Friday, October 10, 2008

Teeny-Tiny Council Gets Go Ahead

As well as the momentous decision on China Gateway last night, our beloved council had other business to attend to, such as granting Ramsgate a town council. First Ramsgate Firster and all-round Family Guy Gerry O'Donnell writes:

One small step for a town council, one giant leap for Ramsgate. Perhaps the district councillors were tired after the bruising three hour pitched battle over the China Gateway. Perhaps.

The churlishness with which they voted in a parish/town council for Ramsgate spoke volumes about the institutional malady that infects the district council chamber.

Sandy Ezekiel baldly stated that the Ramsgate Town Council will be brought into effect after the 1st April 2009 and that elections to it would take place “probably” in September 2009. No words of congratulation for the people of Ramsgate who, he acknowledged, had voted for their own town council in the District Council’s Referendum. There was no wishing them well. Just a minimalist statement that made you feel it was a molar being extracted without anaesthetic.

Richard Nicholson, seconding the motion, was his usual ungracious self and offered no words of good will for the people of Ramsgate. Nor were there any words of congratulation from any of the other Ramsgate District councillors. The people of Ramsgate should take note.

And then came the vote.

As chairman of Ramsgate First it was a wonderful moment. The shine was not taken off by the miserliness in which the motion was carried. Four years of hard, tiring, often frustrating work. But it was for Ramsgate, and for me and the supporters of Ramsgate First that was reason enough.

I believe that Ramsgate now has an opportunity to build itself a better future with a Town Council that will more jealously guard its inheritance and more boldly assert its future potential. No longer will Ramsgate be an afterthought in the District Council’s deliberations.

Now the really hard work begins. We must make sure we elect Town Councillors that really care about the town and who are willing to work.

Well done Ramsgate.


Cllr. Mike Harrison said...

And then they start paying through the nose for the privelidge of having a toothless tiny Council. O'Donnell has made much of how its only going to cost half a million a year to run, as usual he has made little of how much his projects are going to cost for that is where the real price will be paid. How does he propose to raise the capital required to pay for his 'improvements' in the Town Centre? There are only two ways, one borrow the money or two raise it by way of Council Tax. Either way it has to be paid for by the Taxpayers of Ramsgate and at the moment that will be by the majority who live outside the Town Centre, as yet he still hasnt even acknowledged the existance of any other part of Ramsgate except the area bounded by Addington Street, Elms Avenue, Cannon Road, Chatham Street, and Boundary Road and Victoria Road there are other parts of Ramsgate that you will rule over as well Gerry ( in the unlikley event you ever get elected ) but with your myopic tunnel vision you cant or wont see them. The fact is that people were led to beleive that they were going to get something like the old Ramsgate Borough Council back and that is what they voted for,,

believe me people it just wont happen !

Sir Head said...

Well done Ramsgate - Thats exactly what were going to be - done. Look at the other places that have parish councils, extortionate council tax hikes above non parish coucils in the area so a few backslapping fools can decide on what folly theyre going to waste even more money on.
Most people i know voted against the parish council because they knew it would hit their pockets hard and thats exactly what it will do. Anyone who believes the parish council is going to do them a favor are as sorely deluded as the fools who think the China gateway is a great idea.
When are people going to see its just another way of fleecing those who cant afford to pay their council tax now let alone what this monstosity of a parish are going to charge them. Well and truly done. Again

Thanet Omnibus said...

Another tier of Government. TDC replaced the Borough Councils of Margate, broadstairs & Ramsgate in the early 70s. Ramsgate wants its own level of governance, Ramsgate can bleeding well pay for it, don't ask the rest of Thanet to. I bet most people don't even know about this and will care less when it comes to voting time.

Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding Gerry O'Connell's campaign to form a Ramsgate Town council, it doesn't necessarily mean he is going to have a chance to run it.

If they put forward viable candidates, then it is most likely that Labour could have control of Ramsgate council if they wanted to.

If Labour believe that people want Ramsgate council to spend as little money as absolutely possible, then they could this forward in their manifesto.

What puzzles me is that it appears to be perfectly ok for Birchington, Broadstairs and several villages to have parish (or town) councils - but not Ramsgate.

Cllr. Mike Harrison said...

That quite simply is because the Parish Councils you mention dont have aspirations to be a mini version of TDC ie by undertaking large projects that the cost of which will fall on fewer people. The Parish Councils are mostly consulted on about Planning applications and other small scale projects that are purely local to the Village in question, they dont aspire to rebuild and regenerate the whole area and the Members are not driven by questionable political motivations nor have they tried under several different guises to get elected to TDC.
Parish Councils are fine as long as they remain just that, Parish Councils.

Tony said...

Can someone put Cllr Harrison's toys back in his pram. At least it's doubtful that they can do worse than TDC. You only have to look at the state of Ramsgate to see what TDC think of the town.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Here here Tony!

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but I don't remember Mike Harrison banging on about the cost to the taxpayer of Broadstairs having its own Council. Nor do I remember him having a go about the exorbitant amount that TDC costs us every year. In my opinion, there's no need for Ramsgate Town Council to be another tier of government. I'm sure everyone will join with me in voting to abolish the useless and undemocratic institution (TDC) which replaced the old Town Councils, and has never worked effectively since its inception.

Cllr. Mike Harrison said...

For the record in 1973 when the reorganisation of local government took place and the three Borough Councils were merged into one and TDC was created I, along with others did campaign to try and stop Broadstairs & St Peters having their own teeny tiny Council but we were unsuccessful. We also campaigned to try and stop the ludicrous situation where we have one District but support three Mayors.
Whilst I am not in the business of defending TDC if you actually understood your rates bill you would realise that only a small portion of it actually goes to TDC, the rest goes to KCC, Police Authority, Fire Authority and depending where you live either to your Parish Council or Charter Trustees.
Had common sense prevailed and a Unitary Authority been created when we had the chance then I would be 100% behind a Town Council because TDC would no longer exist and a local forum and minor decision making body would be needed. My objection to a Ramsgate Town Council is based on (a) the fact that the true cost was never explained to people during the referendum,
(b) it will be another expensive and uneeded level of local Government and (c) at no time have the proponents ever mentioned any part of Ramsgate apart from the Town Centre and it is supposed to be a RAMSGATE Town Council.

Also for the record I will NOT be standing for election to the Town Council as having been opposed to it from day one it would be hypocrisy to do so, I am accused of many things (mostly wrongly ) but never hypocrisy.
I do however reserve the absolute right to hold this body when created to account and question them in the same way that ECR, Michael Child et all do with TDC at present.

Nethercourt said...

Well, I conceed that we will never get back to the days of Borough Councils... regretably. But a town council is as close as we are likely to get and as has been said, what have we to lose?

Anonymous said...

Well done Ramsgate. Enjoy paying more Council Tax for another impotent level of local government.

Still, I guess most people away from Millionaire's row are on benefits and won't have to worry about their Council Tax increasing in any case. Win win.

Anonymous said...

"I do however reserve the absolute right to hold this body when created to account and question them in the same way that ECR, Michael Child et all do with TDC at present."

Wot? TDC takes a blind bit of notice of Michael Childs and ECR? When did that happen then? I must have missed it. I shall enjoy seeing Mike Harrison ignored as he and his colleagues have ignored the people they are supposed to represent for so many years.

Anonymous said...


for heavens sake u didnt want it butnow it been voted for and we have it. So no matter how much you bang on about it, there will not be any going back now.

Surely if Ramsgate town council is putting the pressure on TDC to do 'stuff' then some/most of this 'stuff' will be paid for by TDC, depending on what it is? Or am i just being a trifle niave here??

For all the bad comments about G.O'D i for one applaud him for at least trying to ensure that we are not the poor cousins as far as future investment etc are concerned. Oh and I haven't publically stated that i know Jupiter has moons, but i do know they are there, how to find them and their names. Maybe the same holds true about Mr Family man and the other environs of Ramsgate ?


John Worrow said...

Sir Head

You say "Look at the other places that have parish councils, extortionate council tax hikes"

What Thanet parishes are you refering to?

In Birchington, which is currently Thanet's second biggest Parish Council, after Broadstairs Town council, our part of the council tax is around £5 for the year.
At the end of the day its about good house keeping.

Speaking as a parish councillor for Birchington, I wish our new 'Big baby Sister Council' and the people of Ramsgate the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Parish Councillors are the democratic (??) equivalent to Police Community Support Officers.

That isn't intended to be a good thing.

Sir Head said...

Mr Worrow - I didnt specifically mention parish councils in Thanet because i was not refering to parishes or town councils in Thanet but parishes in Kent, most of which have in fact had major council tax hikes in recent years Faversham and Folkestone being two

John Worrow said...

3:31 PM

Parish councils came before district councils and continue to work for their communities in areas where district and county councils no longer exist, like in the Medway Towns for example.

By your way of thinking you could also say that District Councillors are the democratic (??) equivalent to Police Community Support Officers compared with County Councillors.
Or you might even think that MP's should do everything.

Anonymous said...

Parish Councillors are better value for money, as they give their time FREE of charge unlike Community Support Officers and district councillors who both get paid by the TAX PAYER.

Anonymous said...

On his web site Harrison says that the Town Council will have to stand on its own two feet. That comment is rich coming from someone who gets paid by the TAX PAYER - Town councillors are UNPAID - Harrison is the charity case living off of the tax payer not Jerry who lives in the real world. And as for Harrisons lame comment about Jerry sitting on his bum- RamsFirst had to WORK HARD for their profile, any fool can get elected on the Labour band wagon.

Ian Hardy
Independent candidate for Ramsgate Town Council Elections

Cllr. Mike Harrison said...

So Mr.Hardy we have found the level of debate,,,unable to respond to my genuine concerns about the true cost and the fact that vast swathes of Ramsgate are being ignored you resort to personal insults.

Town Councillors can choose to be paid or not, that will be a decision for the newly elected Town Council.

Incidently its Gerry not Jerry and more importantly you must not refer to yourself as a Candidate until an election has been called.

Anonymous said...

Yes bring back the Borough of Ramsgate. Stuff the Margate Borough now calling itself Thanet District Council. It tried to raise the dead (Margate) at the expense of killing off the living (Ramsgate). The evil empire to the north will fall. TDC will have to redevelop Broadstairs now. Ha!

James Maskell said...

Theres far too much bureaucracy and layers need to be stripped away. TDC is the most appropriate place for discussing issues relating to towns. Ramsgate have TDC Councillors and if they arent doing their job properly in representing Ramsgate then the public get to replace them every four years if thats their wish.

Abolish KCC and Parish/Town Councils and pass the responsibilities to the respective District Councils.

Anonymous said...

Well said James. And why stop there? Why not centralize the lot in Maidstone, or even London?

Anonymous said...

8:26 PM

Councillor Harrison you can be forgiven for not knowing this as it seems you live in the past, but the rules have changed and, we are now allowed to call ourselves candidates before an election is called.

It is no longer a requirement to us the word prospective.
I suggest that you move with the times and telephone the Electoral Commission who will confirm this fact.

Ian Hardy
Independent candidate for Ramsgate Town Council Elections

Anonymous said...

To James

I agree with you, we should only have one council, that does what it wants, when it wants. And for that matter we should only have one house, The House of commons and take away the second chamber. Even in the USA they should only have one house, that does what it wants when it wants.

Yes James LETS put all the power in one place so we can do what ever we want whenever we want.

With wonderful Ideas like that I can't think why you were rejected by the people in last years election.


James Maskell said...

How is it centralisation for a local Council to be able to make more decisions at a local level? KCC often appears to be distant from East Kent and smaller Councils have limited responsibilities (the point will be proved in six months time when residents start to ask themselves about what the KCC elections will actually do). TDC is at the most appropriate size to make the decisions and since its made up of elected representatives and as long as there is accountability through its rules and procedures, why should it be a bad thing? Centralisation is actually completely different. This is about stripping back the fat from local government to make it more efficient. There can be such a thing as too much local government.

Anonymous said...

TDC isn't a local Council. Most of the candidates put up by the major parties don't even live in the constituencies they are supposed to represent. TDC is dominated by North Thanet Councillors and, consequently, votes in the interests of North Thanet, irrespective of the wishes of South Thanet. It was ever thus. The only redeeming factor is that all of the Council's decisions are rubbish and so, North Thanet has failed to benefit from this political bias. Why would people vote for a Council that shuts down their shopping centre?