Your Town Council.
We want to give you the facts so you can make an informed choice before backing the proposal.
Unlike other towns and parishes in Thanet, Margate does not currently have a Town Council, but instead is a Charter Town, with Charter Trustees made up of the Councillors from across the 7 Margate Wards.
These Trustees have very few powers to make changes locally, whereas a Town Council could take responsibility for issues such as street clearing, litter & dog waste bins, parks and playgrounds (to name just a few).
Local residents would be able to elect the Town Councillors that they thought would best serve their community.
As an electorate, it’s your support that will make this happen.
Hover over each Ward for more detail. Tap each Ward for more detail.
As part of our need to give you all the facts on this proposal, we will be hosting community consultations with our Charter Trustees, so you have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss things in more detail.
The Charter Trustees were set up by Statute following the Local Government re-organisation of 1974 when the Old Boroughs were replaced by District Councils. The role of the Charter Trustees, as set out in Statute is “To appoint a Mayor, Ensure the safe custody of the Charter of Incorporation and ‘Acquiring, holding, administering, maintaining and improving historic property of a ceremonial nature’”. Charter Trustees are there by virtue of being elected ward councillors for the 7 wards of Margate. That too is set out in Statute.
The residents of Margate have no direct say or influence in the decision-making process or management of their Town – the area with the highest population in Thanet and the only area without a parish or town council. A Town Council will be able to put funding towards events, promotion of the town, make available a Councillor fund for each ward and many more areas that enhance the area and enrich the lives of residents. As a Charter Town, none of this is available. For the last 40 years the Charter Trustees have made attempts to rectify this and believe a Town Council for Margate would be more representative and of more relevance with the ability to address issues of concern to the townspeople of Margate.
A Town Council has more community engagement and is run by local people for local people at grass roots level. There is greater scope for delivering services closer to the hearts of residents with a more rapid response time. A District Council has a more strategic overview for the whole of, in this case, Thanet, and has responsibility for delivering on larger projects and infrastructure and attracting inward investment.
The proposed Town Council would, following direction from Thanet District Council, cover the wards of the Old Borough of Margate: Cliftonville East, Cliftonville West, Margate Central, Salmestone, Garlinge, Westbrook and Dane Valley.
The Town Council would be run by duly elected Town Councillors; the number of councillors for the Town would be set by TDC. Anyone in the area of the Town Council could stand for election provide they meet the residency and other criteria – TDC electoral services could advise.
There are currently 34 functions for which a Margate Town Council could assume responsibility. It would be down to the Town Council in negotiation with TDC to decide which functions a Margate Town Council would undertake. A Town Council would have the power to borrow monies to invest in, for example, a Community Centre. The Charter Trustees are not permitted to borrow money or own property.
Please view the full list of possible functions a Margate Town Council could assume responsibility for:
- Boating Pools
- Bus Shelters
- Car Parking (off street)
- CCTV Installation and Maintenance
- Cemeteries and Burial Grounds
- Christmas Lights and Trees
- Closed cemeteries and burial grounds.
- Commons and Common pasture
- Community Centres
- Entertainment and the Arts
- Footway Lighting
- Grants to bus operators
- Information Services (tourism and transport)
- Highways maintenance
- Leisure facilities
- Litter and Dog waste bins
- Open public spaces
- Play grounds
- Playing fields
- Public clocks
- Public conveniences
- Public seats along highways
- Recreation Grounds
- Sports pitches
- Street Cleansing
- Taxi fare concessions
- Tourism promotion
- Traffic calming
- Village greens
- War memorials
Only in so far as the Mayor as a Charter Trustee, formed part of the decision making process which agreed to push for town council status. Whether a Town Council is formed or not, Margate, as a limb of the Cinque Ports, will have a Mayor at least for ceremonial purposes.
Anyone can stand for Town Council and need not be affiliated to any political party. TDC will advise how many town councillors will represent each ward and the electoral process, and it would be down to each candidate, whether backed by a political party or not, to canvass support from those on the electoral register for the ward and win election. The usual problem is getting the public to stand for office. Town Councils, because of their importance to local communities, have more success in attracting residents wishing to stand and participate.
Anyone on the electoral register for the 7 wards can vote for a Margate Town Council.
The main consultation process will be undertaken by TDC as part of the Community Governance Review (CGR), which will be triggered by a successful petition. The Charter Trustees need to gather 3100 signatures in order for this CGR process to start. The CT’s are willing to host zoom meetings for interested groups and organisations to answer any questions.
3100 signatures, that is 10% from residents on the electoral register for the 7 wards, are needed to trigger a Community Governance Review. Unlike the percentage required to petition for a CGR, there is no set percentage necessary for a successful outcome to the CGR – as long as those in favour outnumber those opposed.
In the first year, the budget will be set probably in consultation between the existing Charter Trustees (because of the electoral cycle) and TDC. The Margate area has the highest population rate in Thanet and the highest number of Band D properties (this determines the level of council tax). This means that costs are spread over more households thereby keeping costs per household lower. For example, the CT budget for 2020-21 was £153.5k with a precept figure of £11.61. For 2021-22, the CT budget (using part of the reserves) is £119k giving rise to a precept of £9.18. If, for arguments sake, the first year’s budget for the new Town Council were to be £300K (if would need to be £303400) the precept would be £23.40 (based on the Band D tax rate for 2021-22 – the rate fluctuates each year). For how the Margate area compares with other areas of Thanet, visit: https://www.thanet.gov.uk/info-pages/council-tax-bands-and-charges/.
A Town Council should be more approachable and responsive. Each year a Town meeting will be held where residents – whether on the electoral register or not, can meet with councillors and have their say. There is far more opportunity for community engagement and to influence decisions and policies regarding your immediate area. Decisions made by the Councillors on behalf of the community will impact on the environment, services and focus on what is important to residents. A Town Council, unlike the Charter Trustees, would have to be consulted on planning applications affecting the area.
Cost. Yes, the precept will rise, but the returns will be far greater and have tangible results for the Town.
At least 18 months.
There are two routes by which a CGR can be triggered. The first is by TDC agreeing to undertake a CGR without the necessity for a petition. The costs of this method would be borne by TDC i.e the rate payers. The second route is for a petition bearing the signatures of 10% of those on the electoral register of the 7 wards. If the required number of signatures are gathered, TDC will carry out a CGR but in this instance the cost could be reclaimed from Central Government.
In order for the first election to a newly formed Margate Town Council to take place in May 2023, the petition would have to be presented to TDC no later than the end of 2021, preferably by November 2021. TDC’s side of the exercise – the Community Governance Review, would necessitate two consultations and would take a year. The results of the consultation would need to be presented to Full Council probably in November 2022 and if successful, the budget drawn up by January 2023 (which would be normal practice) for approval Jan/Feb 2023. The new Town Council would come into being on 1st April 2023 and in all likelihood the existing Charter Trustees would be interim Town Councillors until the elections in May 2023 which would include elections for the new Town Council.
If the full number of signatures have not been gathered by the end of 2021, that would not be a disaster; it would however, mean the election to the new Town Council will be delayed until the full process has been carried out.
Become a Town Councillor! Take part in the annual Town Meeting.
All Councils have to have Standing Orders and Financial Regulations and, in the case of smaller authorities, adhere to JPAG Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities guidance. For example, although not a Council, the Charter Trustees, in the interest of good practice, adopted the NALC model standing orders and financial regulations (adapted for the CT’s). Each year, for example, the Charter Trustees have two internal and one external audits. The finances of the CT’s, their policies, minutes and agendas, are published on the CT’s website – www.margate.org.uk under ‘statutory’. Part of the transparency and openness agenda is to publish on our website a period during which all financial books and records for the year may be viewed by the public. The same would hold true for a Margate Town Council.
A Margate Town Council would exist until a change in legislation affecting Town Councils.
A Margate Town Council would be autonomous. There may be areas where joint co-operation between a Margate Town Council and Thanet District Council would be necessary and of course, there would have to be an agreement between the two bodies over some of the functions the Margate Town Council would undertake, and any service-level agreements required.
No, is the short answer. Each ward will have representatives (Councillors) who will argue the case for their respective ward. The Council as a body, will have to set priorities, and areas of expenditure would have to be arrived at by consensus. The Town Council would be required to draw up a 5- year plan (this is where the annual town meeting can play such a vital role) which could include capital projects/acquisitions.
You can register your opposition to the formation of a Margate Town Council when Thanet District Council conducts its Community Governance Review (CGR).
Please contact the Charter Trustees on email@example.com, telephone 01843 448590 or attend one of our community engagement events, the details of which will be at the top of our website and on our Facebook page (Margate Town Council).
We would love for you to share this application with your network, you can do this by sending them the link to this website, or by sharing our posts from our Facebook page (Margate Town Council).
You can sign the petition on the website by simply clicking the “Show your Support” button and you will be taken to a form where you can support this application.
Yes, the proposal form will allow each email address to be used twice to accommodate those who share an email. Each form entry will be manually checked to ensure they are all unique, and that each signee is eligible to support this proposal (that they are on the Margate electoral register).
As part of our drive to give you all the facts on this proposal, we will be hosting community consultations with our Charter Trustees. This will enable you to have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss things in more detail. These will be clearly communicated on our website and via our Facebook page.
Margate Town Council
Margate Town Council