Monday 24 February 2020

Community Group Reps Send Open Letter to Thanet District Council Regarding the £25 million Margate Town Deal Fund

On February 10th, representatives of Margate community groups sent an open letter to Thanet District Council regarding the process and implementation of the £25 million Margate Town Deal funding from central government.

You can sign it here.

Monday, February 10th, 2020

Dear Madeline Homer and Cllr. Rick Everitt,

We were delighted to learn that Margate had been invited to bid for up to £25 million from the Towns Fund set up by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Spent wisely, £25 million could have a transformative impact on the social fabric and economy of Margate.

However, we are concerned that very little has been published by Thanet District Council (TDC) about the bid so far. Councils leading bids must, according to the Government, be “open by default.” and they should publish the Town Deal Board’s governance and ways of working. Following which, the assembled Town Deal Board appoints a Chair.

We understand that you are advertising for the role of Chair before you have appointed a Board, which is the wrong way round.

We call on TDC to advertise the vacancies for the Town Deal Board so that residents who wish to serve have a chance to put themselves forward. We also call on you to explain to residents how the Board will be appointed and how it will engage with the town’s citizens.

We call on TDC to appoint a Board that reflects the diversity of our town and to pay particular attention to the communities in Dane Valley and Cliftonville West. Margate has been invited to bid for £25 million because of the unique challenges these wards face. It would be wrong to appoint a Board that did not enlist the insights and understanding of the people who live here.

We call on TDC to appoint a Board that consists of people who live in Margate, or who possess deep and relevant expertise and a track record of outstanding public service. We expect all Board Members to abide by the seven Nolan Principles of public life, as stipulated by the Government:

1. Selflessness
2. Integrity
3. Objectivity
4. Accountability
5. Openness
6. Honesty
7. Leadership

Furthermore, all Board members must meet the most stringent available “fit and proper persons” tests. Given the impact of austerity on our town we are particularly anxious to ensure that no individual found to have engaged in tax avoidance be permitted to serve on the Board.

We call on TDC to allocate some of the money it has already received from central government (£162,019) to encourage meaningful participation from all of our citizens in the development of the bid. We remind you that the town does not have long. The Government’s Prospectus states that bids must be submitted by the end of the Summer.

We are all members of civil society groups in Margate and Cliftonville. We don’t claim any special authority, but we want to see Margate flourish. Let’s make sure the bid we submit at the end of the Summer is as strong as it can be, by bringing the town together from the very outset around a vision for our shared future.

Yours sincerely,

Joe Bacon, ARTRA
Simon Bell, GRASS
Stephen Darrer, GRASS
Jo Goodson, ABC
Hubert Green, Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group
Kate Harrison, ABC
Dan Hind, GHASS
Liam Nabb, Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group
Louise Oldfield, Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group
Matt Shoul, ARTRA
Peter Thomas, Margate Conservation Area Advisory Group

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