Friday, 1 April 2011
"Seaside town spends £39,000 on council job... running beach trips for locals
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
All its residents live within a few miles of sandy beaches.
But that hasn’t stopped Thanet District Council splashing out £39,000 a year on a manager to take children on trips... to the seaside.
For 30 months Suzie Hooper’s sole job will be to head off on ‘rockpool safaris’ and ‘father and son’ outings with children from Ramsgate and Margate.
The salary – £14,000 above the national average – is being paid out of a £98,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund, which is repeatedly under fire for its choice of funding projects.
Margate beach and promenade: But spending the £100,000 grant on trips to the seaside for children who live nearby has been criticised
The scheme was planned after a council survey revealed several youngsters living in the area, which boasts 20 miles of sandy beaches, had never been to the sea.
But the project has come under fire from local residents who have branded it 'disgusting' and a 'waste of money'.
600 groups hit by £100m arts cuts as a quarter of theatres, galleries and orchestras lose ALL funding
Semi-retired construction worker Ron Greene, 50, who is the chairman of the Arlington House Residents' Association in Margate, described the funding as a 'joke'.
He said: 'It's disgusting that this amount of money is being spent on trips to the beach when we are seeing huge cutbacks on vital services, such as those for the elderly.
'It's a complete and utter waste of money to pay someone to take kids to the beach - that should be something their parents or guardians should do.
Summer fun: Events scheduled for this summer include 'rockpooling safaris' and 'father and son' outings
'There is nowhere in Thanet where you are more than four miles from a beach so it's ridiculous to say local kids aren't able to go.
'Three of my friends have just been laid off by Thanet District Council to save money so what they are doing seems unbelievable.
'These are top notch people they have sacked and instead someone is getting paid £39,000 a year to take kids to the beach. It's a joke.'
Retired engineer Keith Chadband, 70, chairman of the Cliftonville Residents' Association in the town, added: 'This seems to be a very strange idea and I certainly think there are a lot better ways the money could be used to benefit the local area.
'There are lots of communal areas in Margate that have suffered vandalism but it's almost impossible for us to raise money or get grants to repair them.
'The children always go down to the beach by themselves because it's quite safe and only about 50 yards away from town.
'It's disgusting that this amount of money is being spent on trips to the beach when we are seeing huge cutbacks on vital services, such as those for the elderly.
'It's a complete and utter waste of money to pay someone to take kids to the beach - that should be something their parents or guardians should do'
- Residents' Association chairman Ron Greene
'I can't understand what they are going to do with the money because lots of groups like primary schools and clubs already take kids to the beach for free.'
The Footprints in the Sand scheme is run by the council's Thanet Coast Project and was set up to hold children and family events.
Events scheduled for this summer include 'rockpooling safaris' and 'father and son' events on beaches in Ramsgate and Margate.
The £98,000 lottery grant will be used to pay project officer Suzie Hooper to organise community events for the next two and a half years.
The money will not be spent on equipment or to pay other staff members.
A spokesman for Thanet District Council revealed the project was launched after project workers discovered some children had never been to the seaside.
She said: 'Essentially the grant is paying the wages for a person to deliver events for the next two and a half years.
'It is specifically aimed at people who don't go to the beach. Sadly we've had groups go out to schools and ask how many have been to the beach and there are some that don't.
'It is very disappointing because the beach is on their doorstep. You would think people would go an explore what is on their doorstep.'
Project officer Ms Hooper added: 'Over the next couple of years, I'll be aiming to get people more interested and aware of what's available for them on their coastline.
'We want to make people proud of what we have here and get more involved with the wide range of activities along the shoreline.'
A spokesman for the Taxpayers' Alliance criticised the project as a 'waste of money'.
He said: 'At a time when there are such huge pressures on public finances, local residents will be bemused to see this money being spend on this project.
'Children in the Thanet area are living with the beach on their doorstep anyway, it's a waste of money.'
The Big Lottery Fund grant is being administered by Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme."
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
From: Emma Dadds
Date: 15 March 2011 14:14
Subject: Save the Date - Opening of the new Thanet Visitor Information Centre
To: Abigail Budd
As you may remember in the last edition of 'Tourism Matters' we let you know about the opening date of our new Thanet Visitor Information Centre at Droit House in Margate.
We have some more good news to share with you now about Droit House...
Kent County Council are now working on redoing the surrounding road and paving of Droit House to match with the Turner Contemporary landscaping work. To allow for this work to take place, and to ensure that our new office looks its absolute best we have changed our first day of opening to the public to Friday 1st April, when we shall be open from 10am to 5pm. Please note that our old office (12-13 The Parade, Margate) will remain open as usual until 1st April.
We would also like to let you know, that our High Season will start from Tuesday 12th April which means that the Thanet Visitor Information Centre, at Droit House, will be open every day of the week from 10am to 5pm. Please do check our website www.visitthanet.co.uk for details on when we shall be staying open later into the evening to support the areas exciting new season of events. An example of this, is through our work to support the opening date of Turner Contemporary on Saturday 16th April, when we shall be open from 10am until 10pm.
Should you require any clarification on the above please telephone our Visitor Services Officer, Abigail Budd on 01843 577577 or email Abigail.Budd@thanet.gov.uk
We look forward to welcoming you to our new centre from 1st April!
The Thanet Visitor Information Centre Team
12-13 The Parade,
THANET ACTION GROUP
MOTHER PLEADS: LEAVE MY DEAD DAUGHTER'S TREES IN PEACE
A woman who planted trees in loving memory of her daughter in Broadstairs'
Mrs Kathy Carr's daughter
Mrs Carr said: "I was saddened to hear there are plans to a build a large new community centre in
Mrs Carr added: "My daughter would have been 40 this month and the park holds pleasant memories for me and the community at large."
After the death of her daughter, Mrs Carr wrote a book of poetry "The Rich Pattern Of Mind" which, she said, brought comfort to many people grieving for the loss of loved ones.
Mrs Carr said: "It would be a comfort to know the park will always be there unspoilt and peaceful, so people can remember happier times and be at peace with nature."
Mr Carr, who is known for her volunteering work locally, said: "Parks like Pierremont must be protected from development of any kind and preserved for everyone to enjoy."
Opposition to the plans to erect the new building in the park is growing, according to local resident Norman Thomas.
Mr Thomas said: "Every day people ring me and express their anger over the plans. People are horrified at the prospect of the loss of trees."
"They simply don't believe council reassurances that there will be minimum damage. Many people want a new community centre but a small, local, much-loved park is absolutely the wrong place to build it."
A meeting to discuss what to do next about trying to save the park will be held on Friday March 18th in the Park Hut, in
"This is a crisis situation," said Mr Thomas, "Anyone who feels strongly about what's happening to our park should come and discuss what can be done."
For more info or pictures contact Norman Thomas, 01843 604253
THE RED HALL
"Thanet on Film": - Additional screening due to popular demand
The public will have their last chance to see the phenomenally popular "Thanet On Film II" when the
The 78 minute film includes vintage footage of Thanet from the 1920s to the 1970s and explores the impact of the decline in seaside holidays on the area. It also explores the future for Thanet and hopes for the regeneration of the area through initiatives such as the new Turner Contemporary Gallery.
Mrs O'Grady, Assistant Headteacher at the
Members of the public are invited to attend the screening and tickets, costing £5.00 can be booked in advance by telephoning the Ursuline College on 01843 434431.
"Thanet On Film" will be shown in the
Photos attached. More information about the film please call Christine Tongue on 01843 604253, for information about the Ursuline school and how to book, please ring 01843 434431.
forwarding them on & I do not accept responsibility for their accuracy
or content by circulating them. If you have any concerns about
contents/ accuracy of this email, please tell me. If you would like
to be added, or removed, from this mailing list, let me know.
From: N Sent: 10 March 2011 19:27
… At the moment it seems anyone can come up with an idea, and have it
financially supported - that is, anyone who is in the supported group!
Such people can also come up with proposals which then go out for
consultation – tick box, multiple choice answers - to the rest of us.
The problem is that some of the suggestions may be very good. And who
are we to say that they aren't the wishes of the people? How many
people would that be? The accusation could be that they just aren't
We know what it's like. You ask the question in a particular way, and
people who will give you the answer you want. So some people have
said "yes" to some initiatives.
We have the same problem as TDC. How do we count our numbers? And
how can we legitimately say it's a sufficient pool of the population
to justify our stance? How else would we do it? And at what point
could we say we have truly got the people's vote on something? …
From: b Sent: 11 March 2011 00:25
I know the whole issue of consultation is difficult, but a good
starting point would be to give people the true facts. The Walkie
Talkie team asked X, and others, ...
"Do you think it's a good idea if the two disused areas of land in the
old town were turned into gardens?"
The obvious answer, from most if not all, was "yes".
The question could have been
"Do you think it's a good idea for the Council to spend £40,000,
through Groundwork, who we represent, to convert two vacant building
plots, scheduled for re-development in the near future, into gardens
to make the Old Town look better for the opening of the Turner
To this question, I am sure the answer would be very different.
As for whether or not you have accessed a large enough sample of
people, if the people felt that what they said was listened to and
acted upon, then public participation would surely increase. …
Report on the Public Consultation for the Improvement of Queen's Arms
Yard & Margate Media Centre Sites [extract about the disused land –
from report produced by Groundwork]
Groundwork was commissioned by Derek Harding, the Programme Director
of Margate Renewal Partnership, to carry out a consultation with
regard to the future development of two disused green spaces in
Margate Old Town. The sites are located at Queen's Arms Yard and
Cobb's Place (land adjacent to the Margate Media Centre).
Using our team of Walkie Talkies and community development workers,
with their local knowledge and existing social networks, the team were
employed to visit residents, shop-keepers and businesses in Margate
Old Town and ask their opinions regarding proposed physical
improvements to the two sites.
Improvements to these green spaces are part of a programme of works to
the town ('The Countdown Plan') to ensure that it looks its best when
the new Turner Contemporary Gallery opens in April 2011.
A questionnaire was developed to enable us to capture people's views
and to come up with some creative temporary solutions for these green
spaces, bearing in mind that use of the sites may need to change over
time. We wanted to get the views of as many people as possible who
have a good understanding of the local area, including the needs of
visitors to the Old Town.
During the month of December the Walkie talkies team took the
questionnaires out into the Old Town and completed a door-knocking
We also held an evening drop-in consultation event on Thursday 16th
December (delayed from earlier date due to the snow). This was not
particularly well attended due to the very cold weather, but the
landscape architect team and Walkie Talkies were able to have some
useful discussions with several local stakeholders and manager to come
up with some innovative ideas, many of which were reflected in the
results of the survey. People who were unable to make the evening
event did phone or email their questionnaires or opinions through to
Additionally, we facilitated an all-day workshop with a group of local
adults with learning disabilities from the nearby Tivoli Centre,
exploring ideas for the two spaces, including creating mosaics and
using patterns such as spirals and shells to create design features.
We had a total of 92 questionnaires returned/completed by the end of
the consultation process and the results of the survey are set out on
the following pages: [extract ends – ask Margate Renewal Partnership,
or Groundwork, if you want to know more.]