, that may be linked to holdings connected to Israeli settlements, or companies that are supporting Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. And if any exist will you instruct the finance committee to divest from these in the light of the deadly attacks by the Israeli state which have cost the lives of almost 30,000 innocent Palestinians in Gaza, 12,000 of whom were children.”

Response:

Thanet District Council’s treasury cash had not been used to invest directly in Israel. However, the Council did not hold this information with regards to each of its counterparties, i.e. the banks and or institutions it invested in and where they subsequently invested.

With regards Pension funds, these were managed by Kent County Council via the Kent Pension Fund committee which managed £8bn of local government pensions. Although it wasn’t confirmed directly whether or not they had invested in Israeli settlements, or companies involved in the current conflict, it was confirmed that they have a Responsible Investment Policy, that looks at Environmental, Social and Governance factors. 

Furthermore, the Head of Pensions and Treasury within the Kent Pension Fund had been emailed and asked the question, this information would be shared with the member of the public once a response was forthcoming. 

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  • Please check the summary of questions asked at past meetings via the link below to make sure your question or a similar question has not been asked within the last 6 months.
  • Please view  Speaking at Council meetings – Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
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Date of past ordinary meeting of council Questions asked at council meeting
Thursday, 10 December 2020
Thursday, 25 February 2021
Thursday, 25 March 2021
Thursday, 3 June 2021
Thursday, 15 July 2021
Thursday, 9 September 2021
Thursday, 14 October 2021
Wednesday, 12 January  2022
Thursday, 24 February 2022
Thursday, 31 March 2022
Thursday, 14 July 2022
Thursday, 8 September and Thursday 13 October 2022
Thursday, 8 December 2022
Thursday, 23 February 2023

 

Questions from earlier Council meetings can be found in our archive.

 

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