Message from the Leader of Thanet District Council:
The extended feedback period on the Ramsgate Port and Harbour feasibility study is due to end today (Friday 18 December), so I wanted to update residents and stakeholders about the way the council intends to take this work forward.
As leader of the council and portfolio holder for the port and harbour, I am very grateful to all those who took the trouble to respond, whether as individuals or as part of groups and organisations. Your input will help shape discussions as we move forward.
Nevertheless, it was not the council’s intention that the document placed on the website should be the only basis for public engagement. We wanted to talk to stakeholders at the port itself, to bring the opportunities and challenges to life, and to stimulate the discussion. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, this has simply not been possible.
At the same time, the council has recent experience of engaging with the public and stakeholders in Margate through the development of the Town Investment Plan for the Margate Town Deal bid. This involved putting together a Town Deal Board, a People’s Panel and working with individuals and organisations who have proposed ideas for regeneration. This has been very positive.
I know that there is enormous passion in Ramsgate and beyond for the town and its future and that we haven’t been able to capture this energy properly through the current exercise. I have taken account of some of the comments made about this in the feedback.
Ramsgate itself is benefitting from Heritage Action Zone funding and I believe that through working together as a community we can put together an exciting and widely supported plan to regenerate the whole town which can form the basis for lobbying central government and viable funding proposals.
That will include engaging with the town council and other stakeholders, as well as the wide range of communities in Ramsgate, and bringing in external expertise to facilitate the process.
We want to strengthen the links between the port and the town and it seems sensible now to consider them together as part of this larger exercise, capitalising on the amazing assets and opportunities that Ramsgate has, including the harbour and its surrounding area.
There will be more details of what this work will look like early in the new year. However, I wanted to reassure everyone now that the council wants to do more than has been possible in 2020 to engage with residents about Ramsgate’s future and that the end of the feedback period on the feasibility study is by no means the end of that conversation.
Cllr Rick Everitt
Leader, Thanet District Council